As a proud Georgia-based artist, with his new album Red Clay Soul he celebrates a legacy built on four decades of performing, recording and song writing. He has performed in all 50 states, across Canada, Europe, South America and Australia. He's taken the stage in Russia, the Canary Islands and other destinations not on the traditional touring circuit. He reflects, "Playing concerts is what I've done the longest. From the time I was a young teenager watching BB King, Howlin' Wolf and Billy Preston, to the great new music of today, I've taken what I've learned from these masters and incorporated it into my concerts. From BB King, I learned about performing with dynamics. From James Brown, I've learned about putting on a seamless, exciting concert. From The Allmans, I've learned about how to excite fans with extended instrumental jamming. I try to learn something new about putting on shows at every concert I attend."
Ellis' travels have earned him a gifted musical life filled with coveted experiences. Being present as a relevant artist yielded organic opportunities many dream of. He shares, "My proudest moments onstage have been the times I've been invited to sit in with my musical heroes: Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Otis Rush, James Cotton, The Allmans and so many others. In 2013, I was invited to be a part of the Blues At The Crossroads 2 Tour, a run that celebrated the music of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. I was the 'Rock Guy' on the tour. The other frontmen were guys who actually recorded and toured with Muddy and Wolf. They were James Cotton and Bob Margolin from Muddy's band and Jody Williams, the Chess Records session guitarist who recorded on many Wolf and Bo Diddley sides. And The Fabulous Thunderbirds backed us all up. It was cool because I was the youngest frontman on the tour, and they rode me hard, calling me a 'little whippersnapper' and 'sonny boy.' The stories these guys told as we traveled coast to coast were hilarious. To this day, I don't underestimate how much they schooled me musically."
The new album is on Ellis' own Heartfixer Music label, of which he reveals, "I've been in the business of music for over 40 years now. I've been passed around like a joint from label to label, from booking agency to booking agency, from manager to manager, and from producer to producer, so I've learned a lot. Knowing what works in the music business can be very valuable, but knowing what doesn't work in the music business is priceless.
Things are changing fast in the music business, and it's adapt or die." The label name comes from a piece of his own history. In 1981, "Chicago" Bob Nelson and Ellis formed a traditional Blues band called The Heartfixers in Atlanta, a name inspired by the Albert King song called Heartfixin' Business. The label is named after that band. The Heartfixers recorded 4 LPs, and disbanded when Ellis signed to Alligator Records as a solo artist in 1988.
Tinsley Ellis has achieved a lot of success and worked with some of the best in the business. He has toured the globe, released 19 albums (with Red Clay Soul), and hit the heights of commercial success with songs covered by other artists - notably, Jonny Lang recording "A Quitter Never Wins." Ellis even gave Derek Trucks his recording debut on Ellis' Storm Warning. He won Rock/Blues Album Of The Year with Tough Love in 2015 from Blues Blast Magazine and made many "Best Of" lists within Downbeat and others. Tinsley Ellis continues to release compelling music. And he continues to bring it night after night at one venue after another across the globe, sharing his blues-steeped legacy, fine songwriting, and deep pride in being a Georgia-based artist.
As Ellis continues to hit the highways of the U.S., Canada and other territories, he shares, "It has been great fun to perform songs like 'All I Think About it' and 'Don't Cut It' in our shows."
Upcoming appearances include:
07/23 Hampton, VA - Hampton Block Party
07/24 Washington DC - The Hamilton Live
07/30 Calgary, AB - Calgary International Blues Festival
08/11 Cleveland, OH - Music Box Supper Club - Ballroom
08/12 Columbus, OH - Woodlands Tavern
08/13 Cincinnati, OH - Cincy Blues Fest
08/14 Wheeling, WV - Heritage Music Bluesfest
08/20 Winnipeg, MB - Winnipeg BBQ
08/27 Londonderry, NH - Tupelo Music Hall
08/28 North Adams, MA - Leavitt Amphitheater
09/10 Travelers Rest, SC - Music In The Park Concert Series
09/16 McKinney, TX - The Guitar Sanctuary
09/17 Conroe, TX - Dosey Doe - Conroe
10/09 Daytona Beach, FL - Daytona Blues Festival
10/21 Newburry, SC - Newburry Opera House
10/29 San Juan, PR Legendary R&B Cruise (Until 11/05)
11/11 Richmond, VA - The Tin Pan
11/12 Lynchburg, VA - Ellington Presents
12/02 Park City, UT - Egyptian Theatre
12/03 Park City, UT - Egyptian Theatre
12/08 Las Vegas, NV - Boulder Station Hotel & Casino
12/15 Birmingham, AL - Workplay Theatre
12/16 Covington, GA - The Listening Room
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