Carolina’s Country Male Artist of the Year 2015: Tim Elliott

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How about some mountain music? Tim Elliott delivers! 

 

 

 

About Tim Elliott

You won’t find any silver spoons on Tim Elliott’s tour bus. What you might find, however, is the working class singer arm-deep in the aging vehicle’s engine keeping it road worthy with his own two hands — in between his dynamic live shows, that is.

 

It’s a skill that earned him the nickname MacGyver from his band after he once fixed the engine in the middle of the night with nothing but a paper clip and a pair of pliers.

 

Because he maintains an active touring schedule of about 200 dates a year, Elliott has amassed a hilarious collection of bus repair stories, like the time he crushed a finger trying to change an airbag and had to play guitar that night with only his remaining digits. Or the time he was checking the engine in his stage clothes when the bus’s generator proceeded to blow half a quart of oil all over him. And the time his entire band rode for seven hours in their underwear heading home from a show while taking turns dipping into a cooler of ice because the bus’s air conditioning had conked out in the middle of Georgia in July.

 

When he’s not on stage or under the hood, Elliott is behind the wheel of the bus. He does almost all the driving, joking, “I’d rather do it myself than lay in the back of the bus worrying about dying.”

 

It’s all worthwhile, though, when he finally makes it onstage and gets to deliver the polished, high-energy stage show that has earned him a growing reputation as a crowd-pleasing performer, and won him the Male Country Artist of the Year trophy in the fan-voted Carolina Music (CM) Awards in 2015.

 

“We’re not jumping up and down or standing on our heads and shooting off flashbulbs in the background or anything, but it’s an energetic show,” he says. “It’s very crowd-interactive. I love for people to feel like they’re part of it. Any artist can stand up there and sing, but if you pull those people into the show, talk to them, and stop the show and just interact with people, you make them part of what’s going on.”

 

Elliott grew up outside of Boone, North Carolina, in a musical family where bluegrass jam sessions were a regular Saturday night occurrence. “All the family would come over, and my grandma would cook dinner, and everybody would just sit around and play guitar till the wee hours,” he recalls. He mastered the acoustic guitar at age eight, then picked up banjo, mandolin and keyboard skills.

 

His music is heavily influenced by classic country and bluegrass, but not defined by it. “I’m definitely not traditional,” says the man who has been known to throw cover songs into his set from artists as diverse as George Jones and Bruno Mars.

 

Along the way, Elliott has earned a reputation as a human jukebox who is difficult to stump with fan requests. “We literally go from 1953 Hank Williams songs to John Mellencamp to Luke Bryan to Waylon Jennings — just an entire gamut from Southern rock, classic rock, modern country, classic country, Texas swing — whatever people want to hear,” he explains. “I am definitely a country singer with a country band, but that does not mean I have to stay inside some fence.”

 

His successful touring career almost didn’t come to be. A chance encounter with a homeless man made Elliott re-think his whole approach to making a living in music.

 

He had been booked to play some shows at legendary bar Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville. After one particularly successful performance a few years back, he stepped out onto Lower Broadway feeling like he was living the dream. That’s when he heard a man singing and playing guitar nearby. “The guy was fantastic,” he recalls, assuming the voice was drifting out of one of the local bars. “I turned a corner and there’s this obviously homeless guy sitting there playing on the street.

 

“It scared the hell out of me,” Elliott says. “I just immediately saw myself in this guy, who probably sold everything he had to move to Nashville, gave it everything he had and it wasn’t enough. He was as good as me, as good as anybody I heard on Broadway. It was a really somber moment, and it just kind of put the brakes on everything for me.”

 

Elliott realized then that by grinding it out in the bars he wasn’t taking the right route to the success he wanted to achieve for himself and his family. He went back home to North Carolina and began investing in the restaurant business, opening two eateries in that state before expanding into Nashville with the purchase of Pick’s bar, a popular songwriter’s venue formerly known as the Hall of Fame Lounge. It was at Pick’s that his musical ambitions were re-ignited a few years later.

 

“We were having a guitar pull one night, and there was some really famous writers there, kind of the who’s who of the writers rounds. They were passing the guitar around. I was behind the bar at the time. As they passed the guitar across, I just grabbed it and played half of a song that I’d written, and then passed it along. The whole place was just looking at me like ‘What was that?’ They were like, ‘Why are you pouring us beer if you can write songs like that?’”

 

That’s when he decided to put the brakes on the restaurant business and return to his first love, selling his other businesses to focus once again on songwriting and building his touring business from the ground up.

 

“I’ve never been given anything,” the singer says of his journey so far. “There’s definitely no trust funds, no daddy’s money. Everything that I’ve got thus far has been by the sweat of my brow.”

 

That, and a little engine grease.

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Contact us to discuss scheduling Tim Elliott for your event in any location!

