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Marcia Ball Wins 2018 Living Blues Readers' Poll Award
8/7/2018

In the just-published issue #256, Living Blues magazine announced the recipients of their annual Living Blues Awards. Pianist Marcia Ball won the Readers' Poll Award For Most Outstanding Musician (Keyboard). This is Ball's 11th Living Blues Award.

Marcia Ball Wins 2018 Living Blues Readers' Poll Award

Marcia Ball Wins 2018 Living Blues Readers' Poll Award

In the just-published issue #256, Living Blues magazine announced the recipients of their annual Living Blues Awards. Pianist Marcia Ball won the Readers' Poll Award For Most Outstanding Musician (Keyboard). This is Ball's 11th Living Blues Award.

Currently celebrating 50 years as a professional musician, Ball has won worldwide fame and countless fans for her ability to ignite a full-scale roadhouse rhythm and blues party every time she takes the stage. Her rollicking Texas boogies, swampy New Orleans ballads and groove-laden Gulf Coast blues have made her a one-of-a-kind favorite with music lovers all over the world. The New York Times says, “Marcia Ball plays two-fisted New Orleans barrelhouse piano and sings in a husky, knowing voice about all the trouble men and women can get into on the way to a good time.”

With her new album, Shine Bright, Ball set out to, in her words, “Make the best Marcia Ball record I could make.” In doing so, she has put together the most musically substantial and uplifting set of songs of her five-decade career. Ball’s new songs are energized by Steve Berlin’s inventive and exciting production, creating electrifying music that is daring, inspired, poignant and timely. Shine Bright is exactly the album Ball set out to make. “It is a ridiculously hopeful, cheerful record,” she says, in light of some of the album’s more serious subject matter. The secret, according to Ball “is to set the political songs to a good dance beat.”

Ball will be inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall Of Fame in October 2018. She holds ten Blues Music Awards, eleven Living Blues Awards, and five Grammy Award nominations. She has been inducted into both the Gulf Coast Music Hall Of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame. The Texas State legislature named her the official 2018 Texas State Musician. According to The Houston Chronicle, “Marcia Ball’s brand of blues lifts the spirit. She’s as perfect an artist as could be."

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Media Raves About Shemekia Copeland's Just-Released AMERICA'S CHILD
8/3/2018

On Shemekia Copeland's new album, America’s Child (released today, Friday, August 3), the Grammy-nominated singer melds Americana, blues and soul in intense, subtle performances of songs that address the complexities of life in America today. National press and radio are raving about this career-defining release.

Media Raves About Shemekia Copeland's Just-Released AMERICA'S CHILD

Media Raves About Shemekia Copeland's Just-Released AMERICA'S CHILD

On Shemekia Copeland's new album, America’s Child (released today, Friday, August 3), the Grammy-nominated singer melds Americana, blues and soul in intense, subtle performances of songs that address the complexities of life in America today. National press and radio are raving about this career-defining release.

After two weeks as #1 Most Added Single at Americana Radio, the song Ain’t Got Time For Hate shot up to #6 on the Americana Singles Chart and America’s Child entered the Top 10 Americana Albums at #9. America’s Child also garnered the #2 Most Added Album on FMQB’s AAA Radio Chart behind Tom Petty.

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. 4-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

Copeland and her band will showcase at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville on Thursday, September 13, 2018, and tour throughout the country in the coming months.
 

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Alligator To Release JOURNEYS TO THE HEART OF THE BLUES By Joe Louis Walker, Bruce Katz And Giles Robson
7/31/2018
Alligator Records has acquired the rights to release Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues, a dynamic new acoustic album from three of the blues' best players.

Alligator To Release JOURNEYS TO THE HEART OF THE BLUES By Joe Louis Walker, Bruce Katz And Giles Robson

Alligator To Release JOURNEYS TO THE HEART OF THE BLUES By Joe Louis Walker, Bruce Katz And Giles Robson

Alligator Records has acquired the rights to release Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues, a dynamic new acoustic album 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 and bandleader 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. The official street date, set for late autumn, will be announced soon.

The album was conceived in December of 2016 when Joe Louis Walker first met and jammed with Giles Robson at a festival in the Netherlands. Robson imagined recording an acoustic blues album with Walker. Walker quickly agreed, and suggested adding famed piano player Bruce Katz to the mix. The result is Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues.

