Interview – Jelly Ellington


With June finally making its debut this 2017, new music flowing fast behind. North Carolina native, Jelly Ellington is helming the rock and roll sound for the season. Using his soul and groove from the bustling music scene of Austin, Texas, the release of his new album ‘All In’ in May is proof that musical magic never dies. The man is making his way across the country preaching the good word of the art and is eager share it with all.

Music came early for the musician. “I picked up the guitar at age seven and never looked back. I feel that music chose me, and I couldn’t imagine life any other way than creating art and music everyday. Nothing is more exciting than playing live and feeling the energy of both my band mates and the crowd, and that’s why I do it night after night.”

From his discography, his active footprint in the medium prompts many favorites. “I always strive to improve myself for every new album I have worked on, I try different approaches to writing and recording. On my latest release ‘All In, I feel that it’s some of my best work, as I was able to reveal many of my musical personalities from southern rock to funk. Each song is very close to my heart, as some I have taken on the road with me for many years, and some written only weeks before recording them. Some of my favorites on the new release are Let Go and Sunset.  I am also very proud of the work I did on a record of which I wrote and recorded with my other band Dillon N’ Ashe, which I co-founded with my brother Andrew Ellington. The album is called ‘Far Away, and some of my favorites off that are Midnight Train and The Sun and the Sea.”

Ideal performances are plentiful for Jelly. “My recent CD release [show] back on May 19th was definitely a show to remember. Playing to a packed house to your most dedicated fans and supporters is a very thrilling and beautiful experience. I’m really excited to be sharing the album on tour this summer at some of my favorite venues on the east and west coast.”

Despite an active participation in the scene, not every show is the best. “My most difficult performance was one in Austin, TX that was only a few weeks after a near fatal car accident that I was I involved in. I could still barely stand or hold up my guitar, but I chose to perform because playing live always lifts my soul to a higher place, and at the time I was at a very low place. I will never forget that performance, it was like playing the very first show of my life. I cherished every moment and felt more alive than ever before despite being physically and mentally drained.”

Within the craft, Mr. Ellington shared his thoughts on the industry. “I feel that the music world today is not as healthy on the mainstream front. There are too many artists that are too quick to copy what is popular just for the sake of gaining fame. I miss the originality and fearlessness that artists of the past have shown. The underground scene however is full of many amazingly talented bands and undiscovered artists that it makes me hopeful for the future. I appreciate artists like Jeff Beck for instance, who in his newest album ‘Loud Hailer was able to merge present electronic elements with his classic and original guitar style into one sound. I gravitate towards the artists and bands who are able to incorporate the past, present, and future into their sound.”

The medium may offer some other roles to add onto his ambitious repertoire. “I have become really interested in music video production. I released the music video to the second single Sunset off my debut album back in February, and the whole process was really exciting and fun. I produced the video, and the very talented Lauren Santorio shot and edited it. It’s so great to be able to give people a visual picture of what I’m trying to portray through the music and lyrics. There is really no limit to the creative process in video as the great filmmaker David Lynch has shown us.”

Creativity never seems to disappear. “On my next release, I plan to incorporate more electronic production into the mix. I am constantly seeking to create new sounds that have never been heard before, and electronic production can aid in discovering those new and unique sounds. I feel like elements of drum pads and synth basses really provide a ‘larger than life’ sound when used correctly.”

Contemporaries in the field are sublime support for inspiration. “… Bands like Rival Sons, Jeff Beck, Warren Haynes, Jack White, Eric Krasno, and Jonny Lang play with such true and genuine passion. Their fearlessness inspires me everyday to develop my craft and create the best art that I possibly can both in the studio and on stage. I am even inspired by the local Austin musicians I go out to see when I’m in back at home. On any given night I can go see true and raw talent on the highest level, and that is always inspiring. Some of the shows I go to in Austin, it’s almost as someone poured some kind of magic fairy dust into the room, the music is so engaging and the crowd so welcoming that everything becomes a very special moment in time.”

Relaxation is sometimes the key for keeping it together in the entertainment world. “I have the night off actually tonight, so I’m going to head down the highway to San Antonio and see Rival Sons in concert, one of my favorite rock bands out today. I am saddened today by the passing of Gregg Allman, who is one of my all-time favorite singers and songwriters. I’m going to see a real, raw, and sweaty rock n’ roll show in honor of Gregg, because that’s exactly what I would get at any Allman Brothers show. I will be back out on the road next weekend as my band and I gear up for our first leg of the ‘All In’ Summer Tour starting in the northeast, which I’m extremely excited about!” Nothing stops for this man. “I have a new music video in the works for the next single off the debut album. I have also begun writing new music for the next album, which I plan to begin recording this fall!”

Jam on.

Give ‘All In’ a listen below: