News


Alligator Albums Dominate MOJO's Top 10 Blues CDs Of 2018
11/29/2018
Tastemaker UK magazine MOJO, in the January 2019 issue, includes four Alligator Records releases in their influential list of Top Ten Blues Albums of 2018. Sitting at the #1 spot is Shemekia Copeland's groundbreaking America's Child, followed at #2 by Joe Louis Walker, Bruce Katz and Giles Robson's acoustic triumph, Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues*. The Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling's label debut, The High Cost Of Low Living, landed at #4. And Curtis Salgado & Alan Hager's irresistible duo album, Rough Cut, took the #7 spot.

Alligator Albums Dominate MOJO's Top 10 Blues CDs Of 2018

MOJO says:

#1 America's Child:
"Shemekia Copeland’s voice is rich, soulful and totally commanding. Authoritative, passionate Stax-styled stirrers, raw Chicago blues and countryish folk rockers."

#2 Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues:
"Joe Louis Walker, Bruce Katz and Giles Robson are three master instrumentalists taking a stroll through old Bluesville. But this is no studious re-creation: Walker's rich, flexible voice remains his own invention, while Katz (piano) and Robson (harmonica) always play themselves rather than ghosts."



#4 The High Cost Of Low Living:
"Guitarist and singer Nick Moss shows the world his fearsome guitar chops and his complete familiarity with the great tradition of Chicago bar-blues-band- music. Partnered with harmonica-player Dennis Gruenling, Moss creates a two-headed monster that takes the band thundering through a program of pieces from the past and crisp originals."


#7 Rough Cut"
"This is almost as stripped-down as you can get, just voice and harmonica with acoustic guitar and a few drop-ins on drums, bass or piano. But Salgado and Hager have the skill and taste to play exactly what’s required by a programme of old songs and quirky originals.
"


*Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues was released in North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand by Alligator, and in all other territories by Munich Records, a division of V2 Records Benelux.

Click here for the full story

The Kentucky Headhunters' LIVE AT THE RAMBLIN' MAN FAIR Set For Jan 11, 2019 Release
11/5/2018
Alligator Records has set a January 11, 2019 release date for Live At The Ramblin' Man Fair, the new album from Grammy-winning band The Kentucky Headhunters.

The Kentucky Headhunters' LIVE AT THE RAMBLIN' MAN FAIR Set For Jan 11, 2019 Release

Includes Three Recently Discovered Studio Tracks Featuring Legendary Blues Pianist Johnnie Johnson

Rowdy, twanging, wild-eyed Southern rockers perform songs that insist on down-home roots. The Headhunters bring a sense of bar-band recklessness, riffing with unchecked muscle, combining country roots with ferocious, bluesy hard rock.
–The New York Times

Substantial, guitar-driven Southern rock…crunching guitars and aggressive percussion.
–Rolling Stone

One of the best and most influential country rock bands. Seamless harmonies, genre-bending, Clapton-esque guitar work. Potent and unique.
–NPR Music

Alligator Records has set a January 11, 2019 release date for Live At The Ramblin' Man Fair, the new album from Grammy-winning band The Kentucky Headhunters. The band -- guitarist/vocalist Richard Young, his brother drummer Fred Young, guitarist Greg Martin and bassist/vocalist Doug Phelps --- had never before been to Europe in their 30-plus year career. This set, recorded at The Ramblin' Man Fair in Maidstone, UK, captures them at the height of their powers.

Live At The Ramblin' Man Fair finds the band blazing through a 10-song set in front of 25,000 screaming UK fans. Combining old-school blues and blistering Southern rock with country overtones, The Kentucky Headhunters cross borders and genres with ease, as the elated UK audience roars its collective approval throughout the concert. The album closes with three recently rediscovered studio tracks from the legendary Meet Me In Bluesland sessions featuring late blues piano icon Johnnie Johnson (known for his seminal piano work driving Chuck Berry’s most famous songs).

Although The Kentucky Headhunters have been recording and touring together for over 30 years (and making music together for over 50 years), they had never, until 2016, performed overseas. That year, Richard—a notoriously uneasy flier—let his son John Fred (drummer for internationally beloved hard rock group Black Stone Cherry) talk him into bringing The Kentucky Headhunters to Europe. A tour of Sweden and the United Kingdom was booked, and the band was on its way to earning a whole new audience for their raucous and rowdy music.

Since their multiple award-winning debut album in 1989, Pickin' On Nashville (Mercury), the band has released 12 more albums with total sales reaching over 11 million. Constant touring has kept the band busy and each new release has kept them in high demand. 2015’s Alligator CD, Meet Me In Bluesland (recorded in 2003 with Johnnie Johnson), brought the band to the attention of many new fans. No Depression called the album, “A raucous, rockin’ romp that’ll put a big ole grin on your face. Johnson pounds out licks like a wrecking ball.” The Wall Street Journal called it, “a collection of rollicking, loose-limbed songs rooted in the blues and vintage-style rock ‘n’ roll.”

