Alligator Records has signed blues-rocking, soul-singing drummer/bandleader Lindsay Beaver. Her as-yet-untitled label debut is set for release in October, 2018. Beaver is a true force of nature. Her influences range from Little Richard to The Ramones, from Billie Holiday to Nick Curran. But her sound and style are hers alone.
Beaver, hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and now residing in Austin, Texas, possesses an old soul at the young age of 33. She is a classically trained vocalist and a jazz trained drummer with a deep love and knowledge of roots music, from blues to jazz to R&B ballads to raucous punk rock. Live, her voice and drums are front and center as she bares her soul, singing her signature mix of originals and covers of songs by artists as diverse as Little Willie John and The Detroit Cobras.
“Signing with Alligator is a true stamp of approval for any roots music artist,” says Beaver, who has been releasing her own recordings and performing professionally for 15 years, first as a singer and then as a band-leading vocalist and drummer. “It’s like a dream come true.”
Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer is thrilled to bring her into the fold. “I’m very excited to welcome Lindsay Beaver to the Alligator Records family. She’s a great young talent. Her songs evoke the spirit of 1950s and ’60s R&B and blues, but her singing and playing infuse them with a raw, rocking punk energy. Her music is full of unvarnished emotion and power. She’s like the love child of Amy Winehouse and Little Richard.”
As a young girl, Beaver sang. A lot. But only when she was alone. Growing up in a working-class neighborhood, she became enamored with music at an an early age. At 11, she discovered Tupac Shakur and fell in love with hip hop, which led her on a path back to soul, blues and jazz. At 14 she heard Jimi Hendrix and then, in her words, “everything changed.” She got a guitar and learned to play. Convinced to sing in public by her high school friends, she entered the school’s talent show, performing in front of an audience for the very first time.
After high school she received a scholarship to train as a classical soprano. At the same time, she put together a small jazz band. “We rehearsed at my house,” she recalls, “but my drummer didn’t want to keep bringing his drums over. So my dad scraped together enough money to buy a drum set to keep in the house. Not for me, for our drummer. But I sat down at that set and as soon as I did, I got it.” She started playing at the Sunday night blues jam at the local bar. The veteran house band took her under their wing, introducing her to hundreds of blues songs and artists.
Wanting to broaden her horizons, Beaver headed to Toronto to study jazz drumming, taking her already impressive drum skills to a whole new level. “I got in,” she recalls, “because I was the only applicant who could play a shuffle.” She started another band — the acclaimed 24th Street Wailers — and began making a name for herself in Toronto and across Canada. She befriended guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, who recognized her talent and suggested she relocate to Austin, Texas, which she did in 2014. She formed a new band featuring her own soulful vocals and dynamic drumming and the fiery talents of guitarist Brad Stivers.
Over the course of her career, Beaver self-released five albums with the 24th Street Wailers and has toured throughout Canada, the United States and large swaths of Europe. The new Alligator release will be the first under her own name. “I like music with drive and passion,” she says. “I write what I know and I sing what I know. At my shows, I want people to have fun and to be moved. I want everyone to be inspired to dance and I want at least some people to be moved to tears. And I definitely want every person to go home saying, ‘I’m never going to forget this.”