The North Atlantic Blues Festival “with style”

The 25th North Atlantic Blues Festival got off to a rousing start Saturday, July 14, under partly cloudy skies. Festival-goers enjoyed a light breeze, which kept things cooler than in some previous years.

And the music followed! “Blues Festival celebrates 25 years in style,” wrote Sarah E. Reyolds, who published photos of Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials for her review of the North Atlantic Blues Festival which took place in Rockland, Maine, on July 14 and 15.

Lil’ Ed takes the stage with his Blues Imperials Sunday afternoon, July 15, at the North Atlantic Blues Festival in Rockland © Sarah E. Reyolds

Photographers crowd in front of the stage to get a shot of Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials July 15 © Sarah E. Reyolds

Lil’ Ed and some of the Blues Imperials delight the crowd at the North American Blues Festival July 15 in Rockland © Sarah E. Reyolds

Read the full story on Knox Village Soup.


“Big sound, big entertainment, lots of fun”

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials (3:15 p.m.) is known for big sound — and big entertainment. Expect great Chicago blues and lots of on-stage, and in-audience, fun.

Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials will give some “Blues we can use”, according to Dagney C. Ernest, before his performance on Sunday, July 15, at 25th North Atlantic Blues Festival, in Rockland, Maine.

Read the full story in Village Soup Knox. 

“Most accomplished, longest running Chicago blues band”

Celebrating their 30th year, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials have established themselves as one of the most accomplished, longest-running Chicago blues bands of all time.

The group released eight albums from 1986 and 2012 and won numerous awards including the prestigious Blues Music Award for Band of the Year in 2007 and 2009.

The band’s lineup has remained the same for three decades with front man Ed Williams (lead guitar and vocals), Michael Garrett (rhythm guitar and vocals), James “Pookie” Young (bass) and Kelly Littleton (drums).

Williams grew up on the west side of Chicago and was taught by his uncle J.B. Hutto, a legendary Chicago slide-guitarist, songwriter and recording artist. […]

By Jeffrey Zampanti, presenting the 17th season of Peanut Butter & Jam, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials will be performing on August 16.

Read the full story in Kenosha News


Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials nominated for a Living Blues Award

ALLIGATOR RECORDS, June 20, 2018 — Living Blues magazine has announced the nominees for the 2018 Living Blues Readers’ Awards. Eight Alligator Records artists received a total of 12 nominations. Rick Estrin & The Nightcats received three, Elvin Bishop and Shemekia Copeland each received two, and Coco Montoya, Tommy Castro, Marcia Ball, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials and Oscar Wilson (of The Cash Box Kings) each received one.

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials are nominated in the Best Live Performer category.

The public –subscribers and non-subscribers alike– can vote at or by mailing in the ballot in the current issue of the magazine (#255), by July 15, 2018.

Winners will be announced in August.

A new website for Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials

Award-winning blues legends Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials debut their band new website at At the site, fans can read the very latest, most up-to-the-minute news about the band, as well as dive into their illustrious history.  Additionally, people can preview and purchase the band’s music and make plans to see them live while checking out the most current tour dates.

Read the Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials debut new website press release on Alligator Records. 

“Enjoyed Lil’ Ed
on Beale Street”

Celebrated the father’s 70th birthday with a trip to Memphis this weekend and enjoyed Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials at The Rum Boogie Cafe on Beale Street.

– By Chad Bishop, who made Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials his “Musical Pick of the Week” as he also relived the biggest stories of Western Kentucky University athletics from this past year, on WBKO.

“Riotous, rollicking, intensely
emotional blues”

Currently celebrating 30 history-making years together, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials (…] ply their musical talents with skills that have been honed to a razor’s edge. Mixing smoking slide guitar boogies and raw-boned shuffles with the deepest slow-burners, Lil’ Ed Williams and his Blues Imperials —bassist (and Ed’s half-brother) James “Pookie” Young, guitarist Mike Garrett and drummer Kelly Littleton— deliver gloriously riotous, rollicking and intensely emotional blues.

Their newest release, The Big Sound of Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials is musically electrifying, emotionally intense and downright fun. It features Lil’ Ed Williams’ incendiary guitar playing and soulful, passionate singing, with the ragged-but-right Blues Imperials cooking like mad alongside him. Williams wrote or co-wrote all but two of album’s 14 songs (those two being written by Lil’ Ed’s legendary uncle, Chicago slide guitar king and master songwriter J.B. Hutto).

In The Montgomery Advertiser, before Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials show in Alabama this Sunday, May 20, at Capitol Oyster Bar in Montgomery, Alabama.

Chicago Tribune: “More fiery
and energetic every year”

“Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials is James “Pookie” Young, from left, Mike Garrett, Lil’ Ed Williams and Kelly Littleton.” Photo Paul Natkin

The only question for Chicago blues fans in January, is which Buddy Guy show to pick during the 81-year-old guitar hero’s annual run at his South Loop nightclub, Legends. One way to distinguish his 16 performances, at least in advance, is by the opening act — fortunately, the proprietor has put some thought into picking top names. […]

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials. Although they’ve been steadily releasing albums and playing clubs and roadhouses since their first gig on the West Side in 1975, the Blues Imperials grow more fiery and energetic every year. Taught by his uncle, underrated Chicago bluesman J.B. Hutto, bandleader Ed Williams initially worked as a car-wash buffer to enable his music career; behind his colorful fezzes and jackets and party-time shows is a steady work ethic. The Blues Imperials roll out a stomping album on local label Alligator every couple of years — 2006’s Rattlesnake was a peak.

By Steve Knopper. Read the full story, in the Chicago Tribune

body-swaying blues”

Photo Paul Natkin

Lil’ Ed Willams and his Blues Imperials are planning dinner, musically speaking, for the Center for Performing Arts in Bonita Springs. Just listen to a few of their song titles: Chicken, Biscuits and Gravy and Icicles in My Meatloaf.

“That’s a true story,” Williams said, laughing about the last one. He was nestled in at home in Chicago doing interviews before another gig among his 115 a year. […]

A good story gets Williams’ creative juices going, and that creativity has served him through nine blues albums and tours around the world. The Dec. 8 show is the first venture into Bonita Springs, however, for Williams and his crew’s foot-tapping, body-swaying blues.

They roam a musical landscape that includes original tunes like the sassy “She’s Fine, She’s Mine,” blues ballads and booty-shakers like “Your Love is So Strong,” “I Can’t Have Nothin’ ” and “North Carolina Bound” and covers, perhaps of Albert Collins’ wryly funny “Master Charge” or Rufus Thomas’ “Walking the Dog.”

Williams figured he’ll even put a blues spin on a Christmas tune or two, such as “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” His holiday song, “I’m Your Santa,” which promises that certain someone a frisky Christmas, is bound to be on the list, too.

He’s also likely to cover a tune by his uncle, bluesman J.B. Hutto. A Blues Foundation Hall of Fame member and slide-guitar wizard, Hutto taught Williams about finding your own voice as well as honoring your role models. […]

By Harriet Howard Heithaus, before Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials’ show this December 8, 2017, at the Center for Performing Arts, in Bonita Beach, Florida. Read the full feature article in the Naples Daily News

Lil’ Ed part of the Windy City
Live celebration

As part of WCL’s Chicago Music Series, we celebrated Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials 30th anniversary of performing together. They sang their classic Poor Man’s Song.

Full performance to be watched on Windy City Live