Swiss-based four-piece blues rock band Ellis Manos Band will release their second album “Ambedo” on 25th June 2021 on Jazzhaus Records. The band describe their trademark well-produced sound as “a sort of rock n’ soul, rooted deep down in the blues.”
The first single “Keep It Simple”, released on Friday 9th April, refers to the one subject on the planet that certainly is not simple at all – love.
The single is available to pre-save and the album is available to pre-order from https://orcd.co/ellismanobandambedo.
In Switzerland, the Ellis Mano Band are not unlike the Wrecking Crew or the Funk Brothers. They are top-flight studio musicians and elites in the Swiss music scene. Although they spent years making music with other artists, the band members never got much time to make music of their own until now.
“The Ellis Mano Band has a bright future ahead. If this is their debut album after
collaborating for just a year, imagine what’s in store next. I look forward to that.”
– Rock & Blues Muse
“The Ellis Mano Band presents a rich tapestry of universal joy and sorrow. Chris’s
voice is like Kentucky bourbon – smooth as glass but with an addictive burn. He sings
with a tense sincerity that pairs gorgeously with the lyrical ferocity of Edis’s guitar.”
– Blues Magazine NL
“We chose the album title “Ambedo” because it reflects the state of the process of recording an album,” says guitarist Edis Mano. “Ambedo” refers to the tendency both to reflect and to absorb. Musicians like us do it all the time, especially when we compose new songs and create a new album.”
Every track on the new album is rich with perfectly chosen detail including Chris Ellis’s rough voice, Edis Mano’s vintage sounding guitar playing, and the tight rhythm section of drummer Nico Looser and Severin Graf (bass). The album also features Hammond B3 organ, and horns that reflect the blazing summer heat during which they were recorded. The harmonious backing vocals are reminiscent of something you would hear from Muscle Shoals Studios.
“We would get together with just a few ideas, fill it out, let it grow, work on it, with a great passion,” says Chris. “For session musicians, it was not about having just another project to play on, but it was an opportunity for us to play as a real band again. It was a great feeling to see the guys together and getting emotional from time to time playing the music.”
The album was recorded at Edis Mano’s Studio E10 with a lot of vintage gear and instruments and produced with a contemporary sound. All songs were recorded live with just a few later overdubs, including backing vocals and horns.
The album is nothing short of brilliant. With “Ambedo”, the Ellis Mano Band presents a rich tapestry of that universal joy and sorrow; the awkward moment after a one-night stand in “Breakfast”, the desperation and grief in “Long Road” and by contrast, the loud social criticism in “The Horrible Truth”.
Each track is saturated in a deep respect and understanding of American roots music, from the early blues of the American South through to the revolutionary blues and rock revolution of 1960s Britain.
Influenced by Led Zeppelin, J.J. Cale, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Jimi Hendrix and more recently John Mayer, the Ellis Mano Band have put their own unique stamp on the blues which has now become a shared global phenomenon.
“Ambedo” is slated for a June release, and the band hopes to follow it up with tours across Europe and North America.
“Making this music was fascinating, it was really easy to create the music and take it further,” said Chris. “It was a beautiful experience and I hope we can repeat it time and time again.”
- THE HORRIBLE TRUTH (3:31)
- SWEET SIN (3:12)
- AMBEDO MIND (3:34)
- THE FIGHT FOR PEACE (5:45)
- JOHNNY & SUSIE (4:04)
- LONG ROAD (3:49)
- THE QUESTION (3:36)
- BREAKFAST (5:44)
- KEEP IT SIMPLE (4:16)
- HEART ‘N MIND (4:07)
TRACK BY TRACK
Ambedo, according to the “Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows” describes a kind of melancholy trance that you sometimes drift in to while absently listening to and watching raindrops slide down your windowpane. Outside, a stormy, blustery day perhaps, while inside, well, there you are, purring along with your old black cat. In the middle of this dreamy scenario, just as you are getting nice and cozy, there is a repetitive tapping on the door, like an irritating clacking of the latch. You get up, open the door…
THE HORRIBLE TRUTH
It is the opening track on “Ambedo”. Nothing like the description of Ambedo itself, it sweeps in like a beautiful storm, whipped up from these four remarkable Swiss blues rock crusaders: The Ellis Mano Band.
