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Haulin' Ellis band a hit at 'music in the park' event

Jamming together in Labodie Park are son Tom (left) and father Lyle Ellis. Photo by L.J. Farrell (click for larger version)
August 22, 2012 - Driving out by Lakeville on Aug. 17, you probably heard the Haulin' Ellis band playing at the Friends of the Addison Township Public Library Music in the Park event. Pickin' and a-grinnin' at Labodie Park, the Haulin' Ellis family tradition kept everybody warm despite temperatures dipping into the 50s soon after sundown.

Haulin' Ellis played a blend of tunes on Friday night, with songs ranging from country hits by all-stars Hank Williams, and George Jones, to Southern Rock classics from heavyweights Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Band.

A family affair spanning over three generations, Haulin' Ellis featured grandfather Lyle Ellis playing lead lines on the electric Epiphone, sons Tom and Marty Ellis on bass and drums, respectively. Tom Powell lit up the stratocaster and father in-law J.D Wright sat in on the Gibson accoustic.

Markus Ellis looked on from the amplifier beside his dad's drum set. He was content to bide his time until the day comes for him to step up to the stage. Tom's niece Laura received a warm reception when she joined the guys onstage to belt out Taylor Swift's "Mean." She's a "star in the making," said organizer Laura Schaeffer.

Haulin' Ellis graciously donated their services for the event. In addition to his generosity, Ellis is obviously a music lover. A multi-instrumentalist, he often plays guitar and sings, but can rotate to other instruments as the need arises.

He began his musical journey quite a bit back, he said. "My Dad taught me a few chords when I was five or six years old," Ellis recalled, "though I didn't really pursue (music) until I got into my early teens." That's when he began to really develop an appreciation and love for music and started playing all the time and much more seriously, Ellis said.

"I really liked the old stuff that my Dad played," Ellis remembered, and was soon picking out tunes by Merle Haggard, Ray Price, George Jones, Faron Young, Hank Williams and Willie Nelson to name but a few.

In all, Schaeffer thought the event went swimmingly. The event raised more than a fistful of dollars, said Schaeffer, but the real gain was the benefit for the town of Lakeville.

"It's good for the community," band leader Tom Ellis responded when asked why he decided to sign up.

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