Legendary Jazz Flutist Elise Wood

Elise is a flutist who hails from Philadelphia She has appeared as featured soloist, band-leader and band-member with such notables as David Murray, Archie Shepp, Butch Morris and Arthur Blythe, Sir Roland Hanna, Spirit of Life Ensemble and most frequently with her partner of two decades, John Hicks.

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She has recorded for Mapleshade Records, Landmark Records, Evidence Records and the recently established record company with John Hicks, HiWood Records. International festivals and tours include Japan, Finland, Italy, France, and Taiwan. Documentary films such as “Femme du Jazz” and books “Madame Jazz” as well as magazine articles in WindPlayer and Fa La Lut and Jazz Hot place Elise in the cutting edge of this creative American art form, Jazz

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With Mr. John Hicks she produced a further collaborative album called “Beautiful Friendship,” a duet cd which is composed of standard love songs and was also released on their label HiWood. A further Sextet recording called “Sweet Love of Mine” (Highnote) with John Hicks was released in Jan. 2007 – the first album to be released in his memory

For the last two years Elise has dedicated herself to memorializing the life and music of her late-husband/partner with creation of the John Hicks Legacy Band. This five- to six-piece band is composed largely of alumni of the John Hicks ensembles and plays exclusively the repertoire of John Hicks. A recording of his music as performed by the Legacy Band will soon be released on Highnote records. She also works with Jazz Foundation of America in the Education program with children from the ages of 8- 14.

She is also an active member of the NY Jazz Flutet, a six flute jazz ensemble that includes an instrumentation from contra-bass flute to piccolo w/drums.

Earl Willliams

Earl Williams plays tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, harmonica, banjo, and vocals.

Composer, arranger, and master showman, when Earl performs he sings and tells jokes. He readily admits he survived the music business all these years because of his decision to become an entertainer, not just a musician. “Entertainment is the way to make good business out of music.”

Williams makes it his business to surround himself with musicians who can “do it all”: jazz, rhythm & blues, dance tunes – whatever it takes to captivate a crowd. His four piece band consists of keyboard & vocals, bass, and drums – featuring Earl on saxophone.

Earl has played with many internationally famous people including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Isaac Hayes, and Chubby Checker. He was band leader for Jerry Farber, a great comedian from Atlanta. Earl toured with The Commodores from 1976 – 1980. He started playing at the Crow’s Nest at the old Hilton Head Inn in 1987. He also played at the Mockingbird Lounge, at the Marriott, and the Blue Nite Café. In the early 90’s Earl spent most of the time out to sea performing three shows a week aboard a luxury cruise ship as a featured entertainment. Today Earl performs regularly in Hilton Head, South Carolina, at Ruby Lees, The Jazz Corner, and at festivals, private events, and weddings.

Let us know when you would like to schedule Earl for your event. Complete the form below, and we will contact you to discuss details.

Cool John Ferguson

Taj Majal stated that “Cool John Ferguson is among the five greatest guitarists in the world and is a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.  Cool John is among the ranks of Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery and Django Reinhart.”

Cool John’s fans will tell you emphatically that he is one of the best of the best guitarists in the world. Cool John is a recording artist and  released a CD entitled:  “With These Hands.”

Cool John was born in Beaufort, SC in 1953.  He learned to play the guitar by the age of 3.  By age 5, Cool John played gospel music professionally and astounded musicians 10 times his age.  At that time his family realized that the world had been gifted with a musical genius.  Cool John was the featured entertainer for Lowcountry Sing on Channel 5, Charleston SC, for three (3) years, appearing with three of his sisters, the Ferguson Sisters, an outstanding gospel trio. Over the years, he has formed bands playing psychedelic music, rhythm and blues, pop and jazz.

Early in life Cool John made a decision to follow his dream of becoming a renowned guitarist, pianist organist, drummer and singer.  Accomplished musicians, music industry leaders and his fans all agree that Cool John’s dream is now reality. Cool John’s fingers just seem to glide effortlessly across the guitar strings as his audience watch in amazement.

Cool John spends his life conveying messages through his music and traveling wherever he is led by the music.  He has performed at numerous concerts and major blues festivals throughout the world to include: The Savannah Blues Festival, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, the Lucerne Blues Festival and the Blues-To-Bop Festival in Switzerland, the Byron Bay Blues Festival in Australia and Wasago Beach Festival, Toronto, Canada. Cool John is so versatile.

You never know what he’s going to play next. He seamlessly combines styles of gospel, funk, country, jazz, and rhythm and blues to name a few.  He has been active on tent revival circuits, played with LaFace Records of Atlanta, GA, and collaborated with several well known artists throughout the world including: Taj Mahal, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, BB King, Beverly Guitar Watkins, Barbara Carr, Al Green and the Stylistics.  He has provided sound tracks and scores for countless events and movies.