News


CHRISTONE "KINGFISH" INGRAM AND TOMMY CASTRO & THE PAINKILLERS WIN BLUES BLAST MUSIC AWARDS
9/15/2022

Blues Blast magazine has announced the winners for its annual Blues Blast Music Awards. This year, Grammy Award-winning guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Christone "Kingfish" Ingram and award-winning blues rockers Tommy Castro & The Painkillers took home top awards.

CHRISTONE "KINGFISH" INGRAM AND TOMMY CASTRO & THE PAINKILLERS WIN BLUES BLAST MUSIC AWARDS


Christone "Kingfish" Ingram And Tommy Castro & The Painkillers
Win 2022 Blues Blast Music Awards
 

     CHRISTONE "KINGFISH" INGRAM
      Contemporary Blues Recording Of The Year - 662
      Male Blues Artist Of The Year
      Electric Guitarist Of The Year

        TOMMY CASTRO & THE PAINKILLERS
          Blues Band Of The Year

 

 


Blues Blast magazine has announced the winners for its annual Blues Blast Music Awards. This year, Grammy Award-winning guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Christone "Kingfish" Ingram and award-winning blues rockers Tommy Castro & The Painkillers took home top awards.

Ingram won for Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year (for 662), Male Blues Artist Of The Year and Electric Guitarist Of The Year.

Tommy Castro & The Painkillers won the coveted Blues Band Of The Year Award.

According to the publication, more than 10,000 readers and fans voted in the 2022 Blues Blast Music Awards. Voting, which was free and open to the public, ended on August 19, 2022. See a full list of winners here.

 

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ALLIGATOR RECORDS TO RELEASE JJ GREY & MOFRO'S COUNTRY GHETTO ON VINYL LP ON NOVEMBER 11, 2022
8/9/2022

On Friday, November 11, Alligator Records will release JJ Grey & Mofro's 2007 label debut, Country Ghetto, on vinyl LP for the very first time.

ALLIGATOR RECORDS TO RELEASE JJ GREY & MOFRO'S COUNTRY GHETTO ON VINYL LP ON NOVEMBER 11, 2022


Florida-Based Grey's Best-Selling 2007 Alligator Debut
Marks 15th Anniversary With First-Ever Appearance On LP

    

Rich, funky swamp blues celebrate life’s most fundamental joys. Grey is a singer-songwriter with unforced talent and deep feeling.   
The New York Times 


The swami of swamp rock...JJ Grey is a North Florida sage and purveyor of the funkiest swamp rock the world has ever heard...chicken-scratch guitar and bone-deep songs. 
Oxford American 

Grey and Mofro fuse rock with plenty of soul and groove-heavy blues, and dirty, infectious funk. The deep and introspective lyrics are a breath of fresh air.
Relix
 

On Friday, November 11, Alligator Records will release JJ Grey & Mofro's 2007 label debut, Country Ghetto, on vinyl LP for the very first time. 2022 marks the 15th anniversary of Country Ghetto, the best-selling album of Grey's career. The LP will feature all original music and artwork from the 2007 CD. Country Ghetto was the first of five albums Grey cut for Alligator.

Tastemaker UK music magazine MOJO raved, "Abundantly talented singer, guitarist, harmonica man, gritty-voiced JJ Grey delivers tuneful originals, funky good times, sinuous ballads, gospel and chunks of Southern rock spiced with moments of pure jazz …a pleasure."

2007 was a watershed year for Grey. The release of Country Ghetto brought widespread critical and popular acclaim, as the album garnered piles of positive press with reviews and features running everywhere from The New York Times and USA Today to The New Yorker and Paste magazines. Commercial and public radio embraced Grey as well, with songs from Country Ghetto receiving regular rotation on hundreds of stations across the country and around the world.
 
JJ Grey & Mofro played over 120 dates in 2007 to support Country Ghetto, building their audience one mind-blowing show at a time, headlining clubs and concert halls and performing at scores of festivals across the United States and Europe. Grey and his band have gigged constantly since first forming in North Florida in the late 1990s, and they continue to deliver over 100 shows a year. The New Yorker declared, "JJ Grey and his band Mofro stir up a Southern storm of soulful grooves that is more welcome than a cool downpour on a steamy summer day. They deliver a steady stream of Southern R&B with a rock edge. Simmering, funky and propulsive."

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SHEMEKIA COPELAND AND CHRISTONE "KINGFISH" INGRAM WIN DOWNBEAT CRITICS POLL AWARDS
7/13/2022

DownBeat magazine, in its 70th Annual Critics Poll, named Alligator Records artist Shemekia Copeland as its Blues Artist Of The Year for the second straight year. Alligator's Christone "Kingfish" Ingram won the Best Blues Album award for his celebrated, Grammy Award-winning album 662.

SHEMEKIA COPELAND AND CHRISTONE "KINGFISH" INGRAM WIN DOWNBEAT CRITICS POLL AWARDS


Copeland Wins Blues Artist Of The Year For Second Straight Year
Kingfish's 662 Named Blues Album Of The Year
 
         


DownBeat magazine, in its 70th Annual Critics Poll, named Alligator Records artist Shemekia Copeland as its Blues Artist Of The Year for the second straight year. Alligator's Christone "Kingfish" Ingram won the Best Blues Album award for his celebrated, Grammy Award-winning album 662.

In the past week, Copeland and Ingram also topped Living Blues magazine's Critics and Readers Polls, with each winning Blues Artist Of The Year (female and male, respectively), and Ingram also winning Best Blues Album and Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar).

Copeland's new album, Done Come Too Far, will be released on August 19, 2022. The album's first single, Too Far To Be Gone, is already among the most played tracks on XM/Sirius Radio's B.B. King's Bluesville channel.

Ingram is currently on his first European tour, playing to packed crowds in the UK and across the continent. Earlier this month, he opened for the Rolling Stones at Hyde Park in the UK. 

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FOUR ALLIGATOR ARTISTS RECEIVE NINE LIVING BLUES READERS' AND CRITICS' POLL AWARDS
7/11/2022

Living Blues magazine, in its July/August 2022 issue (#279), announced the winners for its 29th Annual Living Blues Critics' and Readers' Awards. This year, four Alligator artists received a total of nine awards.

FOUR ALLIGATOR ARTISTS RECEIVE NINE LIVING BLUES READERS' AND CRITICS' POLL AWARDS

Christone "Kingfish" Ingram Leads All Artists With Five Awards
Charlie Musselwhite Receives Two Awards
Shemekia Copeland And Marcia Ball Receive One Each

Living Blues magazine, in its July/August 2022 issue (#279), announced the winners for its 29th Annual Living Blues Critics' and Readers' Awards. This year, four Alligator artists received a total of nine awards. Leading all artists with five awards is Grammy Award-winning guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Christone "Kingfish" Ingram. He received both the Critics' Poll Award and the Readers' Poll Award for Blues Artist Of The Year (Male) and Blues Album Of The Year (for 662), and also won the Critics' Poll Award for Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar). In addition, 662 producer Tom Hambridge won the Critics' Poll Award for Producer Of The Year (New Release). 

Shemekia Copeland won the Critics' Poll Award for Blues Artist Of The Year (Female). Copeland's new album, Done Come Too Far, will be released on August 19, 2022.

Blues master Charlie Musselwhite won both the Critics' Poll Award and the Readers' Poll Award for Most Outstanding Musician (Harmonica). Texas pianist/vocalist Marcia Ball won the Readers' Poll Award for Most Outstanding Musician (Keyboards).

Alligator artists and their awards follow:

 

Blues Artist Of The Year (Male) - Critics' Poll and Readers' Poll Winner

Best Blues Album: 662 - Critics' Poll and Readers' Poll Winner

Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar) - Critics' Poll Winner 

 

Blues Artist Of The Year (Female) - Critics' Poll Winner 







Most Outstanding Musician (Keyboards) - Readers' Poll Winner 








Most Outstanding Musician (Harmonica) - Critics' Poll And Readers' Poll Winner 





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SHEMEKIA COPELAND PREMIERES NEW SINGLE AND VIDEO FOR TOO FAR TO BE GONE ON JULY 8
7/8/2022

On Friday, July 8, award-winning blues, soul and Americana singer Shemekia Copeland will release Too Far To Be Gone, the first single from her highly anticipated new album, Done Come Too Far (to be available on CD and LP).

SHEMEKIA COPELAND PREMIERES NEW SINGLE AND VIDEO FOR TOO FAR TO BE GONE ON JULY 8


Blistering Performance Features Slide Guitar Master Sonny Landreth

Highly Anticipated New Album Done Come Too Far Set For August 19 Release  
 
    


“Shemekia Copeland is the greatest blues singer of her generation.” –The Washington Post

“Shemekia Copeland has established herself as one of the leading blues artists of our time.” –NPR Music

“Shemekia Copeland provides a soundtrack for contemporary America...powerful, ferocious, clear-eyed and hopeful...She’s in such control of her voice that she can scream at injustices before she soothes with loving hope. It sends shivers up your spine.” –Living Blues

“Shemekia Copeland is an antidote to artifice. She is a commanding presence, a powerhouse vocalist delivering the truth.” –The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“I am so happy Shemekia is delivering these songs that the world needs to hear. Her voice is strong and soulful, and her message comes from her heart.”
Mavis Staples
 

On Friday, July 8, award-winning blues, soul and Americana singer Shemekia Copeland will release Too Far To Be Gone, the first single from her highly anticipated new album, Done Come Too Far (to be available on CD and LP). The lyrically and musically powerful song, featuring slide guitar master Sonny Landreth, received its worldwide premier on SiriusXM's B.B. King's Bluesville channel, and is quickly becoming one of the station's most-played tracks. According to Copeland, "I feel very passionate about the message in this song and was fortunate to have Sonny Landreth’s incredible slide guitar echo those feelings." Done Come Too Far is set for release on Friday, August 19, 2022. Listen to Too Far To Be Gone and watch the video below: 


Possessing one of the most instantly recognizable and deeply soulful roots music voices of our time, Copeland is beloved worldwide for the fearlessness, honesty and humor of her revelatory music, as well as for delivering each song she performs with unmatched passion. Copeland — winner of the 2021 Blues Music Award for B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year — connects with her audience on an intensely personal level, taking them with her on what The Wall Street Journal calls “a consequential ride” of “bold and timely blues.”

