Lindsay Beaver Ready to Beat the Skins During Tuesday’s BluesDays at River City in Wheeling

Lindsay Beaver

WHEELING — When blues-rocking, soul-singing drummer, songwriter and bandleader Lindsay Beaver takes the stage, she makes an immediate and unforgettable impression. Standing front and center at her kit, singing every song from the depths of her soul, she delivers blues, R&B and old school rock ‘n’ roll with punk rock energy, and sings with a voice brimming with attitude and soulfulness.

The audience can witness Beaver’s intensity, soul-baring emotion and distinct swagger at the next BluesDays at River City, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 9.

With influences ranging from Little Richard to The Ramones, from Billie Holiday to Queens of the Stone Age, Beaver has crafted a timeless sound and personal style that simply cannot be denied.

Hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Beaver 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 rock ‘n’ roll. Live and on her recordings, she lays it all on the line, performing her signature mix of unforgettable originals and dance floor-filling versions of songs by artists as diverse as Sam Cooke and The Detroit Cobras. Her Alligator Records debut, Tough As Love, introduces her as a true force of nature with a sky’s-the-limit future.

It was Bruce Iglauer from Alligator Records who recommended Beaver to Bruce Wheeler, producer of BluesDays at River City and Heritage Music BluesFest.

“He tried to get her on this year’s festival, and it didn’t work out tour-wise … Iglauer described her as ‘the love child of Amy Winehouse and Little Richard,'” Wheeler said.

She’s touring in support of her latest album, “Tough As Love,” recorded in Beaver’s current hometown of Austin, Texas. She wrote seven of the album’s 12 tracks, the striking originals melding seamlessly with the perfectly chosen covers. Her deep understanding of blues and roots rock traditions is a launching pad for her songs, combining electric urgency with skill and finesse.

“Tough As Love” honors some of Beaver’s inspirations (including songs by Little Willie John, Angela Strehli and Art Neville) while introducing her own memorable songs. Along with her touring band – guitarist Brad Stivers and bassist Josh Williams (“They are the glue that holds it all together,” she says) — well-known friends including Marcia Ball, Dennis Gruenling, Laura Chavez, Eve Monsees and Sax Gordon all add their talents to the proceedings. According to Beaver, “These are all folks that I’ve admired or wanted to perform with for years. It was important for me to highlight people that have inspired me.” From the first song to the last, ‘Tough As Love’ is rough and raw, fearless and moving.

“Signing with Alligator is a true stamp of approval for any roots music artist,” said 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.”

Beaver grew up in a working-class family surrounded by music. She loved to sing around the house (especially soul music), but she was a shy kid and only sang when she was alone. She discovered the music of Tupac Shakur at age 11 and fell in love with hip hop, which started 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. She was finally convinced by her friends to sing in public in her high school talent show.

From there, she sang in school musicals and at open mic events around Halifax. But when she first heard Billie Holiday sing “Don’t Explain” at age 17, Lindsay found her true musical direction. “I was floored,” she recalls. “Her voice had more soul and emotional depth than any singer I had ever heard. Billie led me to lots of other jazz, and jazz led me to blues.”

Throughout her career, Beaver self-released five albums by her band, the 24th Street Wailers, producing three of them. “Tough As Love” is her first release under her own name. She has toured Canada, the United States and large swaths of Europe.

“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.'”

Other upcoming BluesDays at River City include:

¯ Nick Schnebelen, July 17: Nick is one of three siblings who won the IBC competition a few years ago, and then rose to fame as Trampled Under Foot. “His sister Danielle is on the BluesFest, but we didn’t find a slot for Nick, so he’s coming to River City,” Wheeler said.

¯ Nikki Hill, July 24: “Nikki Hill and her husband guitarist Matt Hill have been doing a lot of rockin’, soulful blues,” Wheeler said. “She’s got a little bit of a ’50s vibe she does with the blues.”

¯ Sue Foley, 9 p.m. Aug. 2: “An incredible guitar player,” Wheeler said, who noted she has received rave reviews from Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top.

Each show is roughly a two-hour concert. River City is located at 1400 Main St., Wheeling.

Attendees to BluesDays at River City also can purchase tickets for Heritage Music BluesFest at early bird prices. Heritage Music BluesFest is set for Aug. 9-11 at Wheeling Heritage Port.

For more information, visit www.heritagemusicfest.com.

More about Beaver can be found at her website. http://www.lindsaybeaver.com/

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