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Alligator Records

Alligator Records
, Genuine Houserockin' Music! Moves your feet, your body, your soul. Blues, Roots, and Soul.

Christone "Kingfish" Ingram - 662

The defining blues voice of his generation releases the eagerly-anticipated follow-up to his Grammy-nominated debut, 2019's Kingfish. 662 (the area code of his Clarksdale stomping grounds) is a powerful and personal album, a fiery coming-of-age record. The lyrics reflect Ingram's newfound maturity and how your roots inspire where you're heading. Musically, the record delivers a heaping helping of the deep, visceral Ingram guitar magic his fans love, fueling a combustible mix of molten blues rock, down home shuffles and soulful grooves.

50 Years Of Genuine Houserockin' Music / Various - 50 Years Of Genuine Houserockin' Music / Various

2-LP collection celebrating fifty years of classic, genre-defining recordings by a star-studded Who's Who of American blues and roots music artists past and present, featuring HOUND DOG TAYLOR, CHRISTONE "KINGFISH" INGRAM, J.J. GREY & MOFRO, KOKO TAYLOR, JOHNNY WINTER, TOMMY CASTRO, MARCIA BALL, ALBERT COLLINS, LUTHER ALLISON, JAMES COTTON, TORONZO CANNON and many more! Two-LP set features 24 songs (over 97 minutes of music) celebrating the 50th anniversary of the world's premier blues label. LPs packaged in a double-pocket gatefold cover with extensive liner notes. This is the first-ever Alligator anniversary release on vinyl, as well as the first double-LP in label history.

Chris Cain - Raisin' Cain

2021 release from world-renowned blues guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Chris Cain. The album was produced and recorded by Kid Andersen at San Jose's Greaseland Studio.

Curtis Salgado - Damage Control

Award-winning singer/songwriter/harmonica ace has been delivering soul-fired music for over 40 years. Damage Control is a rousing mixture of rollicking old-school rock and roll, gospel-tinged soul and razor-sharp R&B. Salgado's huge, expressive vocals deliver wistful, street-wise lyrics that hit hard on a dozen new original songs and a frisky cover of Larry Williams' "Slow Down."

Johnny Winter - Guitar Slinger

The first of Grammy Award-winning blues and rock icon Johnny Winter's celebrated Alligator releases, with over 100,000 sold in the U.S. alone. This reissue has one song from the original release removed (Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye), and a previously unreleased track featuring guest James Cotton, "Nothin' But The Devil," added.

Selwyn Birchwood - Living In A Burning House [LP]

Whipsmart songwriter, electrifying guitarist and lap steel player, and gruff, commanding vocalist Selwyn Birchwood is one of the blues' brightest young stars. His third album amazes with potent rhythms, startlingly fresh lyrics and jaw-dropping musicianship. Selwyn's first two releases, 2014's Don't Call No Ambulance and 2017's Pick Your Poison have scanned over 16,000 units combined.Alligator publicity and social media teams will be expanding awareness for an artist who has been featured on NPR's World Café and XM/Sirius Satellite radio and in Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, DownBeat, Vintage Guitar and No Depression, plus tour press from coast to coast. Selwyn has enjoyed strong Triple A support from format leaders like WXPN/Philadelphia and WMNF/Tampa, as well as being championed at blues radio worldwide.A tireless live performer, Selwyn has logged over 150 live performances a year since his 2014 debut and will be scorching stages across the U.S. as soon as tour dates are feasible.Produced by Grammy winner Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy, Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, Susan Tedeschi), Living In A Burning House is a master class in distinctive, contemporary roots music and positively brimming with immediately catchy lyrics, undeniable grooves and some of the most exhilarating guitar playing in any genre. Thirteen compelling originals include horn-fueled declarations of love, rocking reflections on modern life and low and slow ballads, all bound by Selwyn's raw, urgent vocals. National advertising includes a Facebook ad campaign, plus color ads in Living Blues and Blues Music Magazine. Regional advertising for Selwyn Birchwood tour dates and in major blues society newsletters. Aggressive promotion at Triple A and Americana radio, plus specialty blues shows, radio syndicators and various internet music programmers.Whipsmart songwriter, electrifying guitarist and lap steel player, and gruff, commanding vocalist Selwyn Birchwood is one of the blues' brightest young stars. His third album amazes with potent rhythms, startlingly fresh lyrics and jaw-dropping musicianship. Selwyn's first two releases, 2014's Don't Call No Ambulance and 2017's Pick Your Poison have scanned over 16,000 units combined.Alligator publicity and social media teams will be expanding awareness for an artist who has been featured on NPR's World Café and XM/Sirius Satellite radio and in Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, DownBeat, Vintage Guitar and No Depression, plus tour press from coast to coast. Selwyn has enjoyed strong Triple A support from format leaders like WXPN/Philadelphia and WMNF/Tampa, as well as being championed at blues radio worldwide.A tireless live performer, Selwyn has logged over 150 live performances a year since his 2014 debut and will be scorching stages across the U.S. as soon as tour dates are feasible.Produced by Grammy winner Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy, Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, Susan Tedeschi), Living In A Burning House is a master class in distinctive, contemporary roots music and positively brimming with immediately catchy lyrics, undeniable grooves and some of the most exhilarating guitar playing in any genre. Thirteen compelling originals include horn-fueled declarations of love, rocking reflections on modern life and low and slow ballads, all bound by Selwyn's raw, urgent vocals. National advertising includes a Facebook ad campaign, plus color ads in Living Blues and Blues Music Magazine. Regional advertising for Selwyn Birchwood tour dates and in major blues society newsletters. Aggressive promotion at Triple A and Americana radio, plus specialty blues shows, radio syndicators and various internet music programmers.

