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Tinsley Ellis|Devil May Care

Devil May Care

Tinsley Ellis

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After Tinsley Ellis released the fine Ice Cream in Hell in 2020, he hit the road for a 60-date tour. Six weeks in, the global COVID-19 pandemic made him cancel. He drove the 2,400 miles from Reno, Nevada to Atlanta, Georgia. At home he entered his basement studio and pulled out loads of gear -- including every guitar he owned. He also set up a turntable and began dragging vinyl off the shelves. He explored studio and obscure live recordings from some of his musical heroes, including the Allman Brothers, Freddie and B.B. King, Michael Bloomfield, and many more. He was captivated and began writing with a white-hot intensity, determined to grow as a songwriter. By April he was posting tracks to his website. In 18 months he composed 200 new songs. He contacted longtime friend, keyboardist and producer Kevin McKendree and booked time at his Franklin, Tennessee studio, then culled his massive song list down to ten tunes. On Devil May Care, Ellis is joined by McKendree on piano and organ, bassist Steve Mackey, and drummer Lynn Williams. There is a strong Allmans vibe on a few tracks here, including album-opener "One Less Reason." Ellis plays dual leads (standard and slide) with himself on this choogler, backed by a rumbling B-3, a swinging drum kit, and throbbing bassline. Ellis is in excellent voice; he alternately moans and growls getting his lyrics across. "Right Down the Drain" is a mean-toned meld of Southern rock and deep blues. He grafts his vocal over layers of electric guitar, adding fills, slide vamps, and short solos, as McKendree fills and accents the transitions. "Just Like Rain" may be the finest ballad Ellis has yet composed. Fueled by electric piano and acoustic guitar, his uncharacteristically clean singing is wracked with emotion. One can hear the ghostly influence of Gregg Allman's Laid Back in its grooves. After his tight, electric solo, Jim Hoke's sax and Andrew Carney's trumpet undergird the band as Ellis adds another moving solo. "Beat the Devil" comes right out of Freddie King's fakebook. The band's sinister midtempo choogle is answered by meaty horns and sweltering organ runs. Ellis' vocal is as commanding as his guitar playing. "Juju" is a slide guitar monster with rippling hand percussion and pounding upright piano; it momentarily recalls the Allmans' "Ain't Wasting Time No More" from Eat a Peach, but it's far from derivative. While "28 Days" is a driving, funky roadhouse blues, "One Last Ride" weds Delta blues to jazzy, drifting Southern rock with glorious dual guitar leads and punchy drums. Set-closer "Slow Train" is offered at a dirge-like tempo amid a swelling B-3 and circular drumming. Ellis evokes Peter Green in his biting guitar break as he pulls every drop of emotion from the words. Devil May Care is Ellis' third release since returning to Alligator in 2018. Though he's been on a creative tear ever since, this date is actually among the very best in his long career.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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Devil May Care

Tinsley Ellis

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1
One Less Reason
00:05:09

Kevin McKendree, Producer, Mixer - Tinsley Ellis, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - Heartfixer Music, MusicPublisher

2022 Alligator Records, LLC 2022 Tinsley Ellis

2
Right Down The Drain
00:04:59

Kevin McKendree, Producer, Mixer - Tinsley Ellis, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - Heartfixer Music, MusicPublisher

2022 Alligator Records, LLC 2022 Tinsley Ellis

3
Just Like Rain
00:04:29

Kevin McKendree, Producer, Mixer - Tinsley Ellis, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - Heartfixer Music, MusicPublisher

2022 Alligator Records, LLC 2022 Tinsley Ellis

4
Beat The Devil
00:03:49

Kevin McKendree, Producer, Mixer - Tinsley Ellis, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - Heartfixer Music, MusicPublisher

2022 Alligator Records, LLC 2022 Tinsley Ellis

5
Don't Bury Our Love
00:05:19

Kevin McKendree, Producer, Mixer - Tinsley Ellis, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - Heartfixer Music, MusicPublisher