Done Come Too Far continues the story Copeland began telling on 2019’s groundbreaking America’s Child and 2020’s Grammy-nominated Uncivil War, reflecting her vision of America’s past, present and future. On Done Come Too Far, she delivers her hard-hitting musical truths through her eyes, those of a young American Black woman, a mother, and a wife. But she likes to have a good time too, and her music reflects that, at times putting her sly sense of humor front and center. In addition to Landreth, guests on the album include Mississippi Hill country blues icons Cedric Burnside and Kenny Brown, Memphis soul keyboard legend Charles Hodges, Oliver Wood (of the Wood Brothers), Americana star Aaron Lee Tasjan and Pat Sansone (of Wilco).

With Done Come Too Far, Copeland hits harder than ever with musically and lyrically adventurous songs and jaw-dropping performances that are at once timely and timeless. According to Copeland, “This album was made by all sides of me — happy, sad, silly, irate — they’re all a part who I am and who we all are. I’m not political. I’m just talking about what’s happening in this country.” And she doesn’t hold back. Recorded in Nashville and produced by multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Will Kimbrough (who also produced her previous two albums), Done Come Too Far is Copeland at her charismatic, passionate, confrontational best. 

 

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BLUES GUITARIST/VOCALIST JIM SCHWALL: NOVEMBER 12, 1942 - JUNE 19, 2022
6/21/2022

Famed Chicago blues guitarist and vocalist Jim Schwall -- co-founder of the influential and popular Siegel-Schwall Band -- died of natural causes at his home in Tucson, Arizona on Sunday, June 19, 2022. He was 79. 

BLUES GUITARIST/VOCALIST JIM SCHWALL: NOVEMBER 12, 1942 - JUNE 19, 2022


Co-Founder of The Siegel-Schwall Band
Performed With Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Janis Joplin, The Jefferson Airplane And Countless Others
 

    

"Undoubtedly the best electric guitarist in the country."
The Boston Globe

"Few groups in the world can match The Siegel-Schwall Band's Jim Schwall for the sheer joy of his music"
The Chicago Sun-Times


Famed Chicago blues guitarist and vocalist Jim Schwall -- co-founder of the influential and popular Siegel-Schwall Band -- died of natural causes at his home in Tucson, Arizona on Sunday, June 19, 2022. He was 79. Known for his distinctive guitar sound -- he played an amplified Gibson B-25 acoustic -- Schwall helped introduce the blues to the rock and roll audience with his easy-going, good-natured music. He was also a political activist, a teacher, a photographer and a writer.

Schwall was born in Chicago in 1942. He played drums and accordion in grade school before picking up a guitar in high school. He first met fellow musician Corky Siegel in Chicago in 1964 while both were in the Roosevelt University Jazz Band. The pair soon discovered their mutual love for the blues and eventually began performing as a duo, with Corky on harmonica and piano and Jim on guitar. They auditioned at Chicago's famed Pepper's Lounge on the South Side, and were hired to play every Thursday night. According to Siegel, "The audience went wild, probably because we were so different." This led to a long-term musical residency at the club, and the pair played with several blues luminaries (who also became personal friends) including Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Otis Spann, Willie Dixon, Junior Wells and James Cotton. "We really got an education at Pepper's," Siegel says. After the Paul Butterfield Blues Band moved on, the Siegel-Schwall Band took over their residency at Big John's on the city's north side.

The band was signed to Vanguard Records by blues music historian and writer Sam Charters in 1965, and they released a total of five albums for the label. They toured coast-to-coast, and were instrumental in bringing blues to a whole new audience, performing at the famous Fillmore West, sharing the stage with rock royalty including Janis Joplin and The Jefferson Airplane. They next signed with RCA's Wooden Nickel imprint and released five more albums.

In 1968, they collaborated with conductor Seiji Ozawa of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, combining for the first time blues with classical music. They recorded an album, Three Pieces For Blues Band And Symphony Orchestra, for the Deutsche Grammophon label in 1973. The album went on to sell over 300,000 copies.

After a hiatus, the Siegel-Schwall Band reformed in 1987 and released the first of two albums on Alligator Records, 1988's Siegel-Schwall Band Reunion Concert and 2005's Flash Forward. Schwall, who had previously relocated to Madison, Wisconsin, received a PhD in Musical Composition from the University of Wisconsin in 1993. Schwall released three solo albums beginning in 2007, including 2014's Bar Time Lovers for the Conundrum InterArts label. He recently relocated to Tucson, Arizona.

According to Corky Siegel, "People should know, Jim was a beautiful humanitarian and a one-of-a-kind musician."

