Tinsley Ellis will join us for an in-studio session this Wednesday, May 24 on KSUT at approximately 2:00 PM. Ellis will be in town for a performance of his Grateful Dead - themed show "Blues Is Dead", at 7:30 p.m. at the Henry Strater Theatre.
Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $22 in advance and $25 at the door and are available at henrystratertheatre.com, Southwest Sound and Animas Trading Company in Durango.
Ellis is a legendary blues guitarist with roots in Southern soul music. On his current tour, he explores the blues roots of the Grateful Dead through influences like Muddy Waters and Dead classics like “Turn on Your Lovelight” and “Big Railroad Blues.”
“Tinsley Ellis is a great Georgia guitarist who joins a handful of artists carrying on the Southern rock and blues traditions,” said Rob Rawls, station manager for KSUT’s Four Corners signal and host of Barrelhouse Blues, which airs from 7-9 p.m. Tuesdays. “He’s also trying something different on this tour, following in the footsteps of Warren Haynes by taking a break from traditional blues and paying tribute to the Grateful Dead.”
Ellis wears his Southern roots proudly. Born in Atlanta in 1957, he grew up in southern Florida and first played guitar at age eight. He found the blues through the back door of British Invasion bands like the Yardbirds, the Animals, Cream and the Rolling Stones. He especially loved the three Kings of the Blues – Freddie, B.B. and Albert. Ellis’ fate was sealed at age 14 when he was handed a broken guitar string by B.B. King; he had to become a blues guitarist.
After graduating from Emory University in 1979 with a degree in history, Ellis formed the Heartfixers with singer and harmonica player Chicago Bob Nelson. The group recorded three albums for the tiny Landslide Records before breaking up. Ellis signed a recording contract with Chicago’s legendary Alligator Records in 1988 and has since released 17 albums on a variety of labels.
Ellis has shared the stage with Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, Derek Trucks, Buddy Guy, the Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, Widespread Panic, Willie Dixon, Albert Collins and countless others in the blues and Southern rock genres. He has toured all 50 states as well as Canada, Europe, Australia and South America. Locally, he has appeared several times at Telluride Blues & Brews as well as a mid-1990s show at the old Purple Haze, the blues bar that once inhabited the space now occupied by BREW Pub & Kitchen.