Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Sponsors provide free tickets for Tinsley Ellis concert


Singer-songwriter and hard-rocking blues guitarist Tinsley Ellis will return to the Bama Theatre Thursday night, only this time the show is free.

Having toured consistently since the 80s, Ellis has played in all 50 states and in several other countries, impressing audiences with his energy, soul and original songs.

David Allgood, manager of the Bama Theatre, said Ellis “electrifies the room when he plays.”

“Tinsley is unique because he’s a white guy in a genre dominated by African-Americans, and he’s accepted,” he said. “There are a lot of white guys who play the blues, but there aren’t a lot who are accepted.”

Allgood said Ellis is, in that way, like blues musicians Sonny Landreth and Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green, largely due to his talent.

“He’s got the chops. He’s authentic. He respects and reveres the blues, and it shows in his playing,” Allgood said.

Ellis, who first performed in Tuscaloosa at The Chukker in the 70s, said he is looking forward to seeing his Alabama friends and to performing at the Bama Theatre again.

“It’s always nice to play at a nice theater like the Bama that has a lot of history,” he said.

He plans to perform several songs off his newest CD “Speak No Evil” as well as songs off his live album from 2005, and said he can’t wait to get on stage and begin performing.

“I love the thrill playing in front of an audience,” he said. “There’s a high you get from performing that isn’t like anything else. [Having a free show] is a smart idea because it really packs the house, and that’s what we want.”

Allgood said he is also excited about having a free show at the Bama.

“I’ve always wanted to do a free show at the Bama with a good artist,” Allgood said. “We were able to find seven sponsors who gave $300 each, which pretty much covered Tinsley’s fee. The Arts Council covered the rest.”

The price is a good bargain, too, because in many parts of the country tickets to see Ellis can cost $30 each, Allgood said.

More than anything, though, Allgood is excited to see his long-time friend.

“He’s a good friend,” he said. “Unfortunately, I only get to see him when he plays here. He’s a very funny and warm person, unlike many musicians I’ve worked with. He has nothing to prove, and he has a very small ego, which is a joy.”

Allgood and Ellis played together for about a year and a half during the late ‘70s in Allgood’s band, the Haygood Band. Ellis, who was attending Emory University at the time, responded to an ad Allgood had placed in a local weekly. The Haygood Band needed a guitar player, and Ellis fit the bill.

“I like to joke and say that I’ve moved on, and he’s been doing the same thing for 30 years,” Allgood said.

“David is a good friend. He gave me a nice start in the business,” Ellis said.

Tickets for the concert will be free until 5 p.m. Thursday or until sponsors run out. Then, tickets will be on sale for $10 at the Bama Theatre box office.

All tickets are general admission, the first to arrive will get the best seats. Doors will open at 6:45 p.m., and while audience members are waiting for the concert to begin, Allgood said they can purchase reasonably priced beer, wine and mixed drinks from the Bama Theatre’s bar.

At 7:30 p.m., local blues band the Pounders will play a short set, and after a brief intermission, Ellis will begin performing around 8:30.

Tickets can be picked up from Little Willie’s, Fitts Agency, Inc., Summersell Center for the Study of the South out of the history department, the main branch of the Bank of Tuscaloosa, Manna Grocery and Deli, the UA Honors College Assembly and WSV Architects.

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