“Most blues don’t have a beginning, middle, or end. You just cut a couple slices of blues.” – Dave Van Ronk
March 16, 2022 Volume 3, Issue 6
Learn Blues with Chicago Blues Masters Learn IN PERSON at Chicago Blues Bootcamp 2022
Play Chicago Blues with the Pros!
On May 29 to June 3, 2022 in downtown Chicago, you will have the chance to learn Chicago Blues directly from Chicago Blues Masters in person. Learn the tips and tools of the trade with Billy Branch,Johnny Burgin, Joanna Connor, Deitra Farr, Billy Flynn, Brother John Kattke, Dave Specter, Bob Stroger, and Harlan Terson. Tracks are offered to focus on Intermediate Blues Guitar, Advanced Blues Guitar, Blues Bass, Blues Harp, and Vocals/Comping.
If you prefer to learn at home, check out “At Home Chicago Blues Lessons” for $23.95/month including access to 40+ videos and weekly Live Zoom meetings with the Instructor and fellow students. Click here!
Get Your Blues Radio Fix Tune into these Blues Radio Shows
Friday March 18th, Doors 7:00 PM Gerald McClendon & Theo Huff: Chicago Soul Doubleheader (Photo source: EvanstonSpace.com)
Buddy Guy’s Legends 700 S. Wabash, Chicago, IL 60605,MAP
Friday March 18th, 9:30 PM Jose Ramirez Schedule: Free Acoustic Set: TBA 7:00-8:00PM Opener: Chicago Blues Angels 8:00-9:00PM Headliner: Jose Ramirez 9:30PM-Close
Blue Chicago 536 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654, MAP
Friday March 18th and Saturday March 19th, 8:00 PM Shirley Johnson & BTS Express (Image source: BlueChicago.com)
Learn more about Shirley Johnson below:
Pete’s Pics “Blues in Action” by Peter M. Hurley
SHIRLEY JOHNSON performs often at BLUE CHICAGO and is much beloved by blues fans and club owners alike. From Shirley’s bio on the Blue Chicago website:
Nicknamed the “Sweetheart of the Blues” by the staff at BLUE CHICAGO, Shirley has been gracing the stage here since the 1990s with her spectacular performances.
Like so many African-American vocalists, Shirley Johnson started out singing in church and then went on to embrace secular music. The Chicago resident, whose influences range from Mahalia Jackson to Koko Taylor, Etta James, and Ruth Brown, is a gritty, big-voiced blues singer who can also handle soul and gospel. Although Johnson has spent much of her adult life in Chicago, the Windy City is not her hometown; she was born in Franklin, VA and raised in Norfolk, VA. Shirley came from a very religious family and was only six when she started singing gospel in a church choir.
When Shirley reached adulthood in the late ’70s, she pursued a career in secular music and made her presence felt in Norfolk’s blues and R&B circles. She went on to become an opening act for Aretha Franklin, Jerry Butler, Z.Z. Hill, and other well-known artists who were passing through town. In the early ’80s, she recorded some singles for two regional labels in Virginia and those recordings caught the attention of a man who was planning to start a label in Chicago. The aspiring record man expressed interest in recording Ms. Johnson and sent her a plane ticket to Chicago, but when she arrived in the Windy City she learned he didn’t have enough money to pay for a session.
Nonetheless, she decided to remain in Chicago and became active on the city’s blues circuit, where she has performed both Blues and Soul. The musicians she worked with in Chicago included Little Johnny Christian, Artie “Blues Boy” White, and keyboardist “Professor” Eddie Lusk (who was a staple at BLUE CHICAGO and took Johnson on the road with him on international tours.)
Since the ’90s, Johnson has made many recordings and in 2000 is one of the vocalists recorded on BLUE CHICAGO’s CD entitled “Mojo Mamas.”
– Peter M. Hurley
Photo of Shirley taken at Blue Chicago, March 2022, by 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 a 6th grade dance party discovery of Bo Diddley which led to Little Walter, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and so on. It continues to this day. Visit Peter’s Website here.
Learn Blues Anytime with “At Home Chicago Blues” Lessons Weekly LIVE Zoom meetings with Instructors, Plus Videos
If you want to learn Blues, learn from the Pros! You can sign up for “At Home Chicago Blues” lessons for $23.95/month and receive access to over 40 custom videos by Chicago Blues Masters including Billy Flynn, Johnny Burgin, Dave Specter (pictured), Joanna Connor, Brother John Kattke and Harlan Terson; plus weekly LIVE Zoom meetings with the Instructor and other students. Ask questions directly! Just choose your instructor to get started…
Part of the proceeds to each “At Home Chicago Blues” lesson order goes to support The Firehouse Community Arts Center in Chicago. Their mission is to “interrupt the cycle of violence among youth and young adults in North Lawndale through the power of the arts and faith.” The organization recently launched a ‘tee shop’ where you can show your support. Buy t-shirts and merchandise here. Learn about the Firehouse Community Arts Center here.
Learn stories of Chicago youth and the work of Firehouse Community Arts Center, in the video below. CEO and Founder Pastor Phil Jackson is a featured speaker between sets of this Chicago Blues Network Trading 4s Concert, featuring performers Guy King and Ivy Ford. Check it out:
Chicago Blues Network Trading 4s Concert, featuring performers Ivy Ford and Guy King, with speaker Pastor Phil Jackson of Firehouse Community Arts Center
No Border Blues Hosts Johnny Burgin and Stephanie Tice Interview Blues Musicians from Around the World Sponsored by Chicago Blues Network
In This Episode: Blues From Bogotá, Leo Parra Castillo with Luis Alejandro Silva
Blues From Bogotá: Leo Parra Castillo with Luis Alejandro Silva, “No Border Blues #12”
From the archives…
“Leo Parra Castillo is a fine guitarist and singer who forging a career for himself back in his home town of Bogotá. He imposed a rite of passage upon himself, touring as a solo act throughout South America and spending several years of learning and growing into the blues in the more established Buenos Aires blues scene. He has released two CDs which No Border Blues highly recommends and are available on Spotify. He’s deep into the styles of John Lee Hooker, JB Lenore, Charley Patton and many other mostly prewar greats. Normally Leo would accompany himself on guitar, but due to recent injury, he was joined by another fine guitarist, Luis Alejandro Silva. Luis was studying music in New York City until the pandemic hit and he was obligated to return to Bogotá. Together Luis and Leo are not just performing shows– they’re growing a local blues scene practically from scratch, networking with other blues players in Medellin and Cali, and teaching younger fans and musicians about the blues. No Border Blues is eager to see the how both of these artists grow and how their influence will be felt in up and coming Columbian blues musicians.” – No Border Blues
Take a blues journey with No Border Blues, 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. Sponsored by Chicago Blues Network, bringing Chicago Blues to the world.