By Karynn Brown
March 7, 2019

The Zoo Bar opens its doors once again to a world renowned blues artist, this time Tinsley Ellis and his band will grace the legendary stage this Monday and Tuesday, March 11th and 12th. Shows will run 6-9 p.m. each night.

Ellis is in the running this year for two awards by The Blues Foundation for his newest album “Winning Hand”, as Blues Artist of the Year and Blues Album of the Year. The ceremony will be held on May 9, 2019 in Memphis, TN.

“Winning Hand” has been praised as a culmination of much of Ellis’s 38 year career. Its powerful guitar riffs and melodic leads take the album in an exciting and timeless direction.

“Guitar, guitar, guitar is what this album is all about” says Ellis, according to his own website.

Famous for his long touring runs, Ellis has been to all 50 states, most of Canada, Eastern and Western Europe, as well as Australia and South America. His current tour run will leave the Zoo Bar and continue on through the Midwest and South until April 19th.

Ellis has been playing blues for over 30 years with Alligator Records, a record label that prides themselves on their music being “Genuine House Rockin’ Music.” A love of intimate, deeply rooted blues and rock music has brought Ellis and Alligator records together for his career. Alligator Records is home to a legion of old school beloved blues artists, including one of Lincoln’s favorite groups: Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials.

Ellis has been a long lasting member of the blues community, first starting his career in 1981 in Atlanta, GA with a band called The Heartfixers. Through his numerous album releases with The Heartfixers and later as a solo artist, Ellis has developed a robust reputation as a hard working, rift slinging, instrumentalist master.

Influenced primarily by B.B. King, Fleetwood Mac, The Yardbirds and the Rolling Stones, Ellis develop his style through living in Atlanta and focusing on these powerful blues roots.

In recent years Ellis has played with blues legends from Widespread Panic and guitarists Jonny Lang, Oliver Wood, and Derek Trucks. “Winning Hand” is his eighteenth album release since his 1982 debut with the Heartfixers.

Karynn Brown is an editorial intern with KZUM.