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“Feral blues guitar...non-stop gigging has sharpened his six-string to a razor's edge...his eloquence dazzles...he achieves pyrotechnics that rival Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton.” -Rolling Stone

Hard-rocking blues-soaked guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Tinsley Ellis will celebrate the release of his new Alligator CD, MOMENT OF TRUTH, with a live performance in St. Louis. GuitarOne calls the Atlanta-born Ellis, “a Southern blues-rocker with monstrous guitar chops.” The CD is Ellis’ first studio album since returning to Alligator, and is the most guitar driven and lyrically expressive recording of his career. Performance information is as follows:

Sunday, October 28th:
Broadway Oyster Bar
736 S. Broadway
St. Louis, MO
8:00 p.m.

Produced by Ellis, MOMENT OF TRUTH captures all the power and energy of his legendary live performances. His vocals reach new heights of soulfulness and expressiveness; his guitar playing is ferocious and relentless, but, when the mood calls for it, gentle and moving. But what really sets the album apart is the depth of Ellis’ songwriting. The material deals in matters both personal and universal and runs the gamut of human emotions. MOMENT OF TRUTH is Ellis’ most wide-ranging and inspired recording.

Born in Atlanta in 1957, Ellis grew up in southern Florida and first played guitar at age eight. He found the blues through the backdoor of the British Invasion bands like The Yardbirds, The Animals, Cream, and The Rolling Stones. He especially loved the Kings – Freddie, B.B. and Albert – and spent hours immersing himself in their music. His love for the blues solidified when he was 14. At a B.B. King performance, Tinsley sat mesmerized in the front row. When B.B. broke a string on Lucille, he changed it without missing a beat, and handed the broken string to Ellis. After the show, B.B. came out and talked with fans, further impressing Tinsley with his warmth and down-to-earth attitude. By now Tinsley’s fate was sealed; he had to become a blues guitarist. And yes, he still has that string.

Already an accomplished teenaged musician, Ellis left Florida and returned to Atlanta in 1975. He soon joined the Alley Cats, a gritty blues band that included Preston Hubbard (of Fabulous Thunderbirds fame). 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 Cool On It and Tore Up with The Heartfixers, Ellis was ready to head out on his own. He sent a copy of the master tape for his solo debut to Bruce Iglauer at Alligator Records. “I had heard Cool On It," recalls Iglauer, “and I was amazed. I hadn't heard Tinsley before, but he played like the guys with huge international reputations. It wasn't just his raw power; it was his taste and maturity that got to me. It had the power of rock but felt like the blues. I knew I wanted to hear more of this guy.”

GEORGIA BLUE, Tinsley’s first Alligator release, hit an unprepared public by surprise in 1988. Critics and fans quickly agreed that a new and original guitar hero had emerged. Before long, Alligator arranged to reissue COOL ON IT and TORE UP, thus exposing Tinsley’s blistering earlier music to a growing fan base. Tinsley’s next releases, 1989’s FANNING THE FLAMES, 1992’s TROUBLE TIME, 1994’s STORM WARNING and 1997’s FIRE IT UP (produced by the legendary Tom Dowd), solidified Ellis’ reputation as a guitar hero with depth and substance.

Ellis’ 2005 return to Alligator (after short stints with Capricorn and Telarc Records), the searing guitar-fueled LIVE-HIGHWAYMAN, was the live recording his fans had been demanding for years. Recorded at a packed club just outside Chicago, the CD takes Ellis’ extended soloing and heartfelt vocals to staggering heights. The Chicago Tribune said, “Incendiary live performances, inspired, original and funky.”

Averaging over 150 live shows a year, Ellis has played in all 50 states, as well as Canada, Europe, Australia and South America. Whether he’s out with his own band or sharing stages with The Allman Brothers, Robert Cray, Koko Taylor or Widespread Panic, he spreads his jaw-dropping licks, thunderous axe work and intense vocals everywhere he goes. With the massive touring supporting MOMENT OF TRUTH, Ellis will bring his high-energy, guitar-drenched performances to people all over the world. Tinsley Ellis’ time has come. For him and his growing legion of fans, the moment of truth is now.

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