When the great Bluesman B.B. King first heard Alexis P. Suter sing a few years ago, he was visibly impressed – and said so after her opening set. Shaking his head in wonder in his characteristic way, he remarked: “It’s a rare thing to share the stage with great talent like that young lady.”
Considering the caliber of performers who appear on the same bill as King, that’s a heady compliment. And she has earned similar accolades from other well-known musicians and performers, including Levon Helm of The Band and Dan Akroyd, better known in the Blues world as Elwood Blues, who called her “America’s number one contender for the new Queen of the Blues.”
A true vocal phenomenon, bass/baritone powerhouse Suter and her band began wowing audiences in the northeast 6 or 7 years ago as regular performers at Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble Sessions in Woodstock, NY. "She is one of those wonderful spirits, she's got her arms around you, you can feel that,” Helm has said.
Since then, they have been in demand at North American festivals including, just in the past summer : The Toronto Waterfront Blues Festival, The Cincinnati Blues Festival, Floydfest in Floyd, VA, The Kitchener Blues Festival in Kitchener, Ontario, The Vermont Blues Festival, The Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival in Salmon Arm, British Columbia and The Columbia Blues Festival in Columbia, SC. During the summer of 2008, the band toured Italy as part of Blues Al Femminile. In 2009, the band was showcased at New York City’s River and Blues concert series and at the New York State Blues Festival, where Dan Aykroyd joined them onstage for “Got My Mojo Workin’.”
Along with Levon Helm’s band, the Alexis P. Suter Band has played sold-outs shows at the Beacon Theater in New York City, Bethel Woods Center For The Arts and Central Park Summerstage. The band has also appeared on Imus in the Morning. At Floydfest this summer, where they played on the same day as the Levon Helm Band, Suter was invited up to sing on The Weight, which usually closes Helm’s show.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, Suter came from a musical family. Her mother was a music teacher and singer who worked with Harry Belafonte, Mahalia Jackson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and The Hall Johnson Choir. Early on, her daughter sang in recitals and Gospel plays and learned the power of her voice. In the early 90’s, Suter became a staple of underground garage music and the first African American woman signed to Sony-Epic (Japan). Her acclaimed song “Slam Me Baby” made her an underground star, while she also still sang with New York’s Illumination and Total Praise Gospel Choirs. Her debut CD, Shuga Fix on Hipbone Records was well- received by the music community and played on the radio nationwide. The band also released a CD/DVD recorded Live at The Midnight Ramble, and last year’s record Just Another Fool.
Suter is poised to release her latest – Two Sides, One Truth – in March. Suter said the record “has a lot of different styles – blues, soul and other roots music. It’s mostly original songs and a few covers.” One of the covers is her version of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” which Suter sang at last New Year’s Eve’s Midnite Ramble in Woodstock, where people are still talking about it. More recently, Suter and her band previewed some of the new songs at The Turning Point in Piermont, NY where the entire kitchen staff came out and lined the hallway to hear her sing.
In addition to her voice, Suter’s real secret weapon is her top-notch band. At every show, audiences show their whistling, cheering appreciation for drummer Ray Grappone’s funky beats and guitarist Jimmy Bennett and keyboard man Benny Harrison’s high-flying solos. The rest of the band –Peter Bennett on bass, and gorgeous singers Vicki Bell and Linda Pino –have also added to the firepower of this exciting band that has captured the attention of some of the best players around. Along with other hot New York blues players, Suter will be featured on the cover of the February/March issue of Big City Blues magazine. The sky’s the limit for The Alexis P. Suter Band!