2016’s On Safari (Plowboy Records) led to the band’s first European tour and in turn to the album Live At The Ramblin’ Man Fair, their second career live album. “Truth is,” says Richard, “we didn’t even know we were being recorded. I found out later the festival folks recorded our whole set. After hearing it, I knew it captured us exactly as we really are, and I knew we had to release it.” With the new album and another UK/European tour in the works, The Kentucky Headhunters are excited to visit their new friends and fans across the ocean, as well as hitting the highway across the U.S. and Canada.

Whether they’re turning Southern rock fans on to blues or turning blues fans on to Southern rock, The Kentucky Headhunters are simply thrilled to be enriching the lives of so many music fans for so many years. According to Richard, “When the four of us get together, it’s a powerful thing. It makes people happy. It’s really good music.”

 

Click here for the full story

Three Alligator Records Artists Receive 2018 Maple Blues Award Nominations
11/4/2018
The Toronto Blues Society has announced the nominees for the 2018 Maple Blues Awards. Three Alligator artists -- Rick Estrin and Shemekia Copeland, and Halifax native Lindsay Beaver -- were all recognized. Estrin and Copeland were nominated for the coveted B.B. King International Artist Of The Year Award. Beaver was nominated for the Drummer Of The Year Award.

Three Alligator Records Artists Receive 2018 Maple Blues Award Nominations

Rick Estrin and Shemekia Copeland Nominated for International Artist Of The Year

Lindsay Beaver Receives Nomination for Drummer Of The Year

The Toronto Blues Society has announced the nominees for the 2018 Maple Blues Awards. Three Alligator artists -- Rick Estrin and Shemekia Copeland, and Halifax native Lindsay Beaver -- were all recognized. Estrin and Copeland were nominated for the coveted B.B. King International Artist Of The Year Award. Beaver was nominated for the Drummer Of The Year Award.

The Maple Blues Awards are Canada’s National Blues Awards Program. The program promotes blues music across the country, and recognizes outstanding achievement in the field. Nominees are selected by a panel of 45 blues experts. The panel includes radio hosts, journalists, and festival organizers regionally distributed across Canada.Winners in instrumental categories — guitar, harmonica, piano/keyboards, horn, drum, and bass — will be determined by the Nominating Panel. Winners in all other categories will be selected by blues fans across Canada. Winners will be announced in a ceremony at Koerner Hall in Toronto on February 4, 2019.

Harmonicist/vocalist/songwriter Rick Estrin is leader of 2018's Blues Music Award-winning band Rick Estrin & The Nightcats. Their latest album is Groovin' In Greaseland. Blues Music Magazine says, "Rick Estrin is not like anyone else on the planet. He is a talented singer, a harmonica player and band leader, as well as one of the more resourceful and intriguing songwriters the blues has ever produced."

NPR Music called award-winning vocalist Shemekia Copeland's latest album, America's Child, "Head-turning and outspoken, America’s Child is a true hybrid of simmering, real-talking spirit and emphatic, folkie-and soul-style statement-making. Copeland sings slow-burning soul and rollicking country-blues with growling vigor and potent conviction."

Vocalist/drummer/songwriter Lindsay Beaver's Alligator Records debut, Tough As Love (released October 12, 2018), debuted at #1 on the Living Blues Radio Chart. Elmore says, "Lindsay Beaver stands apart. The fiery album brings gutsy, vintage rock n’ roll, rockabilly, punk blues, and straight ahead blues. Beaver’s emotive vocals soar."

Click here for the full story

Blues And R&B Vocalist And Drummer Lindsay Beaver Announces TOUGH AS LOVE Tour
10/8/2018
Blues-rocking, soul-singing drummer, songwriter and bandleader Lindsay Beaver has announced a major U.S. and Canadian tour in support of her Alligator Records debut, Tough As Love, due out on October 12. The album introduces her as a true force of nature with a sky’s-the-limit future.Confirmed dates are here.

Blues And R&B Vocalist And Drummer Lindsay Beaver Announces TOUGH AS LOVE Tour

Blues And R&B Vocalist And Drummer Lindsay Beaver Announces TOUGH AS LOVE Tour

  BLUES AND R&B VOCALIST AND DRUMMER LINDSAY BEAVER ANNOUNCES
TOUGH AS LOVE TOUR

Alligator Records Debut CD
Tough As Love Set For October 12 Release

“She’s like the love child of Amy Winehouse and Little Richard.”
–Bruce Iglauer, Alligator Records president


“When I first started out, I couldn't find a singer I liked and I couldn't find a drummer I liked, so I decided to do both.”  
–Lindsay Beaver

Blues-rocking, soul-singing drummer, songwriter and bandleader Lindsay Beaver has announced a major U.S. and Canadian tour in support of her Alligator Records debut, Tough As Love, due out on October 12. The album introduces her as a true force of nature with a sky’s-the-limit future. Confirmed dates are below.

