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Christone "Kingfish" Ingram Releases New Song, ROCK & ROLL
7/24/2020
On Friday, July 24, rising star blues guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Christone “Kingfish” Ingram releases his emotionally riveting new song, Rock & Roll.

Christone "Kingfish" Ingram Releases New Song, ROCK & ROLL

CHRISTONE “KINGFISH” INGRAM RELEASES NEW SONG, ROCK & ROLL, ON JULY 24


Rock & Roll is a tribute to Ingram's mother, the late Princess Pride, and is Ingram's first original song since his Grammy-nominated debut album, Kingfish

Listen To Rock & Roll here.
Watch the Rock & Roll video here.



She made a deal with the angels and they'll never let go
I'm gonna sell my soul to Rock and Roll

—Kingfish, Rock & Roll


On Friday, July 24, rising star blues guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Christone “Kingfish” Ingram releases his emotionally riveting new song, Rock & Roll. The track, originally composed by Nashville-based songwriters Sean McConnell and Ashley Ray, and adapted and personalized by Ingram, is a loving tribute to Ingram's mother, Princess Pride, who passed away in December, 2019. Pride, a single mother, worked countless hours to make certain Christone had every opportunity to learn and to succeed, in music and in life.

Rock & Roll is the first original song Kingfish has released since his 2019 Grammy-nominated debut album, Kingfish. He recorded his moving vocals and impassioned guitar solos in Memphis at Willie Mitchell's famed Royal Studios. The song was produced by Nick Goldston.

After hearing the song, Ingram personalized McConnell's and Ray's lyrics, adding the third verse and revising parts of the first two verses and the chorus. According to Ingram, "Rock & Roll is a special song. It’s a track about my relationship with my biggest champion — my mom. The true to life lyrics reflect my mom's dedication to me as her son. I would not be where I am today without her unwavering love and support. Further, as a musician who is recognized for blues, the chorus is important because it refers to the Robert Johnson ‘selling his soul’ story, and is a direct nod to blues history and its influence on rock & roll."

Songwriter Ray adds, "I'm honored that Christone was able to see his family in the song, and that he was able to add and revise lyrics to reflect his experience with his mom. As young musicians, there are some similarities in our important relationships with our mothers. I am moved that he wanted to record this song. It's a beautiful tribute to his mom."

Since the release of his debut album Kingfish, 21-year-old Clarksdale, Mississippi native Ingram has earned hordes of new fans. In addition to his Grammy nomination, he won five 2020 Blues Music Awards, including Album Of The Year, Best Guitarist and Best Emerging Artist. He is currently nominated for three Living Blues Awards and two Blues Blast Awards. Kingfish has been featured in newspapers, magazines, and on radio and television. In addition to headlining his own tours, Ingram has performed with Buddy Guy, Vampire Weekend and Jason Isbell. Kingfish debuted at #1 on the Billboard Blues and Heatseekers charts and has remained on the Blues chart ever since. The song Fresh Out was the most played track in 2019 on Sirius/XM’s Bluesville channel. Songs from the album continues to receive regular airplay on radio stations around the world. Ingram was interviewed by Sir Elton John on John's Apple Beats podcast. He also appeared (honoring Buddy Guy) on PBS Television's Austin City Limits. NPR Music named Ingram a 2020 Artist To Watch, and included Kingfish as one of the Best Debut Albums Of 2019. Tastemaker UK music magazine MOJO named Kingfish the #1 Blues Album of 2019.

In February 2020, Kingfish released his powerful interpretation of Michael "Iron Man" Burks' Empty Promises. NPR Music said, "Young blues-guitar wonder Christone 'Kingfish' Ingram plays emotional, signature solos that are both raw and breathtakingly precise. Scorching, sizzling and invigorating."

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Nine Alligator Artists Receive Seventeen 2020 Blues Blast Award Nominations
7/13/2020

Blues Blast magazine has announced the nominees for the 2020 Blues Blast Awards. Nine Alligator Records artists received a total of 17 nominations. Billy Branch and The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling lead with three apiece. Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Toronzo Cannon and The Cash Box Kings earned two each. Tinsley Ellis, Coco Montoya and Roomful Of Blues each received one nomination.

Nine Alligator Artists Receive Seventeen 2020 Blues Blast Award Nominations

Billy Branch and Nick Moss Share Lead With Three Each.
Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Toronzo Cannon And The Cash Box Kings Receive Two Each.
Tinsley Ellis, Coco Montoya and Roomful Of Blues Receive One Each.
 
