William Lee Ellis. The guitar-playing son of banjo composer Tony Ellis, Bill is Associate Professor of Music at Saint Michael’s College, Colchester, Vermont, where he specializes in American roots music. He holds a PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of Memphis and an MM in classical guitar performance from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music. Among his honors are winner of a Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Award, recipient of a Blues Foundation’s “Keeping the Blues Alive Award,” and best international CD winner in Australia for his album, God’s Tattoos. Called a “wizard on steel strings” (Blues Revue), Bill records for the Yellow Dog label and is a guitar instructor alum of both Common Ground on the Hill and Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch. Bill wrote the chapter on Delta blues for the multidisciplinary book, Defining the Delta (University of Arkansas Press), has co-authored with Ernie Hawkins two instructional books for Stefan Grossman on the music of Reverend Gary Davis, and penned extensive liner notes for the recent Gary Davis boxed set, See What the Lord Has Done for Me. His original composition, “Bury Me in the Sky,” won grand prize at Common Ground on the Hill’s Acoustic Roots Songwriting Contest in 2020.
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