Jonathan Ellison was crowned the new “King of Beale Street” in 2019. He is the recipient of the WC Handy Heritage Award. Jonathan is currently nominated for a Contemporary Blues Album for “Changing Times” with the group Silent Partners. Jonathan and Silent Partners are also nominated for the prestigious Sean Costello Rising Star Award. Immersed in the Memphis scene, Jonathan started playing with community choirs and solo artists. He played for workshops and gospel recording sessions. His reputation as a musical artist led to playing lead guitar at BB Kings Blues Club.
Jonathan was also part of the BB King Allstars in conjunction with Tommy Peters and the Beale Street Music Company. He performed in over sixty-two countries with The Allstars at The BB King Clubs on the Holland America Cruise ships.
Jonathan was the Musical Director and lead guitarist for the Queen of the Blues and Southern Soul, Ms. Denise LaSalle, until her death in 2018. Jonathan says the experience profoundly influenced his musical direction but not his heart, soul, and ministry.
“I knew I could not make a living at gospel. The first secular gig I did, I made money. Gospel is my heart, my foundation, and I don’t feel I’m just a blues artist. I’m a rhythm and soul blues man.”