Blues Blast magazine has announced the nominees for the 2020 Blues Blast Awards. Nine Alligator Records artists received a total of 17 nominations. Billy Branch and The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling lead with three apiece. Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Toronzo Cannon and The Cash Box Kings earned two each. Tinsley Ellis, Coco Montoya and Roomful Of Blues each received one nomination.

The public can vote at www.bluesblastmagazine.com starting July 20 and running through September 5, 2020. Winners will be announced shortly thereafter.

Alligator artists and award nominations are as follows:

BILLY BRANCH:

Band Of The Year
Male Artist Of The Year
Traditional Blues Album Of The Year - Roots & Branches -- The Songs Of Little Walter

THE NICK MOSS BAND FEATURING DENNIS GRUENLING:
Band Of The Year
Male Artist Of The Year (Nick Moss)
Traditional Blues Album Of The Year - Lucky Guy!
 
CHRISTONE "KINGFISH" INGRAM:
Male Artist Of The Year
Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year - Kingfish

RICK ESTRIN & THE NIGHTCATS :
Band Of The Year
Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year - Contemporary
 
TORONZO CANNON:
Male Artist Of The Year
Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year - The Preacher, The Politician Or The Pimp

THE CASH BOX KINGS:
Band Of The Year
Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year - Hail To The Kings!

TINSLEY ELLIS:
Rock Blues Album Of The Year - Ice Cream In Hell

COCO MONTOYA:
Rock Blues Album Of The Year - Coming In Hot
 
ROOMFUL OF BLUES:
Band Of The Year






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Eight Alligator Artists Receive 15 Living Blues Award Nominations
7/6/2020

Living Blues magazine has announced the nominees for the 2020 Living Blues Readers' Awards. Eight Alligator Records artists received a total of 15 nominations. Vocalist Shemekia Copeland and guitarist Christone "Kingfish" Ingram led all nominees with three each. Tommy Castro, Rick Estrin (of Rick Estrin & The Nightcats) and Billy Branch each received two. Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, The Cash Box Kings and Marcia Ball earned one apiece.

Eight Alligator Artists Receive 15 Living Blues Award Nominations

Shemekia Copeland and Christone "Kingfish" Ingram Lead With Three Each.
Tommy Castro, Rick Estrin And Billy Branch Receive Two Each.
Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, The Cash Box Kings And Marcia Ball Take One Each.
 
Living Blues magazine has announced the nominees for the 2020 Living Blues Readers' Awards. Eight Alligator Records artists received a total of 15 nominations. Vocalist Shemekia Copeland and guitarist Christone "Kingfish" Ingram led all nominees with three each. Tommy Castro, Rick Estrin (of Rick Estrin & The Nightcats) and Billy Branch each received two. Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, The Cash Box Kings and Marcia Ball earned one apiece.

The public -- Living Blues subscribers and non-subscribers alike -- can vote at www.livingblues.com by August 15, 2020. Winners will be announced shortly thereafter.

Alligator artists and award nominations are as follows:

SHEMEKIA COPELAND:
Blues Artist Of The Year (Female)
Most Outstanding Blues Singer
Best Live Performer
 
 
CHRISTONE "KINGFISH" INGRAM:
Blues Artist Of The Year (Male)
Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar)
Best Blues Album Of 2019 (New Recordings): Kingfish

 
TOMMY CASTRO:
Blues Artist Of The Year (Male)
Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar)
 
 
RICK ESTRIN:
Blues Artist Of The Year (Male)
Most Outstanding Musician (Harmonica)
 
 
BILLY BRANCH:
Most Outstanding Musician (Harmonica)
Best Blues Album Of 2019 (New Recordings):
Roots And Branches--The Songs Of Little Walter
 
 
LIL' ED & THE BLUES IMPERIALS:
Best Live Performer
 
 
THE CASH BOX KINGS:
Best Blues Album Of 2019 (New Recordings): Hail To The Kings!
 
 
MARCIA BALL:
Most Outstanding Musician (Keyboards)







 
 

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Alligator Records Signs Blues Master Chris Cain
6/22/2020
Alligator Records is pleased to announce the signing of world-renowned blues guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Chris Cain. His label debut, Raisin' Cain, should be released later this year or early in 2021.

Alligator Records Signs Blues Master Chris Cain

Chris Cain is a hot-shot guitarist and a singer with the maturity of blues masters like Bobby Bland and B.B. King.

