Katie Henry

Website: https://katiehenrymusic.com/

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The New Jersey songwriter might have started out banging on doors, braving New York’s blues clubs, playing piano until her fingers bled, and winning over the city one show at a time. But lately, the multi-instrumentalist has raced through career milestones at a rocket pace.

There was her Blues Blast and IBMA-nominated 2018 debut album, High Road. Her international breakout on Ruf’s 2022 Blues Caravan Revue. Her starburst of media acclaim, including Henry Yates of Classic Rock, NME, and The Guardian, saluted “a runaway talent you need to keep up with.”

Now, with the release of her second album, On My Way, Katie has found another gear. Whether slinging her trusty Gibson SG, hammering the keys, or hollering up a storm, these ten original songs, co-written with bassist and slide-guitar maestro Antar Goodwin, announced her as an alchemist who creates gemstones from the base metals of American roots.

“There’s a great range of songs on this album,” Katie reflects. “You get a sense of the things I’ve been going through, the fights I’ve won, the fights I’ve lost, and the determination needed to continue. All wrapped in a rock and roots package.”

The story goes that at one early show, a fan astutely observed: “It’s like she’s got John Lee Hooker in her pocket!” Scratch this young artist, and you’ll find an old soul. Fingering her first piano chords, aged six, and scrawling early songs in the back of her school notebooks, Katie was the heart of singalongs at her family home in New Jersey.

With fiery guitar chops and natural charisma, she was soon a New York City jam scene favorite. Those who were there, remember songs of many genres, blues, rock, R&B, funk, pop, soul, and country, and her stage presence evoked Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin at their most magnetic.

And while “High Road” was the introductory handshake, On My Way is the profoundly personal second album on which Katie gives you her beat-up heart. It all started in May 2021, when Brooklyn’s Degraw Sound opened its doors to Katie and producer/guitarist Ben Rice. The crack lineup of Goodwin, Kurt Thum (piano/organ,) and Greg Wieczorek (drums/percussion,) plus British harp ace Giles Robson. “We recorded the album live during the pandemic,” reflects Katie, “and it was so fun to be able to record in a room with people after feeling isolated for such a long time. The majority of the album was laid down live, and I love that feeling. It’s like capturing lightning in a bottle.”

The Boneshakers

Official Website: www.OfficialBoneshakers.com

No holds barred funk, blues, and rock that marries the sounds and spirits of Detroit Rock City, Memphis, and Mussel Shoals. In the remarkable 25-year career of The Boneshakers, the iconic band has always been led by world-renowned guitarist Randy Jacobs of Was (Not Was). The band and members have toured and recorded with Bonnie Raitt, BB King, Keb Mo, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Bootsy Collins, Tears 4 Fears, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Gov’t Mule, and Iggy Pop…just to name a few. They have built a substantial following among blues, jazz, and funk audiences with their powerhouse style.

Producer John Wooler, who originally signed The Boneshakers in 1997, connected Randy and the incredible Jenny Langer- a powerhouse singer who was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame (NYC and VA) at the age of 28 and won the 2020 Int’l Blues Challenge for Best Self-Produced Album. What started as a few tracks for her project quickly morphed in a new album with The Boneshakers which together they married the sounds and spirits of Detroit Rock City, Memphis, and Mussel Shoals. Produced by Wooler, it is back to the original vision of The Boneshakers’ fiery sound, with the vocal dynamo Jenny Langer behind the mic and original musicians from “The Book Of Spells” Sergio Gonzales (Drums), Nathan Brown (Bass), Jon Gilutin (Keys), The Texacali Horns featuring Joe Sublett (Sax) and Mark Pender (Trumpet), and Randy’s former band mate from Was (Not Was) Sir Harry Bowens on vocals.

Jonathan Ellison

Website: https://JonathanEllisonMusic.com

Jonathan Ellison was crowned the new “King of Beale Street” in 2019. He released his debut album, “Guitar Cry for Me” to rave reviews from Living Blues Magazine and other outlets. Jonathan plans a summer 2023 release for a new single as well as a full album, “Rhythm and Soul Blues Man” in 2024.  He is the recipient of the WC Handy Heritage Award. Jonathan is currently nominated for Contemporary Blues Album for “Changing Times” with the group Silent Partners. Jonathan, along with Silent Partners, is also nominated for the prestigious Sean Costello Rising Star Award.

“The Ellison Family was performing in churches in the South. My dad couldn’t afford to buy us a tuner. He taught us to tune to Eb, the black keys on the piano. I didn’t use a tuner until I was in college.” -Jonathan Ellison

“We were like the gospel version of The Jackson Five.” Jonathan Ellison has a resonant, eloquent way of speaking about his musical upbringing in Brownsville, TN. The Ellison Family gospel group, established in the 1970s, featured Jonathan’s Mom, Ella Wee Ellison on vocals and his Dad, Ivory T. Ellison, played lead guitar. Ivory Ellison taught each of his children to play instruments. Jonathan learned to play multiple instruments by the time he was ten.

The Ellisons lived on a country road in Brownsville built beside a cotton field. “It was a musical melting pot,” says Jonathan. “Most everybody living on that road played an instrument. We’d put a couple guitar amps outside under the carport and play music. I learned to play from my father, brothers and neighborhood fellas as well.”

