Alli­ga­tor Records is pleased to announce the sign­ing of soul­ful vocal­ist, dynam­ic har­mon­i­ca mas­ter and gift­ed song­writer Chris O’Leary. His label debut, The Hard Line, will be released on Fri­day, Jan­u­ary 12, 2024. It will be avail­able at all dig­i­tal ser­vices, on CD and on translu­cent red vinyl LP. O’Leary is among the blues and roots world’s most tal­ent­ed unsung heroes. The Marine vet­er­an, ex-Fed­er­al police offi­cer and for­mer lead singer of The Barn Burn­ers (fea­tur­ing Lev­on Helm on drums) has walked a hard line from his upstate New York home to stages all over the world. No Depres­sion mag­a­zine says, “O’Leary’s voice con­tains star­tling emotion…reaching an inten­si­ty and emo­tion­al raw­ness [that’s] pri­mal. The per­for­mances prac­ti­cal­ly vibrate with an authen­tic­i­ty that stays with you.” 

Between his large, ath­let­ic frame and his mil­i­tary-style “high and tight” hair­cut, O’Leary com­mands atten­tion, singing his indeli­ble orig­i­nal songs with pure, unadul­ter­at­ed soul and play­ing har­mon­i­ca with urgent loco­mo­tive pow­er. His keen­ly writ­ten songs come direct­ly from his col­or­ful and some­times har­row­ing life expe­ri­ences. A dis­ci­ple and friend of both The Band’s leg­endary drummer/vocalist/songwriter Lev­on Helm and icon­ic blues har­mon­i­ca giant James Cot­ton, O’Leary has been play­ing pro­fes­sion­al­ly since the 1990s, with five pre­vi­ous solo albums to his cred­it. O’Leary is beyond thrilled to be with Alli­ga­tor. On The Hard Line, he set his sights high and cre­at­ed what he says is “the best work I’ve ever done. It’s the most focused, most to-the-point album I’ve ever made.”

Alli­ga­tor Records founder and pres­i­dent Bruce Iglauer is hap­py to wel­come O’Leary into the Alli­ga­tor fam­i­ly. “What first struck me about Chris was his ter­rif­ic song­writ­ing, which ranged from hilar­i­ous tales to soul-deep per­son­al sto­ries. I love the pas­sion he puts into every song. As a musi­cian, he’s a world-class har­mon­i­ca play­er (and a fine gui­tar and bass play­er) but his goal is not to show off his chops. He plays emo­tion­al solos that tell the sto­ry of the lyrics and height­en the impact of the song.”

The Hard Line, pro­duced by O’Leary and fea­tur­ing 12 strik­ing orig­i­nals, has many sto­ries to tell. With over 30 new­ly-writ­ten, nev­er-record­ed songs to choose from (most­ly writ­ten dur­ing the down­time of the pan­dem­ic) O’Leary and Iglauer care­ful­ly picked what Chris calls “the best of them all.” The wild­ly ener­getic orig­i­nal song Lost My Mind pre­mieres today. Watch the visu­al­iz­er video below. 

“The Chris O’Leary Band has played our fes­ti­val and recent­ly per­formed for us gar­ner­ing a stand­ing ovation.

Their lat­est album, 7 Min­utes Late, is the num­ber one blues album on the Roots Music Report & rock­ing The Liv­ing Blues Chart.

The Chris O’Leary Band is on a mete­orit­ic path and deliv­ers on every note.”

John Resch
Mis­sis­sip­pi Blues Society

Our lat­est album, 7 Min­utes Late, is the num­ber one blues album on the Roots Music Report. Thanks to all our fans for your support!

Roots Music Chart with 7 Minutes Late as Number One Blues Album for the week of February 9, 2019.

7 Minutes Late

Our 5th CD 7 Min­utes Late is on the Amer­i­can Show­place Label. It’s our finest work to date. Many of the songs that our fans have heard at our live shows over the past year are here as well as some brand new mate­r­i­al. We will be out tour­ing coast to coast and through out Europe and Cana­da in sup­port. Please come out and see us at a town near you.