Tinsley Ellis' new live CD due in early summer 2005

Alligator Records is pleased to announce the return of guitarist/ vocalist/ songwriter Tinsley Ellis to the label. Ellis began first recorded for Alligator in 1988. He recorded five albums for the label before recording for the Capricorn and Telarc labels. The new relationship will kick off with Ellis recording two nights of live performances (March 25 and 26, 2005) at Chord On Blues in St. Charles, IL, a suburb of Chicago, for his new Alligator CD. Due out in early summer, 2005, this will be Ellis' first live album, and is one, according to Ellis, that his fans have long been waiting for.

Both Ellis and Alligator president Bruce Iglauer are thrilled to be working together again. "Tinsley is one of the finest younger generation blues rockers. He's made great albums for us in the past, and we're excited to have him back in the Alligator family. He's great in the studio, but even better live, so I'm really looking forward to this recording," says Iglauer.

And Ellis is in total agreement. "I look forward to working with my friends at Alligator. Nobody knows the blues market better, and the roster of acts is the strongest they've ever had. I'm beyond proud to be back."

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 and B.B. - 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 the master broke a string on Lucille, he changed it without missing a beat, and handed the broken string to the youngster. After the show, B.B. came out and talked with fans, further impressing Ellis 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 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. Upon hearing the band's second release, "Live At The Moonshadow" (Landslide), "The Washington Post" declared, "Tinsley Ellis is a legitimate guitar hero." After cutting two more Heartfixers albums for Landslide, "Cool On It" (featuring Tinsley"s vocal debut) and "Tore Up" (with vocals by blues shouter Nappy Brown) Ellis was ready to head out on his own. Ellis 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 Alligator debut, hit an unprepared public by surprise in 1988. Critics and fans quickly agreed that a new and original guitar hero had emerged. "Guitar World" called the album "a solid smoking affair from start to finish." Before long, Alligator arranged to reissue "Cool On It" and "Tore Up," thus exposing Tinsley's 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") solidified his reputation as one of the best guitar slingers and songwriters in the country. Playing with friends Peter Buck and keyboardist Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones), and working with producers Eddy Offord (Yes, Yoko Ono) and Tom Dowd (Allman Brothers, Ray Charles) brought even more critical acclaim Ellis' way. "Dazzling musicianship pitched somewhere between the exhilarating volatility of rock and roll and the passion of urban blues," raved the "Los Angeles Times."

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. His largest audience by far came when NBC Sports ran a story on Atlanta's best blues guitarist during their 1996 Summer Olympic Coverage viewed by millions of people all over the world. Atlanta magazine called Tinsley, "the most significant blues artist to emerge from Atlanta since Blind Willie McTell." "It's hard to overstate the raw power of his music," announced the "Chicago Sun-Times."

Ellis has played -- at least once -- 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 Robert Cray, Koko Taylor or The Allman Brothers, he averages over 150 performances a year, bringing his fast-moving, high-energy, guitar-drenched performances to fans all over the world. The new CD will capture that ferocious power on CD for the very first time.

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