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These two are steeped in blues.

Byline: Serena Markstrom The Register-Guard

CONCERT PREVIEW William Lee Ellis and Terry Robb What: Acoustic blues When: 9 p.m. today Where: Luna, 30 E. Broadway Tickets: $9

Portland bluesman Terry Robb has teamed up with Americana and blues guitarist William Lee Ellis for a show at Luna today.

Ellis blossomed from the deep roots of American music in Kingsport, Tenn. - a bluegrass haven. He spent his adolescence backing his fiddle- and banjo-playing dad at bluegrass festivals and contests across the country, according to his bio.

Ellis earned a master's degree in classical performance from the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. It was there that he encountered the music of blues giant the Rev. Gary Davis and became fascinated by his intricate finger-picking style.

"Ellis learned to combine Davis' finger-picking technique with his classical performance background and the bluegrass- infused memories of his youth," his bio says. "Yet it's clear that he's no revivalist. Ellis writes his own unique music, using old blues forms as a vocabulary to express contemporary expe- riences."

He has released four albums. The latest is 2003's "Conqueroo," which the All Music Guide says "is a record steeped deeply in all of the traditions that have informed Ellis' musical, spiritual, and emotional lives: folk, bluegrass, prewar blues, ragtime, country gospel and classical, and yet what comes from his guitar and voice is entirely his own."

Robb's biography says the contrast of his soft-spoken demeanor while not performing to how he transforms on the stage "is like watching Clark Kent turn into Superman."

Like Ellis, Robb began to play guitar as a child with a musical family. His uncle tutored him in ragtime, blues, country and jazz.

He's come a long way since then having collaborated with such notables as Curtis Salgado on "Hit It and Quit It," producing a W.C. Handy-nominated album for blueswoman Sheila Wilcox and touring with Buddy Guy and Steve Miller.

He's won the Cascade Blues Association's prestigious Muddy Award a record 16 times, and is in the association's Hall of Fame in both electric and acoustic categories. He also runs the Terry Robb Northwest School of Acoustic Guitar.

In 2004, he departed Burnside Records, where he had released albums for 10 years, and went to Memphis, Tenn., to put out his latest album, "Resting Place," on Yellow Dog Records.
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Title Annotation:Entertainment; Robb and Ellis nurture musical abilities that run in their blood
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jul 14, 2006
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