I first met LINSEY ALEXANDER when assigned by Living Blues Magazine to shoot its 2019 Issue # 259 cover. His weekly stint at Kingston Mines was the perfect time and location to meet up with the man I had heard often at Buddy Guy’s Legends. An open, friendly, sharp and mischievous raconteur, he is the bluesman’s bluesman. A favorite with audiences and the record buying public, he sets up shop on a table with a carrying case full of his Delmark cds before his set and it’s a terrific place to interact with this personable man. On performing he says “I deal with the people, you know. I like to let them know me, that’s how I connect on stage. And when we’re cooking, it’s like having a good meal. You hate for it to end.”  

Backed by a tight band of veterans Alexander fires off a great repertoire of originals peppered with wry humour and often laced with innuendo. From blues clubs to festivals, his fans love him and his deep Chicago blues. 

594 Miles From Chicago is not only the distance from the southernmost border of the Windy City to Clarksdale, MS, it is the name of a documentary film project spearheaded by a young Blues fan, sound engineer, guitar technician and booking agent named Connor Korte. (With able assistance from Greg and Vicky Guy, Christian Alan Hansen and Pat Quinn.)

When Connor ran the sound and booked bands at Johnny’s Blitz in Westmont, the first bluesman he met was Linsey Alexander who told him forthrightly, “If you want a Blues venue, you have only f*****g Blues players. We need places like this. I can help.” And so Korte rebooted the club into the blues venue in that part of Chicagoland. In doing so, he would get to know the musicians and inquire of them about their lives. As he conducted more and more research on the individuals he came to schedule and know personally, the more he realized how little information about them was available. When the pandemic hit and shuttered the doors on the entire Blues scene, he decided it was the time that their rich histories should and could be documented. 

Korte purchased his own film equipment and became his own cameraman and interviewer. The result is hours and hours of conversation with well known  Chicago’s Blues artists and lesser known sidemen with no less-worthy and fascinating stories. Interviewees include world class musicians; the aforementioned Alexander, Buddy Guy, John Primer, Holle Thee Maxwell, Larry Williams, Peaches Staten and so many more.

“I spend as much time as each blues musician desires, says Korte.”From 45 minutes to 4 hours. I’ve recorded thoughts that some have told me they’ve never spoken of before. By project’s end, I’ll have interviewed at least 88 subjects.” After compiling and editing, Series 1 will be released on October 10, 2021. An online funding campaign did bring in some seed money but only a small percentage required for a project of this scope. Still, “When the series is complete, proceeds from dvd sales will go entirely to the musicians,” said the young historian. “It’s just important that this be done and I hope we can generate some interest and financing to keep it going. For me it’s Blues, Blues Blues… In my car, in my home and in my work.”  

For Linsey Alexander’s performance schedule and cd info: HTTPS://WWW.LINSEYALEXANDER.COM/
Linsey’s Facebook. Drop him a line for conversation and independent label CDs available: HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/LINSEY.ALEXANDER.7

To find out more about and preview 594 Miles To Chicago see: 

-Peter M. Hurley

Mr. Hurley is a contributing photographer and writer for Living Blues Magazine and the staff photographer for Chicago Blues Network. His recent book Blues Legacy: Tradition and Innovation in Chicago, in collaboration with Blues historian and author David Whiteis, showcases his work in the field. His passion for blues music began with the Chess Studios’ sound of Bo Diddley and continues to this day.