BLUES AT THE CROSSROADS – THE SOUL OF THE BLUES
FEATURING IRMA THOMAS, LEE FIELDS, ERIC KRASNO, ALECIA CHAKOUR
AND THE DYNAMITES TO PAY TRIBUTE TO THE GREAT SOUL SINGERS
OF OUR TIME WITH U.S. TOUR TO BEGIN IN FEBRUARY
THIRD ANNUAL TOUR TO FEATURE SONG SELECTIONS
FROM SUCH ARTISTS AS JAMES BROWN, STEVIE WONDER,
ARETHA FRANKLIN, MARVIN GAYE, OTIS REDDING,
ETTA JAMES, BILL WITHERS, DUSTY SPRINGFIELD,
THE SPINNERS AND ISAAC HAYES AMONG OTHER SOUL LEGENDS
Somewhere at the intersection of the Blues and Soul lies the Crossroads.
Beginning in February, the two popular genres of music will meet, once again, with the third annual tour, Blues at The Crossroads – The Soul of the Blues.
The tour will encompass a dozen dates throughout the U.S. and currently includes such cities as far west as San Francisco, California and as far east as Roanoke, Virginia (see itinerary below).
Blues at The Crossroads is a tribute to the great soul singers of our time, with an evening full of covers performed by five artists who know how to do it right – Irma Thomas, Lee Fields, Eric Krasno, Alecia Chakour and The Dynamites.
Irma Thomas is the unrivaled “Soul Queen of New Orleans,” a title officially bestowed by local officials, no less. She ranks among Crescent City R&B’s greatest and most enduring musical ambassadors, never enjoying the coast-to-coast commercial success of contemporaries like Aretha Franklin and Etta James but nevertheless breathing the same rarified air in the minds of many soul music aficionados. In the spring of 1960, Thomas would score her first hit with the saucy debut single, “You Can Have My Husband (But Don’t Mess with My Man),” quickly propelling her album to the number 22 spot on the Billboard R&B chart. In the years to follow, Irma would put out several releases on a variety of labels including Minit, Imperial and Chess among others. In early 1964, Irma recorded a gospel-influenced cover of “Time Is on My Side,” the song later made famous by the Rolling Stones. In 1985, she was approached by a producer at Rounder Records to make a “comeback record.” The New Rules appeared the following year, earning solid reviews and selling respectably. Just a few years later, in 1991, Irma would earn her first-ever Grammy nomination with Live! Simply the Best. Her second nomination would come fifteen years after that when After the Rain would be nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Simply Grand, one of her more recent efforts, features Irma in an acoustic setting accompanied by a host of well-known piano players including Dr. John, Ellis Marsalis, Randy Newman and others. Sixty years after she first started singing, Irma still enjoys performing live.
There aren’t too many artists making soul music today who had a release in 1969, way back when R&B was first beginning to give the drummers some. Lee Fields, however, is one such artist… or maybe he’s better labeled a phenomenon. Since the late sixties, the North Carolina native has amassed a prolific catalog of albums and has toured and played with such legends as Kool & the Gang, Sammy Gordon and the Hip-Huggers, O.V. Wright, Darrell Banks and Little Royal. With a career spanning 45 years, releases on twelve different record labels and having toured the world over with his raucous-yet-tender voice, it’s nothing short of mind-blowing that the music Lee Fields is currently making with Brooklyn’s own Truth & Soul Records is the best of his career. This past June, Fields released his latest CD with The Expressions titled, Emma Jean. With a catalogue that ranges from James Brown-style funk to lo-fi blues to contemporary Southern soul to collaborations with French house DJ/producer Martin Solveig, Lee Fields has done it all. Today, with The Expressions — Truth & Soul’s house band — Lee Fields continues to evolve, enmeshed into the group’s sweeping string-laden, cinematic soul sound.
Founding member and guitarist of beloved bands Soulive and Lettuce, Eric Krasno took his fifteen-plus-year career in a new direction with his first solo record, Reminisce, released on Royal Family Records in 2010. “I called it Reminisce because I felt like the record represented many different eras and styles of music and guitar playing that influenced me growing up,” says Krasno. “From covers like ‘Manic Depression’ to originals like ’76’, the record is a nod to those greats that came before me while adding our flavor to the music.” With the forthcoming Blues at the Crossroads tour, he will continue to pay homage to the greats. Since forming Soulive in 1999, Krasno, organist Neal Evans and drummer Alan Evans have toured the globe spanning small rock clubs to major festivities in such places as Africa, Japan, Russia, Brazil and more. With releases on Velour Recordings, Blue Note, Stax and their own Royal Family Records, and a resume that includes opening spots for the Rolling Stones and Dave Matthews Band, it’s little wonder that the group has developed a reputation as one of the most celebrated instrumental soul-funk trios in the world.
Dubbed a “breakout young artist” by the New York Times, Alecia Chakour is a blues siren. Armed with a gritty, bellowing voice, she tells stories of love, heartbreak and struggle with the timelessness of an old soul reincarnate. Alecia coalesces gospel harmonies and an ardent rock and blues feel to make remarkably honest music that echoes influences such as Bobby “Blue” Bland, Mavis Staples, The Band, Bobbie Gentry and Joe Cocker, but with a raw vulnerability all her own. The daughter of a musician, Alecia grew up in R&B and has found her home there. The past several years have seen her with a diverse roster of exciting artists, most recently as a member of The Warren Haynes Band. Alecia is now preparing her first full length album along with her extended musical family to create a unique sound that has been deftly described as “sultry badass-ness.”
The Dynamites have evolved from a neck-jerking, backbone-slipping high octane funk/soul freight train to a well-rounded soul machine that takes very seriously its sacred mandate of carrying the torch of “real” soul music forward… with plenty of the high octane backbone-slipping still in there.
And there you have it…
The Blues at the Crossroads – The Soul of the Blues tour comin’ at ya in February.
“I feel good, I knew that I would, now.”
As the late, great James Brown, “The Godfather of Soul,” also once sang, “GET UP. GET ON UP!”
Come on out.
Your soul searching is done.
For artist interview opportunities and additional information, please contact Jeff Albright / The Albright Entertainment Group at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Photos of all artists available upon request.
Blues at the Crossroads Tour 2015
February 4 – Mondavi Center in Davis, California
February 5 – The Addition in San Francisco, California (formerly Yoshi’s – two shows)
February 6 – The Addition in San Francisco, California (formerly Yoshi’s – two shows)
February 7 – Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, California
February 8 – Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa, California
February 14 – North Central College in Naperville, Illinois
February 15 – Thalia Hall in Chicago, Illinois
February 17 – Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
February 25 – B.B. Kings in New York, New York
February 26 – Howard Theater in Washington, DC
February 27 – Jefferson Center in Roanoke, Virginia
February 28 – Kentucky PAC in Louisville, Kentucky
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