Tinsley Ellis – Get It! (2013)

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Tinsley Ellis’ almost feral attack on the guitar is put aside for more considered riffs and melodies on his first-ever all-instrumental release, the brilliantly un-volcanic, endlessly varied Get It!

Not that it isn’t fun hearing Ellis tear his instrumental to splinters, mind you. But there is a more considered, rich and emotional tone pervading this album that makes it a must-get for anyone who loves not just the flash but also the bone-deep soul of forebears like Freddie King — a clear influence, and the subject of a terrific cover, “Freddy’s Midnight Dream.”

But that’s not all.

Get It!, which arrives courtesy of Heartfixer-Landslide, also includes a tip of the hat to Albert Collins on Ellis’ sharply drawn “Front Street Freeze,” a tongue-waggingly fun cover of Bo Diddley’s “Detour,” tender whispers of Duane Eddy on the ballad “Milky Way,” some of Chuck Berry’s legendary wit on “Berry Tossin'” and a tribute to Roy Buchanan on the harrowing “Anthem for a Fallen Hero.”

The Atlanta-born Ellis has, over the years, become a canny synthesist — even as he’s continued to chisel out his own distinctive sound. Joined by keyboardist Kevin McKendree, drummer Lynn Williams and (on five tracks) bassist Ted Pecchio, Ellis unleashes some grease-popping Meters-flavored funk on “Sassy Strat,” shuffles his way through the Texas dust on the title track, stomps with happy glee on his wah-wah for “Fuzzbuster,” and then closes with the darkly contemplative “Catalunya,” bringing in a series of impressionistic, Santana-inflected lines.

In other words, if you always suspected that there was almost nothing this next-gen guitarist genius couldn’t do, Tinsley Ellis’ tour de force Get It utterly confirms it.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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