|Named "Best of 2003" by Acoustic Guitar magazine.
Acclaimed Americana/Blues guitarist William Lee Ellis, godson and namesake of legendary bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe, pens Conqueroo, a song cycle steeped in the musical language of Appalachia and the Delta.
Ellis's most personal record to date, Conqueroo is also his most eclectic, a place where a cappella gospel, mountain balladry and rockabilly rhythms intertwine with Big Star-like melancholy, pristine country melodies and song structures that create a new language from old archetypes.
Accompanied by longtime pal Larry Nager, Memphis soul group the Masqueraders, vocalists Susan Marshall and Reba Russell, and his internationally renowned father, Tony Ellis, William Lee Ellis lays out 13 elegant, eloquent tunes, ranging from the soulful ("How the Mighty Have Fallen") to the heartfelt ("King of the Mountain"), while touching on every emotion in between. On Conqueroo, Ellis is the vanquisher, the gentle master in control of his own musical destiny.
"Guitarist William Lee Ellis has released three critically acclaimed albums over the past few years, but his latest effort, Conqueroo (Yellow Dog Records), is going to be hard to top. Ellis, also the music critic for the Memphis Commercial Appeal, has taken all the variations of music that he loves (gospel, country, prewar blues, ragtime, and bluegrass) and combined it into a completely original, masterful mix of American music. There's gospel with "My Religion Too", with Ellis joined by the Memphis soul/gospel group quartet, the Masqueraders (who also appear on "How The Mighty Have Fallen"). There's a beautiful country tune, "Where Would I Go", one of my favorite tracks, where Ellis is paired with his father Tony Ellis, formerly of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, on violin. For some great acoustic blues, there's "Never Be The Child", where Ellis really tears it up on guitar. Another highlight is Ellis' duet with Reba Russell on "Maybelline". The Chuck Berry classic is nothing like its original form, with more of a bluesy, rag feel. Though the CD is a mix of several musical styles, gospel is the most prevalent in all of the songs, just as much of the original source of modern music can be traced to gospel music. It doesn't hurt that Ellis is one of the best pickers out there and his vocals are very soulful. Fans of all kinds of music will find much to savor in Conqueroo. It is clearly one of the standout releases of 2003 in any genre of music." Blues Bytes