—The Washington Post

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

Hands down my favorite blues player on the scene today. He’s an absolute blinder of a guitarist, with the voice of B.B. King and the chops of Albert King.
—Joe Bonamassa

Alligator Records is pleased to announce the signing of world-renowned blues guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Chris Cain. His label debut, Raisin' Cain, should be released later this year or early in 2021, depending on market conditions. The album -- produced and recorded by Kid Andersen at San Jose's Greaseland Studio -- will feature twelve original songs. According to Cain, "They are the best pack of tunes I've ever written."

With more than three decades of worldwide touring and fourteen acclaimed previous albums, Cain has earned his reputation as both a fan favorite and a musician’s musician. Since his first release in 1987, he has created his very own blues sound inspired by his heroes – B.B. King, Albert King, Ray Charles, Albert Collins, Grant Green and Wes Montgomery. His jazz-informed blues guitar playing is fiery, emotional and always unpredictable. His vocals – gruff, lived-in and powerful – add fuel to the fire. His indelible original songs keep one foot in the blues tradition and both eyes on the future. The pure joy Cain brings to his playing and singing is palpable, and draws fans even closer in

Both the media and his fellow musicians rave about Cain. Guitar Player said, “Cain is an impressive, top-notch guitarist. His full-bodied tone and big voice pack a punch that had me reeling.” Guitar icon Robben Ford said, “Chris Cain is for real. He’s a great blues player with an intensity that keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering what he’s going to do next. Plus he knows how to write a song you haven’t heard before, full of humor and insight. If you like the blues, you’ll like Chris Cain. I am a stone fan."

Joining Alligator Records is a dream come true for Cain, who grew up idolizing label giants like Hound Dog Taylor and Son Seals. “Alligator cares so much about the music and the artists,” Cain says. “I’m really excited to be a part of it.”

Similarly, label president Bruce Iglauer is thrilled to welcome Cain into the Alligator family. “Chris Cain is a brilliant and soulful blues guitarist, vocalist and songwriter -- and a terrific keyboard and sax player too. He’s won devoted fans around the world on top of being a true musician’s musician. He is spoken of with awe by his fellow bluesmen. Chris has cut fourteen terrific previous albums, but none is more exciting than Raisin’ Cain. We’re looking forward to bringing Chris’ music to a wider audience than ever before.”

Chris Cain was born in San Jose, California in 1955. His parents were huge music fans and shared their love of blues, jazz and popular music with Chris. His African American father and Greek mother both loved music and had a huge record collection. His father first took Chris to see B.B. King when Chris was three, and, says Cain, “we never missed another show.” Thanks to his parents’ musical passion, young Chris saw almost every blues, jazz and rock artist that came through town, many of them repeatedly -- James Brown, Albert King, Johnny Winter, Jimi Hendrix, even The Beatles. He picked up his first guitar at age eight and learned lick after lick, song after song. He listened to his father’s records over and over until the music had seeped into his soul.

Cain formed his first band in 1986, and released his first album in 1987, Late Night City Blues, on the locally-based Blue Rock’It label. Almost immediately, booking agents came calling. Incredibly, he was touring Europe even before he started barnstorming the U.S. The album received four W.C Handy Award nominations (now the Blues Music Awards) and the offers to perform kept rolling in. He even opened for his heroes Albert King and Albert Collins, who both asked Chris to jam on stage. The more Cain toured and recorded, the greater his reputation grew. His releases include four albums on Blue Rock’It and three on Blind Pig Records, and his live performances number in the thousands.

Cain has toured all over North America and made repeated trips around the world. He’s performed at the Chicago Blues Festival, The Doheny Blues Festival, The Philadelphia Blues Festival, The Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, and many others. He’s played concerts and festivals in Argentina, Uruguay, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Brazil, Belarus, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Russia and Ukraine.

With his Alligator Records debut album, Raisin’ Cain, Chris Cain says he is at a new point in his career. “I’m playing and writing better than ever before. I can say more with less,” he says, referring to his dynamic guitar playing and superb songwriting. “I’m as much a fan as a musician,” Cain says. “And I’m as excited to be making music today as I was when I was a teenager. More than ever before, I just play what I feel.”
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Shemekia Copeland Debuts Timely New Song, UNCIVIL WAR
6/15/2020
Award-winning blues and Americana vocalist Shemekia Copeland releases her timely new song, Uncivil War, on Friday, June 19. It is a courageous statement pleading for unity in a time of disunion, and is unlike anything Copeland has previously recorded.