Shemekia Copeland - Uncivil War

Celebrated blues, R&B and Americana vocal powerhouse delivers the eagerly anticipated follow-up to 2018's America's Child, winner of the Blues Music Award for Album Of The Year. The new album is again produced by Will Kimbrough and features guest performances and/or songwriting by Kimbrough, Jason Isbell, Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Orphan Brigade, Steve Cropper, Duane Eddy and Shawn Mullins. Uncivil War finds Shemekia blazing an exhilarating roots music trail, with many of the songs reflecting the spirit of our turbulent times.

Aggressive press, radio and social media support for an artist with past coverage on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, CNN, CBS-TV's Saturday Early Show, Tavis Smiley Show, NPR'S Weekend Edition, World Café, Mountain Stage and E-Town. In addition, her praises have been sung by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPRMusic. Com, AllMusic. Com, PopMatters. Com, NoDepression. Com, Paste. Com and many more. Radio promotion at Americana, AAA and blues specialty radio. The title track, released as a digital single earlier this year, has already received airplay at all three. America's Child charted Top Ten on Americana single and album charts, and also charted at AAA. Blues specialty radio kept the album on Living Blues' radio chart for six straight months. Shemekia has made hundreds of appearances worldwide at festivals, clubs and arts centers for the last 20 years. Tour dates throughout the U. S. in support will begin as soon as they are feasible. With Uncivil War, Shemekia's passion-packed singing breathes fire into solemn, gospel-drenched anthems, lowdown blues, crunching rockers and frisky New Orleans R&B. On captivating original songs and invigorating new takes on tracls by the Rolling Stones, Junior Parker and her father, famed bluesman Johnny Clyde Copeland, she commands listeners' attention while exploring life's daily struggles and triumphs, both political and personal.

Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite - 100 Years Of Blues

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bishop and Grammy-winning harmonica great Musselwhite join forces for a fun and historic collaboration of front porch blues. Among the most famous bluesmen in the world, with over five decades each of recording and performing, Elvin and Charlie have scanned over 600,000 units combined, despite over two dozen of their releases coming before the advent of Soundscan. Aggressive press, radio and social media outreach around the great story of these two legends recording their first album together. Radio promotion for regular airplay on Triple A and Americana stations, as well as play on blues specialty shows that are guaranteed to give it bountiful spins. Tour dates at theatres and performing arts centers as they become feasible.

Roomful Of Blues - In A Roomful Of Blues

World-renowned, horn-fueled "little big band" releases their first release in seven years and their first new studio recording in nine. Roomful of Blues have over 364,000 career scans, even though their first six releases predated SoundScan. 2011's Hook, Line & Sinker, has scanned over 7,900 units. Tour dates in support of the new release begin in their native Northeast region, where they still do the most touring and are regarded as legends.

Tinsley Ellis - Ice Cream In Hell

Atlanta-based southern blues rocker Tinsley Ellis has been burning up the road for nearly 40 years and has another lengthy coast-to-coast tour lined up in support of Ice Cream In Hell. A blazing guitarist and forceful singer, Tinsley is making the best music of his career right now and living to play live. He'll have a warm-up tour with Alligator labelmate Tommy Castro in November, play the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise in January and then hit the highway first week of February behind the new release.

Toronzo Cannon - The Preacher, The Politician Or The Pimp

Toronzo Cannon is the most exciting bluesmen to emerge from Chicago in decades, playing brawny, rock-inspired guitar and singing original, slice-of-life lyrics that speak to today's listeners. The Preacher, The Politician Or The Pimp finds Toronzo raising the ante on his modern day blues vision, with 12 distinctive new songs that skillfully blend witty, "ain't it the truth" anthems with searing topical observations. Through it all Toronzo burns on guitar and brings his lyrics to life with spirited, soul-drenched singing.

Rick Estrin & The Nightcats - Contemporary

Rick Estrin & the Nightcats are back with their most expansive collection yet of brilliant blues and roots music filled with cunning songs and extraordinary musicianship. Contemporary celebrates the band's ability to use tough blues and raucous roadhouse rock as jumping off points for exhilarating new roots music. It's chock-full of originals that combine savvy songwriting, instrumental prowess and perpetual grooves into a distinctively modern blues sound, highlighted by the epic title track, a dizzying, Zappa-esque mash of Chicago blues, uptown funk, balls-out rocking and muscular rapping.

Christone "Kingfish" Ingram - Kingfish

180 gram vinyl release of the 20-year-old blues firebrand's sensational debut. The album contains 10 of the CD release's 12 tracks, with all 12 available from an included download card.

Coco Montoya - Coming In Hot

2019 release. Premiere blues rock guitarist Montoya is the only one of his peers with the soulful vocals to match his six-string prowess. Coming In Hot is jam-packed with stellar, unpredictable, spiraling solos played with Coco's signature full-bodied tone, and singing that carries fury and passion equal to his powerhouse fretwork.

