Jack Ellis and I knew each other during college, and I still remember how inseparable he and his guitar were back then. Many decades later, he remains just as passionate about his music. And he has evolved into a mature and versatile singer/songwriter who is equally at home with folk, blues, rock, and country-inflected material.
This latest album (available at jackellismusic.com) includes soulful covers of Danny O’Keefe’s “Good Time Charley Got the Blues” and T-Bone Walker’s classic “Stormy Monday,” plus originals such as the melancholy “Maddie’s Leaving Home”; “Neal’s Last Walk,” about Jack Kerouac’s pal Cassidy; and the mellow instrumental title cut. Ellis also reimagines Leiber and Stoller’s rock chestnut, “Hound Dog,” as a simmering blues and, with his band High Altitude Blues, delivers a rocking medley of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” and the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.”
“Each song [on the album] has its place in my heart,” writes the Colorado-based Ellis, and these performances make that clear.