Tinsley Ellis’ “Winning Hand” gets January release date

Alligator Records has set a January 12, 2018 release date for Winning Hand, the powerful new album from Southern blues-rock guitar wizard, vocalist and songwriter Tinsley Ellis. He will immediately hit the road for a mammoth three month U.S. tour, launching on release date with a concert at the Variety Playhouse in his hometown of Atlanta.

Recorded in Nashville and produced by Ellis and keyboardist Kevin McKendree, the ten brilliantly performed, fervently sung tracks on Winning Hand include nine originals, ranging from blistering blues to heart-pounding rock to soulful ballads. “Guitar, guitar, guitar is what this album is all about,” says Ellis, who recorded primarily with his 1959 Fender Stratocaster, his 1967 Gibson ES 345 and his 1973 Les Paul Deluxe. Guitar World says, “Ellis’ playing sparkles with depth and subtlety. Whether playing deep, slow blues or uptempo rockers, Ellis rides a gorgeously fat, pure tone.”

Since his Alligator debut 30 years ago, Tinsley Ellis has become a bona fide worldwide guitar hero. The Chicago Sun-Times says, “It’s hard to overstate the raw power of his music.” Armed with his signature molten licks, melodic riffs and rousing, intense solos, Ellis, as his legions of fans will attest, is among the blues world’s best loved, hardest working and most well-travelled statesmen. He has performed in all 50 United States as well as in Canada, Western and Eastern Europe, Australia and South America, earning legions of fans with his guitar virtuosity, passionate vocals and memorable original songs. Ellis is also revered as a guitarist’s guitarist, with famous friends including Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Oliver Wood, Jonny Lang and members of Widespread Panic calling on him to sit in and jam. “A musician never got famous staying home,” he says.

Born in Atlanta in 1957, Ellis was raised in southern Florida. He found the blues through the back door of British Invasion bands like The Yardbirds, The Animals, Cream, The Rolling Stones and Southern rockers like The Allman Brothers. As he discovered the roots of these bands, he attended shows by B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and every other blues artist who came through town.

Already an accomplished teenaged musician, Ellis returned to Atlanta and started playing with local bands. In 1981, along with veteran blues singer and harpist Chicago Bob Nelson, Tinsley formed The Heartfixers, a group that would become Atlanta’s top-drawing blues band. After cutting three Heartfixers albums for the Landslide label, Ellis was ready to head out on his own.

Georgia Blue, Tinsley’s first Alligator release, hit the unprepared public by surprise in 1988. The Chicago Tribune said, “Tinsley Ellis torches with molten fretwork. Ellis takes classic, Southern blues-rock workouts and jolts them to new life with a torrid ax barrage.” Tinsley’s next four releases — 1989’s Fanning The Flames, 1992’s Trouble Time, 1994’s Storm Warning, and 1997’s Fire It Up — further grew his fan base and his fame. Features and reviews ran in Rolling Stone, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and in many other national and regional publications.

Ellis released an album on Capricorn Records in 2000 and on Telarc in 2002. He returned to Alligator in 2005, releasing Live–Highwayman, which captured the fifth-gear energy of his live shows. He followed it with two more incendiary studio releases, 2007’s Moment Of Truth and 2009’s Speak No Evil. He has since self-released four successful albums on his own Heartfixer label.

Over the course of his career, Ellis has shared stages with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Otis Rush, Willie Dixon, The Allman Brothers, Leon Russell, Son Seals, Koko Taylor, Albert Collins and many others. Whether he’s on stage with his own band or jamming with artists like Buddy Guy, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Gov’t Mule or Widespread Panic, he always plays with grit, soul and unbridled passion. Back home on Alligator Records with his new album and a massive live tour in the works, Tinsley Ellis is ready to prove again that whenever he picks up a guitar, he’s playing with a winning hand.

01/12/18 Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA
01/13/18 Songbirds Guitar Museum – Chattanooga, TN
01/16/18 The Downtown Music Hall at Capital Ale House – Richmond, VA
01/17/18 Blues Alley – Washington, DC
01/18/18 Creative Alliance – Baltimore, MD
01/19/18 Arden Gild Hall – Arden, DE
01/20/18 Sellersville Theater 1894 – Sellersville, PA
01/21/18 City Winery – NYC

01/23/18 Iron Horse Music Hall – Northampton, MA
01/24/18 City Winery Boston – Boston, MA
01/25/18 Narrows Center for the Arts – Fall River, MA
01/26/18 The Linda WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio – Albany, NY
01/27/18 Moondog’s – Blawnox, PA
01/28/18 Buffalo Iron Works – Buffalo, NY
01/29/18 Cadillac Lounge – Toronto, ON
01/31/18 SPACE – Evanston, IL

02/01/18 Callahan’s Music Hall – Auburn Hills, MI
02/02/18 Cincy Winter Blues Fest – Cincinnati, OH
02/03/18 C2G Music Hall – Fort Wayne, IN
02/07/18 Blues at the Abbey – Subaico, AR
02/08/18 Chrome Lounge – Omaha, NE
02/09/18 Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Concert Series – Sioux Falls, SD
02/10/18 Fargo Blues Festival – Fargo, ND
02/13/18 Mangy Moose – Jackson, WY
02/14/18 The State Room – Salt Lake City, UT
02/15/18 Boulder Station Casino – Las Vegas, NV
02/16/18 World Records – Bakersfield, CA
02/18/18 Rio Theatre – Vancouver BC

02/20/18 Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley – Seattle, WA
02/21/18 Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley – Seattle, WA
02/22/18 The Roots Cellar- Prosser, WA
02/23/18 The Jack London – Portland, OR
02/24/18 The Sapphire Room – Boise, ID
02/25/18 Sofia Center for the Arts – Sacramento, CA
02/26/18 Yoshi’s Oakland – Oakland, CA
02/27/18 The Tower Theatre Lounge – Fresno, CA
02/28/18 Coach House – San Juan Capistrano, CA

03/01/18 Canyon Club – Agoura Hills, CA
03/02/18 191 Toole – Tucson, AZ
03/03/18 Musical Instrument Museum – Phoenix, AZ

03/08/18 The Temporary – Basalt, CO
03/09/18 Reserve Casino – Central City, CO
03/10/18 Reserve Casino – Central City, CO
03/12/18 Crested Butte Center for the Arts – Crested Butte, CO

03/16/18 Redstone Room – Davenport, IA
03/17/18 Dakota Jazz Club – Minneapolis, MN
03/18/18 Lefty’s Live Music – Des Moines, IA
03/22/18 Woodlands – Columbus, OH
03/23/18 Music Box Supper Club – Cleveland, OH
03/24/18 Franke Center for the Arts – Marshall, MI

04/05/18 Dosey Doe – Houston, TX
04/06/18 Guitar Sanctuary – Dallas, TX
04/07/18 Antone’s – Austin, TX

Courtesy: Alligator Records

Pete Francis

Pete Francis is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Blues Rock Review. Pete launched Blues Rock Review full-time in 2011 because he felt there was a major void in how the blues rock genre was covered. Pete is the host of Blues Rock Weekly and a co-host on the Blues Rock Show.

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