Friday, February 3, 2012

Shaking it up

Listen to Fred Ellsworth and The House Shakers

Guitarist and singer grew up playing country music, been a member of and leader for country music bands in the area, and even spent considerable time in Nashville honing his writing and playing in the nation's Country Music Capital.

But Ellsworth likes his rock 'n' roll and blues, too. So he formed the House Shakers, a trio consisting of bassist Mike Sisto and drummer Rich Blake. The band is back in the Coppertop Saturday starting at 8 p.m.

"It's powerful, but tasteful," Ellsworth says of the skilled combo.

When Ellsworth brought the House Shakers to the mountain earlier in the season, the trio pulled out all sorts of tunes from the proverbial hat. One minute the band was charging through Tom Petty's  "You Wreck Me," and the next Ellsworth was feeling the blues on a Delbert McCLinton song.

"With the House Shakers, I don't put myself in any one box," says Ellsworth. "We cover a lot of bases, and these guys have been playing for a while, so we know a lot of songs."

As much fun as he's having playing with a rhythm section of the House Shakers' caliber, Ellsworth does admit how being in a trio proves to be a bit more demanding than when he plays in some of the larger country bands he belongs to.

But he found a good way to train for the job.

"I was doing a solo acoustic thing for radio station WKLB, and that was great practice. I was in front of a crowd for four hours, doing all of the playing and singing," Ellsworth says.

The House Shakers continue to be a growing portion of Ellsworth's music career. The band has made  a CD and continues to expand its turf. Which makes Saturday's gig an especially welcome one for Ellsworth, who lives in Westminster.

"I never get to play this close to home," he says.

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