Album Reviews

Tinsley Ellis – Tough Love

Artist:     Tinsley Ellis

Album:     Tough Love

Label:     Landslide Records

Release Date:     02/03/2015


After emerging on the blues scene over 35 years ago, you might wonder, “Does Tinsley Ellis have anything left to show us?” You can bet your sweet southern backside he does. Tough Love is the third release from Landslide Records, and it is solid proof that Tinsley Ellis is as vital and relevant to the blues-rock scene as he has ever been.

Ellis has always been a monster guitar player but what is elegantly displayed throughout Tough Love is a fluidity and delicacy in his guitar playing usually witnessed in the fretwork of a Jimmie Vaughan or Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits). “Seven Years” and “Hard Work” are prime examples of how Ellis has worked this new approach into his repertoire. But make no mistake about it, the vicious shredding that Ellis is often associated with is clearly evident in tracks such as “Midnight Ride.”

“Give it Away” is a beautiful acoustic slide track, while Ellis drenches the rest of Tough Love in traditional electric slide. “Should I Have Lied,” the hauntin, “The King Must Die” and the more traditional, “In From The Cold,” are all slower blues numbers that allow Ellis to showcase his guitar prowess in a less congested setting.

An additional standout on Tough Love is “Everything,” the duet with an (unfortunately) uncredited supporting vocalist that also allows for more prominent piano and harp.

Bottom line: Tough Love is yet another solid affirmation of both Tinsley Ellis’ consistency and promise for more to come.

– Steve Walbridge

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