Schwall is survived by brothers William "Chico" Schwall and Steven Schwall, nephew Douglas Schwall and niece Esme Schwall Weigand.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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AWARD-WINNING VOCALIST SHEMEKIA COPELAND TO RELEASE DONE COME TOO FAR ON AUGUST 19
6/6/2022

Award-winning blues, soul and Americana singer Shemekia Copeland will release her powerful, trailblazing new Alligator Records album, Done Come Too Far (on CD and LP), on Friday, August 19, 2022

AWARD-WINNING VOCALIST SHEMEKIA COPELAND TO RELEASE DONE COME TOO FAR ON AUGUST 19


New Album, First Since 2020's Grammy Award-nominated Uncivil War, Features Guests Sonny Landreth, Cedric Burnside, Charles Hodges, Kenny Brown, Oliver Wood, Pat Sansone And Aaron Lee Tasjan    
    


“Shemekia Copeland is the greatest blues singer of her generation.” –The Washington Post

“Shemekia Copeland has established herself as one of the leading blues artists of our time.” –NPR Music

“Shemekia Copeland provides a soundtrack for contemporary America...powerful, ferocious, clear-eyed and hopeful...She’s in such control of her voice that she can scream at injustices before she soothes with loving hope. It sends shivers up your spine.” –Living Blues

“Shemekia Copeland is an antidote to artifice. She is a commanding presence, a powerhouse vocalist delivering the truth.” –The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“I am so happy Shemekia is delivering these songs that the world needs to hear. Her voice is strong and soulful, and her message comes from her heart.”
Mavis Staples
 

Award-winning blues, soul and Americana singer Shemekia Copeland will release her powerful, trailblazing new Alligator Records album, Done Come Too Far (on CD and LP), on Friday, August 19, 2022. Possessing one of the most instantly recognizable and deeply soulful roots music voices of our time, Copeland is beloved worldwide for the fearlessness, honesty and humor of her revelatory music, as well as for delivering each song she performs with unmatched passion. Copeland — winner of the 2021 Blues Music Award for B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year — connects with her audience on an intensely personal level, taking them with her on what The Wall Street Journal calls “a consequential ride” of “bold and timely blues.”

Done Come Too Far continues the story Copeland began telling on 2019’s groundbreaking America’s Child and 2020’s Grammy-nominated Uncivil War, reflecting her vision of America’s past, present and future. On Done Come Too Far, she delivers her hard-hitting musical truths through her eyes, those of a young American Black woman, a mother, and a wife. But she likes to have a good time too, and her music reflects that, at times putting her sly sense of humor front and center. Guests on the album include slide guitar wizard Sonny Landreth, Mississippi Hill country blues icons Cedric Burnside and Kenny Brown, Memphis soul keyboard legend Charles Hodges, Oliver Wood (of the Wood Brothers), Americana star Aaron Lee Tasjan and Pat Sansone (of Wilco).

According to Copeland, “This album was made by all sides of me — happy, sad, silly, irate — they’re all a part who I am and who we all are. I’m not political. I’m just talking about what’s happening in this country.” And she doesn’t hold back. Recorded in Nashville and produced by multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Will Kimbrough (who also produced her previous two albums), Done Come Too Far is Copeland at her charismatic, passionate, confrontational best.

Copeland has performed thousands of gigs at clubs, festivals and concert halls all over the world since her Alligator Records debut Turn The Heat Up hit in 1998. She has appeared in films, on national television, NPR, and in magazines and newspapers. She’s sung with Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, Carlos Santana, Dr. John, and many others, and has shared a bill with The Rolling Stones. She entertained U.S. troops in Iraq and Kuwait in 2008, a trip she says, “that opened my eyes to the larger world around me and my place in it.” In 2012, she performed with B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Buddy Guy, Trombone Shorty, Gary Clark, Jr. and others at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama. She has appeared on PBS’s Austin City Limits and was the subject of a six-minute feature on the PBS News Hour.

Copeland was the subject of a recent Washington Post Sunday magazine story and appeared on both NPR’s Weekend Edition and Here And Now. And NPR’s Jazz Night In America recently aired an hour-long program featuring Copeland. In April 2022, she performed at the United Nations General Assembly Hall to a worldwide audience of millions as part of International Jazz Day celebrations. Copeland continues to host her own popular daily blues radio show on SiriusXM’s Bluesville.

With Done Come Too Far, Copeland hits harder than ever with musically and lyrically adventurous songs and jaw-dropping performances that are at once timely and timeless. As for the continuing evolution of her music, Copeland is very clear. “Once my son was born,” she says, “I became even more committed to making the world a better place. On America’s Child, Uncivil War and now Done Come Too Far, I’ve been trying to put the ‘United’ back into United States. Friends, family and home, these things we all value.”

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CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE RELEASES MISSISSIPPI SON, PREMIERES NEW VIDEO TODAY
6/3/2022

Mississippi Son, the new Alligator Records album from Mississippi-born, Memphis-raised, Grammy Award-winning music legend Charlie Musselwhite, was released today, June 3, 2022, on both CD and translucent blue vinyl LP. To celebrate, Musselwhite has released a recently-filmed video of a live solo acoustic performance of his original composition Blues Up The River from the new album.

CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE RELEASES MISSISSIPPI SON, PREMIERES NEW VIDEO TODAY


Musselwhite Performs Original Song Blues Up The River,
Solo With Acoustic Guitar, In New Video  
 
    


Superb, original and compelling…Charlie Musselwhite, with unabashed excellence, sets the standard for blues.  
Rolling Stone


Charlie Musselwhite breathes passion.
DownBeat

Taste, restraint and power. He’s one of the best, and as a bluesman, he’s as real as they come. 
The San Francisco Chronicle

Mississippi Son, the new Alligator Records album from Mississippi-born, Memphis-raised, Grammy Award-winning music legend Charlie Musselwhite, was released today, June 3, 2022, on both CD and translucent blue vinyl LP. To celebrate, Musselwhite has released a recently-filmed video of a live solo acoustic performance of his original composition Blues Up The River from the new album. Shot by master videographer Jon R. Luni, the performance is powerful, sublime and deeply moving. Musselwhite calls his blues “secular spiritual music.” It's a sound he’s been perfecting since, as a young teenager, he played his first E7 chord on his Supertone acoustic guitar. Upon hearing and feeling the chord’s blue note, the future blues master thought, “I have to have more of that.”

Charlie Musselwhite is renowned worldwide as a master harmonica player, a seasoned, truth-telling vocalist and an original songwriter rooted deep within the blues tradition. As many of his fans know, he’s also a country blues guitarist of great depth, warmth and subtlety. On each of Mississippi Son’s 14 songs, including eight powerfully stark originals, Musselwhite’s straight-from-the-soul vocals and deep blues harmonica playing are the perfect foil to his deceptively simple, hypnotic guitar work.

Having recently moved back to Mississippi from northern California, Musselwhite recorded Mississippi Son in Clarksdale, right in the heart of the Delta. His honest, soulful vocals, like his every-note-matters harmonica playing and idiosyncratic guitar work, overflow with hard-earned authenticity and lasting emotional intensity.

Charlie Musselwhite doesn’t just sing and play the blues; he is, in every sense of the word, a bluesman. Growing up, he not only learned the music first-hand from many of the genre’s most influential artists, he also absorbed the lifestyle. “It’s an attitude,” Musselwhite says of playing the blues. “A way of living life.” Musselwhite's life story reads like a classic blues song: born in Mississippi, raised in Memphis and schooled on the South Side of Chicago. A groundbreaking recording artist since the 1960s, Musselwhite has never stopped creating trailblazing music while remaining firmly rooted in the blues.

Over the years, Charlie has released nearly 40 albums on a variety of labels, his exploratory recordings including straight blues but often mixing in elements of jazz, gospel, Tex-Mex, Cuban and other world musics. Four of those albums—1990’s Ace Of Harps, 1991’s Signature, 1994’s In My Time, and 2010’s The Well—were released on Alligator Records and remain among his best-selling titles.
 
Now, with Mississippi Son, Musselwhite has come full circle, returning home to Mississippi after decades in Memphis, Chicago, San Francisco and points in between. Amalgamating all he’s learned and absorbed throughout his years of worldwide touring, Musselwhite imparts sage wisdom in every song he writes, sings and performs. Through his evocative vocals, masterful harmonica playing, and note-perfect Southern country blues guitar, Charlie Musselwhite, on Mississippi Son, leans forward and delivers the blues’ honest truth.

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CHRIS CAIN WINS INTERNATIONAL SONGWRITING COMPETITION IN BLUES FOR I BELIEVE I GOT OFF CHEAP
5/17/2022

World-renowned blues guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and Alligator Records recording artist Chris Cain has won the 2021 International Songwriting Competition in the Blues category for his original song I Believe I Got Off Cheap. The song originally appeared on Cain's 2021 Alligator Records debut album Raisin' Cain. UK tastemaker magazine MOJO named Raisin' Cain the #3 Best Blues Album of 2021. Upon winning the award, Cain said, "I'm just really honored that my tune would even be considered in the running for the Songwriting Competition. It means a lot to me."

CHRIS CAIN WINS INTERNATIONAL SONGWRITING COMPETITION IN BLUES FOR I BELIEVE I GOT OFF CHEAP


Song Appears On Cain's 2021 Alligator Records Debut Album Raisin' Cain
   
    

It’s marvelous. It’s irresistible. Cain brings an indelible touch and resonance...unleashing unadulterated fretboard genius. He is the most important blues player you need to hear.
Vintage Guitar 

One of the most brilliant and vital figures making music of any kind. Raisin' Cain is one of the top releases of the year.
Blues Music Magazine
 

Chris Cain? Now that boy can PLAY the guitar!
B.B. King
 

World-renowned blues guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and Alligator Records recording artist Chris Cain has won the 2021 International Songwriting Competition in the Blues category for his original song I Believe I Got Off Cheap. The song originally appeared on Cain's 2021 Alligator Records debut album Raisin' Cain. UK tastemaker magazine MOJO named Raisin' Cain the #3 Best Blues Album of 2021. Upon winning the award, Cain said, "I'm just really honored that my tune would even be considered in the running for the Songwriting Competition. It means a lot to me."

With more than three decades of worldwide touring and 15 acclaimed albums, Cain has earned his reputation as both a fan favorite and a musician’s musician. Since his first release in 1987, he has created his very own blues sound inspired by his heroes – B.B. King, Albert King, Ray Charles, Albert Collins, Grant Green and Wes Montgomery. His jazz-informed blues guitar playing is fiery, emotional and always unpredictable. His vocals – gruff, lived-in and powerful – add fuel to the fire. His indelible original songs keep one foot in the blues tradition and both eyes on the future. The pure joy Cain brings to his playing and singing is palpable, and draws fans even closer in.
 