The Nick Moss Band - Lucky Guy

Peerless Chicago blues band, led by razor-sharp singer/guitarist Nick Moss and harmonica virtuoso Dennis Gruenling, return with another sterling collection of combustible, cocksure blues and rootsy rock 'n' roll, genuine, deep and potent. Thirteen original songs featuring searing, tough vocals, blazing guitar and powerhouse harmonica. Up-to-the-minute lyrics melded with classic blues sounds.

Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues - Roots And Branches - The Songs Of Little Walter

2019 release. Chicago harmonica master Branch is a three-time Grammy nominee, multiple Blues Music Award-winner and for over 40 years the leader of one of the world's premier blues bands, The Sons Of Blues. His deep love for blues traditions and the explosive, cliché-free manner in which he makes them his own have earned him a worldwide following. Roots And Branches - The Songs Of Little Walter features 15 songs written by or made famous by the harp genius. Each one is brought to new life by Branch and The Sons of Blues as they blend elements of soul, funk and gospel into the proceedings while remaining true to the integrity of the originals. This is essential listening for any blues fan.

The Cash Box Kings - Hail To The Kings! [LP]

World class Chicago blues masters The Cash Box Kings deliver a fresh, exhilarating take on the real deal Windy City sound, filled with soul deep singing, brawny harmonica, stinging guitar and infectious ensemble playing. They are revered around the world for their dedication to creating rich, timeless blues.

Christone "Kingfish" Ingram - Kingfish

2019 release. 20 year-old blues firebrand comes bursting out of Clarksdale, Mississippi, with a sensational debut packed with piercing guitar, husky, impassioned singing and potent songwriting. Kingfish reinvigorates the blues with Ingram's infectious, youthful fire. Ingram's mentor, Buddy Guy, makes a cameo on "Fresh Out," four-time Grammy winner Keb Mo is featured on a track and plays on five more, and Chicago blues harp master Billy Branch appears on one.

The Cash Box Kings - Hail To The Kings!

2019 release. World class Chicago blues masters The Cash Box Kings deliver a fresh, exhilarating take on the real deal Windy City sound, filled with soul deep singing, brawny harmonica, stinging guitar and infectious ensemble playing. They are revered around the world for their dedication to creating rich, timeless blues.

Tommy Castro - Killin' It - Live [Orange LP]

Orange Vinyl. One of the most popular roots music acts in the world keeps one of the busiest live performance schedules in all of music. Killin' It - Live is the band's first live release, and one their legion of fans have been asking for. A soul-satisfying romp with blustery blues, gritty R&B and hard-charging roadhouse rock, the set list includes fan favorites from throughout Tommy's career.

The Kentucky Headhunters - Live At The Ramblin' Man Fair

Live album from Grammy and Country Music Award-winning Southern rockers packs an adrenaline-fueled punch from the opening crunch of "Big Boss Man" to a thunderous take on the Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down." The fun continues on three bonus studio tracks featuring Chuck Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson that end the disc, as JJ and KHH bring out the best in blues chestnuts "Rock Me Baby" and "Hi-Heeled Sneakers," plus a combustible KHH original "Rock 'N' Roller."

Eric Lindell - Revolution In Your Heart (Org) [Download Included]

A charismatic singer with a gift for sublime, hook-filled songwriting, Eric Lindell returns to Alligator, the home of his greatest success. On Revolution In Your Heart, Eric weaves timeless, infectious tales of family, friends and love with his soul-drenched blend of R&B, blues, roots rock and honky tonk. Lindell does all the singing and performs all instruments except the drums, making the performances exceptionally heartfelt and engaging.

Joe Walker Louis, Bruce Katz and Giles Robson - Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues

Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues, is 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.

Lindsay Beaver - Tough As Love

Alligator Records is proud and excited to introduce Lindsay Beaver, a blues-rocking, soul-singing drummer, songwriter and bandleader, originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia and now residing in Austin, Texas. A uniquely talented musical spitfire, Lindsay is a jazz-trained drummer and a classically trained vocalist, writing and performing raw R&B, blues and old-school rock 'n' roll songs with punk rock fervor. Tough As Love is a refreshing slap across the face of roots music.

Eric Lindell - 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 With his raspy, soulful voice and instantly memorable original songs, roots-rocking multi-instrumentalist Eric Lindell is a true one-of-a-kind talent. Mixing West Coast rock and swampy New Orleans R&B with honky tonk country and Memphis soul, Lindell creates American roots music that is both surprisingly fresh and sweetly familiar. Since his first self-release over two decades ago, Lindell has earned critical and popular acclaim, first in his dual home bases of New Orleans and Northern California and then across the country. Although influenced by American roots music from blues to country to rock, Lindell’s style is all his own. 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. By the time of his 2006 Alligator Records debut, Change In The Weather, Lindell had released five albums and already had earned a devoted and growing fan following. Change In The Weather, with its unforgettable songs and undeniable melodies, earned him regular radio rotation and piles of critical praise. The Los Angeles Daily News said Lindell plays “passionate blue-eyed soul smothered with a big heap of New Orleans funk. He makes you feel like dancing all the way down Canal Street.” Two subsequent Alligator releases and a series of albums on other labels kept Lindell in demand and on the road. Now Lindell returns to Alligator with Revolution In Your Heart, featuring his most engaging and personal writing and his most irresistible, 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 Millie Kay. The twelve universally relatable original songs—many of them autobiographical—combine sunshiny melodies and thick, greasy grooves, and paint vivid pictures of day to day living. From the honest and sage title track to the long-ago but still fresh memories of Grandpa Jim, Pat West and Kelly Ridge, Revolution In Your Heart feels not only somehow immediately familiar, it’s also profoundly moving. Asked about the timeless appeal of his songs, Lindell simply says, “Music runs deep, it’s a powerful thing.” Born in San Mateo, California in 1969, Lindell spent countless hours in San Francisco, soaking up the musical sounds of the city, eventually leading him to pick up first the bass and then the guitar and harmonica. With a love of music and skateboarding, Lindell formed a few punky garage bands early on while his musical horizons expanded. He listened to the deep blues of Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Jimmy Reed and Albert King before drifting toward the R&B sounds of The Impressions, Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway, soaking up the soul and learning how to craft a song. After performing at bars on the West Coast with a few short-lived bands, Eric formed his own group in 1993. He quickly gained a loyal Northern California audience thanks to countless performances and many late-night jam sessions. Established stars like Charlie Musselwhite and Tom Waits attended his shows, as did overflow crowds of music fans.

