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Jelly Ellington Finesses Blues-Rock Sound with New EP “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” [Album Review]

Blues-Rock guitarist and singer-songwriter Jelly Ellington infiltrates the sonic spheres with the highly-anticipated release of his sophomore album, Not All Who Wander Are Lost. An electrifying fusion of impassioned vocals and vivacious guitar playing, Jelly delivers his Blues-centric Rock and Roll by way of his dynamic stage presence and evident classical training.

Jelly exclaims Not All Who Wander Are Lost is a “12-song mixture of blues, hip-hop, and rock influences that I’ve had throughout the years that we can finally compile into a record. It’s really exciting to see that through here in Austin, Texas.” The four-piece outfit, composed of Jelly Ellington (guitar, slide, vocals), Andrew Ellington (drums), Stefan Ringer (bass), and Cole Gramling (piano/clavinet/Hammond organ), produced and recorded the album at Austin’s own 512 Studios with the sagacious assistance of Omar Vallejo. Not All Who Wander Are Lost presents a fresh spin on reconstructing the pure, unadulterated essence of classic Rock and Roll, building its lustrous foundation through genuine grease, groove, and grit.

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Lauren Santorio- Renzo Designs

Straight off the bat, “Front Porch Blues” sets the tone for the entire album — with Jelly showcasing his melodic style on the guitar. The raw and natural opening lyrics invite urgers listening that there “ain’t no use in living afraid, cause there’s gonna be some change…monuments fall from an evil past…equality is the ultimate goal, so open your mind and free your soul…we are all one human race. Showing love to erase the hate. How many more ‘cause it’s gone so far. Justice now to heal these scars.”

These powerful words carry the album into “Open Road,” which sees the full band accompany Jelly into full Rock and Roll mode as he sings of the trials and tribulations of pursuing a true and meaningful life. Immediately, the album draws you in and leaves you wanting more — which is the driving heart of any new piece of art, in my opinion, to spark the inner hunger, the drive, the curiosity in people that they may have forgotten even existed.

A gritty tale of searching and longing, “Long Time Gone” presents soul-full vocals, impeccable guitar playing, a steady bassline, and hard-hitting drum rhythms to produce a massive tune that punctures the emotionally-charged lyrics and makes you want to hop in your vintage Chevy pickup with a pint of Jack down an empty country road. One of the heavier Rock tracks on the album, “Stand Back,” features a more layered drum sound before the entire band enters a full breakdown with each member displaying full range of their chosen instrument.

Recently released single and video “Midnight Train” continues the uncompromising elements from “Stand Back” and will have you out of your seat and singing along in no time. The undeniable chemistry between the band shines bright through the song’s masterful songwriting and ethereal arrangments, capped off by an epic solo from Jelly. The album weaves slower and dreamier “Skies” strewn with sincere lyrics and organ-centric Blues cuts that aim straight for the heartstrings.

Uptown,” a very-welcome funky dance number delights next with support from local horns players who unabashedly flaunt their brassy goodness while drummer Andrew Ellington keeps the tempo alive and thriving. The album takes a turn back to Jelly’s roots with “Southern Ground,” a beautiful fusion of reconnecting the old and new to form something quite extraordinary sounding.

Reminiscent of your first time seeing the sunrise over the vast Atlantic Ocean’s horizon, “The Sun and The Sea” delivers melodic picking with minimal instrumentation. An “interlude” of sorts that leaves the listener feeling relaxed and full of hope for the budding possibilities of the future. Without missing a beat, “Look Up” solidifies the uplifting theme of community and progression, opening the floor to the realms of Hip-Hop, dream-like musical experimentation, and including a from-the-vaults verse from since-passed Austin rap legend MC Overlord.

 Jelly Ellington Tour Dates

Bandcamp | Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Spotify | Documentary Part I & Part II  

Can’t Forget You” emits a highly-addictive anthem that should be honored with radio airtime for years to come. Bringing the album to a full-circle close, “Starlight” speaks to the thumping heart of both Rock and Blues, with an earthy bassline, a more-than-catchy riff, and thoughtful words that proceed to wrap up the album with an inspirational and motivational bang.

A pleasurable ride through multiple universes of music, Not All Who Wander Are Lost showcases percussive rhythms and expressive songwriting that magnetize the best notes from the likes of Hip-Hop and Southern Rock. Jelly Ellington band take listeners on a journey through overarching themes of future hope, nostalgic recollection, and alchemization of the world’s pain into something more beautiful. Listen to Not All Who Wander Are Lost on all major streaming platforms or purchase a limited edition double-sided vinyl or CD today.

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