AUBURN – Since variety is the spice of life, area blues fans can anticipate a lively evening when Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials bring their big-band style to the Midnight Blues Club. The band will appear Sunday, March 13, as part of the club’s Sunday Night Blues Series.

Led by frontman Ed Williams, Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials are genuine house-rocking masters. Williams, although small in stature, is a true giant of the blues. From smoking slide guitar, to rawboned Chicago shuffles to the deepest slow blues, Williams is a master bluesman.

A gifted guitarist and soulful vocalist, Williams, along with his blistering, road-tested band, has been tearing up clubs and festival stages all over the world for almost 20 years. Between the band’s wonderfully raucous music and Ed’s flying leaps, it’s no wonder the Boston Globe called the group “the world’s No. 1 house-rocking band.”

Williams boasts a direct bloodline to blues history, his uncle and musical mentor was the great Chicago slide guitarist J.B. Hutto. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Williams represents one of the few remaining authentic links to the raucous but pure Chicago blues.”

Williams was born on April 4, 1955, on the West Side of Chicago. Surrounded by the blues, he was playing guitar, bass and drums by the time he was 12. He and half-brother Pookie received lessons from their famous uncle, and improved quickly. “J.B. taught me everything I know,” says Ed. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.”

Ed and Pookie, who spent their teen years making music together, formed the first incarnation of The Blues Imperials in 1975. Over the next few years, the group played every club on the West Side, but the musicians still needed day jobs to pay the bills. Night after night, they played their roaring brand of blues in tiny clubs. Eventually, word of their talents reached Alligator Records prexy Bruce Iglauer.

Iglauer invited the band into the studio to cut a couple of songs. What happened next was totally unexpected. The band, never having been in a studio before, treated the studio like a club. After recording just two songs, the Alligator staffers in the control room were on their feet and begging for more. Iglauer offered the band a full-album contract on the spot.

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials have released several great-sounding albums on the well-known Alligator label. From their first release in 1986, “Roughhousin,” to 1989’s “Chicken, Gravy & Biscuits” to “What You See is What You Get” in 1992, their distinctive sounds are truly addictive. Their most recent release, a rockin’ CD called “Heads Up,” is a must-own disc for any true blues enthusiast. This high-flying band has now made its mark on the worldwide blues stage.

The Midnight Blues Club is at 34 Court St. Tickets for all Sunday Night Blues shows are $15, with the offer of $3 off any entree. To reserve seats, people can call the club at 783-9600. For more information, visit www.3clubs.com


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