It is a tale of first loves and chances missed, at least the first time around. Years later two ex-lovers look back and say, “What if we did exactly as we wanted right now, in this moment?” Musically, this quartet of guns for hire studio cracks and sidemen are doing just that. Caution to the wind and be damned!
Smooth, sexy, and horn-section-soulful, this song is a nod to the soul and R&B greats. It is simply oozing with anticipation, as it describes your typical session guy, the regular live player, wrapping up another gig, and finally he is heading for home, where he knows she is waiting, so he is feeling that warmth, that intimate Ambedo of the mind, lucky devil.
FIGHT FOR PEACE
The lyrics focus on the futility of war, and the common soldier who will always be the tormentor, the pawn, the defeated, the victor. But it is ultimately all of us who are the losers when we try to achieve peace through violence. Complete with Hammond organ and the chorus of female backing singers, this song sure visits the history books. It might be a fight for peace, musically though, they take no prisoners!
JOHNNIE & SUSIE
This is a classic road movie story of that badass dude meeting the angelic dancer, and not trying to reinvent the classics, she falls for him of course! This is an up-tempo rocker, with a wall full of guitar chords and a belter of a vocal from Chris Ellis.
This ballad of regret and desperation is given a monumental arrangement of just about everything these guys could throw at it, and themselves being no spring chickens, the realness of the emotion and delivery is palpable. In waltz-like 6/8 time, it almost laughs at its main character, the bitter loner, wearing his rusty crown and dancing off, down the road to oblivion.
A loud, hard n’ fast riff – filled extravaganza, featuring beautiful Hammond work by none other than Lachy Doley, the Hammond legend himself!
This one is a true blaster, something like a tornado blowing through your barn, nearly lifting it of the ground. It describes the writer’s demons and the constant temptation of past substance abuse and dependency.
It is about the morning after the night before. He just wants her to stay forever and cannot bring himself to say it – yet. A nod to Peter Green’s early Fleetwood Mac and the so called second great epoch of the British blues movement. A recipe well tried and trusted, and with drummer Nico Looser and bassist Severin Graf carefully laying the table with due respect and restraint, this song delivers a very tasty meal indeed. Edis Mano’s sweet blues solos and licks are complimentary fare to Chris Ellis’s pleading vocals. And voila, Bon Appétit!
KEEP IT SIMPLE
The upcoming single release is a steady, new country/folk style song that marks the versatility of this seasoned ensemble. A joyful recognition that sometimes less is more, simple is better, and long lasting. This song does not feel such a far cry from their blues rock roots, they manage to put their own stamp onto everything they do – which leads us to the closing title…
HEART ‘N MIND
Is a soft and power ballad at the same time. It waves a sad goodbye to a bygone love. The guys take this ballad and give it real depth with a sort of powerful tonal standing ovation. With this they escort their second album “Ambedo” gracefully out the door.
Chris Ellis – Vocals
Edis Mano – Guitars
Severin Graf – Bass
Nico Looser – Drums
Music by Edis Mano & Chris Ellis
Lyrics by Shane Brady
Recorded by Edis Mano
Arranged by Ellis Mano Band
Mixed by Oli Boesch
Mastered by Oli Boesch
Produced by Edis Mano
Recorded at Studio E10
Manuel Halter – Keyboards on all Tracks except Track 7
Lachy Doley – Hammond Organ (Track 7)
Cathryn Lehmann – Backing Vocals
Lesley Bogaert – Backing Vocals
Dave Blaser – Trumpet
Flo Egli – Saxophone
Lukas Wyss – Trombone
Benjamin Hartwig – Violin (Track 6)
Roberto Hacaturyan – Percussion