Tinsley Ellis review…January 18, 2013…

TINSLEY ELLIS

MIDNIGHT BLUE

HEARTFIXER MUSIC  HFM  1011

IF THE RIVER KEEPS RISING–MOUTH TURN DRY–SURRENDER–I’TS NOT FUNNY–SEE NO HARM–THE ONLY THING–PEACE AND LOVE–HARDER TO FIND–THAT’S MY STORY–KISS OF DEATH

It’s hard to believe that it has been some thirty years since we first saw a young guitarist named Tinsley Ellis playing an Atlanta club with Chicago Bob Nelson and the Heartfixers.  Even then, Tinsley was a guitar force, and over the years, he has had quitea prolific blues-rock career.

With his latest release on his own Heartfixer Music label,  he has hit on what may well be his strongest set thus far.  Ten originals allow him to stretch out with elements of soul, and even a touch of the Big Easy.

He’s joined by A-listers Kevin McKendree on keys, Ted Pecchio on bass, and Lynn Williams on drums.  An acoustic intro gives way to the apocalyptic prophecies of “If The River Keeps Rising,” as Tinsley’s slide cries out his deepest feelings.  “Mouth Turn Dry” recalls the power of Howlin’ Wolf, while “Peace And Love” flows sweetly over a soulful groove, augmented by Kevin’s organ, and a recurring wah-wah guitar line.

We had two favorites, too.  Tinsley’s slide guitar over a boisterous second-line beat with Kevin doing his best Professor Longhair impression embellishes “It’s Not Funny,” the love story about a ravishing redhead that he “just can’t live without!”  And, a love triangle from the perspective of “the other man” has Tinsley telling the woman “I See No Harm in loving you.”  With Kevin’s piano featured prominently over Tinsley’s testifyin’ vocals, this one has a vintage Ray Charles feel.

Tinsley Ellis’ star burns brighter with each set he has released over his long and lustrous career.  “Midnight Blue” adds to his legacy as one of the best players on the contemporary scene today!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society.

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