Atlanta guitarist Tinsley Ellis has been round the block a few times, and was once part of the Alligator roster. He then seemed to fall off the radar along with quite a few other Rock Bluesers of the early 90's. Yet on the evidence of this album, he is refreshed and back with his best material yet.
There's an opening hard edged funky, self explanatory "Still In The Game", with Ritchie Hayward on drums, on which Tinsley sets out his stall, and a characteristic slow burning "Let Him Down Easy", full of long linear guitar lines, and a muscular back beat that impresses with its core dynamic.
Tinsley last toured the UK about 8 years ago as a guitarist with potential. Since then his song writing style has matured very quickly, and on the evidence of the mid-paced "Me Without You" he's added a soulful angle to his repertoire. On "I'll Get Over You", another song about relationships (and there's quite a few on the album) he adds a similar percussive feel to the one that underpinned one of his previous best efforts "Bush Doctor".
But all in all this is about Tinsley Ellis right now, a player who when he goes real down low with the blues as on "La La Land" , always digs deep and on this cut adds a telling wah wah. He also slips into a neat groove with Sean Costello on harp, on the gentle undulating swing of "Fountain of Youth".
Tinsley toughens up things on the ironically titled "The Last Song" reminding us of his original blues rock heritage, and in the context of well crafted Southern Rockin Blues, Tinsley is still among the vanguard and still taking "The Hard Way".
Here are some audio clips from The Hard Way:
|Let Him Down Easy|
|Still In The Game|
|The Last Song|
Tinsley Ellis was number 6 in the Sep 2004 playlist
Clips are in Windows Media Player format, and should stream to your PC in CD quality if you have Broadband, or lower quality if you use a dial-up connection.