On the morning of Friday, Jan. 12, news broke of the sudden passing of Toledo-based musician Andrew Ellis.
WIth expressions of deep sympathy to Ellis’ family, the Toledo listening audience is also sharing memories and impressions of Ellis as a beloved member of the local music community. Ellis, perpetually dedicated to his craft, made brutally honest music. With recent performances at venues around the area, including The Village Idiot, Te’kēla Mexican Cantina & Cocina (Sylvania) and Manhattan’s Pub ‘n Cheer, Ellis was admired.
Despite performing primarily in and around Toledo, Ellis was also fortunate to have toured internationally. Inspired by folk, hill country blues, classic country and punk rock, his music was informed and fit in most any setting, as the musical notes spoke to all who listened.
His talents, while prolific, were exceeded by Ellis’ love for his family. His family knew him as an amazing husband, dad and papa. His infectious laughter, genuine kindness and passion for life enriched the experiences of all who had the privilege of knowing him.
“Andrew was an artist in every way, in all he did,” Jake Pilewski, a local musician and curator of the performances, including Ellis’, at Levi & Lilac’s Listening Loft, said. “His work, his demeanor, his joy, his fear, his sadness, his reach to others. He understood the importance of being your art and letting it be you; with that, authenticity oozed from his pores and was infectious to not only his peers and supporters, but also to fellow artists. To be his friend, and even a friend who only got to really hang once in a great while, meant the world. He made us all feel that we are a part of something much bigger.”
“Andrew Ellis was a natural born talent, not only as a musician but as an artist,” Laura Hollingshead Kutzli, a student and advocate of Toledo’s music scene, explained. “(A) local legend who was loved by many; (a) stellar man who loved his family immensely and a friend to so many. (Andrew) was a beautiful soul, the king of cool, and the real deal. The community is feeling the immense loss of a great man and a great friend.”
“Few musicians (from Toledo) venture (out on) international tours, but Andrew relentlessly pursued such opportunities,” Zak Ward, a local musician and Sales Manager at Reverend Guitars, said. “It requires immense determination . . . to turn aspirations into reality. With the deepest respect, rest in peace, Andrew Michael Ellis.”
An informal gathering will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 17 at The Village Idiot, during the time that would have been Ellis’ regularly scheduled Idiot performance.
A celebration of life has also been organized for Sunday, Jan. 21 from 2pm to 7pm at 201 Morris St., near the Middlegrounds Metropark, off the edge of downtown Toledo. Additional details will be forthcoming for those Andrew Ellis influenced, inspired and loved to say their goodbyes.
GoFundMe and Meal Train sites have been established to support Ellis’ family and to assist with the unexpected financial burdens caused by his passing. Donate at the links below.