Shemekia Copeland Debuts Timely New Song, UNCIVIL WAR

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


Authoritative...confrontational...punchy defiance and potent conviction. It’s hard to imagine anyone staking a more convincing claim to the territory she’s staked out.
--NPR Music

Award-winning blues and Americana vocalist Shemekia Copeland releases her timely new song, Uncivil War, on Friday, June 19. It is a courageous statement pleading for unity in a time of disunion, and is unlike anything Copeland has previously recorded. Uncivil War takes no sides and speaks to every person's desire to be safe and free. Featuring iconic mandolin wizard Sam Bush, dobro master Jerry Douglas and background vocals from popular alternative band The Orphan Brigade, the song is simultaneously comforting and challenging, as Copeland sings, "Same old wounds we've opened before / Nobody wins an uncivil war." Shemekia delivers the song with passion and insight about the chaos and uncertainty in the world while still finding light in the darkness and hope for the future.

On Monday, June 15 at 9:00am Eastern, SiriusXM's B.B. King's Bluesville exclusively premiered the song to its worldwide audience.

According to Copeland, "It's not just a song. I’m trying to put the 'united' back in the United States. Like many people, I miss the days when we treated each other better. For me, this country’s all about people with differences coming together to be part of something we all love. That’s what really makes America beautiful.”

Copeland's instantly recognizable voice is capable of being sultry, assertive and roaring. She is a three-time Grammy nominee with a wide-open vision of contemporary Americana roots, blues and soul music. Uncivil War showcases the next step in the evolution of a passionate artist with an up-to-the-minute musical and lyrical approach. The song, written by John Hahn, will be featured on Copeland's upcoming Alligator album.


Copeland's previous release, America’s Child, cemented her place her as one of blues' and Americana's most commanding voices. America's Child won the Blues Music Award for Album Of The Year, and was named the #1 blues album of 2018 by MOJO magazine. Copeland recently received the 2020 Blues Music Award for Contemporary Blues Female Artist Of The Year, during a special online ceremony.

When she first burst on the scene at age 18 in 1998 with her groundbreaking Alligator Records debut CD, Turn The Heat Up, Copeland quickly 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 of her eight releases, Copeland's music has continued to grow, reaching a larger and larger audience

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, Dr. John, 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. Currently, Copeland can be heard five days a week hosting her own blues radio show on SiriusXM's Bluesville. In addition, she was recently the subject of a six-minute feature on the PBS News Hour, who proclaimed her "a new generation Queen Of The Blues."

The Philadelphia Inquirer declared, "Shemekia Copeland is an antidote to artifice. She is a commanding presence, a powerhouse vocalist delivering the truth." No Depression added, “When Shemekia Copeland opens her mouth, everybody pays attention. She pierces your soul.”

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Gary Clark Jr. Praises "The Cannon," Guitar Effects Pedal Designed For Toronzo Cannon
6/12/2020

Guitar superstar Gary Clark, Jr. recently shared his love of The Cannon -- the guitar effects pedal designed by Function-fx (https://function-fx.com/site/the-cannon-dual-fuzz/) for Chicago blues sensation Toronzo Cannon -- with his many social media friends and followers.

Gary Clark Jr. Praises "The Cannon," Guitar Effects Pedal Designed For Toronzo Cannon

Guitar superstar Gary Clark, Jr. recently shared his love of The Cannon -- the guitar effects pedal designed by Function-fx (https://function-fx.com/site/the-cannon-dual-fuzz/) for Chicago blues sensation Toronzo Cannon -- with his many social media friends and followers.

"The Cannon," says Clark, "got me where I need to be. This is not an ad. Just showing love."

Songwriter, guitarist, vocalist and Chicago Transit Authority bus driver Toronzo Cannon fuses his original, keenly-detailed tales of everyday life with his fiery guitar playing. UK tastemaker music magazine MOJO named his latest Alligator Records album, The Preacher, The Politician Or The Pimp, the #2 Best Blues Album Of 2019. Cannon recently received three 2020 Blues Music Award nominations.

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 he sees by day on a bus and in blues clubs by night, and his assertive voice is the perfect vehicle to deliver the message.”

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Four Alligator Records Artists Win 10 Blues Music Awards
5/3/2020
On Sunday, May 3, The Blues Foundation announced the winners of the 41st Annual Blues Music Awards, the blues world's highest honors. Newcomer Christone "Kingfish" Ingram led all recipients with five awards, winning in every category in which he was nominated. He took the trophies for Album Of The Year, Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year and Best Emerging Artist Album for his Alligator Records debut, Kingfish. He was also named Contemporary Male Blues Artist Of The Year and Best Instrumentalist - Guitar.

Four Alligator Records Artists Win 10 Blues Music Awards

On Sunday, May 3, The Blues Foundation announced the winners of the 41st Annual Blues Music Awards, the blues world's highest honors.