Both the media and his fellow musicians rave about Cain. Guitar Player says, “Cain is an impressive, top-notch guitarist. His full-bodied tone and big voice pack a punch that had me reeling.” Guitar icon Robben Ford says, “Chris Cain is for real. He’s a great blues player with an intensity that keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering what he’s going to do next. Plus he knows how to write a song you haven’t heard before, full of humor and insight. If you like the blues, you’ll like Chris Cain. I am a stone fan."  Blues star Joe Bonamassa says, "Chris Cain is hands down my favorite blues player on the scene today. He’s an absolute blinder of a guitarist, with the voice of B.B. King and the chops of Albert King."
 
“I’m playing and writing better than ever before," Cain says. "I can say more with less,” he adds, referring to his dynamic guitar playing and superb songwriting. “I’m as much a fan as a musician, and I’m as excited to be making music today as I was when I was a teenager. More than ever before, I just play what I feel.”  

 

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ALLIGATOR RECORDS ARTISTS TO PERFORM AT 2022 CHICAGO BLUES FESTIVAL
5/11/2022

On Wednesday, May 11, The City Of Chicago announced the lineup for the 2022 Chicago Blues Festival, taking place Thursday, June 9 (starting on a Thursday for first time in years) through Sunday, June 12 at Millennium Park as well as in other locations throughout the city. This year the the festival will feature four Alligator artists in live performance, including two on Thursday.

ALLIGATOR RECORDS ARTISTS TO PERFORM AT 2022 CHICAGO BLUES FESTIVAL


Label Stars Shemekia Copeland, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, Billy Branch and Toronzo Cannon Perform Live At Free World Renowned Event 


On Wednesday, May 11, The City Of Chicago announced the lineup for the 2022 Chicago Blues Festival, taking place Thursday, June 9 (starting on a Thursday for first time in years) through Sunday, June 12 at Millennium Park as well as in other locations throughout the city. This year the the festival will feature four Alligator artists in live performance, including two on Thursday.

The Chicago Blues Festival will be held all four days in Millennium Park with performances at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion (201 E. Randolph Street), the Visit Mississippi Juke Joint Stage (North Promenade) and the Rosa's Lounge Stage (South Promenade). On Saturday, June 11 and Sunday, June 12, the festival adds four additional stages throughout the city: "Taste To Go Featuring Soul City Blues" (5720 West Chicago), "Bronzeville Blues" (Armstrong Park, 3322 S. St. Lawrence), "City Markets" (800 S. Des Plaines), and "Blues On The Riverwalk" (305 West Riverwalk South). Admission is free. Find more information here.

On Thursday, June 9, Chicago Blues ambassador, guitarist and songwriter Toronzo Cannon and singing sensation Shemekia Copeland are the closing acts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Harmonica giant Billy Branch headlines the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Friday, June 10 and will also make a guest appearance as part of "Bronzeville Blues" on Sunday, June 12. Raw and rocking Chicago favorites Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials will perform on Saturday, June 11 as the closing act of "Taste To Go Featuring Soul City Blues."

Daily performances begin at 12:00pm at the Promenade stages and at 2:40pm at The Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

Alligator artists' performance information is as follows: 

THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2022
Millennium Park - Jay Pritzker Pavilion
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 
6:30pm-7:30pm - Toronzo Cannon
7:45pm-9:00pm - Shemekia Copeland

FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 2022
Millennium Park - Jay Pritzker Pavilion
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 
7:45pm-9:00pm - Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues

SATURDAY, JUNE 11, 2022
Taste To Go Featuring Soul City Blues
5720 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 
6:40pm-7:55pm - Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials

SUNDAY, JUNE 12, 2022
Bronzeville Blues
Armstrong (Lillian Hardin) Park
4433 S. St. Lawrence Ave.
Chicago, IL 
6:40pm-7:55pm - Mud Morganfield featuring special guests Billy Branch, Freddie Dixon, Big James, Vance Kelly and Melody Angel with backing musicians Bob Stroger, Harmonica Hinds, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, Rick Kreher, and Sumito “Ariyo” Ariyoshi

 

SHEMEKIA COPELAND
Shemekia Copeland is the female blues artist of her generation, blessed with a cathartic voice and larger-than-life presence. Shemekia joined the Alligator family when she was only 18. Since then, she’s made nine sensational albums, been nominated for three Grammys, won over a dozen Blues Music Awards, appeared at the White House, opened for the Rolling Stones, and toured worldwide. Over the last decade, she’s been expanding her blues, bringing in strains of Americana and delivering songs with up-to-the-minute, socially conscious lyrics. The Chicago Tribune says, “Shemekia Copeland is the greatest female blues singer working today.” No Depression declares, “Copeland pierces your soul. This is how you do it, and nobody does it better than Shemekia Copeland." 



