Tinsley Ellis: Tough Love Review

Tinsley Ellis has been making music for a long time now with and he returns with Tough Love, his third offering on his Heartfixer label. Borrowing much of Delbert McClinton’s backing band for this album, his Southern roots show through proudly on this album along with a nod to many of his influences over his career while still delivering some of his trademark penetrating guitar work.

“Seven Years” opens with a soulful groove and some Freddie and Albert King influenced sound as he pours out his frustration over a cheating lover and the subsequent seven year relationship that is lost. Up next is the shuffle groove of “Midnight Ride that sounds like it’s straight out of some southern honky-tonk bar. Things slow down with the soulful ballad and while Ellis is best known for his guitar slinging he showcases his vocals on “Give It Away.” He then delivers a shot at unemployment with “Hard Work,” featuring some humorous lyrics.

The highlight of this album and by far the stand out track is the excellent “All In The Name of Love.” With a strong node to ’80s Clapton this track totally delivers everything that we love about Tinsley’s playing throughout his career. Ellis delivers a soulful, bluesy track with great guitar playing, some excellent organ work, a sincere vocal and some great horn work thrown in for good measure. “Should I Have Lied” is a slow blues while the pace picks up with “Leave Me.” Both tracks are reminiscent of old school B. B. King style blues. With an echo and reverb filled solo Ellis gives us the growling and gritty “The King Must Die.” He even breaks out the harmonica for the juke joint swing of “Everything.” Ellis closes things out with the emotive slow ballad of “In From The Cold.”

Ellis is a master of combining contemporary blues with the classic styles of the past and this diverse collection of all original tracks delivers once again. Fans of Ellis will enjoy Tough Love.

The Review:7.5/10                                                                                                   

Can’t Miss Tracks

– All In The Name of Love
– The King Must Die
– Seven Years
– In From The Cold

The Big Hit

– All In The Name of Love

Review by Kevin O’Rourke

Buy the album: Amazon

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