Produced by Walker, Katz and Robson and recorded at NRS Studio in Woodstock, New York during a sub-zero stretch of weather in January of 2018, Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues captures three blues giants reinterpreting obscure and classic songs. The trio digs deep, playing with gimmick-free raw energy on songs by blues masters including Sonny Boy Williamson, Jazz Gillum, Blind Willie McTell, Smiley Lewis, Papa Lightfoot and Big Maceo. The songs 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 har monica 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 Walker is “a legendary boundary-pushing icon of modern blues.” With 23 solo albums and countless touring miles to his credit, he is among the blues’ most honored players. Pianist Bruce Katz, with nine solo albums under his belt, has performed regularly with Delbert McClinton, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, John Hammond and others, and is among the most in-demand pianists on the blues scene. Harmonicist Giles Robson has recorded three albums and has won fans all across the UK and Europe. Together, the interplay of these three master musicians borders on telepathic. They will be bringing the music on the road, beginning with European and UK dates in autumn of 2018, with more dates and locations to be announced.

Confirmed 2018 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

 

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Shemekia Copeland's AMERICA'S CHILD Streams On NPR Music's First Listen
7/26/2018
NPR Music's First Listen will stream award-winning vocalist Shemekia Copeland's potent new Alligator Records album, America's Child, in its entirety beginning Thursday, July 26 through the album's official release date of Friday, August 3. Writer Jewly Hight says the album is "an act of artistic evolution" and highlights its "slow-burning soul" and "confrontational intensity." Listen here.

Shemekia Copeland's AMERICA'S CHILD Streams On NPR Music's First Listen

Shemekia Copeland's AMERICA'S CHILD Streams On NPR Music's First Listen

Album set for August 3 release. Produced by Will Kimbrough with guests including John Prine, Mary Gauthier, Rhiannon Giddens, Emmylou Harris, J.D. Wilkes, Steve Cropper and others.

Shemekia Copeland is a powerhouse, a superstar…she can do no wrong.
--Rolling Stone

Shemekia Copeland is one of the great blues voices of our time.  No one comes close to the sheer firepower that Copeland conjures at will.
--Chicago Tribune

America's Child is a groundbreaking, genre-bending work of beauty. Shemekia is one of the great singers of our time. This record introduces listeners to another side of her, and I predict it will result in many new fans. Her voice on these songs is nothing short of magic.
--Mary Gauthier 

Shemekia Copeland is the real deal. America's Child goes deep and Shemekia‘s voice -- a national treasure -- carries the songs effortlessly, whether topical, personal, spiritual, political or just plain raucous fun. Shemekia rears back her head and what comes out is humanity made vocal.
--Will Kimbrough

NPR Music's First Listen will stream award-winning vocalist Shemekia Copeland's potent new Alligator Records album, America's Child, in its entirety beginning Thursday, July 26 through the album's official release date of Friday, August 3. Writer Jewly Hight says the album is "an act of artistic evolution" and highlights its "slow-burning soul" and "confrontational intensity." Listen here.

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. In their just-published four-star review of the album, MOJO says, "Shemekia's voice is rich, soulful and totally commanding."

America's Child (her eighth album) is Copeland's most compelling work yet, with music swelling beyond blues and into spirited Americana, with elements of rock, soul, and country. Her instantly recognizable voice—capable of being sultry, assertive and roaring—delivers every song with unparalleled honesty and passion. 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.

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. Gauthier and songwriter/executive producer John Hahn wrote two striking songs for the project. Smoked Ham And Peaches is a search for truth and tranquility in America, featuring Giddens on African banjo. Americans celebrates our collective diversity in all its forms and colors. American music legend Prine joins Shemekia for a stirring duet on his own Great Rain. Guitar great Cropper adds his scorching playing to the ballad Promised Myself, written by Shemekia's father, the late bluesman Johnny Clyde Copeland. And her version of I'm Not Like Everybody Else transforms the Kinks song into a blues-fueled declaration of independence.

With the birth of her son Johnny Lee Copeland-Schultz in 2016, Shemekia, with fresh eyes, began to take an even deeper look at the state of the world. Of the new album, she says, “After having a child, I started thinking about the world I brought him into, how it actually is and how I wished it was and all the things he will have to go through. And to live in this world today, you have to have a strong foundation like I did to make it through. So that’s what 'America’s child' means to me. I’m truly grateful to all the artists that joined me on this record – it wasn’t about the genre for anyone, it was about the music and mutual love and respect.”

