Tinsley Ellis

Moment of Truth

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Blues rocker Tinsley Ellis knows where his bread is buttered and bakes up a loaf of it on his first album of original material since 2004's The Hard Way. Best known for fiery shows as evidenced by 2006's terrific Live! Highwayman, Ellis' explosive combination of R&B, blues and rock clicks on this rugged set. He roars through the riff-driven "Somebody" and the double entendres of "Bringin' Home the Bacon" like the pro he is, whipping off muscular solos that never overstay their welcome. "Get to the Bottom" and "Too Much of Everything" tackle the unfortunate results of living life in the fast lane, something he likely knows plenty about after spending a few decades on tour. Ellis works in a Stones styled mid-tempo rocker on "Tell the Truth" (not the Derek & the Dominos song), a tightly written gem aided immensely by fellow Atlanta musician Michelle Malone on backing vocals. The guitarist obviously loves his wah-wah pedal, which brings a Cream-like psychedelic swamp edge to tracks such as "Too Much of Everything." The slow, sensual groove of "Freeway Soul" is yet another song about a broken relationship and being on the road, topics Ellis seems to understand first hand. Unlike many in his genre, these sturdy songs are more than just frameworks to hang his solos on. A rollicking version of Sam & Dave's "I Take What I Want," one of only two non-originals on the album, makes the soul connection even more palpable. The guitar work is typically terrific throughout as Ellis' tone shifts from fluid to frenzied depending on the track. The closing solo acoustic "Stare at the Sun" is the only unplugged performance and a tidy coda for another in a series of successful albums from this earthy and dedicated, roots rocking blues journeyman.

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