Shemekia Copeland - America's Child

With America's Child Shemekia stakes her claim as a riveting Americana singer of striking authenticity. The album features eight new songs from Gauthier, Kimbrough and more, plus brilliant covers of Prine's "Great Rain," The Kinks' "I'm Not Like Everybody Else," Johnny Copeland's "Promised Myself" and the traditional ballad "Go To Sleepy Little Baby."

Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio - Something Smells Funky 'round Here

ELVIN BISHOP’S BIG FUN TRIO -- Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here 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 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 blistering, 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 blistering 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.” Late in 2015, Elvin Bishop formed The Big Fun Trio, with Bishop on guitar and vocals, and his friends Bob Welsh on piano and guitar and Willy Jordan on cajón (a hand-played Peruvian drumbox) and vocals. 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. 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.” The album mixes rousing, new originals, reinventions of three Bishop classics and some unexpected, soul-shaking covers. Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here was produced by Bishop and 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 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. Willy 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. Bob 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.” 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.” Wels...

Marcia Ball - Shine Bright

Marcia is simply on fire throughout Shine Bright, with a rollicking array of piano-fueled roadhouse romps seasoned by her incomparably soulful balladry. Tracks include nine new Marcia originals, plus brilliant takes on the music of Ray Charles, Ernie K-Doe and Jesse Winchester. Producer/ saxophonist Berlin guests on five tracks.

Tinsley Ellis - Winning Hand

"Feral blues guitar...non-stop gigging has sharpened his six-string to a razor’s edge...his eloquence dazzles...he achieves pyrotechnics that rival early Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton." –Rolling Stone "Ellis unleashes a torrent of dazzling musicianship pitched between the exhilarating volatility of rock and roll and the passion of urban blues." –Los Angeles Times Since his Alligator debut 30 years ago, Southern blues-rock guitar wizard, vocalist and songwriter Tinsley Ellis has become a bona fide worldwide guitar hero. The Chicago Sun-Times says, “It’s hard to overstate the raw power of his music.” Now, he makes his triumphant return to Alligator Records with a powerful new album, Winning Hand. Armed with his signature molten licks, melodic riffs and rousing, intense solos, Ellis, as his legions of fans will attest, is among the blues world’s best-loved, hardest working and most well-travelled statesmen. He has performed in all 50 United States as well as in Canada, Western and Eastern Europe, Australia and South America, earning legions of fans with his guitar virtuosity, passionate vocals and memorable original songs. Ellis is also revered as a guitarist’s guitarist, with famous friends including Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Oliver Wood, Jonny Lang and members of Widespread Panic calling on him to sit in and jam. “A musician never got famous staying home,” he says. Recorded in Nashville and produced by Ellis and keyboardist Kevin McKendree, the ten brilliantly performed, fervently sung tracks on Winning Hand include nine originals, ranging from blistering blues to heart-pounding rock to soulful ballads. As his only cover song, Ellis pays tribute to his greatest guitar-playing and songwriting influences with a Freddie King-inspired version of rock legend Leon Russell’s Dixie Lullaby. “Guitar, guitar, guitar is what this album is all about,” says Ellis, who recorded primarily with his 1959 Fender Stratocaster, his 1967 Gibson ES 345 and his 1973 Les Paul Deluxe. Guitar World says, “Ellis’ playing sparkles with depth and subtlety. Whether playing deep, slow blues or uptempo rockers, Ellis rides a gorgeously fat, pure tone.” Born in Atlanta in 1957, Ellis was raised in southern Florida. He discovered the blues through the back door of British Invasion bands like The Yardbirds, The Animals, Cream and The Rolling Stones as well as Southern rockers like The Allman Brothers. One night he and a friend were listening to records when his friend’s older brother told them if they liked blues, they should really be listening to B.B. King. As luck would have it, King was in town for a week, and the upcoming Saturday afternoon show was just for teenagers. Tinsley and his friend went, sitting transfixed in the front row. When B.B. broke a string on Lucille, he changed it without missing a beat, and handed the broken string to Ellis. After the show, B.B. came out and talked with fans, mesmerizing Tinsley with his warmth and kindness. Tinsley’s fate was now sealed; he had to become a blues guitarist. He saw Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and every other blues artist who came through town, always sitting up front, always waiting to meet the artists, take photos, get autographs. And yes, he still has B.B.’s string. Already an accomplished teenaged musician, Ellis left Florida and returned to Atlanta in 1975. He soon joined a gritty local blues band, the Alley Cats. In 1981, along with veteran blues singer and harpist Chicago Bob Nelson, Tinsley formed The Heartfixers, a group that would become Atlanta’s top-drawing blues band. After cutting a few Heartfixers albums for the Landslide label, Ellis was ready to head out on his own. Georgia Blue, Tinsley’s first Alligator release, hit the unprepared public by surprise in 1988. Critics and fans quickly agreed that a new and original guitar hero had emerged. The Chicago Tribune said, “Tinsley Ellis torches with molten fretwork. Ellis takes class...