Upon release of America's Child, Copeland will tour nationwide, including a showcase performance at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville in September.

Click here for the full story

Eric Lindell Returns To Alligator With Sept 7 Release Of REVOLUTION IN YOUR HEART
6/27/2018
Alligator Records has set a September 7, 2018 release date for Revolution In Your Heart, the irresistible new album from roots rocker Eric Lindell.

Eric Lindell Returns To Alligator With Sept 7 Release Of REVOLUTION IN YOUR HEART

Eric Lindell Returns To Alligator With Sept 7 Release Of REVOLUTION IN YOUR HEART

A tremendous raw talent with a poet’s soul… Lindell writes from the heart with a fully realized musical vision           
--Chicago Sun-Times

Impressive super slinky blues and rock with a taste of country twang. Bound to win over roots music fans for years to come
--Guitar Player

Stellar, sublime blue-eyed soul and romping New Orleans R&B, played at the intersection of soul, blues and roots rock
—New Orleans Times-Picayune

 
Alligator Records has set a September 7, 2018 release date for Revolution In Your Heart, the irresistible new album from roots rocker Eric Lindell. With his raspy, soulful voice and memorable original material, the songwriter and multi-instrumentalist first came to national prominence on Alligator Records in 2006, releasing three critically acclaimed albums filled with songs which became instant fan favorites. After a series of releases for other labels, Lindell now returns to Alligator with Revolution In Your Heart, featuring his most engaging and personal writing and his most enticing, instantly hummable melodies.

Revolution In Your Heart was recorded at Studio In The Country in Bogalusa, Louisiana and produced by Lindell and Benjamin Mumphrey. Lindell plays just about everything on the recording – guitar, bass, keyboards, organ, harmonica – except drums, which are expertly played by Willie McMains. The only other musician on the record is keyboardist Kevin McKendree (Delbert McClinton, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Tinsley Ellis), who plays piano on one song. The twelve universally relatable original songs – many of them autobiographical – combine sunshiny melodies and thick, greasy grooves, and paint vivid pictures of everyday living. From the first note to the last, Revolution In Your Heart feels not only somehow immediately familiar, but also profoundly moving. Asked about the timeless appeal of his songs, Lindell simply says, “Music runs deep, it’s a powerful thing.”

Lindell effortlessly mixes West Coast rock, swampy New Orleans R&B, honky tonk country and Memphis soul, creating American roots music that is both surprisingly fresh and sweetly familiar. Although influenced by American roots music from blues to country to rock, Lindell’s style is all his own. USA Today says, "Lindell's genre defying music pumps soul into funk, blues and roots." He has performed thousands of gigs in roadhouses, clubs, concert halls and festivals and has appeared on national radio and television. His live shows overflow with happy, dancing people singing the words to every song.

Lindell's Alligator debut, 2006’s Change In The Weather delighted and surprised music fans hungry for a truly original artist. His deceptively simple sounding songs, laid back grooves and hook-laden melodies were further enriched by guests including Harold Brown (War), Ivan Neville and Stanton Moore (Galactic). Critics across the country went wild, with reviews and features in Relix, OffBeat, Guitar Player, Down Beat, The New Yorker and many other national and regional publications. 2007’s Low On Cash, Rich In Love and 2009’s Gulf Coast Highway pushed Lindell farther into the spotlight. Appearances on Late Night With Conan O’Brien and National Public Radio’s World Cafe and Mountain Stage solidified his stature as an artist who simply could not be ignored. Many of his songs have appeared in films and television shows, including Boston Legal and Treme. He has collaborated and shared stages with blues and rock luminaries, including John Fogerty, Luther Dickinson and Anson Funderburgh.

With Revolution In Your Heart, Lindell was more than ready to come home to Alligator. “The timing is perfect. I’m so excited to get back to focusing on what I do and have such a great team behind me,” he says. Upon release of the album, Lindell and his band will tour heavily, reuniting with old friends and, as always, earning new fans at every stop. AllMusic declares Lindell a singular talent, saying, “He plays soulful, funk-drenched, tight and focused grooves. He is a quadruple threat as a solid songwriter, impressive guitarist, affecting singer and harmonica blower. This is music that’s deceptively difficult to create. Lindell makes it seem not just easy, but natural.”

