BROWNSVILLE TN (June 19, 2023): William Lee Ellis is an acclaimed guitarist, ethnomusicologist and published professor of fine arts. He will present a fun and informative program titled “The Marvel of the Mindfield,” and debut his newest album Ghost Hymns this Friday evening, June 23, 6 pm, at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville.

Ellis is currently Chair of Fine Arts and Associate Professor of Music at Saint Michael’s College, Vermont. He has not only taught on blues, jazz, and gospel music but has published on blues and folk art in equal measure, culminating in a current show he curated at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis, Build a Heaven of My Own: African American Vernacular Art and the Blues.

He has also published folk art papers, including works focused on “The Mindfield.” Considered Tennessee’s tallest metal sculpture and a work in progress by Brownsville artist Billy Tripp, Ellis’ talk Friday evening will explore the “Marvel of the Mindfield” in a fun and informative presentation.

Immediately following the “Mindfield” talk, Ellis will perform selections from his newest album, Ghost Hymns, original compositions and arrangements that veers from gospel, shape note and blues to old-time ragtime. His musical style uses old blues forms and apocalyptic gospel themes to express contemporary experiences. In his quest to capture the timeless appeal of pre-war traditions, and to make the music’s message live for today, Ellis has created a brand of Americana/roots music that’s all his own.

Named after his godfather, legendary bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe, Ellis grew up in a musical family – his father, respected banjo composer Tony Ellis, was one of Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. While earning a master’s degree in classical performance from the University of Cincinnati- College Conservatory of Music, Ellis discovered Piedmont blues giant Reverend Gary Davis and Davis’ intricate fingerpicking style. Along the way – including years living in Japan then Memphis – Ellis learned to combine Davis’ fingerpicking technique with his classical performance background and the bluegrass-infused memories of his youth.

Ellis is an avid world traveler – musical tours include Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Scotland, and China. With his banjo-composer father, he’s also played globally for the U.S. State Department from Cuba to Belarus, as well as the Kennedy Center, MerleFest, and The Late Show with David Letterman in a performance with actor Steve Martin.

The event Friday evening is free and open to everyone. Attendees are invited to bring lawn chairs and enjoy the evening outdoors. For more information contact the Delta Heritage Center at 731-779-9000 or [email protected].

CAPTION: Acclaimed Americana/Blues guitarist William Lee Ellis will present a program about Billy Tripp’s Mindfield and share his newest music release, Ghost Hymns, this Friday evening, June 23, at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville Tenn.

About the Center: The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, in Brownsville, is a music heritage destination that offers a refreshing Southern experience showcasing the history and culture of rural West Tennessee. Inside visitors can learn about the history of cotton, explore the scenic and “wild” Hatchie River and get to know the legendary musicians who call West Tennessee home. Also located on the grounds is the Tina Turner Museum at Flagg Grove School, the childhood school of Tina Turner, and the last home of Blues pioneer Sleepy John Estes. The Delta Heritage Center is also a featured stop along the Americana Music Triangle connecting Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans and an official Tennessee Music Pathways location. To learn more about the Center, visit or call 731-779-9000.