Music brings out another side to Tinsley Ellis

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By Kirsten Laskey

Musician Tinsley Ellis is a quiet-spoken man. His low-key demeanor during an interview with Monitor seems highly contrasted to reviews of his performances.

Relix described his music as “blistering, inspired roadhouse blues and passionate Southern rock … gritty, soulful vocals.”

Billboard goes on to say, “Altlanta’s Tinsley Ellis sings like a man possessed and wields a ferocious lead guitar … one of today’s premier blues/rock players.”

A person’s passion, it seems, has the ability to unleash a whole different side to an individual.

Ellis was introduced to his passion for music at a young age.

He explained growing up in the 1960s, he listened to blues music on the radio. After being encouraged to check out musician BB King, who was performing in the area, Ellis said he talked his parents into allowing him to see King.

Listening to King perform, he said, was the first time he saw the music he enjoyed.

King’s impact on Ellis was strong. He commented even years later, he has not ventured far from King’s style of music.

Los Alamos will be able to experience Ellis’ music during the upcoming Los Alamos Summer Concert at 7 p.m. Friday at Ashley Pond. He explained it will be his band’s, the Tinsley Ellis Band, second time in Los Alamos. They first performed in the summer concert series, in 2003.

He added he is eager to return. “(I’m) very excited because we have a new CD out … and this will be our first show in the area with this CD.”

The CD is called “Speak no Evil,” “It’s guitar music,” Ellis said. “I play the guitar. It’s got a lot of appeal for guitar players and blues fans and rock n’ roll fans as well.”

This is the Tinsley Ellis’ 12th CD since he made his debut with Alligator Records with the album “Georgia Blue,” in 1988.

The Atlanta musician has toured non-stop, averaging 150 shows a year. He and his band travels through out the U.S. as well as Canada and Europe.

“It is great to tour and go over all over the world,” Ellis said. “ (We’ve) made friends … it just good to go different places and see the friends we’ve made over the years.”

His friends in Los Alamos and those who are not yet acquaintances are encouraged to come to Friday’s performance.  

“We’ll be doing a lot of songs off the ‘Speak No Evil’ album so people interested in blues music and guitar music, they’ll like us,” Tinsley said.