On the album and on stage, Beaver makes an immediate and unforgettable impression. Standing front and center at her kit, singing every song from the depths of her soul, she delivers blues, R&B and old school rock ‘n’ roll with punk rock energy, and sings with a voice brimming with attitude and soulfulness. She comes at every song with urgent intensity, soul-baring emotion, a distinct swagger and a take-no-prisoners confidence.

Tough As Love, produced by Beaver, was recorded in Lindsay’s current hometown of Austin, Texas. She wrote seven of the album’s twelve tracks, the striking originals melding seamlessly with the perfectly-chosen covers. Her deep understanding of blues and roots rock traditions is a launching pad for her songs, combining electric urgency with skill and finesse. Tough As Love honors some of Beaver’s inspirations (including songs by Little Willie John, Angela Strehli and Art Neville) while introducing her own unforgettable songs. Along with her touring band—guitarist Brad Stivers and bassist Josh Williams—well-known friends including Marcia Ball, Dennis Gruenling, Laura Chavez, Eve Monsees and Sax Gordon all add their talents to the proceedings.

Hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Beaver possesses an old soul at the young age of 33. She is a classically trained vocalist and a jazz-trained drummer with a deep love and knowledge of roots music, from blues to jazz to R&B ballads to raucous rock ‘n’ roll. Live and on her recordings, she lays it all on the line, performing her signature mix of unforgettable originals and dance floor-filling versions of songs by artists as diverse as Sam Cooke and The Detroit Cobras.

Over the course of her career, Beaver self-released five albums by her previous band, the 24th Street Wailers, producing three of them. Tough As Love is her first release under her own name. “I like music with drive and passion,” she says. “I write what I know and I sing what I know. At my shows, I want people to have fun and to be moved. I want everyone to be inspired to dance and I want at least some people to be moved to tears. And I definitely want every person to go home saying, ‘I’m never going to forget this.’”

Lindsay Beaver Tough As LoveTour:

Oct 10, 2018  The Zoo Bar - Lincoln, NE
Oct 11, 2018  Barley Street Tavern - Omaha, NE
Oct 12, 2018  The Legendary Boobie Trap Bar - Topeka, KS
Oct 13, 2018  Knuckleheads Saloon  - Kansas City, MO in the Gospel Lounge
Oct 14, 2018  Lefty’s Live Music  - Des Moines, IA
Oct 16, 2018  Lee's Liquor Lounge - Minneapolis, MN
Oct 18, 2018  Fretboard Brewing Company - Blue Ash, OH
Oct 19, 2018  FitzGerald's - Berwyn , IL in the SideBar Music Room
Oct 21, 2018  Chicago St. Pub - Joliet, IL
Oct 22, 2018  The Alamo - Springfield, IL
Oct 25, 2018  Blues City Deli - St. Louis, MO
Oct 26, 2018  Mercury Lounge - Tulsa, OK
Nov 03, 2018  The Rhythm Room - Phoenix, AZ
Nov 04, 2018  Malainey's Grill - Long Beach, CA
Nov 05, 2018  Maui Sugar Mill Saloon - Tarzana, CA
Nov 06, 2018  Thunderbird Analog Recording Studio - Oceanside, CA
Nov 07, 2018  The Torch Club - Sacramento, CA
Nov 10, 2018  Hermann’s Jazz Club - Victoria, BC, CANADA
Nov 16, 2018  Mikey's on 12th Avenue - Calgary, AB, CANADA
Nov 17, 2018  Blues at the Bow Bow Island - AB, CANADA at the Bow Theatre
Nov 21, 2018  Blues on Whyte - Edmonton  AB, CANADA
Nov 27, 2018  Nissi's - Lafayette, CO
Jan 25, 2019   BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups - St. Louis, MO
Jan 27, 2019   The Midway Tavern - Mishawaka, IN
Jan 30, 2019   Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill - Grand Rapids, MI
Apr 10, 2019   The Continental Club - Houston, TX
Apr 14, 2019   Daniel Day Gallery/Dream Mecca Studio - Birmingham, AL
Apr 17, 2019   Paradise Bar & Grill - Pensacola Beach, FL
Apr 18, 2019   Paradise Bar & Grill - Pensacola Beach, FL
Apr 20, 2019   Double Roads Tavern - Jupiter, FL
Apr 22, 2019   Earl's Hideaway - Sebastian, FL

Click here for the full story

Rick Estrin & The Nightcats Named Band Of The Year At 2018 Blue Blast Awards
10/1/2018
On Saturday, September 29, 2018, Blues Blast magazine announced the winners of the 2018 Blues Blast Music Awards in ceremonies held at the Tebala Event Center in Rockford, Illinois. Internationally beloved blues masters Rick Estrin & The Nightcats won the coveted award for Band Of The Year.