Jonathan is the youngest of eight children. “Dad always told us we were not better than anybody and no one was better than us. He always said, ‘Just be yourself.’ Dad looked at music as a joy. He worked several jobs so we could travel to churches and perform. He also had his own radio show. I started going to the station with him when I was five. When I was twelve, a spot became available, and I had my own radio show that I hosted until I was nineteen.” 

“Keep your car full of gas. Don’t be broke and hungry and caught on empty….” Ella Wee Ellison

Jonathan played in the “family business” until college. A student at the University of Memphis, he was only sixty miles away from home. “I always kept my gas tank full.  Memphis allowed me to be independent, but also close to family.”

Immersed in the Memphis scene, Jonathan started playing with community choirs and solo artists. He played for workshops and gospel recording sessions. His reputation as a musical artist led to playing lead guitar at BB Kings Blues Club. 

Jonathan was also part of the BB King Allstars in conjunction with Tommy Peters and the Beale Street Music Company. He performed in over sixty-two countries with The Allstars at The BB King Clubs on the Holland America Cruise ships.

Jonathan was the Musical Director and lead guitarist for the Queen of the Blues and Southern Soul, Ms. Denise LaSalle, until her death in 2018. Jonathan says the experience profoundly influenced his musical direction, but not his heart and soul and musical ministry.

“I knew I could not make a living at gospel. The first secular gig I did, I made money. Gospel is my heart, my foundation, and I don’t feel I’m just a blues artist. I’m a rhythm and soul blues man.”

“I believe no matter what kind of music I’m playing, I’m still in my ministry…I want to positively affect the hearts and minds of the audience.”

Jonathan’s gospel roots are always evident, no matter the venue in which he’s performing. “My ministry is God first. On stage, God in me is going to reflect out and onto an audience. Being on stage is my mission.”

Jonathan explains, “When you walk into a club, there’s an audience. That doesn’t happen by accident. They bought a ticket to be there. There may be someone dealing with depression or a broken relationship. I hope my music can change minds and uplift spirits. My music comes from my heart and reaches their heart and says a prayer.

A person’s mind may be in a better place after my performance.”

Jonathan’s unique musical perspective make him an unforgettable performer. His rich history, dedication to his craft, core beliefs and love of performance are a reflection of his inspiring soul.

Kat Riggins

Official Website: http://www.KatRiggins.com

Kat Riggins was born Katriva Riggins in Miami, Florida on February 7, 1980. She grew up in a household where there was always background music. Because of the wide range of genres in her parents’ collection, Kat developed a love for all types of music from gospel and soul to country and rock and everything in between.

She was drawn to the smoky gritty sounds of artists like Bessie Smith, Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, Tina Turner, Denise LaSalle, Ray Charles, Koko Taylor, Mavis Staples, Tracy Chapman, Janis Joplin and the list goes on. She grew up singing in local programs, church events, and family gatherings with her sister and cousins. At age 23 Kat landed a gig singing jazz and blues standards in a small lounge in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida with the accompaniment of only a piano player. Fast forward to today, and she has since performed with extraordinary musicians throughout the United States, Southeast Asia, the U.A.E., the Dutch Antilles and Europe.

In 2018 and 2019 Kat was featured in the Johan Derksen Keeps the Blues Alive tour, which stole the hearts theatregoers in sold out shows throughout The Netherlands. She has also appeared on two of the highest rated prime time television shows on Dutch TV (Voetbal Inside and PAUW) where she mesmerized millions of viewers and helped to introduce the Blues to hordes of new fans!

Kat’s own musical style is a blend of the Blues with elements of all of the genres born from it. Aside from the hip shakin’ fun stuff…Kat writes songs that hope to uplift, enlighten and inspire. Her approach is refreshing and unapologetically authentic.

With her first two works (an EP called “Seoul Music” and an original album called “Lily Rose”), Kat penned each song with subtle hints of her love of the blues. Her follow-up album, aptly named after her movement “Blues Revival”, however, is a loud and proud declaration of that love!

“Blues Revival” is a clever mash-up of Gospel-Blues, Blues-rock, Blues- soul, funky Blues, contemporary and traditional Blues, with BLUES being the operative word! Her third album (“In the Boys’ Club”) is an homage to the Blues women who came before her, a shout out to those who walk beside her and encouragement for those women in Blues who will come after.

In January of 2020 Mike Zito and Guy Hale welcomed Kat Riggins to their Gulf Coast Records family! Kat’s debut album on the record label earned the artist her first Blues Music Award nomination. In addition to the BMA nod for Contemporary Blues Album, the “Cry Out” project won Kat two Independent Blues Awards (Contemporary Blues Album and Contemporary Blues Band) and it continues to receive rave reviews! Kat was honoured to score her 2ND BMA nomination the following year for Blues Soul Artist female!

Kat’s second release on the label, “Progeny”, debut at #13 on the Billboard Blues charts to critical acclaim! The album got Kat her first Blues Blast Awards nomination and 5 MORE Independent Blues Award nominations! Progeny continues to be well received worldwide, and is said to be the singer- songwriter’s best to date, by critics and fans alike. With these and albums to come, Kat Riggins’s Blues Revival Movement endeavours to be a part of this musical revolution that aims to awaken the masses and introduce them to the sincerity behind Blues music!