Curtis Salgado - Rough Cut

Award-winning soul, blues and R&B vocalist Curtis Salgado’s earth-shaking vocals and forceful harmonica playing have been devastating audiences around the world for over 30 years. Guitarist Alan Hager has been wowing fellow musicians from his hometown of Portland, Oregon and beyond for decades. Hager has been jamming with Salgado since 2003, and joined his band full-time in 2015. Together, the two blues fans and friends took time out of their busy touring schedule to record Rough Cut, a stripped-down album featuring a potent mix of newly written, timeless originals and carefully chosen blues covers. “We did it for the love of the music,” says Salgado. “This is where our hearts are. These are deep songs that we love to play.” That love comes through loud and clear on Rough Cut. Produced by Salgado and Hager, the 13 songs on the album (including six originals) range from plaintive to playful. Recorded in one live unrehearsed take, the original I Will Not Surrender, with its haunting and sparse soundscape, showcases some of Hager’s strongest guitar work, and some of the most profoundly emotive vocals Salgado has ever laid down. The canine-lover’s anthem, I Want My Dog To Live Longer (The Greatest Wish), is already a huge fan favorite. Salgado’s soulful singing and Hager’s elegant slide guitar playing shine on Elmore James’ You Got To Move and Muddy Waters’ I Can’t Be Satisfied. “He’s the best player in the business, unlike anybody else,” Salgado says of Hager. “One reason I made this record was to show him off.” Born in Portland, Oregon, Alan Hager has taken a long and fascinating journey to his current spot as lead guitarist in Salgado’s band. He first picked up a guitar at age ten and became a blues and jazz prodigy. He was playing local clubs as a teenager before heading to Boston’s Berklee School Of Music, where he studied under the tutelage of jazz guitar legend Pat Metheny. A year later he was studying classical music at the famed New England Conservatory of Music, where he graduated in 1979. During the 1980s he toured as part of a classical guitar duo and took up teaching, which he still does. But he never fell out of love with the blues, especially the old Delta sounds of Charlie Patton, Tommy Johnson and Skip James. He moved back to Portland in 1988 and soon met fellow blues aficionado Curtis Salgado. They have been making music together since 2003, with Curtis’ voice and harmonica and Alan’s hypnotic guitar work perfectly complementing each other. Born in Everett, Washington, Curtis Salgado grew up in Eugene, Oregon. By his early 20s, he was already making a name for himself on Eugene’s bar scene with his band The Nighthawks, and later as co-leader of The Robert Cray Band. Salgado quickly developed into a player and singer of remarkable depth, with vocal and musical influences including Otis Redding, O.V. Wright, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson I and II, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Howlin’ Wolf and Magic Sam. NPR calls him “a blues icon” with a “huge voice.” In 1977, Salgado met actor John Belushi while the comedian was filming Animal House. Salgado and Belushi spent hours playing old records, with Belushi soaking up the music like a sponge. He used his new blues knowledge to create the The Blues Brothers. Once Salgado joined forces with The Robert Cray Band, he shared stages with many of his heroes, including Muddy Waters, Bobby Bland, Albert Collins and Bonnie Raitt. He fronted Roomful Of Blues, singing and touring with them from 1984 through 1986. Forming his own band, he released the first of his ten solo albums in 1991. Salgado joined Alligator Records in 2012, debuting with the award-winning, critically acclaimed Soul Shot in 2012 followed by The Beautiful Lowdown in 2016. Salgado won three 2013 Blues Music Awards including the coveted B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year. He also won for Soul Blues Male Artist Of The Year, and for Soul Blues Al...

Tommy Castro - Stompin' Ground [LP]

