Making a Scene Presents an Interview with Scott Ellison
Singer-songwriter, guitarist Scott Ellison emerged as a blues-rock powerhouse in his hometown of Tulsa, OK in the late 1970’s. With Eric Clapton’s and Freddie King’s backing bands at the time both hailing from the region, Ellison’s guitar shredding heavy blues style quickly brought him regional and then national attention. He first gained notice playing with Jessica James (Conway Twitty’s daughter) in 1977, and national blues audiences learned about him via his work in iconic bluesman Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown’s touring band in 1980-81.
He relocated to Los Angeles, CA in the mid-’80s, and honed his chops as a session player for everyone from The Box Tops to Gary “US” Bonds to Peaches & Herb. By the early ’90s he finally took the helm as a leader, formed his own band, and opened for the likes of Joe Cocker, Roy Orbison, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Leon Russell, Bobby Bland and Buddy Guy. Solo albums soon followed, beginning with Chains of Love in 1993 and Live at Joey’s in ’95. He returned to Tulsa in ’96 and released Steamin’ the following year and One Step From the Blues in 2000. He signed with Burnside in 2001 and released Cold Hard Cash, which was produced and co-written by longtime Robert Cray producer Dennis Walker. That album, along with the 2003 follow-up Bad Case of the Blues were highly successful and marked the beginning of a watershed moment for Ellison that resulted in headlining slots at blues festivals across the US, Canada and Europe along with multiple European tours.
2008’s Ice Storm yielded his first #1 on the Blues charts with “Cadillac Woman,” and led to opening for and playing onstage with BB King at the Performing Arts Center in Tulsa in 2009. Walkin’ Through The Fire was released on his own label, JSE Records, in 2011, paving the way for his 2013 induction into the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame. He signed with Red Parlor Records in 2015 for the release of Elevator Man (produced by longtime Eric Clapton keyboard player Walt Richmond), Good Morning Midnight (2017), and the critically acclaimed Skyline Drive (2020).
Beyond the traditional blues world, Ellison has also penned songs that have appeared in films such as Reindeer Games, Feast of Love and Home Front, as well in TV shows Sister Sister, Santa Barbara, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Joan of Arcadia, Saving Grace, Home Front and Justified.