NEW YORK: Tinsley Ellis CD Review - by J. Blake

Posted on 11/03/2009 by J. Blake

Tinsley Ellis has been compared to some of the blues’ heaviest hitters and has shared the stage and studio with the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks…to name a few. His latest release for Alligator Records, SPEAK NO EVIL, finds Ellis attacking the album’s 12 original tracks with the same “rock power and blues feeling” that has made him a driving force in the American blues community for the past 20 years.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that every track on this latest release is a gem. Ellis’ songwriting ability isn’t quite as strong as his musicianship, but his spot-on ferocious guitar playing more than makes up for any of the album’s weaker compositions. His playing-style has often been compared to Stevie Ray Vaughan, but listeners of SPEAK NO EVIL will easily spot a menagerie of influences that vary from Cream-era Clapton and Hendrix to Robin Trower and Buddy Guy. Ellis manages to work in stylistic tributes throughout the entire CD without ever seeming like he is blatantly stealing from his predecessors and in the process crafts a fun and completely entertaining listening experience.

Music fans hungry for more traditional and authentic “electric blues” will probably not find what they are looking for with this CD, but for those that have acquired a taste for the guitar-driven blues-rock that seems to have become overly abundant in recent years, SPEAK NO EVIL is definitely an album that is worth a listen.

Highlights include the Buddy Guy-infused title track, the throbbing high-voltage blues groove of The Other Side, the psychedelic-driven Amanda and album’s upbeat and adequately titled closing track, Rockslide.

*If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy: Tinsley Ellis Interview

Copyright © 2009 - J. Blake. All Rights Reserved

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