2022 Alligator Records, LLC 2022 Tinsley Ellis

6
Juju
00:05:02

Kevin McKendree, Producer, Mixer - Tinsley Ellis, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - Heartfixer Music, MusicPublisher

2022 Alligator Records, LLC 2022 Tinsley Ellis

7
Step Up
00:04:04

Kevin McKendree, Producer, Mixer - Tinsley Ellis, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - Heartfixer Music, MusicPublisher

2022 Alligator Records, LLC 2022 Tinsley Ellis

8
One Last Ride
00:06:10

Kevin McKendree, Producer, Mixer - Tinsley Ellis, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - Heartfixer Music, MusicPublisher

2022 Alligator Records, LLC 2022 Tinsley Ellis

9
28 Days
00:04:00

Kevin McKendree, Producer, Mixer - Tinsley Ellis, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - Heartfixer Music, MusicPublisher

2022 Alligator Records, LLC 2022 Tinsley Ellis

10
Slow Train To Hell
00:05:15

Kevin McKendree, Producer, Mixer - Tinsley Ellis, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, MainArtist - Heartfixer Music, MusicPublisher

2022 Alligator Records, LLC 2022 Tinsley Ellis

Album Description

After Tinsley Ellis released the fine Ice Cream in Hell in 2020, he hit the road for a 60-date tour. Six weeks in, the global COVID-19 pandemic made him cancel. He drove the 2,400 miles from Reno, Nevada to Atlanta, Georgia. At home he entered his basement studio and pulled out loads of gear -- including every guitar he owned. He also set up a turntable and began dragging vinyl off the shelves. He explored studio and obscure live recordings from some of his musical heroes, including the Allman Brothers, Freddie and B.B. King, Michael Bloomfield, and many more. He was captivated and began writing with a white-hot intensity, determined to grow as a songwriter. By April he was posting tracks to his website. In 18 months he composed 200 new songs. He contacted longtime friend, keyboardist and producer Kevin McKendree and booked time at his Franklin, Tennessee studio, then culled his massive song list down to ten tunes. On Devil May Care, Ellis is joined by McKendree on piano and organ, bassist Steve Mackey, and drummer Lynn Williams. There is a strong Allmans vibe on a few tracks here, including album-opener "One Less Reason." Ellis plays dual leads (standard and slide) with himself on this choogler, backed by a rumbling B-3, a swinging drum kit, and throbbing bassline. Ellis is in excellent voice; he alternately moans and growls getting his lyrics across. "Right Down the Drain" is a mean-toned meld of Southern rock and deep blues. He grafts his vocal over layers of electric guitar, adding fills, slide vamps, and short solos, as McKendree fills and accents the transitions. "Just Like Rain" may be the finest ballad Ellis has yet composed. Fueled by electric piano and acoustic guitar, his uncharacteristically clean singing is wracked with emotion. One can hear the ghostly influence of Gregg Allman's Laid Back in its grooves. After his tight, electric solo, Jim Hoke's sax and Andrew Carney's trumpet undergird the band as Ellis adds another moving solo. "Beat the Devil" comes right out of Freddie King's fakebook. The band's sinister midtempo choogle is answered by meaty horns and sweltering organ runs. Ellis' vocal is as commanding as his guitar playing. "Juju" is a slide guitar monster with rippling hand percussion and pounding upright piano; it momentarily recalls the Allmans' "Ain't Wasting Time No More" from Eat a Peach, but it's far from derivative. While "28 Days" is a driving, funky roadhouse blues, "One Last Ride" weds Delta blues to jazzy, drifting Southern rock with glorious dual guitar leads and punchy drums. Set-closer "Slow Train" is offered at a dirge-like tempo amid a swelling B-3 and circular drumming. Ellis evokes Peter Green in his biting guitar break as he pulls every drop of emotion from the words. Devil May Care is Ellis' third release since returning to Alligator in 2018. Though he's been on a creative tear ever since, this date is actually among the very best in his long career.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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