ALLIGATOR RECORDS NEWS BRIEFS
ALLIGATOR RECORDS NEWS BRIEFS
Visionary guitarist, lap steel player, songwriter and vocalist Selwyn Birchwood's latest Alligator Records album, Exorcist, won the Quarterly German Record Critics' Award. According to the Critics' association, "The best and most interesting new releases of the previous three months are awarded a place on the Quarterly Critic’s Choice. Evaluation criteria are artistic quality, repertoire value, presentation, and sound quality."
German writer and awards judge Karl Leitner said, "With Exorcist, Selwyn Birchwood has succeeded in creating an album that grabs you from the very first note and doesn’t let go for the next 58 minutes. This production is brimming with self-confidence. It shows an artist who came to the blues via Albert King and Buddy Guy, and who is in the process of going far beyond them, with ever-new stylistic ideas. What a fresh, new footprint in this venerable trade; and he is not even 40 years old!"
Birchwood was also the recent subject of a feature in Guitar Player magazine, who declared, "Selwyn Birchwood plays like a man possessed…fully in command of his talents. Birchwood has established himself as one of the preeminent voices in contemporary blues. The 13 tunes on Exorcist are a masterfully produced, arranged and executed sonic tour de force."
As the holidays approach, newest Alligator Records artist Chris O'Leary is set to release his label debut, The Hard Line, on Friday, January 12. The first song from the album, Lost My Mind, premiered in October.
According to O'Leary, the release can't some soon enough. "I honestly can’t wait for The Hard Line to be released -- it’s going to be a fantastic holiday season at the O’Leary household. Alligator Records has been my absolute goal for as long as I can remember. This record is literally the culmination of decades of writing music, playing gigs and driving around the country in our old Chevy van. Unfortunately the old girl isn’t going to make it to the release date. After almost 450,000 miles she decided she was done. But she will be with us in spirit as we travel the country in support of the new record."
The Sea, the first song released from the upcoming JJ Grey & Mofro album Olustee (set for February 23, 2024 release), was recently featured on the nationally syndicated radio program Acoustic Cafe. The song was broadcast on over 120 stations nationwide. Additionally, The Sea was the #1 Most Added Song at the tastemaker Americana Radio Format.
Of the song, Grey says, "Some of the quietest and most beautiful moments of my life were in and at the sea. Boat lights twinkling on the horizon or ducking down into the warmth of the water to knock the chill off of the late October wind. For me, the sea has always had a calming effect on my otherwise overactive mind. Once in the water surfing or even fishing, all nail-biting would stop. All negative mental feedback loops evaporated. Blurring the line between the physical sea in front of me and the infinite sea all around me."
Olustee, with cover art by Grey, is his first album in nine years, and the first he has self-produced.
Alligator Records artists Shemekia Copeland and Charlie Musselwhite both appear on the venerated Koko Taylor song, I'm A Woman, from the GRAMMY-nominated Candid Records album, Basie Swings The Blues. The release, which also features Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, George Benson and others, was nominated in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album category.