Newcomer Christone "Kingfish" Ingram led all recipients with five awards, winning in every category in which he was nominated. He took the trophies for Album Of The Year, Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year and Best Emerging Artist Album for his Alligator Records debut, Kingfish. He was also named Contemporary Male Blues Artist Of The Year and Best Instrumentalist - Guitar.

The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling (with Moss on guitar and Gruenling on harmonica) was named Band Of The Year, and won in all three categories in which they were nominated. Their Alligator Records album Lucky Guy! won Traditional Blues Album Of The Year. The album's title track, written by Moss, won the Song Of The Year award.

Two other Alligator artists were also award winners. Vocalist Shemekia Copeland won for Contemporary Blues Female Artist Of The Year. Rick Estrin, leader of Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, won for Best Instrumentalist - Harmonica.

The 41st Annual Blues Music Awards ceremony, hosted from her living room by Shemekia Copeland, was presented online with contributions from artists all over the world. Presenters included Charlie Musselwhite, Warren Haynes, Fantastic Negrito, Ruthie Foster, William Bell, Beth Hart, and Keb’ Mo’.

The awards were originally scheduled to be presented in Memphis on May 7, 2020, before being moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Full list of winners can be found here:
https://blues.org/blues-music-awards/#nominees

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Charles "Little Charlie" Baty: July 10, 1953 - March 6, 2020
3/10/2020
Master guitarist Charles "Little Charlie" Baty -- known worldwide as a fearless blues musician -- died on March 6, 2020 of a heart attack in Vacaville, California. He was 66.

Charles "Little Charlie" Baty: July 10, 1953 - March 6, 2020

Master guitarist Charles "Little Charlie" Baty -- known worldwide as a fearless blues musician -- died on March 6, 2020 of a heart attack in Vacaville, California. He was 66. Baty is best known as the leader of award-winning blues band Little Charlie & The Nightcats, who released nine albums on Alligator Records between 1987 and 2008. Baty retired from the band in 2008 with a desire to do less year-round touring. Over the course of his career, he shared stages with Muddy Waters, Gregg Allman, Robert Cray, Albert Collins, Los Lobos and many others.

Guitar World said, “Baty’s straight blues playing is eye-popping...inspired and manic blues guitar. He can sting like Buddy Guy and swing like Tiny Grimes.” Rock critic Robert Christgau, writing in The Village Voice said, “Little Charlie Baty plays as much guitar as Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy put together. He is one of the swiftest, most fluent guitarists working in any genre.”

Baty proudly never played the same song the same way twice. His playing bridged hard Chicago blues and swing jazz, and his inspirations were as diverse as Buddy Guy, Django Reinhardt and Tiny Grimes. In 2018, he told his hometown newspaper, The Davis Enterprise, "If you practice scales, then your playing sounds like scales. If you start second guessing, you end up musically introverted. You cannot have fear as a guitar player."

In recent years, Baty fronted jazz trio Little Charlie & Organ Grinder Swing, and performed often with artists including Mark Hummel Kim Wilson and Anson Funderburgh. His extensive musical vocabulary was comprised of blues, jazz, rockabilly and swing. The Chicago Tribune said, "Baty's guitar is razor sharp, blasting out solos with jaw-dropping precision." Blues legend John Lee Hooker, with whom the band toured in 1987, told Baty, "You're dangerous with that guitar, man. They're gonna put you in jail."

Baty was born in Birmingham, Alabama and moved to San Francisco at an early age. He fell in love with blues as a child and was playing harmonica by age 12. He began his musical career in the mid-1960s as a Chicago-style blues harmonica player and vocalist, turning to guitar in the early 1970s. In his late teens, he attended many concerts at the Fillmore including seeing B.B. King and Buddy Guy. After graduating high school, Baty earned a Mathematics degree from the University of California Berkeley.

Baty moved to Sacramento in 1975 in search of a non-musical job, although he was already a proficient guitarist. Soon after moving there, he met harmonica player, vocalist and songwriter Rick Estrin. The two added a drummer and bassist and formed Little Charlie & The Nightcats, quickly becoming one of the most talked about blues bands on the local scene. The group signed with Alligator Records in 1987. They released nine albums and toured the world non-stop before Baty retired from the band in 2008. Baty released 14 total albums in his lifetime. His most recent was Skronky Tonk in 2017 on the EllerSoul label.

Baty is survived by sisters Katherine and Laurel and mother-in-law Mary Montiero. He was preceded in death by sister Page and wife Sylvia.

Private funeral services will be held on Monday, March 16, 2020.