Rick Estrin & The Nightcats Named Band Of The Year At 2018 Blue Blast Awards

Rick Estrin & The Nightcats Named Band Of The Year At 2018 Blue Blast Awards

On Saturday, September 29, 2018, Blues Blast magazine announced the winners of the 2018 Blues Blast Music Awards in ceremonies held at the Tebala Event Center in Rockford, Illinois. Internationally beloved blues masters Rick Estrin & The Nightcats won the coveted award for Band Of The Year. The Blues Blast Music Awards are presented by Blues Blast magazine. Voting was open to subscriber to the online publication.

In addition to the Blues Blast Award, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats also hold the 2018 Blues Music Award for Band Of The Year. Estrin also won Blues Music Awards for Song Of The Year (for The Blues Ain't Goin' Nowhere, from the band's latest CD, Groovin' In Greaseland) and for Traditional Blues Male Artist Of The Year.

 

Click here for the full story

Shemekia Copeland To Sing National Anthem at Giants Vs. Saints NFL Game On September 30
9/26/2018
Grammy-nominated singer Shemekia Copeland will perform the national anthem on Sunday, September 30 at the NFL game between the New York Giants and the New Orleans Saints.

Shemekia Copeland To Sing National Anthem at Giants Vs. Saints NFL Game On September 30

Shemekia Copeland To Sing National Anthem at Giants Vs. Saints NFL Game On September 30

Grammy-nominated singer Shemekia Copeland will perform the national anthem on Sunday, September 30 at the NFL game between the New York Giants and the New Orleans Saints. The game, broadcast live on CBS Television, begins at 4:25pm Eastern time at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Copeland is currently on tour, bringing music from her critically acclaimed, powerful new album, America’s Child(released August 3), to fans all across the country. NPR Music says Copeland is "head-turning and outspoken. America’s Child is a true hybrid of simmering, real-talking spirit and emphatic, folkie-and soul-style statement-making. Copeland sings slow-burning soul and rollicking country-blues with growling vigor and potent conviction."

Produced by Americana Instrumentalist Of The Year winner Will Kimbrough (who also plays guitar on the album) and recorded in Nashville, America's Child is a courageous and fiery statement of purpose, a major step forward for the singer whose musical consciousness continues to expand as her star continues to rise. With guests including John Prine, Rhiannon Giddens, Mary Gauthier, Emmylou Harris, Steve Cropper, J.D. Wilkes, Al Perkins and members of the Time Jumpers, America’s Child bursts with Copeland’s bravado and embraces with her tenderness.

The Philadelphia Inquirer declares, "Shemekia Copeland is an antidote to artifice. She is a commanding presence, a powerhouse vocalist delivering the truth."

Click here for the full story

New Book By Alligator President Bruce Iglauer And Patrick A. Roberts Set For Oct. 30 Release
9/18/2018
Bitten by the BluesThe Alligator Records Story, the new book co-authored by Alligator Records president and founder Bruce Iglauer and Patrick A. Roberts, will be released on Tuesday, October 30 by The University of Chicago Press.

New Book By Alligator President Bruce Iglauer And Patrick A. Roberts Set For Oct. 30 Release

New Book By Alligator President Bruce Iglauer And Patrick A. Roberts Set For Oct. 30 Release

"I wouldn't be in this business if Bruce hadn't released those first two Hound Dog Taylor records.The fire Bruce captured on those records is the magic place I’m reaching for every time I’m in my studio."
--Dan Auerbach, The Black Keys

"Bruce and his history with Alligator Records encompass so much of the richest and most exciting eras of urban blues. All the fascinating stories and behind the scenes intrigues are here, and the indelible legacy of his commitment to this music and the artists he cares so passionately about makes this a terrific, important read."
--Bonnie Raitt

"Bruce is a true friend of the blues and independent music."
--Mavis Staples


Bitten by the BluesThe Alligator Records Story, the new book co-authored by Alligator Records president and founder Bruce Iglauer and Patrick A. Roberts, will be released on Tuesday, October 30 by The University of Chicago Press. The book is a memoir of a life immersed in the blues -- and the business of running an independent blues label. Bitten By The Blues takes readers behind the scenes, offering larger than life stories of musicians, recording sessions, and what it's like to work with the legends of the genre. 