TORONZO CANNON
Upon release of his Alligator Records debut, The Chicago Way in 2016, Toronzo Cannon burst onto the international stage as one of the most electrifying bluesmen to emerge from Chicago in decades. The Chicago Reader said, “Bluesman Toronzo Cannon is one of Chicago’s finest string-bending storytellers.” He has played major cities all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe, including stops in the UK, Germany, Spain, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Poland and Japan, delighting and surprising audiences with one unforgettable gig after another. He has played the Chicago Blues Festival on ten separate occasions. Blues Music Magazine says, “Cannon has all the fire and spontaneity of the Chicago legends. His songwriting is a timely and original look at the world, and his assertive voice is the perfect vehicle to deliver the message.” 

 
BILLY BRANCH
Since his 1978 debut on Alligator's Living Chicago Blues series, Billy Branch has earned a place among the world’s best blues harp players. He was mentored by Chicago’s harp royalty—James Cotton, Junior Wells and Carey Bell. They all considered him their successor as the Windy City’s next harmonica king. His all-star band, The Sons Of Blues, is among the premier blues bands anywhere. With hundreds of studio sessions and 15 albums of his own, including Alligator's Roots And Branches--The Songs Of Little Walter, Billy Branch is one of the most-recorded blues artists in the world. Living Blues says, "Billy Branch has cemented his place among the kings. Chugging, incessant blues and R&B...greasy, funky, howlin’ harp attack that really burns...wonderful, bold and surprising." 



LIL' ED & THE BLUES IMPERIALS
Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, more than any other band now on the label, personify Alligator Records' original raw and raucous “Genuine Houserockin’ Music” spirit. Ed and his half-brother, bassist James “Pookie” Young, grew up on Chicago’s tough West Side. They learned the old school sound and style from their beloved uncle, famed Chicago slide guitarist J.B. Hutto, who started recording in the 1950s. Guitarist Michael Garrett and drummer Kelly Littleton, blues pilgrims from Detroit, joined Ed and Pookie almost 35 years ago. They’ve been together ever since, delivering joyful boogies and serious slide-driven Chicago blues. The Chicago Tribune says, “Electrifying, raucous, pure Chicago blues….Lil’ Ed is a guitarist extraordinaire…slashing slide and flamboyant stage persona." 





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CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE SINGLE, BLUES GAVE ME A RIDE, OUT MAY 6, 2022
5/6/2022

Mississippi-born, Memphis-raised, Grammy Award-winning music legend Charlie Musselwhite will release Blues Gave Me A Ride, the first single from his upcoming album, Mississippi Son, on Friday, May 6. “Blues tells the truth in a world that’s full of lies,” Musselwhite sings in the original song -- on which he also plays guitar and harmonica -- and is at once telling his own story and plainly summing up the genre’s timelessness. Blues Gave Me A Ride made its worldwide premier on XM/Sirius Radio's B.B. King's Bluesville station on Friday, April 29. Mississippi Son will be released on Friday, June 3 and available on both CD and translucent blue vinyl LP. 

CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE SINGLE, BLUES GAVE ME A RIDE, OUT MAY 6, 2022


Song Is First Single From New Album Mississippi Son
Available On CD And Translucent Blue Vinyl On June 3

Album Features Musselwhite's guitar work on every track.  
 
    


Charlie Musselwhite breathes passion.
DownBeat

Taste, restraint and power. He’s one of the best, and as a bluesman, he’s as real as they come. 
The San Francisco Chronicle

Superb, original and compelling…Charlie Musselwhite, with unabashed excellence, sets the standard for blues.  
Rolling Stone

Mississippi-born, Memphis-raised, Grammy Award-winning music legend Charlie Musselwhite will release Blues Gave Me A Ride, the first single from his upcoming album, Mississippi Son, on Friday, May 6. “Blues tells the truth in a world that’s full of lies,” Musselwhite sings in the original song -- on which he also plays guitar and harmonica -- and is at once telling his own story and plainly summing up the genre’s timelessness. Blues Gave Me A Ride made its worldwide premier on XM/Sirius Radio's B.B. King's Bluesville station on Friday, April 29. Mississippi Son will be released on Friday, June 3 and available on both CD and translucent blue vinyl LP. 
 
Now, with Mississippi Son, Musselwhite has come full circle, returning home to Mississippi after decades in Memphis, Chicago, San Francisco and points in between. Amalgamating all he’s learned and absorbed throughout his years of worldwide touring, Musselwhite imparts sage wisdom in every song he writes, sings and performs. “Blues tells the truth in a world that’s full of lies,” he intones in Blues Gave Me A Ride, at once telling his own story and plainly summing up the genre’s timelessness. Through his evocative vocals, masterful harmonica playing, and note-perfect Southern country blues guitar, Charlie Musselwhite, on Mississippi Son, leans forward and delivers the blues’ honest truth. 

Charlie Musselwhite is renowned worldwide as a master harmonica player, a seasoned, truth-telling vocalist and an original songwriter rooted deep within the blues tradition. As many of his fans know, he’s also a country blues guitarist of great depth, warmth and subtlety. On each of Mississippi Son’s 14 songs, including eight powerfully stark originals, Musselwhite’s straight-from-the-soul vocals and deep blues harmonica playing are the perfect foil to his deceptively simple, hypnotic guitar work, which he features on every track.

