Tony Ellis

(banjo, bass, guitar - 1/1960-6/1962)

Born: 7/29/1939

As a Blue Grass Boy: Tony Ellis began playing with Bill Monroe when he was just twenty years old. Though primarily a banjo player, he played bass and guitar at times, and it was as bassist that he played on his first recording session with Bill. From December 1961 through May 1962 he played banjo on eight recording dates and was featured on the instrumental "Bugle Call Rag".

Recording Sessions: 12/3/1960, 11/30/1961, 12/4/1961, 4/25/1962, 4/26/1962, 5/3/1962, 5/16/1962, 5/17/1962

Before and After: Ellis was a member, along with Frank Buchanan, of the Cripple Creek Boys before joining Monroe. He later played with Mac Wiseman and in the All-American Boys with Tom Ewing. He continues to play bluegrass today, including a 1998 album with Dudley Connell, Tom Gray, and Lester Woodie, but is perhaps better known for his atmospheric and innovative solo banjo style.

Links: Banjo Newsletter interview, 2011