From first hearing Hound Dog Taylor at Florence's Lounge on Chicago's South Side to building Alligator Records one release at a time to running the biggest blues label in the world, Iglauer and Roberts take readers on a 50-year journey through the blues from local Chicago bars to festival stages across the globe.

According to Iglauer, "We wanted to paint vivid pictures of the charismatic blues immortals that I knew so well, like Hound Dog Taylor, Son Seals, Koko Taylor and Albert Collins, as well as to give insight into the creative process of planning and recording some of their classic albums. And we wanted to give the readers a close-up look at the exciting and visionary artists who are carrying the Alligator tradition into the future, like Marcia Ball, Shemekia Copeland, Selwyn Birchwood and Toronzo Cannon. It's also an insider's look at how the independent record business has changed over the last 50 years, and how those changes have impacted the artists who create the music."

Lauren Salas, Senior Promotions Manager with The University of Chicago Press, says, "Bitten By The Blues is the story of an iconic company and its relentless founder...it's the story of the blues business, of building a company based on a passion for the blues, and the highs and lows of running an indie label. It's the story of blues in Chicago and around the world."


Bruce Iglauer is president and founder of Alligator Records, the largest contemporary blues label in the world. He is also a cofounder of Living Blues magazine and a founder of the Chicago Blues Festival.

Patrick A. Roberts is associate professor in the College of Education at Northern Illinois University. He is the coauthor of Give 'Em Soul, Richard! Race, Radio, and Rhythm and Blues in Chicago. 
 

Click here for the full story

Bluesman And Chicago Bus Driver Toronzo Cannon Featured In CTA Ad Campaign
9/17/2018
Electrifying blues guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and Chicago Transit Authority bus operator Toronzo Cannon is currently featured in a CTA ad campaign, with posters appearing in and on buses, at elevated train and subway stations and inside train cars.

Bluesman And Chicago Bus Driver Toronzo Cannon Featured In CTA Ad Campaign

Electrifying blues guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and Chicago Transit Authority bus operator Toronzo Cannon is currently featured in a CTA ad campaign, with posters appearing in and on buses, at elevated train and subway stations and inside train cars. The campaign features a dozen different CTA employees, referencing their interests and hobbies while focusing on their professional roles with the CTA.

Toronzo CTA Campaign


According to Brian Steele, Vice President, Communications and Marketing for the CTA, "The campaign was created to highlight CTA employees — specifically, their professionalism, training and commitment to customers."

For almost 25 years, Cannon has been driving a Chicago Transit Authority bus by day and performing his signature brand of electric Chicago blues by night. Using every vacation day and day off, Cannon arranges his schedule to gig out of town as much as possible, including many European performances. It isn't easy, but, like all of the Chicago greats who have come before him, blues is his calling. "I am proud to be part of a movement,” he says, anxious to hit the road and bring his music to new fans in new places. “I’m proud to be standing on the shoulders of every great Chicago blues musician who came before me."

His 2015 Alligator Records debut, THE CHICAGO WAY, helped Cannon become one of Chicago's most recognized and most popular bluesmen. MOJO magazine declared THE CHICAGO WAY the #1 Best Blues Album Of 2015. Cannon’s battled his way to the top of the ultra-competitive Windy City blues scene, has already played multiple tours of Europe and continues to deliver roof-raising performances around the U.S.A. Cannon won both the 2017 Living Blues Readers’ and Critics’ Awards for Blues Album Of the Year for THE CHICAGO WAY.

Chicago Magazine said, "The range of subjects he tackles is fascinating. People make a big deal of his being a bus driver, but his curiosity about the world goes way beyond that."

In 2016,Chicago television station WGN won an Emmy Award for this Toronzo Cannon feature story:
http://wgntv.com/2016/03/14/toronzo-cannon-blues-man-by-night-bus-driver-by-day/

Cannon is currently working on his next Alligator album, set for release later in 2019.

Click here for the full story

Shemekia Copeland Brings "America's Child" To AMERICANAFEST In Nashville
9/6/2018
Grammy-nominated blues, R&B and Americana vocalist Shemekia Copeland will perform music from her critically-acclaimed, powerful new album,America’s Child, in a series of performances during the Americana Music Association's AMERICANAFEST in Nashville, Tennessee.

Shemekia Copeland Brings "America's Child" To AMERICANAFEST In Nashville

Shemekia Copeland Brings "America's Child" To AMERICANAFEST In Nashville

SHEMEKIA COPELAND BRINGS AMERICA'S CHILD TO
AMERICANAFEST IN NASHVILLE

Showcasing at City Winery Nashville on 9/13

Also Appearing on WMOT-FM's Wired In Wednesday
and on Nationally Syndicated Acoustic Cafe Program

Grammy-nominated blues, R&B and Americana vocalist Shemekia Copeland will perform music from her critically-acclaimed, powerful new album,America’s Child, in a series of performances during the Americana Music Association's AMERICANAFEST in Nashville, Tennessee. America's Child has been a Top 10 Americana album since its August 3 release, and features the Top 5 Americana single Ain’t Got Time For Hate.

