“Music was the one thing I could control. It was the one world that offered me freedom.” – Quincy Jones
May 19, 2021  Volume 2, Issue 24
Mark Your Calendar and Join Us May 21st
Donna Herula “Bang at the Door” Release Show
Donna Herula is having a Livestream album release show for her new album, Bang at the Door, on Friday, May 21st at 8pm CST through the Two Way Street Coffee House.  She will be playing with her trio and will be joined by special guests.  For more information, go to: https://twowaystreet.org.  

For the past two weeks, her album placed #1 on the Roots Music Report Top 50 Acoustic Blues Album Chart for being the most played acoustic blues album and #7 on the Roots Music Report that includes all styles of blues.

More about Bang at the Door:


“It’s a wonderful mix of Delta and Chicago blues with some great folky overtones. I don’t think I can pick out a favorite cut here because they are all superb. Eleven fine originals and three marvelous covers make for some really interesting and classic performances from top to bottom.”

– Steve Jones, Chicago Blues Guide.  For the full article, click here.

“Herula delivers a set that is powerful, passionate, and a great listen…She has studied the works of slide guitarists throughout the history of the blues…and it shows…The originals here draw from personal experience, giving them a level of power…I recommend it highly.”

– Bill Wilson, Reflections in Blue. For the full review, click here.

To pre-order her album or contribute to her Indiegogo campaign, go to: 

You can also pre-order the album through Apple iTunes and receive an immediate download of the song “Bang at the Door” (all other songs will “appear” on the album release date, May 21st) : 
Bang at the Door by Donna Herula
Album Release Date: May 21st
Remember you can watch it from anywhere as it’s a livestream concert!
Join the Concert May 21st 8:00 PM Here
Exclusive footage below: Hear Donna Herula, plus Katherine Davis, Toronzo Cannon, Harlan Terson and more in this Chicago Blues Network Trading 4s Concert:

Toronzo Cannon, Donna Herula, Katherine Davis, Harlan Terson: Trading 4s livestream concert

Trading 4s concerts feature many Chicago Blues Masters who also teach with “At Home Chicago Blues”–a program that helps you start playing the blues too. Grab your guitar, bass or keyboard and sign up.
Lessons give you access to our online video library of lessons, plus weekly LIVE Zoom meetings for $23.95/month.
Start Lessons Here
Pete’s Pics “Blues in Action”
by Peter M. Hurley

It’s time to give the drummer some. The third member of the MIKE WHEELER BAND to be featured in these pages is get-down-on-it artist CLEO COLE. To many a blues performer in the Windy City, Cleo is the man. Just ask Doug McDonald, Alvin Cash, Floyd Taylor, Zora Young, Maurice John Vaughn, Shirley King, Big James, Nellie Travis, Peaches Staten, Sam Cockrell and Pistol Pete. 

Bandmate and virtouoso bassist Larry Williams exclaims, “Money in the Pocket is the best way to describe Mr. Cleo Cole. His timing is impeccable, precise, incredibly great and smooth. But above all else, he’s a great person and his playing reflects all of this!!!!”  A fellow musician and comrade can sing no higher praise.  

The signature characteristic of the Mike Wheeler Band is exuberance which Cole has in abundance. “When the band is firing on all cylinders, it’s unstoppable,” he exudes. “There’s a segment in our gigs where I never stop, where I go for 10 minutes or more when Mike calls out ‘We’re going to do 20 songs’ and we blaze through a medley of them. I live for that.” On the year long layoff, Cleo mused, “It was tough during the pandemic. I continued to practice but there’s nothing like playing on stage. That’s the only place that you can really get that feeling with feedback from the people.” 

Cole keeps in shape for the rigors of drumming by running, eating well and playing basketball. “Everything I do relates to my job as a drummer. Twenty years ago I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome on both hands! Doctor said I could quit playing drums or have surgery. Without skipping a beat, I said, ‘Surgery!’ I thank God it was successful and, with the right conditioning, I’ve been back at it strong ever since.”       

You can catch Cleo Cole with the high energy blues Mike Wheeler Band band this Friday @ Blue Chicago w/Demetria Taylor and @ Kingston Mines this Saturday.