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Eight Alligator Artists Receive Twelve 2018 Living Blues Award Nominations
6/20/2018

Living Blues magazine has announced the nominees for the 2018 Living Blues Readers' Awards. Eight Alligator Records artists received a total of 12 nominations. Rick Estrin & The Nightcats received three, Elvin Bishop and Shemekia Copeland each received two, and Coco Montoya, Tommy Castro, Marcia Ball, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials and Oscar Wilson (of The Cash Box Kings) each received one.

Eight Alligator Artists Receive Twelve 2018 Living Blues Award Nominations

Living Blues magazine has announced the nominees for the 2018 Living Blues Readers' Awards. Eight Alligator Records artists received a total of 12 nominations. Rick Estrin & The Nightcats received three, Elvin Bishop and Shemekia Copeland each received two, and Coco Montoya, Tommy Castro, Marcia Ball, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials and Oscar Wilson (of The Cash Box Kings) each received one.

The public -- subscribers and non-subscribers alike -- can vote at www.livingblues.com or by mailing in the ballot in the current issue of the magazine (#255), by July 15, 2018.

Winners will be announced in August.

Alligator artists and awards are as follows:

RICK ESTRIN & THE NIGHTCATS:

Best Live Performer
Blues Artist Of The Year (Male)
Most Outstanding Musician (Harmonica)

ELVIN BISHOP:

Blues Artist Of The Year (Male)
Best Album Of 2017 - Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio

SHEMEKIA COPELAND:

Blues Artist Of The Year (Female)
Most Outstanding Blues Singer

COCO MONTOYA:

Blues Artist Of The Year (Male)

TOMMY CASTRO:

Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar)

MARCIA BALL:

Most Outstanding Musician (Keyboards)

LIL' ED & THE BLUES IMPERIALS:

Best Live Performer

OSCAR WILSON (of The Cash Box Kings):

Most Outstanding Blues Singer

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LIL’ ED & THE BLUES IMPERIALS DEBUT NEW WEBSITE
6/11/2018

Award-winning blues legends Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials debut their band new website at www.Liledblues.com. At the site, fans can read the very latest, most up-to-the-minute news about the band, as well as dive into their illustrious history.  Additionally, people can preview and purchase the band’s music and make plans to see them live while checking out the most current tour dates.

LIL’ ED & THE BLUES IMPERIALS DEBUT NEW WEBSITE

Award-winning blues legends Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials debut their band new website at www.Liledblues.com. At the site, fans can read the very latest, most up-to-the-minute news about the band, as well as dive into their illustrious history.  Additionally, people can preview and purchase the band’s music and make plans to see them live while checking out the most current tour dates.
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Alligator Artists Receive Six Blues Blast Award Nominations
6/6/2018
The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling, Selwyn Birchwood, Tinsley Ellis, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats and Curtis Salgado & Alan Hager all receive nominations

Alligator Artists Receive Six Blues Blast Award Nominations

FIVE ALLIGATOR RECORDS ARTISTS RECEIVE SIX 

BLUES BLAST AWARD NOMINATIONS

On Tuesday, June 5, 2018, Blues Blast magazine announced the nominees for the 2018 Blues Blast Awards. Five Alligator Records recording artists received a total of six Blues Blast Award nominations. The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling received two nods: Best Blues Band and Traditional Album Of The Year (for The High Cost Of Low Living). Rick Estrin & The Nightcats (the current 2018 Blues Music Award-winning Band Of The Year) also received a nomination for Best Blues Band. Tinsley Ellis and the duo of Curtis Salgado & Alan Hager each received nominations for Album Of The Year: Ellis in the Rock Blues Album category for Winning Hand, Salgado & Hager in the Acoustic Blues Album category for Rough Cut.

Fan voting to determine the winners begins July 1, 2018 and continues until August 31, 2018 at BluesBlastMagazine.com. Voting is open to anyone who signs up for a free Blues Blast Magazine email subscription. The Blues Blast Music Awards are presented by Blues Blast magazine. The 2018 Blues Blast Awards ceremonies will be held on September 29th, at Tebala Event Center in Rockford, Illinois.

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Blues Legend Eddy Clearwater: January 10, 1935 - June 1, 2018
6/1/2018

Grammy-nominated Chicago blues legend Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater died of heart failure on Friday, June 1, in his hometown of Skokie, Illinois. He was 83.