Copeland will showcase with her full band at City Winery (609 Lafayette Street, Nashville, TN) on Thursday, September 13 at 7:30pm. Additionally she will appear Wednesday, September 12 at 2:00pm on Nashville’s 89.5 WMOT-FM Wired In Wednesday live broadcast from The Local (110 28th Ave. North, Nashville, TN). On Thursday, September 14 she will appear at 1:15pm (with guitarist Arthur Neilson) before a live studio audience for a taping of the nationally syndicated radio program Acoustic Café at the Sound Stage Recording Studio (10 Music Circle South, Nashville, TN).

Produced by Americana Instrumentalist Of The Year winner Will Kimbrough (who also plays guitar on the album) and recorded in Nashville, America's Child is a courageous and fiery statement of purpose, a major step forward for the singer whose musical consciousness continues to expand as her star continues to rise. With guests including John Prine, Rhiannon Giddens, Mary Gauthier, Emmylou Harris, Steve Cropper, J.D. Wilkes, Al Perkins and members of the Time Jumpers, America’s Child bursts with Copeland’s bravado and embraces with her tenderness.

America's Child is Copeland's most compelling work yet, with music swelling beyond blues and into spirited Americana, with elements of rock, soul, and country. With a voice that is alternately sultry, assertive and roaring, the three-time Grammy nominee’s wide-open vision of contemporary Americana roots and soul music showcases the evolution of a passionate artist with an up-to-the-minute musical and lyrical approach. From America's Child's anthemic opening track, Ain’t Got Time For Hate, to the closing lullaby, the traditional Go To Sleepy Little Baby, Shemekia sings with passion and insight about the chaos and uncertainty in the world while still finding joy all around her.


The initial reviews have been stellar:

Shemekia Copeland’s voice is rich, soulful and totally commanding. Authoritative, passionate Stax-styled stirrers, raw Chicago blues and countryish folk rockers. Four Stars.
--MOJO

Head-turning and outspoken, America’s Child is a true hybrid of simmering, real-talking spirit and emphatic, folkie-and soul-style statement-making. Copeland sings slow-burning soul and rollicking country-blues with growling vigor and potent conviction.
--NPR MUSIC, First Listen

Bold and brassy attitude and soulful blues delivered with gospel fervor.
--No Depression

Fervent vocals and fierce delivery…Shemekia Copeland comes on stronger, harder and wiser than ever in her incendiary new album, America’s Child. You’re hearing music conceived to ignite passions and raise sensibilities.
--Chicago Tribune

Searing, husky vocals deliver the meticulously chosen material with fierce intent, balancing her emotionally moving four-alarm vocals with a more subtle tough yet tender approach. The riveting America’s Child pushes boundaries, creating music reflecting a larger, wider-ranging tract of Americana.
--American Songwriter

Shemekia Copeland is an antidote to artifice. She is a commanding presence, a powerhouse vocalist delivering the truth.
--Philadelphia Inquirer
 

###

Click here for the full story

Alligator Sets Oct 26 Street Date For JOURNEYS TO THE HEART OF THE BLUES
9/5/2018
Alligator Records has acquired the rights to release Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues on Friday, October 26. The album is a dynamic new acoustic release from three of the blues' best players. Together, Grammy-winning guitarist, vocalist and Blues Hall Of Famer Joe Louis Walker, virtuoso pianist Bruce Katz and next-generation British harmonica ace Giles Robson take listeners on a musical tour of beautifully played, soulfully sung traditional blues.

Alligator Sets Oct 26 Street Date For JOURNEYS TO THE HEART OF THE BLUES

Alligator Sets Oct 26 Street Date For JOURNEYS TO THE HEART OF THE BLUES

Available on Alligator in North America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan

Munich Records, A Division Of V2 Records Benelux, Will Release
In All Other Territories
 

Alligator Records has acquired the rights to release Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues on Friday, October 26. The album is a dynamic new acoustic release from three of the blues' best players. Together, Grammy-winning guitarist, vocalist and Blues Hall Of Famer Joe Louis Walker, virtuoso pianist Bruce Katz and next-generation British harmonica ace Giles Robson take listeners on a musical tour of beautifully played, soulfully sung traditional blues. The album features a carefully chosen collection of eleven stripped-down, unadulterated rare and classic blues and one newly written instrumental performed by absolute masters of the form. Alligator Records will release the album throughout North America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Munich Records, a division of V2 Records Benelux, will release it in all other territories.

