Alligator Artists Shemekia Copeland, Lil’ Ed Williams And Billy Branch Also On The Bill, As Is Blueswoman Ivy Ford 

Chicago bluesman Toronzo Cannon will perform in concert as part of A Blues Christmas at Navy Pier's Aon Grand Ballroom on Friday, December 15 with special guests, Alligator Records stars Shemekia Copeland, Billy Branch and Lil’ Ed Williams as well as blueswoman Ivy FordA Blues Christmas is a unique collaboration between Alligator Records and Navy Pier to celebrate the holiday season and the blues at this free one-night-only concert. The performance will include selections from Alligator’s famed holiday albums, Genuine Houserockin' Christmas and The Alligator Christmas Collection, along with other seasonal favorites reinterpreted through the lens of Chicago’s one-of-a-kind stylin’ of the blues. This concert marks the 20th anniversary celebration of the acclaimed Genuine Houserockin' Christmas album, originally released by Alligator Records in 2003. Additionally, on October 6, Alligator released the timeless blues holiday classic, The Alligator Records Christmas Collection on LP (red opaque vinyl) for the first time ever. It was originally released on CD only in 1992.


Concert information is below:Remember -- Always Contact The Venue To Confirm Dates and Show TimesDate: Friday, December 15, 2023Venue: Navy Pier - Aon Grand BallroomAddress: 840 E. Grand Ave.City: Chicago, ILPhone: 800-595-7437Showtime: 7:00pmTicket price: Free admissionWebsite:*See website for complete performance information



With the 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 world, delighting and surprising audiences with one unforgettable gig after another. UK tastemaker music magazine MOJO named his latest album, 2019’s The Preacher, The Politician Or The Pimp, the #2 Best Blues Album Of 2019. 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.”





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.”


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, more than any other band now on the label, personify Alligator's 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 had started recording in the 1950s. Michael Garrett and 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."