Blues Legend Eddy Clearwater: January 10, 1935 - June 1, 2018

Grammy-nominated Chicago blues legend Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater died of heart failure on Friday, June 1, in his hometown of Skokie, Illinois. He was 83.

Born Edward Harrington on January 10, 1935 in Macon, Mississippi, Clearwater (as he came to be known) was internationally lauded for his blues-rocking guitar playing, his original songs and his flamboyant showmanship. He was inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame in 2016, and also won two Blues Music Awards including Contemporary Male Blues Artist Of The Year in 2001.

Clearwater was equally comfortable playing the deepest, most intense blues or his own brand of rocking, good-time party music – a style he called “rock-a-blues,” mixing blues, rock, rockabilly, country and gospel. Between his slashing guitar work and his room-filling vocals, Clearwater was among the very finest practitioners of the West Side style of Chicago blues. DownBeat called him “a forceful six-stringer...He lays down gritty West Side shuffles and belly-grinding slow blues that highlight his raw chops, soulful vocals, and earthy, humorous lyrics." Blues Revue said he played “joyous rave-ups. He testifies with stunning soul fervor and powerful guitar. He is one of the blues’ finest songwriters.”

Clearwater's musical talent became clear early on. From his Mississippi birthplace, He and his family moved to Birmingham, AL in 1948 when he was 13. With music from blues to gospel to country & western surrounding him from an early age, Clearwater taught himself to play guitar (left-handed and upside down), and began performing with various gospel groups, including the legendary Five Blind Boys of Alabama. After moving to Chicago in 1950, he stayed with an uncle and took a job as a dishwasher, saving as much as he could from his $37 a week salary. His first music jobs were with gospel groups playing in local churches. Through his uncle’s contacts, Clearwater met many of Chicago’s blues stars. He fell deeper under the spell of the blues, and befriended Magic Sam, who would become one of Clearwater’s closest friends and teachers.

By 1953, as Guitar Eddy, he was making a strong name for himself, working the South and West Side bars regularly. After hearing Chuck Berry in 1957, Clearwater added a rock and roll element to his already searing blues style, creating a unique signature sound. He recorded his first single, Hill Billy Blues, for his uncle’s Atomic H label in 1958 under the name Clear Waters (his manager at the time, drummer Jump Jackson, came up with the name as a play on Muddy Waters). The name Clear Waters morphed into Eddy Clearwater. He worked the Chicago club circuit steadily throughout the 1950s, 1960s and into the 1970s. He found huge success in the 1970s among the city's college crowd, who responded to his individual brand of blues, his rock and roll spirit and his high energy stage show.

Clearwater's first full-length LP, 1980’s The Chief, was the initial release on Chicago’s Rooster Blues label, launching him onto the national and international blues scene. Over the decades he recorded over 15 solo albums and never stopped touring, with fans from Chicago to Japan to Poland. His 2003 album on Bullseye Blues, Rock ‘N’ Roll City, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album. He released West Side Strut on Alligator in 2008 to both international popular and critical acclaim. His most recent CD was the self-released Soul Funky in 2014.

Clearwater is survived by his wife, Renee Greenman Harrington Clearwater, children Heather Greenman, Alyssa Jacquelyn, David Knopf, Randy Greenman, Jason Harrington and Edgar Harrington and grandchildren Gabriella Knopf and Graham Knopf.

Services will be held on Tuesday, June 5 at 11:00am at Chicago Jewish Funerals, 8851 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL 60077.

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Shemekia Copeland to Release AMERICA'S CHILD on August 3
5/30/2018

Award-winning vocalist Shemekia Copeland will release her potent new Alligator Records album, America's Child, on Friday, August 3, 2018. 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.

Shemekia Copeland to Release AMERICA'S CHILD on August 3

Shemekia Copeland to Release AMERICA'S CHILD on August 3

Produced by Will Kimbrough with guests including John Prine, Mary Gauthier, Rhiannon Giddens, Emmylou Harris, J.D. Wilkes, Steve Cropper and others.

Shemekia Copeland is a powerhouse, a superstar…she can do no wrong.
--Rolling Stone

America's Child is a groundbreaking, genre-bending work of beauty. Shemekia is one of the great singers of our time. This record introduces listeners to another side of her, and I predict it will result in many new fans. Her voice on these songs is nothing short of magic.
--Mary Gauthier

Shemekia Copeland is the real deal. America's Child goes deep and Shemekia‘s voice -- a national treasure -- carries the songs effortlessly, whether topical, personal, spiritual, political or just plain raucous fun. Shemekia rears back her head and what comes out is humanity made vocal.
--Will Kimbrough

Shemekia Copeland is one of the great blues voices of our time.  No one comes close to the sheer firepower that Copeland conjures at will.
--Chicago Tribune

Award-winning vocalist Shemekia Copeland will release her potent new Alligator Records album, America's Child, on Friday, August 3, 2018. 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.