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NPR Music Premieres New Song From Christone "Kingfish" Ingram
2/10/2020
On Monday, February 10, 2020 NPR Music is exclusively premiering Empty Promises, the hair-raising new recording from rising star blues guitarist and vocalist Christone “Kingfish” Ingram. Fresh off a Grammy Award nomination for his 2019 Alligator Records debut, Kingfish, Ingram officially releases his blistering version of Empty Promises on Friday, February 14.

NPR Music Premieres New Song From Christone "Kingfish" Ingram

NPR MUSIC TO PREMIERE STUDIO AND LIVE VERSIONS ON FEBRUARY 10

“This Clarksdale, Mississippi native smacks [the blues] to life by singing like an ornery road-weary elder (he turned 21 in January), and playing guitar with a dramatic, searing tone and sure-handed authority. And that's just in the studio; he's even scarier live."
--NPR Music

On Monday, February 10, 2020 NPR Music is exclusively premiering Empty Promises, the hair-raising new recording from rising star blues guitarist and vocalist Christone “Kingfish” Ingram. Fresh off a Grammy Award nomination for his 2019 Alligator Records debut, Kingfish, Ingram officially releases his blistering version of Empty Promises on Friday, February 14. The head-turning young guitarist and vocalist is unleashing two versions of the song (which was written and first performed by the late bluesman Michael “Iron Man” Burks) -- a studio version, recorded in Los Angeles in January 2020, and a live version, recorded at Nashville’s 3rd & Lindsley club on February 1, 2020. In addition to the audio versions of the song, NPR Music will also host the video of the live version. Nashville Scene called Ingram's performance, “an invigorating display of mastery….dynamic showmanship combined with imaginative, decisive and constantly surprising musicianship. Ingram’s vocals were energetic and compelling.” Empty Promises will be available on all major streaming and download services.

Listen and watch here.

According to Ingram, Empty Promises is a song he’s always loved. “I’ve long been a fan of Michael Burks and I think Empty Promises is an amazing song. The structure and lyrics are special and of course the original guitar is heavy. Ultimately, this is a love song and it’s one I truly wanted to put my own spin on. With the versions I’ve released, I really want people just to hear how unique the song can be, particularly with the guitar solos. Hopefully people will like it and think that I have done it justice.”

Since the release of his debut album Kingfish, 21-year-old Clarksdale, Mississippi native Ingram has gigged nonstop and has been featured in newspapers, magazines, and on radio and television. In addition to headlining his own tours, Ingram has performed with Buddy Guy, Vampire Weekend and Jason Isbell. Kingfish debuted at #1 on the Billboard "Blues" and "Heatseekers" charts and has remained on the "Blues" chart ever since. The album continues to receive regular airplay on radio stations around the world. He was recently interviewed by Sir Elton John on John's Apple Beats podcast. NPR Music named Ingram a 2020 Artist To Watch, and included Kingfish as one of the Best Debut Albums Of 2019. Tastemaker UK music magazine MOJO named Kingfish the #1 Blues Album of 2019. He recently appeared (honoring Buddy Guy) on PBS Television's Austin City Limits.

Ingram is currently embarked on his second national headlining tour, “Fish Grease 2: A Juke Joint Tour.” In addition to his headlining dates, he'll open some shows for Buddy Guy and Vampire Weekend. He’ll make his first headlining tour of Europe this summer.

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Shemekia Copeland Appears On PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND This Sunday, Jan. 26
1/22/2020
Award-winning blues, soul and Americana vocalist Shemekia Copeland will be featured on the nationally televised program PBS NewsHour Weekend on Sunday, January 26, 2020.

Shemekia Copeland Appears On PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND This Sunday, Jan. 26

Shemekia Copeland is the greatest female blues vocalist working today.
--The Chicago Tribune

Award-winning blues, soul and Americana vocalist Shemekia Copeland will be featured on the nationally televised program PBS NewsHour Weekend on Sunday, January 26, 2020. Copeland, a three-time Grammy nominee, brings her wide-open vision of contemporary American roots music to every song she sings.

PBS NewsHour Weekend's Tom Casciato says he considers Copeland "a great vocalist." During the eight-minute segment, Copeland tells Casciato, among other things, about getting in trouble as a child at school for singing the Koko Taylor song I'm A Woman. Many of Copeland's songs -- from classics like Ghetto Child to more recent anthems like Ain't Got Time For Hate -- will be heard during the piece.

The show will air late Sunday afternoon but at various times in different markets. Local PBS stations can be found here. Please note that depending on current events, scheduling may change.

The segment will be available to stream in full at the PBS NewsHour Weekend website beginning on January 26.

