Some are born to play. And a very few are born to play it all.
You know the history: Born into Chicago blues royalty. On the road with Albert King before he was 20. Signed to Island a few years later. Records and tours with Peter Tosh and Bob Marley. Works with Roy Buchanan and Betty Wright. Tears up the blues circuit with The Kinsey Report. Returns to the reconstituted Wailers. Nails every solo. Thrills every crowd. But what of the future? Yeah, we think that will be covered, too.
About Donald Kinsey
When your father is Big Daddy Kinsey, you are literally born to play the blues. Donald grew up in Gary, Indiana, a home just close enough to Chicago to serve as a haven for the blues stars his hard-singing dad knew and played with. With that kind of influence, and with brothers playing complementary instruments to his guitar, Donald was likely to get good fast. It didn’t take long for him to get the nickname ‘B.B. King Junior’. Then, one night, Big Daddy woke Donald to tell him to start packing. Friend of the family Albert King needed a guitar man for his tour, and Donald was chosen for the job.
So starts a career now nearing fifty years. Tours with Albert honed Donald’s skills to a fine edge and gave him the confidence to try his luck with his own rock band, White Lightnin’. A deal with Island Records put him in touch with reggae music for the first time. And a meeting with label-mate Bob Marley made him want to play it. The next ten years or so are painted red, yellow, and green. Donald moved back and forth between the Marley camp and Peter Tosh, where he coaxed Peter to record his own version of “Johnny B. Goode.” The record would be Tosh’s greatest hit, and anyone who saw Tosh on the road in the early 80s saw Donald raise the reggae giant’s game with his own exciting guitar playing and kinetic performances.
Still, you can take a man from the blues of Chicago, but you can’t take Chicago out of a bluesman. Donald returned to work with his dad until he and his brothers broke out with a series of stunning modern electric blues records of their own as The Kinsey Report. Donald’s songwriting hit a hot streak, and he delivered gems like “Full Moon On Main Street”, and “When The Church Burned Down.” Kinsey guitar solos became the kinds of moments that make every musician in the room shut up and stare.
In the 21st century, Donald’s schedule got even busier, as Bob Marley’s Wailers were re-born. Descendants and alumni of the great 1970s collective took to the road to present the Marley catalog to a new generation. They were welcomed with open (and raised arms) and the touring has continued at a consistent pace, while, when he’s home, Donald and his brothers Kenny and Woody stay active in Chicago. The Kinsey Report continues to be a frequent headliner at premium Chicago venues like Rosa’s and The Kingston Mines.
And with all that in play, Donald began to craft a solo career. His first recordings in the effort are the perfect addition to the Third Street Cigar catalog, and 2021 will see more new and exciting releases from Donald, along with a career-spanning documentary.
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