By Stevie Connor. Photo: Ronnie Baker Brooks and Bruce Iglauer
Alligator Records has announced the signing of blues powerhouse Ronnie Baker Brooks. Son of the late Alligator star, Lonnie Brooks, Ronnie is his own bluesman: a blistering guitarist, an innovative, boundary-pushing songwriter and an intensely soulful vocalist. As a live performer, his boundless energy and huge, crowd-pleasing personality keeps his fans on their feet. His label debut will hit in the first half of 2024.
According to Baker Brooks, "I grew up playing with my father, Lonnie Brooks -- witnessing and learning from the legends of the blues. I also watched as Bruce and the team at Alligator created a platform for blues artists. It inspired me to start my own label, Watchdog Records. Now, teaming up with Alligator feels like coming home. I'm excited to continue to create Chicago blues as part of my family legacy and our shared history."
Alligator Records president and founder Bruce Iglauer is equally excited. "Anyone who has seen Ronnie Baker Brooks in live performance knows what a thrilling blues musician he is. He’s a fiery, world-class guitar player, a straight-from-the-shoulder singer and he writes memorable original songs. He brings the power and presence of his mentors—Luther Allison, Albert Collins and, most of all, his father, Lonnie Brooks—to the stage. Until now, Ronnie has self-released three excellent albums and had one larger-label album. I look forward to his Alligator debut capturing the fireball energy and soulfulness of his live shows in the studio."
Baker Brooks was born in 1967 in Chicago, first playing guitar with his famous father onstage at age nine. Having joined his father's band full time after graduating high school, Ronnie made his recording debut on Lonnie Brooks' Live From Chicago: Bayou Lightning Strikes album in 1988. In 1991, he hit the road as part of The Alligator Records 20th Anniversary Tour band, backing Lonnie, Elvin Bishop, and Katie Webster. He'd join them all, along with Koko Taylor and Lil' Ed Williams (and members of their bands) nightly for unforgettable blues jams. Ronnie performed with his father for 12 years, gaining valuable experience and sharing stages with such notables as Eric Clapton, B.B. King and Buddy Guy, among many others.
Baker Brooks formed his own label, Watchdog Records, in 1998 and released three solo albums over the next eight years: Golddigger in 1998, Take Me Witcha in 2001, and The Torch in 2006. His most recent album, 2017's Times Have Changed, was produced by drummer Steve Jordan (Rolling Stones, Robert Cray) and released on the Provogue label.
Since he was a teen, Ronnie Baker Brooks has toured the world, first with his dad and then leading his own band, and has earned his reputation as a white-hot live performer. He's considered one of the best artists on the blues scene, playing festivals and concert halls across the U.S. and throughout Europe.
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