Copeland recently received two 2020 Blues Music Award nominations. She won two Blues Music Awards in 2019, including Album Of The Year for her groundbreaking album, America's Child. Copeland is currently working on her next as-yet-untitled album, due out later in 2020. She can be heard daily hosting her own blues radio show on SiriusXM's Bluesville.

When she first burst on the scene at age 18 in 1998 with her groundbreaking Alligator Records debut CD, Turn The Heat Up, Copeland quickly 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, reaching a larger and larger audience. In 2018, influential tastemaker UK music magazine MOJO named America'sChild the #1 blues album of the year.

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.

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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Roomful Of Blues Set To Release IN A ROOMFUL OF BLUES On March 13
1/14/2020
Roomful of Blues, the world-renowned, horn-powered, houserocking blues band, will release In A Roomful Of Blues on Friday, March 13, 2020 on Alligator Records.

Roomful Of Blues Set To Release IN A ROOMFUL OF BLUES On March 13

Roomful Of Blues Set To Release IN A ROOMFUL OF BLUES On March 13

First Album Of New Material In Nine Years

 

Brawny shuffles, swinging horns, searing guitar, passionate vocals and balls-to-the-wall enthusiasm” –Living Blues

“High-voltage swingin’ jump blues and R&B” –USA Today

“Jubilant, jazzy R&B...boisterous horn-propelled magnificence...infectiously joyous spirit” –Blues Music Magazine

Roomful of Blues, the world-renowned, horn-powered, houserocking blues band, will release In A Roomful Of Blues on Friday, March 13, 2020 on Alligator Records. The Rhode Island- based group has been delighting audiences for over 50 years. Blues Music Magazine calls them “the best little big band in the blues.”

In A Roomful Of Blues, the band’s fifth release on Alligator Records (and 19th overall), was produced by guitarist and bandleader Chris Vachon and features 13 wide-ranging songs, including nine band-composed originals—more than on any previous Roomful album. Eight songs were written or co-written by Vachon (including one authored with vocalist Phil Pemberton) plus one each by sax player Alek Razdan and keyboardist Rusty Scott. From the rocking We’d Have A Love Sublime to the funkified You Move Me  to the closing-time lament She Quit Me Again to the up-to-the-minute Phone Zombies, In A Roomful Of Blues is filled with soaring blues, zydeco twists, late-night ballads, Latin-tinged funk and a touch of vintage, fifth-gear rock ‘n’ roll.

On record and on stage, Roomful of Blues continues to deliver its bone-shaking mix of original songs and carefully chosen covers ranging from jump, swing and proto rock ‘n’ roll to funky, contemporary blues. Their impeccable musicianship and larger-than-life vocals have earned Roomful five Grammy Award nominations and a slew of other accolades, including seven Blues Music Awards. Twice, the prestigious DownBeat International Critics’ Poll has selected them as Best Blues Band.

Vachon first joined Roomful in 1990, and has been leading the band since 1998. Guitar Player says Vachon’s guitar playing “burns with explosive solos and a delightfully greasy sense of rhythm.” The band has maintained its signature sound through great musicianship and a stellar horn section—featuring tenor and alto saxophonist Rich Lataille, who first joined the band in 1970. Lataille’s masterful playing can evoke either the fat-toned, honking sax of the glory days of early rock or the cool elegance of big band swing jazz.

While Roomful of Blues has always been one of the tightest, most joyful blues ensembles in the world, they have never sounded fresher or stronger than with the current line-up. Along with Vachon and Lataille, the band includes vocalist Phil Pemberton, baritone and tenor saxophonist Alek Razdan, trumpeter Carl “Geerz” Gerhard, bassist John Turner, drummer Chris Anzalone and keyboardist Rusty Scott.

Roomful of Blues began in 1967 when a group of southern Rhode Island teenagers with a shared passion for the blues formed a straight-ahead Chicago-style electric blues band to explore the music of their heroes. They added a horn section (including Rich Lataille) in 1970 and released their self-titled debut album in 1977 on Island Records (reissued on Hyena Records), which brought them to the attention of fans and critics from coast to coast. The band has performed in cities around the world, travelling abroad to 22 countries including Lebanon, Poland, Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Switzerland, Turkey and Russia.The New Yorker says the band brings “thunderous performances that get feet stomping and hands clapping.”

With In A Roomful Of Blues, the band has once again captured all of their frenetic energy and musical power in the studio. Roomful of Blues will be hitting the road and bringing the new material to their fans around the world, proving without doubt that this is a band built to stand the test of time. While keenly aware of the group’s half century of history, Vachon is quick to note, however, that they are constantly looking forward. “We always keep things fresh and we keep the excitement level high. Playing this music is an immense amount of fun for us,” he says. “And it’s just as much fun for our audience.”