Produced by Walker, Katz and Robson and recorded at NRS Studio, Journeys To The Heart Of The Bluescaptures three blues giants digging deep. These are gimmick-free, stripped down recordings, full of raw emotion. The songs—by blues masters including Sonny Boy Williamson, Jazz Gillum, Blind Willie McTell, Smiley Lewis, Papa Lightfoot and Big Maceo—may be old, but the recordings are fresh and vibrant. Walker’s vocals and guitar have never sounded more soulful. Katz’s virtuoso piano playing adds texture and depth, while Robson’s harmonica playing fuels the music to even greater heights. According to Robson, “Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues celebrates the dynamics, grooves, lyrics and feeling of pure, traditional blues. It’s blues played intimately and at a low volume and with the wonderful space that is created when drums and bass are taken out of the equation.”

NPR Music says Joe Louis Walker is “a legendary boundary-pushing icon of modern blues.” He is among the blues’ most honored players, and is known worldwide as a mesmerizing guitarist and soul-testifying vocalist. Walker was born in San Francisco on Christmas Day, 1949. He picked up the guitar as a child, and by the time he was 16, was an in-demand musician on the local club scene, regularly backing touring blues artists rolling through town. As a teenager, he was the house guitarist at San Francisco’s famed musical playground The Matrix, where he played with or opened shows for everyone from Lightnin’ Hopkins to Jimi Hendrix to Thelonious Monk. Since his debut record in 1986, Walker has released 23 albums and has toured the world virtually non-stop. In addition to his Grammy Award, he has won four Blues Music Awards, and has been nominated for a BMA a whopping 52 times.

Pianist Bruce Katz, among the most in-demand pianists on the blues scene and a four-time Blues Music Award nominee, was born in New York City in 1952. He has recorded nine albums with The Bruce Katz Band and has performed, toured and recorded with The Gregg Allman Band, Delbert McClinton, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, John Hammond, Ronnie Earl, Duke Robillard, Joe Louis Walker and Butch Trucks as well as with The Allman Brothers Band. Greg Allman said of Katz, “He can play jazz, blues, Bach, anything. Man, he’s a heavy!” Legendary blues pianist Pinetop Perkins simply said, “Now that’s a piano player.”

UK-based harmonicist and bandleader Giles Robson, born in 1978, has recorded three albums and has won fans and headlined festivals all across the UK, Europe and even Russia. A lifelong blues devotee, he knows and understands tradition but is unafraid to take the music in unexpected directions. His most recent CD is 2016’s For Those Who Need The Blues. He picked up his first harmonica at age 14 and soon after saw a concert by American Piedmont blues duo Cephas & Wiggins at his local arts center. From then on, he was hooked on the blues. Blues Matters (UK) says, “Robson is a world class harpist. He has the authority, confidence and expertise associated with legends.”

Together, the interplay of these three master musicians borders on telepathic. With Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues, they have created a dynamic, intimate album of pure, unrestrained blues magic. According to Walker, “This album is a throwback to the days of less is more. No long guitar solos, no drums or extra instrumentation. Just good honest blues played with heart and soul. I hope people enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.” Katz says, “This was an incredibly satisfying CD to record. To be able to play deep, real blues with musicians like Joe and Giles was a truly soulful experience.” As Robson says, “Each song on the album took us on a journey, both lyrically and musically, to the heart of blues music. We invite you to take those journeys with us.” With that in mind, Joe Louis Walker, Bruce Katz and Giles Robson will join forces live and tour Europe in fall of 2018, with plans to bring the music to the U.S.A. in the near future.

Confirmed tour dates are as follows:

September 7 -- Foscani Blues Festival, ROMANIA

September 8 -- Rockstadt Club, Brasov, ROMANIA

September 13 -- Pizza Express Live, Maidstone, UK

September 14 -- Blues De Flux, Zaandam, NETHERLANDS

September 15 -- Pizza Express Live, Birmingham, UK

September 16 -- Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho, LONDON, UK

 

###

Click here for the full story

LAZY LESTER: June 20, 1933 - August 22, 2018
8/23/2018

LAZY LESTER: June 20, 1933 - August 22, 2018

Iconic blues legend Lazy Lester died of cancer on Wednesday, August 22 at his home in Paradise, California. He was 85. The multi-instrumentalist was known primarily for his down home harmonica skills and laconic vocals, but was also proficient on guitar and drums. He developed what he called “swamp blues,” a mix of blues, swamp pop and honky-tonk country music. Lester's high-pitched harmonica and 'lazy' vocals are blues archetypes.