America's Child is by far Copeland's most compelling work yet, with music swelling beyond blues and into spirited Americana, with elements of rock, soul, and country. Her instantly recognizable voice—capable of being sultry, assertive and roaring—delivers every song with unparalleled honesty and passion. 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.

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. Gauthier and songwriter/executive producer John Hahn wrote two striking songs for the project. Smoked Ham And Peaches is a search for truth and tranquility in America, featuring Giddens on African banjo. Americans celebrates our collective diversity in all its forms and colors. American music legend Prine joins Shemekia for a stirring duet on his own Great Rain. Guitar great Cropper adds his scorching playing to the ballad Promised Myself, written by Shemekia's father, the late bluesman Johnny Clyde Copeland. And her version of I'm Not Like Everybody Else transforms the Kinks song into a blues-fueled declaration of independence.

Upon the birth of her son Johnny Lee Copeland-Schultz in 2016, Shemekia, with fresh eyes, began to take an even deeper look at the state of the world. Of the new album, she says, “After having a child, I started thinking about the world I brought him into, how it actually is and how I wished it was and all the things he will have to go through. And to live in this world today, you have to have a strong foundation like I did to make it through. So that’s what 'America’s child' means to me. I’m truly grateful to all the artists that joined me on this record – it wasn’t about the genre for anyone, it was about the music and mutual love and respect.”

When Shemekia broke on the scene at age 18 in 1998 with her groundbreaking Alligator Records debut CD, Turn The Heat Up, she instantly became a blues and R&B force to be reckoned with. News outlets from The New York Times to CNN praised Copeland's talent, larger-than-life personality, and true star power. With each subsequent release, Copeland's music has continued to grow. From her debut through 2005's The Soul Truth, Shemekia earned eight Blues Music Awards, a host of Living Blues Awards (including the prestigious 2010 Blues Artist Of The Year) and more accolades from fans, critics and fellow musicians. 2000’s Wicked received a Grammy nomination. Two highly successful releases on Telarc (including 2012's Grammy-nominated 33 1/3) cemented her reputation as a singer who, according to NPR's All Things Considered, "embodies the blues with her powerful vocal chops and fearless look at social issues."

Copeland returned to Alligator Records in 2015 with the Grammy-nominated Outskirts Of Love. She won the 2017 Living Blues Readers’ Award for Blues Artist Of The Year (Female), the same distinction she won the year before. She also took home the 2016 Blues Music Award (BMA) for Contemporary Blues Female Artist Of  The Year. Outskirts Of Love won the BMA for Best Blues Album Of The Year. MOJO said Copeland was "spectacular, stirring, sanctified and sassy."

Shemekia Copeland has performed thousands of gigs at clubs, festivals and concert halls all over the world and has appeared on national television, NPR, and in newspapers, films and magazines. She's sung with Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, Carlos Santana, James Cotton and many others. She opened for The Rolling Stones and entertained U.S. troops in Iraq and Kuwait. Jeff Beck calls her “amazing.” Santana says, “She’s incandescent…a diamond.” 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.

Now, with America's Child, Shemekia Copeland is standing on the cusp of her greatest success. Her intensely empowering, American music is as insightful as it is fun. Upon release of the album, she'll tour nationwide, including a showcase performance at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville in September.

NPR Music says, "She brings a perfect balance of authority and understatement to each song." No Depression adds, "When Shemekia Copeland opens her mouth, everybody pays attention. She pierces your soul. This is how you do it, and nobody does it better than Shemekia Copeland."

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Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio Return With SOMETHING SMELLS FUNKY 'ROUND HERE On July 13
5/21/2018
Legendary guitarist, singer and songwriter Elvin Bishop and his Big Fun Trio -- Bob Welsh on piano and guitar and Willy Jordan on cajón (a hand-played Peruvian drumbox) and vocals -- are set to release their new Alligator Records album, Something Smells Funky 'Round Here, on Friday, July 13.

Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio Return With SOMETHING SMELLS FUNKY 'ROUND HERE On July 13

Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio Return With SOMETHING SMELLS FUNKY 'ROUND HERE On July 13

Deceptively loose but always tight…the raspy chuckle in Bishop’s singing and the sharp sting of his guitar are forceful and fresh, enduring and fun.
–Fresh Air, NPR

Raw and simple and utterly endearing.
--RELIX

Elvin Bishop has always been big fun and is the ringmaster in his own blues circus. With Willy Jordan and Bob Welsh, Bishop whomps out tough, muscular and rollicking boogie-infused blues.
--No Depression


Legendary guitarist, singer and songwriter Elvin Bishop and his Big Fun Trio -- Bob Welsh on piano and guitar and Willy Jordan on cajón (a hand-played Peruvian drumbox) and vocals -- are set to release their new Alligator Records album, Something Smells Funky 'Round Here, on Friday, July 13. The album is a follow up to the group's 2017 Grammy-nominated self-titled debut.

Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here was produced by Bishop and recording engineer Steve Savage and recorded at Bishop’s Hog Heaven Studio in Lagunitas, California. Bishop wrote or co-wrote five songs (including two by the entire trio). The album mixes rousing new originals, reinventions of three Bishop classics and some unexpected, soul-shaking covers. The potent title track – a tongue-in-cheek State Of The Union address as only Elvin can deliver -- kicks the album off with Bishop aiming his lyrical truths at those in power. The humorous but piercingly direct lyrics take aim at the current political scene while Bishop’s deep blues guitar playing drives the point home. Lookin’ Good finds Bishop autobiographically gazing in the rearview mirror with sharp, wry lyrics accompanied by Welsh’s perfect blues piano. Jordan sings lead on four songs, including blistering reinventions of Jackie Wilson’s Higher And Higher and Ann Peebles’ I Can’t Stand The Rain. Welsh, whose guitar or piano playing highlight every song, pounds the ivories on his own Bob’s Boogie. “This album fell together easily,” says Bishop. “Everything I visualized about the songs – from Bob’s playing to Willy’s singing, came true. Bob and Willy are great musicians.”

Ever since Rock & Roll and Blues Hall Of Famer Elvin Bishop first hit the scene with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band back in 1965, he’s blazed his own musical trail. Whether he was playing raw, eye-popping blues, or penning the evergreen radio hit Fooled Around And Fell In Love, or touring the world for decades delivering his original, good-time countrified blues, Bishop has always inspired his fans with his rowdy guitar playing and witty, slice-of-life songs. Rolling Stone calls Bishop “a legendary guitarist” whose playing is “impeccable and spirited…a distinguished American player.”

Elvin Bishop formed The Big Fun Trio in late 2015 with his friends Bob Welsh and Willy Jordan PERIOD After playing just a handful of live dates, the group’s instantly crowd-pleasing music and undeniable chemistry took the blues world by storm. With the release of their self-titled CD in 2017, media and fan response was immediate and overwhelming. DownBeat celebrated Bishop’s “verbal hijinks, outstanding guitar work and country boy friendliness.” OffBeat said The Big Fun Trio was “intricate, funky and uplifting,” declaring them, “consistently great.” With its top-shelf musicianship and front-porch vibe, the album earned a Grammy Award nomination, and won Blues Music Awards for Album Of The Year and Song Of The Year (for the title track) from The Blues Foundation.

The Big Fun Trio quickly discovered the more they played live, the more fun they had making music together. So a follow-up recording was an easy decision. The new album, Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here, finds the group fearlessly laying it all on the line. According to Elvin, “With a trio there’s no place to hide­—you’ve got to be pourin’ everything you got right out front. You need to be totally into it all the time. It’s really cool to see how people react to the goin’-for-it feel of the music.”

According to San Francisco Bay native Jordan, who has decades of experience playing drums with artists including John Lee Hooker, Joe Louis Walker and Angela Strehli, playing in the Big Fun Trio is “crazy different. It’s rootsy but also new. We all stayed simple to stay strong.” Welsh, originally from Covington, Louisiana, has performed and toured with Bishop, Rusty Zinn, Charlie Musselwhite, Billy Boy Arnold, James Cotton and others. Welsh says he too loves playing in the Trio. “Playing this music is fun and fresh and new to us. It keeps us on our toes. We’re always surprising each other. We have to be fearless.”

With Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here, Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio are clearly having a very good time. Having spent almost three years performing, these three tremendously talented musicians continue to inspire each other to new heights. As Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio take their music back on the road, fans will once again have a chance to experience the big fun first hand. According to Living Blues, “Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio has wonderful chemistry and are a joy to hear.”

 

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Marcia Ball To Be Inducted Into Austin City Limits Hall Of Fame
5/15/2018
Texas-born, Louisiana-raised pianist, songwriter and vocalist -- and official 2018 Texas State Musician -- Marcia Ball, will be inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall Of Fame on October 25, 2018. This will be the fifth anniversary class of Hall Of Fame inductees, which also includes Los Lobos and Ray Charles.

Marcia Ball To Be Inducted Into Austin City Limits Hall Of Fame

Marcia Ball To Be Inducted Into Austin City Limits Hall Of Fame

Fifth Anniversary Class Also Includes Los Lobos And Ray Charles


“Rollicking, playful, good-time blues and intimate, reflective balladry...her songs ring with emotional depth.”

–Rolling Stone

 Texas-born, Louisiana-raised pianist, songwriter and vocalist -- and official 2018 Texas State Musician -- Marcia Ball will be inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall Of Fame on October 25, 2018. This will be the fifth anniversary class of Hall Of Fame inductees, which also includes Los Lobos and Ray Charles. Previous inductees include Willie Nelson, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bonnie Raitt, Asleep At The Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Townes Van Zandt and others.

The ceremony will be hosted by Chris Isaak and will take place in Austin, Texas at ACL Live At The Moody Theater. Guests announced so far include Dan Auerbach, Irma Thomas and Tracy Nelson. Musical highlights and inductions from the ceremony will air nationally on PBS in a special New Year's Eve broadcast of Austin City Limits.

According to Ball, this is among the biggest honors of her 50-year career. "Austin City Limits put Austin on the map all over the country. Whenever we are touring, when I say where we are from, the immediate response from our fans is, 'Austin City Limits.' People in outlying towns would drive to major cities, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Atlanta, because they had seen us on the show. In the years when my broadcasts were current, I could have filled a 90 minute tape with the words, 'I never heard of you before, but I saw you on Austin City Limits.' ACL opened the door into millions of homes for us and other regional bands. Some of my most memorable musical moments have been as a performer or in the audience at an Austin City Limits show.  I was always honored to be asked to play ACL and I am thrilled and grateful to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame."

Currently celebrating 50 years as a professional musician, Ball has won worldwide fame and countless fans for her ability to ignite a full-scale roadhouse rhythm and blues party every time she takes the stage. Her rollicking Texas boogies, swampy New Orleans ballads and groove-laden Gulf Coast blues have made her a one-of-a-kind favorite with music lovers all over the world. The New York Times says, “Marcia Ball plays two-fisted New Orleans barrelhouse piano and sings in a husky, knowing voice about all the trouble men and women can get into on the way to a good time.”

With 2018 release, Shine Bright, Ball set out to, in her words, “Make the best Marcia Ball record I could make.” In doing so, she has put together the most musically substantial, hopeful and uplifting set of songs of her five-decade career. Produced by Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) and recorded in Texas and Louisiana, Shine Bright contains twelve songs, including nine originals. “It is a ridiculously hopeful, cheerful record,” she says, in light of some of the album’s more serious subject matter. The secret, according to Ball, “is to set the political songs to a good dance beat.”


Born in Orange, Texas in 1949 to a family whose female members all played piano, Ball grew up in the small town of Vinton, Louisiana, right across the border from Texas. Seeing an Irma Thomas performance in 1962 and falling under the spell of Professor Longhair's piano playing convinced Ball to seek out a career in music. She led a couple of early psychedelic country rock bands before pursuing her solo career from her adopted hometown of Austin, Texas.

After her 1978 Capitol Records debut, Circuit Queen, and a series of successful albums on Rounder Records, Ball joined Alligator in 2001 with the release of the critically acclaimed Presumed Innocent, the first of her six releases for the label, four of which have been Grammy nominated. Altogether she holds ten Blues Music Awards, ten Living Blues Awards, and five Grammy Award nominations. She has been inducted into both the Gulf Coast Music Hall Of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame. The Texas State legislature named her the official 2018 Texas State Musician. According to The Houston Chronicle, “Marcia Ball’s brand of blues lifts the spirit. She’s as perfect an artist as could be."

 

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