5 Questions: Tinsley Ellis

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5 Questions is a series by Steve Duffy –

Photo credit: Flournoy Holmes

Tinsley Ellis may have grown up in southern Florida, but he is one of today’s best blues and rock guitarists and vocalists around. Ellis has been performing for over 40 years and shows no signs of stopping.

SD: What was it about the electric guitar that inspired you to play it?

TE: Like so many others, I watched the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show back in 1964 and at that time I had never heard a sound like that and I was hooked.

SD: What do the blues mean to you?

TE: For me, it means a lot of different things. If it sounds bluesy then it is bluesy. The blues is a mix of a southern and soulful sound. It is the root of all music. 

SD: In what ways has your music evolved since you first began?

TE: When I started out, I was playing other people’s music. The turning point for me was when I started writing my own music. My biggest influence in writing my own stuff was Leon Russell. He was such a prolific song writer.

SD: What do you like best about playing live?

TE: Up on stage is the one place I can make things fit together. Life is never that easy, but performing gives me a sense of harmony and that is a great feeling.

SD: What are you most excited about for in 2018?

TE: My new album “Winning Hand” was released on January 12th. I am very exciting about this new music and I am going to be touring a lot this year, which is always exciting for me. 


For more information about Tinsley, visit www.tinsleyellis.com. To purchase tickets to see him perform at City Winery January 24th, www.citywinery.com

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