"women in (e)motion: Ellen McIlwaine" - 1998
1. Save the World
2. Howl At The Moon
3. Beg For The Reason
4. Fight the Power
5. May This Be Love
6. Crawling Kingsnake
7. I'm A Woman
8. Bid You Goodnight
9. Lean On Me (
Ellen McIlwaine live is really in her element. Anyone who has seen the passionate, heart-and-soul performer on stage finds it hard to believe that she`s not a famous, high-paid star in the international rock scene.
One reason may lie in the music business itself whose rules Ellen McIlwaine was never willing to play by. That went hand in hand with some "bad decisions" in her now more than thirty-year carrier. Personal problems, long behind her, cetainly also played a role.
Today Ellen McIlwaine is at peace with herself and her playing is stronger, more energetic and more infectious than ever. Her continually growing following in Canada, her home of choice, aren`t the only ones to appeciate it. Ellen McIlwaine`s guitar style has earned exceptional respect among music colleagues in the know.
The young guitar player and singer made initial contact with the rock scene in the mid-1960s. Ellen McIlwaine, the adopted daughter of American missionaries, grew up in Japan. There she first learned piano like a good girl but was soon susceptible to the rolling groove of Fats Domino and the sheer energy of Ray Charles. With the move back to the US South, to Atlanta, Georgia, and a guitar bought cheap she dove into the world of blues, soul, funk and R&B that surrounded her there . The foundation for a big start in rock had been laid. 1966 found the furious slide guitar player, who considers Johnny Winter a trail-blazing influence, drawn to Now York. She performed in clubs with big names like Muddy Waters and played several times with Jimi Hendrix, who took her under his wing. But the path through the labyrinth of the booming rock business turned out to be rocky, especially for a woman.
Over the years the much praise American recorded a handful of records (some with the support of well-known sidemen like Jack Bruce) but she never received the wide acclaim she deserved.
Nowadays, living in Calgary - far from the hectic pace of the music scene - Ellen McIlwaine doesn`t give much thought to the things that much too often seem to be more impotant than music in the business: the right image, the right outfit, helpful connections. After all the experiences of her varied career, Ellen McIlwaine cherishes her independence and would rather reject an offer than make compromises. Music, as she says, is "a special, sacred thing" which has priority over everything else for her. She doesn`t limit herself to any one style. Her continuosly reemerging blues connection is only a thread through her individual blend of blues, rock, funk, reggae and subtle world music influences.
A mature, open-minded, dedicated woman speaks through of her many song lyrics. You come closest to Ellen McIlwaine where she is able to let her personality, her unbelievable energy and her fantastic talent run free: in the intense atmosphere of her live performances. The concert at the Bremen women in (e)motion festival was such an evening. A real experience.