Cleo plays
Yamaha Maple Customs and uses Vic Firth sticks.

Mike Wheeler Band: On Facebook

Delmark Records: www.delmark.com

Photo taken at Rosa’s Lounge, Aug 7, 2020  www.rosaslounge.com
Mike Wheeler Band @ Rosa’s Video: Watch it here.

-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.
Visit Peter’s Website here.
Discover the Dutch Side of Blues!
Blues Podcast “No Border Blues” #16 Premiering Tomorrow Thursday May 20th 

Johnny Burgin Interviews Netherlands group LITTLE HAT
LITTLE HAT is not a person, it’s a band from The Netherlands that plays a their own furious and raw version of blues and early rock ‘n’ roll. Like kindred spirits Jesus on a Tortilla from Milan (see No Border Blues #3), they are inspired by the deep cuts of obscure blues pioneers such as Joe Hill Louis and Sunnyland Slim, but play with a heaping dose of frantic energy.

Meet the band tomorrow! Click the video below to take a blues journey with No Border Blues:
It’s the only blues podcast focused on international blues artists and hidden blues scenes around the world. Delmark recording artist Johnny Burgin and producer Stephanie Tice shine a spotlight on notable international blues performers, discuss the blues scenes in their home countries, and present intimate and exclusive musical performances.
Watch “No Border Blues” Episodes
This Week’s Video
Blues Lessons with Johnny Burgin

A Chat About Robert Jr. Lockwood “Steady Rollin’ Man”
“Bob Koester’s passing on May 15, 2021 was a big loss for blues and jazz fans worldwide. Records such as “Hoodoo Man Blues”, “West Side Soul”, and the subject of this video, “Steady Rollin’ Man” by Robert Lockwood Jr with the Aces, introduced the wider world to some of the best music of Chicago’s black blues subculture.

Free of commercial constraints and impervious to fads and fashion, Bob instructed the musicians to play as they did in the clubs–almost the opposite of “producing”! The Delmark legacy will surely continue to influence the blues and jazz genres for decades to come.

If you’re a beginning guitarist and you had to lock yourself in a room with only one blues record, this is the one. “Steady Rollin’ Man” captures all the diversity of The Aces and Robert Lockwood–they played a jazzy, urbane swing style which was still deeply planted in the Mississippi Delta. The record is engineered in such a way that the guitars are crystal clear–you can hear all the interweaving parts. I’ll look at “Ramblin’ On My Mind” in drop D tuning as well as a bit of “Can’t Stand the Pain”, a contrast which shows the two sides of Robert Lockwood Jr–a disciple (and stepson) of Robert Johnson who became an incisive, swinging session player for Chess records and other labels.”

– Johnny Burgin

To take Blues Guitar lessons with Johnny Burgin with “At Home Chicago Blues”: Sign up here.
Heard ‘Round the World…
The sad passing of legend Bob Koester reminds us of the great gift of Chicago Blues
Photo by Michael Jackson (2009) Image source
Founder of Delmark Records, Bob Koester, passed away this month yet left a legacy to the world. Visit the Delmark.com site to see some of the amazing artists and moments captured for posterity.

Here’s a selection of articles from around the world, paying homage to this legacy:

Chicago Reader“Bob Koester leaves a colossal legacy in Chicago jazz and blues”
New York Times: Read article here
Chicago Tribune: Read article here
Chicago Sun Times: Read the article here
NPR: Read article here

Click each image to hear the music on YouTube:
The legacy lives on!

Dave Specter, Billy Flynn, Johnny Burgin, Joanna Connor, Brother John Kattke and Harlan Terson, Chicago Blues Network Instuctors, are also featured on Delmark Records releases. Check some out here (click on the record cover to buy the album!)
Joanna Connor Interviewed in Vintage Guitar
Chicago Blues Network Guitar Instructor Joanna Connor will be featured in the June issue of Vintage Guitar Magazine. Learn about her latest release 4801 South Indiana Avenue. To find the latest issue or subscribe: www.vintageguitar.com.
Joanna Connor Teaches “Dust My Broom”
To take Blues Guitar lessons with Joanna Connor with “At Home Chicago Blues”: Sign up here.
Keep the Blues going strong…
find the music in you!
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