Swaggering, razor-wire gospel-tinged soul, simmering deep blues and hard-grooving house rockers --AllMusic. com Gritty, funky, rocking and original --Boston Globe Blazing soul-blues rocker Tommy Castro’s musical roots run deep. As he unleashes his high-energy music to fans all over the world, Castro is inspired by the sounds he absorbed while coming of age on the rough and tumble side of San Jose, California. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, this was Castro’s home turf – his stomping ground. It was a place where the street-tough Mexican Americans and the counter-culture hippies came together to drink, smoke, laugh, party and listen to tunes – the hippies with their blues and rock, the Mexicans with their soul music. Mixing the blues-rock he loved and the soul music he heard blasting out from the lowriders cruising the streets, along with the socially conscious message songs of the day, Tommy’s own sound was born. He honed his guitar playing to a razor’s edge on the city’s competitive bar scene, where he learned how to capture an audience with his intensely passionate vocals, stellar musicianship and dynamic performances. Almost every major rock and soul act, from Ike & Tina Turner to Janis Joplin to Elvin Bishop and Taj Mahal toured through the area, and Castro was at almost every show. He saw John Lee Hooker, Albert King and Buddy Guy & Junior Wells at the same local blues bar, JJ’s, where he often jammed, dreaming of one day busting out. Over the course of his career, Tommy Castro’s San Jose DNA has always inspired his music, whether he’s squeezing out the deepest blues or the funkiest soul grooves. He and The Painkillers – bassist Randy McDonald, keyboardist Michael Emerson and drummer Bowen Brown – have played hundreds of shows to thousands of music lovers, always leaving his audiences screaming for more. All of his albums are filled with original blues, soul and West Coast rock, each song showing a slightly different side of Castro’s multifaceted musical personality. Billboard says the band plays “irresistible contemporary blues-rock” with “street-level grit and soul.” On his new album, Stompin’ Ground, Tommy Castro opens windows both into his past and his always-evolving musical future. Produced by Castro and guitar wunderkind Kid Andersen and recorded at Andersen’s soon-to-be legendary Greaseland Studio in San Jose, Stompin’ Ground finds Castro letting loose on a set of 12 tracks featuring six originals and new versions of songs he learned and played as a young up-and-comer. He is simultaneously looking back with autobiographical originals and cover songs that inspired him, while forging a forward trail with modern lyrics atop blistering blues-rock. With The Painkillers firing on all cylinders behind him, Castro lays it all on the line from the opening notes of Nonchalant to the final, introspective Live Every Day. From the autobiographical My Old Neighborhood to the socially aware Enough Is Enough and Fear is The Enemy to versions of Elvin Bishop’s Rock Bottom and Taj Majal’s Further On Down The Road (two of his favorite songs from his earliest heroes), Stompin’ Ground is pure musical pleasure. “As soon as we started cutting,” Castro says, “we knew we were onto something.” In addition to the The Painkillers, Castro’s friends Charlie Musselwhite (harp and vocals on Live Every Day), Mike Zito (guitar and vocals on Rock Bottom), Danielle Nicole (vocals on Soul Shake) and Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo (guitar and vocals on Them Changes) add their talents to Stompin’ Ground. “I heard each one of my friends’ contributions on these songs in my head as I was working on them. Happily, when I reached out and actually asked, everyone said yes.”

Rick Estrin & The Nightcats - Groovin' In Greaseland

“Infectious, captivating, powerful blues….Intense Chicago-style harp playing, witty songs and tough-as-nails grooves” –Living Blues Wildly fun, musically fearless and bursting with bravado, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats have created one of the blues’ most instantly recognizable sounds and no-holds-barred styles. Featuring the world-class talents of harmonica master, songwriter and vocalist Rick Estrin, guitar wunderkind Chris “Kid” Andersen, keyboard wizard Lorenzo Farrell and dynamic drummer Alex Pettersen, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats serve up sharp and incisive original blues and gritty roadhouse rock ‘n’ roll. With his wily and unforgettable original songs and his hipster, street-smart vocals, no one on the blues scene writes or sings like Rick Estrin. No one looks like him either, as Estrin is always dressed to the nines, sporting his trademark pencil-line mustache and pompadour hair. DownBeat says, “Rick Estrin sings and writes songs like the brightest wiseguy in all of bluesland and blows harmonica as if he learned at the knee of Little Walter.” Live, the band is simply unbeatable. They deliver a high-energy show capable of bringing any audience to its feet. According to Living Blues magazine, they play “captivating, powerful blues and roots rock with a wickedly cool and otherworldly twist on tradition. Intelligently conceived and executed… hugely entertaining." Rick Estrin & The Nightcats’ fourth Alligator album, Groovin’ In Greaseland, features 13 original songs, 11 by Estrin (including one co-write with Andersen), and one each by Andersen and Farrell. From the true life wisdom of The Blues Ain’t Going Nowhere to the rambunctious Hot In Here to the humorous Dissed Again to the hard luck Living Hand To Mouth, the album delivers one winning performance after another. The songs spring to life as richly detailed characters spill their secrets and share their stories while the band dazzles. One listen makes it clear that this is one of the tightest and most original groups in any genre, constantly inspiring each other to new heights. Groovin’ In Greaseland was produced by Andersen and Estrin and recorded at Andersen’s soon-to-be legendary Greaseland Studio in San Jose, California. For more than 30 years and nine albums, Rick fronted Little Charlie & The Nightcats, flawlessly combining his songs, vocals and harmonica with Little Charlie Baty’s one-of-a-kind guitar excursions. The band won international acclaim and toured the world repeatedly. They were nominated four times for the prestigious Blues Music Award for Band Of The Year. With Charlie’s retirement from touring in 2008, Rick took over leadership of the band. He knew the only way to replace Baty’s mind-melting mashup of blues, jazz and roots rock was to find someone with an equally insane and daredevil guitar approach. Rick knew that would be a tall order to fill. As luck would have it, Kid Andersen, who had been working with another harp legend, Charlie Musselwhite, became available. “Kid’s a fearless nut on the guitar,” says Estrin. “He’s really the only guy who could fit in with us.” With an unpredictable, uninhibited style that perfectly meshed with Estrin’s wildly imaginative songs, the new band charged out of the gate. Besides Estrin’s songwriting and musical skills, he and the band are among the most colorful showmen around. Estrin’s quick wit and signature look and Andersen’s spontaneous guitar acrobatics add spur-of-the-moment frenzy to their live performances. “People don’t go out to see people who look like themselves,” says Estrin. “They want to see something special. I was schooled in this business to be a showman, and that’s what you get when you come to see us perform.”