Born Leslie Johnson just outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1933, Lester picked up a harmonica as a boy, quickly becoming proficient and eventually developing his own signature style. After a chance meeting with blues star Lightnin’ Slim, Lester was introduced to Excello Records owner Jay Miller, who signed him to the label. Lester's carefree personality prompted Miller to dub him "Lazy Lester." His first single, 1957’s I’m a Lover Not a Fighter, was a major R&B hit, and was later recorded by The Kinks. Songs including Sugar Coated Love, I Hear You Knocking and Talk To You By Hand helped Lester become an Excello star for over a decade.

He released his first full album, Lazy Lester Rides Again, for the Blue Horizon label in the UK in 1987. Alligator Records released Harp & Soul in 1988. He recorded albums for Antone’s and other labels into the 2000s, continuing to performing at festivals and clubs around the world in front of eager and appreciative fans, and he was a regular at the famed New Orleans Ponderosa Stomp music festival.

Lazy Lester was inducted into the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2004 he was part of Martin Scorsese’s Radio City Music Hall concert that became the documentary, Lightning in a Bottle. In 2012, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis. In June of this year, Geico Insurance featured Lester in a national television advertising campaign.

Click here for the full story

Vocalist/Drummer Lindsay Beaver To Release Alligator Records Debut, Tough As Love, on October 12
8/15/2018

Alligator Records has set an October 12, 2018 release date for Tough As Love the dynamic label debut from blues-rocking, soul-singing drummer, songwriter and bandleader Lindsay Beaver.

Vocalist/Drummer Lindsay Beaver To Release Alligator Records Debut, Tough As Love, on October 12

Vocalist/Drummer Lindsay Beaver To Release Alligator Records Debut, Tough As Love, on October 12

 

“She’s like the love child of Amy Winehouse and Little Richard.”
–Bruce Iglauer, Alligator Records president


“When I first started out, I couldn't find a singer I liked and I couldn't find a drummer I liked, so I decided to do both.”   
–Lindsay Beaver

Alligator Records has set an October 12, 2018 release date for Tough As Love the dynamic label debut from blues-rocking, soul-singing drummer, songwriter and bandleader Lindsay Beaver. On the album and on stage, Beaver is a true powerhouse. She makes an immediate and unforgettable impression. Standing front and center at her kit, singing every song from the depths of her soul, she delivers blues, R&B and old school rock ‘n’ roll with punk rock energy, and sings with a voice brimming with attitude and soulfulness. Starting on the release date, she'll begin a major tour across the United States and Cana da. Until then, she's holding down a weekly residency at Austin, Texas' famed blues club, Antone's.

Lindsay comes at every song with urgent intensity, soul-baring emotion, a distinct swagger and a take-no-prisoners confidence. With influences ranging from Little Richard to The Ramones, from Billie Holiday to Queens of the Stone Age, Lindsay has crafted a timeless sound and personal style that simply cannot be denied.

Hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Beaver possesses an old soul at the young age of 33. She is a classically trained vocalist and a jazz-trained drummer with a deep love and knowledge of roots music, from blues to jazz to R&B ballads to raucous rock ‘n’ roll. Live and on her recordings, she lays it all on the line, performing her signature mix of unforgettable originals and dance floor-filling versions of songs by artists as diverse as Sam Cooke and The Detroit Cobras. Her Alligator Records debut, Tough As Love, introduces her as a true force of nature with a sky’s-the-limit future.

Tough As Love, produced by Beaver, was recorded in Lindsay’s current hometown of Austin, Texas. She wrote seven of the album’s twelve tracks, the striking originals melding seamlessly with the perfectly-chosen covers. Her deep understanding of blues and roots rock traditions is a launching pad for her songs, combining electric urgency with skill and finesse. Tough As Love honors some of Beaver’s inspirations (including songs by Little Willie John, Angela Strehli and Art Neville) while introducing her own unforgettable songs. Along with her touring band—guitarist Brad Stivers and bassist Josh Williams (“they are the glue that holds it all together,” she says)—well-known friends including Marcia Ball, Dennis Gruenling, Laura Chavez, Eve Monsees and Sax Gordon all add their talents to the proceedings. According to Beaver, “These are all folks that I’ve admired or wanted to perform with for years. It was important for me to highlight people that have inspired me.” From the first song to the last, Tough As Love is rough and raw, fearless and moving.

Over the course of her career, Beaver self-released five albums by her previous band, the 24th Street Wailers, producing three of them. Tough As Love is her first release under her own name. She has toured Canada, the United States and large swaths of Europe, and will be back on the road bringing her new music directly to the people, earning new fans at every stop. “I like music with drive and passion,” she says. “I write what I know and I sing what I know. At my shows, I want people to have fun and to be moved. I want everyone to be inspired to dance and I want at least some people to be moved to tears. And I definitely want every person to go home saying, ‘I’m never going to forget this.’”

Click here for the full story