All Music Guide
Distills American music to its essence and creates something from them that bears Ellis' distinct image... This disc [Conqueroo] deserves the W.C. Handy Award for Album of the Year in 2003.
Declaration of Independents is humbled when confronted by a record like
William Lee Ellis's The Full Catastrophe ... It's a superlatively played and
very personal record, by a man whose considerable musical gifts are part of
a family tradition ... A splendid and soulful record that's worthy of your
A completely original, masterful mix of American music... clearly one of the standout releases of 2003 in any genre of music.
Fresh, delicate but powerful... His lyrics are thoughtful, playful and even poetic. Conqueroo on Yellow Dog Records is a beautiful album.
The London Times
Here is a new artist with a pedigree as rich as any ... He has recently
released The Full Catastrophe, a beguiling and compelling album that mixes
country, blues and gospel, evoking everyone from Lonnie Johnson to Tarheel
Sun Records legend Sam Phillips
William Lee Ellis in Conqueroo has captured the best of this great
musical genre that I've heard in a decade or more...Intuitive music making
at its best. An outstanding CD.
With one foot in the 21st century, the other in the timeless magic haze of the Mississippi Delta, William Lee Ellis leads us into a world steeped in life’s mysteries and double-crosses...
La Hora del Blues
Powerful passionate acoustic blues full of chromatic beauty... a very gratifying piece of work.
Conqueroo by William Lee Ellis is the utmost in contemporary blues!
Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna hall of famer Jorma Kaukonen
William Lee Ellis carries on the tradition of American originals. His
guitaristry and voice are richly colored with the water from the well that
nourished him. His art however is original and contemporary ... timeless.
Whether playing solo or working with an ensemble, Ellis is a wizard on
steel strings. On the tracks where he's supported, several members of
Memphis's elite turn up ... But even with the virtuoso guests, Ellis
stays center stage with his likable voice and fine guitar work.
The Stamford Advocate
The deft guitarist and spirited vocalist is masterful at lifting listeners up to gospel skies in both exalting and reflective selections, and ripping the roof off a revival in the barnburning "Rider on Your Soul."
The Columbus Dispatch
The Delta blues, gospel, ragtime and folk songs on William Lee Ellis's
brilliant new CD at first sound as if they are a century old. With closer
examination, the selections on The Full Catastrophe sound neither
arcane nor contemporary ... The album's considerable magic comes from its
ability to render time and history irrelevant.
The Washington Post
Had (Righteous Blues) been released on a larger label, it probably would
have receieved a lot more attention by now ... He's mastered these tunes
instrumentally, no mean feat, and often sings them with the passion and
urgency that they demand.
The Cincinnati Post
Not only does he get the notes right, he plays with the same rough-edged
feeling as the original bluesmen.
Solidly rooted in prewar blues and gospel ... consistently interesting
lyrics dealing with spiritual and social concerns ...straightforward and
convincing. A fine (and well-produced) debut.
The Full Catastrophe surely is a fascinating and enjoyable ride
...Seriously, this is more than an historical tribute: It's a rare piece of
Memphis-based William Lee Ellis ... can do a dancing, intricate picking
style that in places reminds of Blind Blake ... Most of the songs are
originals. They're pretty much straight in the tradition ... and he's
done an excellent job.