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Fourteen Alligator Artists Receive 37 Blues Music Award Nominations
1/7/2020
Tuesday, January 7, 2020 -- Today the Blues Foundation announced the nominees for the 41st Annual Blues Music Awards, the blues world's highest honors. A remarkable total of 14 Alligator recording artists received 37 nominations.

Fourteen Alligator Artists Receive 37 Blues Music Award Nominations

Tuesday, January 7, 2020 -- Today the Blues Foundation announced the nominees for the 41st Annual Blues Music Awards, the blues world's highest honors. A remarkable total of 14 Alligator recording artists received 37 nominations. Rick Estrin & The Nightcats leads all artists with eight nominations (including one each for guitarist Christoffer "Kid" Andersen and drummer Derrick D'Mar Martin). Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, Billy Branch & The Sons Of Blues and The Cash Box Kings (including one for drummer Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith) followed with five each. The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling received four, while Toronzo Cannon received three. Shemekia Copeland, Curtis Salgado and Tommy Castro & The Painkillers each received two, with Tinsley Ellis (whose new album Ice Cream In Hell is set for January 31 release) receiving one.
 
According to Alligator president Bruce Iglauer, "I’m very proud of so many Alligator artists getting the recognition they so richly deserve. I believe this is the largest number of Alligator records and artists to be nominated for the Blues Music Awards in any one year. The 2020 awards show will be even more exciting than usual!"
 
The Blues Album Of The Year category features four Alligator releases of the five nominees: The Cash Box Kings' Hail To The Kings!, Christone "Kingfish" Ingram's Kingfish, Toronzo Cannon's The Preacher, The Politician Or The Pimp, and Billy Branch & The Sons Of Blues' Roots & Branches: The Songs Of Little Walter.
 
The Band Of The Year category features three Alligator artists -- The Cash Box Kings, The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling, and previous Band Of The Year winners Rick Estrin & The Nightcats.
 
The 41st Annual Blues Music Awards will be presented in Memphis on May 7, 2020 at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. The full list of nominees can be found here.

Alligator artists and awards are as follows:

RICK ESTRIN & THE NIGHTCATS:
Entertainer Of The Year
Contemporary Blues Male Artist Of The Year
Instrumentalist - Harmonica
Song Of The Year - Resentment File (written by Rick Estrin, Joe Louis Walker, and JoJo Russo)
Band Of The Year
Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year - Contemporary
Instrumentalist - Guitar (Christoffer "Kid" Andersen)
Instrumentalist - Drums (Derrick D'Mar Martin)

 
CHRISTONE "KINGFISH" INGRAM:
Album Of The Year - Kingfish
Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year - Kingfish
Best Emerging Artist Album - Kingfish
Contemporary Blues Male Artist Of The Year
Instrumentalist - Guitar
 

BILLY BRANCH & THE SONS OF BLUES:
Entertainer Of The Year
Album Of The Year - Roots & Branches: The Songs Of Little Walter
Traditional Blues Album Of The Year - Roots & Branches: The Songs Of Little Walter
Instrumentalist - Harmonica
Traditional Blues Male Artist Of The Year
 

THE CASH BOX KINGS:
Band Of The Year
Album Of The Year - Hail To The Kings!
Traditional Blues Album Of The Year - Hail To The Kings!
Song Of The Year - The Wine Talkin' (written by Joe Nosek, John Hahn, and Oscar Wilson)
Instrumentalist - Drums (Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith)


THE NICK MOSS BAND FEATURING DENNIS GRUENLING:
Band Of The Year
Traditional Blues Album Of The Year - Lucky Guy!
Song Of The Year - Lucky Guy (written by Nick Moss)
Instrumentalist - Harmonica (Dennis Gruenling)


TORONZO CANNON:
Album Of The Year - The Preacher, The Politician Or The Pimp
Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year - The Preacher, The Politician Or The Pimp
Contemporary Blues Male Artist Of The Year


TOMMY CASTRO & THE PAINKILLERS:
Blues Rock Album Of The Year - Killin' It Live
Blues Rock Artist Of The Year


CURTIS SALGADO:
Soul Blues Male Artist Of The Year
Instrumentalist - Vocals
 

SHEMEKIA COPELAND:
Contemporary Blues Female Artist Of The Year
Instrumentalist - Vocals
 

TINSLEY ELLIS:
Blues Rock Artist Of The Year

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