Having recently moved back to Mississippi from northern California, Musselwhite recorded Mississippi Son in Clarksdale, right in the heart of the Delta. His honest, soulful vocals, like his every-note-matters harmonica playing and idiosyncratic guitar work, overflow with hard-earned authenticity and lasting emotional intensity. Musselwhite calls his blues, “secular spiritual music,” a sound he’s been perfecting since he, as a young teenager, played his first E7 chord on his Supertone acoustic guitar. Upon hearing and feeling the chord’s blue note, the future blues master thought, “I have to have more of that.”

Charlie Musselwhite doesn’t just sing and play the blues; he is, in every sense of the word, a bluesman. Growing up, he not only learned the music first-hand from many of the genre’s most influential artists, he also absorbed the lifestyle. “It’s an attitude,” Musselwhite says of playing the blues. “A way of living life.” Musselwhite's life story reads like a classic blues song: born in Mississippi, raised in Memphis and schooled on the South Side of Chicago. A groundbreaking recording artist since the 1960s, Musselwhite has never stopped creating trailblazing music while remaining firmly rooted in the blues.

Over the years, Charlie has released nearly 40 albums on a variety of labels, his exploratory recordings including straight blues but often mixing in elements of jazz, gospel, Tex-Mex, Cuban and other world musics. Four of those albums—1990’s Ace Of Harps, 1991’s Signature, 1994’s In My Time, and 2010’s The Well—were released on Alligator Records and remain among his best-selling titles.

In 2020, Musselwhite joined up with his friend Elvin Bishop and released the Grammy-nominated, Blues Music Award-winning 100 Years Of Blues on Alligator. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Blues Chart. DownBeat named it the Best Blues Album Of The Year. It was named the #3 Best Blues Album of 2021 by UK tastemaker magazine MOJO, who declared, “These are exquisite harmonica-guitar duets like Muddy Waters and Little Walter, or Johnny Shines and Big Walter Horton…mature, masterly, endlessly rewarding.”

In addition to his own albums, Musselwhite has been featured on recordings by Tom Waits, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, John Lee Hooker, Bonnie Raitt, The Blind Boys of Alabama, INXS, Cyndi Lauper, and many others. He was inducted into the Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall Of Fame in 2010, has been nominated for twelve Grammy Awards (winning one) and has won numerous Living Blues Awards and Blues Music Awards. The Chicago Tribune says his music is “imaginative and stunning…utterly convincing.”
 
Now, with Mississippi Son, Musselwhite has come full circle, returning home to Mississippi after decades in Memphis, Chicago, San Francisco and points in between. Amalgamating all he’s learned and absorbed throughout his years of worldwide touring, Musselwhite imparts sage wisdom in every song he writes, sings and performs. Through his evocative vocals, masterful harmonica playing, and note-perfect Southern country blues guitar, Charlie Musselwhite, on Mississippi Son, leans forward and delivers the blues’ honest truth. 

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FOUR ALLIGATOR ARTISTS RECEIVE SEVEN BLUES MUSIC AWARDS
5/6/2022

On Thursday, May 5, 2022, the Blues Foundation announced the winners of the 43rd Annual Blues Music Awards. A total of four Alligator Records artists received seven awards. Leading all artists with three wins is guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Tommy Castro, who takes home (for the third time in his career) the coveted B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year Award, the Album Of The Year Award (for Tommy Castro Presents A Bluesman Came To Town) and Blues Band Of The Year for Tommy Castro & The Painkillers.

FOUR ALLIGATOR ARTISTS RECEIVE SEVEN BLUES MUSIC AWARDS

Tommy Castro Leads All Artists With Three Wins:
B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year, Album Of The Year and Band Of The Year

Christone "Kingfish" Ingram  Wins Two Awards:
Contemporary Male Blues Artist And Contemporary Blues Album

Selwyn Birchwood Wins Song Of The Year

Curtis Salgado Wins Soul Blues Male Artist


On Thursday, May 5, 2022, the Blues Foundation announced the winners of the 43rd Annual Blues Music Awards. A total of four Alligator Records artists received seven awards. Leading all artists with three wins is guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Tommy Castro, who takes home (for the third time in his career) the coveted B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year Award, the Album Of The Year Award (for Tommy Castro Presents A Bluesman Came To Town) and Blues Band Of The Year for Tommy Castro & The Painkillers.

Young blues guitar phenomenon and Grammy Award-winner Christone "Kingfish" Ingram won the awards for Contemporary Male Blues Artist Of The Year and Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year for 662. In his short career, Ingram has been nominated for nine Blues Music Awards and has won them all.

Guitarist/lap-steel master Selwyn Birchwood won the highly-competitive award for Song Of The Year for his original I'd Climb Mountains from his Alligator album, Living In A Burning House.

Soul/blues vocalist Curtis Salgado won, for the second consecutive year, the award for Soul Blues Male Artist Of The Year.

The awards ceremony was held in Memphis, Tennessee at the Renasant Convention Center. The full list of winners can be found here. Alligator artists and their awards follow:

 

B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year

Album Of The Year: Tommy Castro Presents A Bluesman Came To Town

Band Of The Year: Tommy Castro & The Painkillers 



Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year: 662

Contemporary Blues Male Artist Of The Year 





Song Of The Year: I'd Climb Mountains (written by Selwyn Birchwood) 







Soul Blues Male Artist Of The Year 





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