The Cash Box Kings - Royal Mint

“One of the best blues bands in the land.” – Living Blues “Virtuoso musicianship…rocking and irresistible.” –No Depression “Gloriously retro with an inspiring eloquence and grace.” –Vintage Guitar With deep feeling and top-shelf talent, house party masters The Cash Box Kings play tough, real deal classic Chicago blues with boundless energy. They also deliver raw, passionate Delta blues, jumping proto-rock ‘n’ roll, and steamrolling “bluesabilly,” an original mix of Chicago blues and Memphis rockabilly. As anyone who has ever been to one of the band’s raucous performances will testify, The Cash Box Kings are old school blues masters. They’re fueled by the powerhouse harmonica work of Madison, Wisconsin-based songwriter Joe Nosek and the huge, gritty vocals of Chicago bluesman Oscar Wilson. Their original songs range from humorous stories of Internet love to harrowing tales of Chicago’s violent gun epidemic. Every song they perform – be it a striking original or a scorching Chess, Sun or Vee-Jay cover – explodes with contemporary authority and radiates old-school authenticity. According to Grammy Award-winning blues legend Charlie Musselwhite, “The Cash Box Kings play with real taste and feel. Not only is it good blues but it’s a jumping good time, too! I ain’t lyin’!” Joe Nosek founded The Cash Box Kings in Madison, Wisconsin in 2001 and, since 2007, has co-led the band with the charismatic, larger-than-life vocalist Oscar Wilson. Over 20 years apart in age and coming from vastly different backgrounds, the two form an unlikely pair, combining Wilson’s indisputably authentic inner city Chicago blues vocals with Nosek’s songwriting, singing and harmonica talents. The music they create is brilliantly displayed on The Cash Box Kings’ Alligator Records debut, ROYAL MINT. According to Wilson, “The Cash Box Kings is a throwback to the golden age of blues with some kickin’ fresh young blood. Joe is my best friend in the music world – the band is a marriage made in heaven for both of us.” “Oscar is godfather to my oldest son,” says Nosek. “We have each other’s backs. We’re family.” ROYAL MINT features 13 hard-hitting songs, including six impressive originals. From the wry, politically-charged Build That Wall to the chilling Blues For Chi-Raq to the funny and too true If You Got A Jealous Woman Facebook Ain’t Your Friend to the timeless covers of songs by Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Clifton Chenier, Amos Milburn and Jimmy Reed, ROYAL MINT shuffles, jumps and gets down and dirty, fueled by the band’s unmatched musicianship. According Nosek, “ROYAL MINT is our strongest album. The band is at its absolute best.” Nosek refers to the group of top-notch traditional players who comprise The Cash Box Kings as “a blues collective.” Live and on record, members of the “collective” appear in different combinations for different performances, creating an anything-can-happen experience. In addition to co-leaders Nosek and Wilson, the full ensemble includes first rate guitarists Joel Paterson and Billy Flynn, drummers Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith and Mark Haines, bassist Brad Ber and newest member Lee Kanehira (replacing longtime pianist, the late Barrelhouse Chuck) rounding out the band. In their first six years, The Cash Box Kings won a large and loyal audience across the Midwest. Wilson joined the band in 2007 bringing with him an instantly commanding stage presence and an authoritative vocal style that gives fire-breathing power to the music. A self-taught musician and singer with an encyclopedic knowledge of almost every blues song known to man, Wilson – standing 6’1” and weighing over 300 pounds – is a natural-born entertainer and a perfect foil for Nosek and the band.

