Bluesman Tinsley Ellis makes playing the guitar look so damn easy. One of Atlanta’s musical gems, Ellis has been treating listeners to his brilliant guitar playing for years. The Blues genre offers up many variations of guitar playing from raw and dirty to light and jazzy but few are as smooth and effortless as Tinsley Ellis.
Returning with yet another album of brilliant original Blues music - Tough Love - Tinsley Ellis shows he is more than just a damn fine guitar slinger. Often overlooked is Ellis’ lyrical proficiency as he writes tunes that cover a wealth of topics usually from the everyman’s perspective, something that makes his music so accessible. He captures the down and out worker that has lost his job on the swampy “Hard Work”. This song isn’t about hard labor or a miserable job Ellis’ character is letting it be known that finding a job is as hard if not harder than actually working. Of course he is going to tackle love, it is the Blues so a tattered love life tends to lend itself to the genre and “Should I Have Lied” is just that. With traditional sounding arrangements he ponders whether or not lying would have prevented sadness. Brooding rhythms surround Ellis’ grainy vocals as his guitar playing pushes through the darkness. Songs like “Seven Years” and “Leave Me” epitomize how great of a listen this record is and the epic “In From The Cold” is the exclamation point. It drives home his musical and lyrical talents one last time before it is over.
Throughout his storied career Tinsley Ellis has taken his influences and developed his own style of music. Much like other well known bluesmen when you hear Ellis’ music you know it is him. Tough Love is good on so many levels giving listeners a group of songs that never get old. With each listen something different stands out as the various rhythms, the arrangements, Ellis’ vocals, guitar riffs and lyrics work in unison in an all out assault on your aural senses.
In addition to the new album Tinsley Ellis will be out on the road treating listeners to the new tunes along with some of his classics. Check out his schedule and make sure you don’t miss your opportunity to see him live. If you are in my neck of the woods,