Since first signing with Alligator 30 years ago, Ellis has built a worldwide fan base with his combustible mix of gritty roadhouse rhythms and brawny guitar muscle. He burst out of his hometown of Atlanta in the 1980s, earning a legion of devoted fans with his pyrotechnic guitar and true-to-life songwriting. He won deserved comparisons with Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and his friend Stevie Ray Vaughan. Growing up in the South, the Allman Brothers were also a huge influence (and a young Derek Trucks made his national recording debut on Ellis’s 1994 Alligator release, STORM WARNING). Unlike some of his contemporaries, Ellis has always stuck to the blues, but played with a rocker’s attack and energy. He’s kept his sound unvarnished and honest, never falling into the trap of playing a million notes just to show off his chops.
WINNING HAND packs the punch of a heavyweight champion as Ellis reclaims his place with the giants of blues-rock guitar. From searing licks to psychedelic riffing, Ellis and his axe are front and center on a riveting collection of impassioned rockers, raucous R&B and devastating blues. His mature, deeply emotional soloing has always been at the service of telling the story with the greatest amount of impact and nuance. Ellis wrote every song but one on WINNING HAND, ranging from the intensely serious Sound Of A Broken Man and Saving Grace to the rollicking fun of Satisfied and Nothing But Fine. With his sole cover tune, Dixie Lullaby, Ellis pays tribute to one of his favorite songwriters, Leon Russell, as well as his favorite guitarist, Freddie King.