“Full of fire, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials hit the floor running and accelerate from there.
High-octane, expressive, fiercely articulated, harrowing intensity, raucous slide.” –Living Blues
Alligator recording artists Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, touring in support of their latest Alligator CD, JUMP START, will give a live performance at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago on Friday, February 1, 2013. Mixing smoking slide guitar boogies and raw-boned Chicago shuffles with the deepest slow-burners, Lil’ Ed Williams and his rip-roaring Blues Imperials — bassist James “Pookie” Young, guitarist Mike Garrett and drummer Kelly Littleton — deliver gloriously riotous, rollicking and intensely emotional blues. Currently celebrating 25 history-making years together, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials ply their musical talents with skills that have been honed to a razor’s edge. Recently, Chicago slide guitar hero Lil’ Ed Williams received two 2013 Blues Music Award nominations, one for Traditional Male Blues Artist, and one for his whole group, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, for Band Of The Year.
The group won the coveted 2009 Band Of The Year Blues Music Award, the same honor they received in 2007. In 2012, they were awarded the 2012 Living Blues Readers’ Award for Best Live Performer. The band won that same distinction in the 2011 Living Blues Critics’ Poll. Concert information is as follows:
Date: Friday, February 1, 2013
Venue: Buddy Guy’s Legends
Address: 700 South Wabash Ave.
City: Chicago, IL
Ticket price: TBA
The band’s wildly energetic and seriously soulful new CD JUMP START is jam-packed with Lil’ Ed’s incendiary slide playing and rough, passionate singing, as the ragged-but-right Blues Imperials cook like mad alongside him. Produced by Williams and Alligator president Bruce Iglauer, it is a tour-de-force of untamed slide guitar, rock solid rhythms, heartrending ballads and authentic deep blues vocals. Williams wrote or co-wrote 13 of the album’s 14 songs, which all overflow with the band’s full throttle drive and serious sense of fun. JUMP START reveals a band firing on all cylinders and ready to spread the genuine houserockin’ fever to their biggest audience yet. “It’s all blues, really,” says Lil’ Ed. “Some of it will make you dance, some will ease your soul.”
Lil’ Ed boasts a direct bloodline to blues history — his uncle and musical mentor was the great Chicago slide guitarist, songwriter and recording artist J.B. Hutto. Live, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials simply can’t be beat as Ed breaks out the deepest back-bends, the highest toe-walks, and the most authentic electric slide-guitar blues being played today. Garrett’s risk-taking rhythm guitar work and Littleton’s conversational, old school drumming perfectly complement Lil’ Ed’s and Pookie’s rambunctious playing.
Adding to the legend is Ed’s storybook rise, taking him from working in a car wash to entertaining thousands of fans all over the world. He’s made multiple appearances on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, and has brought his music to fans from Japan to Poland. According to The Chicago Tribune, “Williams represents one of the few remaining authentic links to pure Chicago blues.”
Now, with JUMP START, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials will continue bringing their seriously inspired and wildly fun Chicago blues to “Ed Heads” new and old, wherever they may be. After almost a quarter century together, Lil’ Ed, Pookie, Mike and Kelly have played thousands of gigs, logged tens of thousands of miles and have no plans to slow down anytime soon. According to Littleton, “The journey has been amazing. We melded right away and have kept growing.” Garrett agrees, saying, “It’s a perfect fit. And we keep getting better.” Young adds, “We are way stronger now, and we’re still having fun. My dreams have all come true.”
“Long ago,” recalls Lil’ Ed, “Uncle J.B. told me, ‘When you get the right guys in your band, you’ll know.’ When Mike and then Kelly joined up with me and Pookie, we just clicked. I knew. We are a family,” says Lil’ Ed, summing it all up. “And families stay together.”