Selwyn Birchwood - Pick Your Poison

Selwyn Birchwood is among the most extraordinary young stars in the blues. His deep familiarity with blues tradition allows him to bust the genre wide open, adding new sounds, colors and textures all delivered with a revival tent preacher’s fervor and a natural storyteller’s charisma. Since the 2014 release of his Alligator Records debut, Don’t Call No Ambulance, Birchwood’s meteoric rise from playing small Florida clubs to headlining international festival stages is nothing short of phenomenal, as he continues to set the contemporary blues world on fire. The album received the Blues Music Award and Living Blues Critics’ Award for Best Debut Album Of 2014, and he won the 2015 Blues Blast Rising Star Award. Selwyn and his band have crisscrossed the U.S. and Europe repeatedly, delivering unforgettable live performances. With his new album, Pick Your Poison, Birchwoodtakes a major step forward, crafting visionary blues for a new generation of forward-looking fans. Birchwoodwrote and produced all 13 songs on Pick Your Poison. The cutting-edge songs are made all the more impactful by Birchwood’s gruff vocals, his untamed musicianship and his band’s seemingly telepathic accompaniment. “I write and sing what I know,” says Birchwood, whose innovations are as expansive as his influences. “This album has a broad reach. It’s for young, old and everyone in between.” Birchwood, his father from Tobago, his mother from the UK, was born in 1985 in Orlando, Florida. He first grabbed a guitar at age 13 and soon became proficient at mimicking what he heard on the radio. But the popular grunge rock, hip-hop and metal of the 1990s didn’t move him, and he quickly grew bored. And then he heard Jimi Hendrix. “He was larger than life. What he did was mind-blowing. When I realized Hendrix was influenced by the blues, I found my path,” he says. By 17, he was deep into the blues, listening to Albert King, Freddie King, Albert Collins, Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins and especially Buddy Guy. As luck would have it, just as Birchwood was discovering Guy, the blues master had a concert scheduled in Orlando. Birchwood was there, front and center. “I was floored,” he recalls. “I completely connected with the blues. I knew I had to make this music.” As Selwyn’s guitar proficiency grew, a friend told him that his neighbor was a blues guitarist and had a band. The 19-year-old Selwyn went over to check it out and jam. The guitar-playing neighbor turned out to be the Texas-born blues legend Sonny Rhodes, who was instantly impressed with the enthusiastic young guitar slinger. Within one month’s time, Rhodes asked Birchwood to pack his bags and join him on the road. It was an incredible experience for Birchwood, as Rhodes took the young man under his wing, teaching him not only guitar and lap steel, but also how to conduct business, how to run a band, and how to reach an audience. “Sonny always said, ‘Play what’s in your heart.’ I’ve never lost sight of that,” says Birchwood. Rhodes insisted Birchwood go to college and always held the guitar spot in his band open for Selwyn whenever he was available. It was a win-win situation, as Birchwood—through hard work and scholarships—received his MBA from The University of Tampa. “I challenged myself to get that degree,” Birchwood says. “These days, it’s not good enough to just be a good player.” Combining the musical lessons learned from Rhodes and his business acumen, Birchwood created The Selwyn Birchwood Band in 2010, featuring veteran musicians older than Selwyn, testifying to Selwyn’s musical chops and his leadership skills. On stage, they play off each other with ease, feeding off each other’s energy, sharing the fun with the audience.

Coco Montoya - Hard Truth

The old Willie Dixon adage, “blues is truth,” perfectly describes the searing, passionate contemporary blues-rock of world-renowned guitarist and vocalist Coco Montoya. Taught by the “Master of the Telecaster,” Albert Collins, but with a hard-edged sound and style all his own, Montoya mixes his forceful, melodic guitar playing and passionate vocals with memorable songs, delivering the blues’ hardest truths. He earned his status as a master guitarist and soul-powered vocalist through years paying his dues as a sideman with Collins (first as a drummer) and then with John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, before launching his solo career in 1993. Five years of constant touring with Collins and 10 years with Mayall turned him into a monster player and dynamic performer. Montoya has released eight solo albums – including three for Alligator between 2000 and 2007 – and has played at clubs, concert halls and major festivals all over the world. Returning to Alligator with his new album, Hard Truth, Montoya delivers 11 career-topping performances, the music immediately ranking among the best he’s ever recorded. Produced by drummer Tony Braunagel (Eric Burdon, Curtis Salgado, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt), the album features 11 songs, each delivering a hard truth of its own. From the radio-friendly, gospel-inspired shout-out to love, I Want To Shout About It, to the haunting Devil Don’t Sleep to the icy-hot cover of Albert Collins’ The Moon Is Full, Hard Truth covers a lot of emotional ground. Montoya’s unpredictable guitar playing and smoking soul vocals blend effortlessly with a backing band featuring renowned musicians including bassist Bob Glaub (Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Jerry Lee Lewis), keyboardist Mike Finnigan (Jimi Hendrix, Etta James, Taj Mahal), guitarists Billy Watts (Eric Burdon) and Johnny Lee Schell (Bonnie Raitt), and Braunagel on drums. Slide guitar master Leroy Parnell guests on Lost In The Bottle. Henry “Coco” Montoya was born in Santa Monica, California on October 2, 1951 and raised in a working class family. Growing up, Coco immersed himself in his parents’ record collection. He listened to big band jazz, salsa, doo-wop and rock ‘n’ roll. His first love was drums; he acquired a kit at age 11 and was playing in a number of area rock bands while still in his teens, eventually becoming an in-demand drummer. Fate led him towards the blues, first as a drummer for Albert Collins, then as the blues legend's second guitarist. After coming off a number of years on the road with Collins, Coco hooked up with British blues king John Mayall and was a ten-year Blues Breaker. A solo career followed, with three fine releases on Blind Pig Records. In 2000, Coco’s Alligator debut, Suspicion, quickly became the best-selling album of his career. With regular radio airplay on over 120 stations nationwide, Montoya’s fan base exploded. After two more highly successful Alligator releases -- 2002’s massively popular Can’t Look Back and 2007’s Dirty Deal – Montoya signed with Ruf records, cutting both a live and studio album. Montoya will hit the highway in support of the new release, playing his heart out night after night for fans hungry for the real thing. Still an indefatigable road warrior, Montoya continues to pack clubs and theaters around the world, and brings festival audiences to their feet from New York to New Orleans to Chicago to San Francisco. Across the globe, he’s performed in countries including Australia, Belgium, Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, England and Canada. Vintage Guitar says, “Coco just keeps getting better and better. Rockin’ blues with guitar that cuts straight to the heart of the matter. His guitar playing is funky and blistering. It’s perfect. Whatever he plays, he does it with fire and passion rarely seen in this day and age.”