Recordings by Alligator Records artists currently still sit atop the influential Billboard Blues Chart and also the Blues & Roots Chart for this week. The label’s two January 12 releases — Tinsley Ellis’ Winning Hand and Curtis Salgado & Alan Hager’s Rough Cut — debut at the #1 and #2 spots respectively and still there this week. Tommy Castro & The Painkillers’ Stompin’ Ground, released on September 29, 2017, currently still holds the #7 spot, re-emerging after spending seven previous weeks on the chart. On the Roots Blues Chart Curtis holds the #1 spot for this week with Tinsley at #2 and Tommy Castro at #3.
Recorded in Nashville and produced by Tinsley 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. “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.”
Ellis is currently on a coast-to-coast four month North American Tour.
Rough Cut is the first collaborative album from award-winning soul, blues and R&B vocalist Curtis Salgado and renowned guitarist Alan Hager. 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. With Curtis’ inspired singing and world-class harmonica playing and Alan’s spellbinding guitar, Rough Cut is the album Salgado and Hager have always wanted to make together – soulful, sparse and haunting. The music is a moving exploration of the joyful, emotionally uplifting power of passionately played and soulfully sung acoustic blues.
On Stompin’ Ground, Tommy Castro, a native of San Jose, CA, opens windows both into his past and his always-evolving musical future. Produced by Castro and guitar wunderkind Kid Andersen, Stompin’ Ground finds Castro unleashing a set of 12 potent tracks featuring seven 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 up-to-the-minute lyrics atop blistering blues-rock. Castro’s friends Charlie Musselwhite (harp and vocals), Mike Zito (guitar and vocals), Danielle Nicole (vocals) and David Hidalgo (guitar and vocals) add their talents to Stompin’ Ground.