Billy Flynn Credit: courtesy the artist

Billy Flynn has quietly been playing an essential role in Chicago blues for some time. A Green Bay resident, he’s frequently made the five-hour drive from Wisconsin to Illinois to play behind the distinguished likes of Jimmy Dawkins (whom Flynn considers his mentor), Billy Boy Arnold, Jody Williams, and Willie Kent as well as with the band Mississippi Heat. Flynn also plays the area regularly under his own name, and tonight marks a special occasion: the celebration of Lonesome Highway, his Delmark debut. Previous Flynn albums are quite eclectic, showcasing his talents on the mandolin and indulging his taste for instrumentals (Big Guitar, his vocal-less CD on Easy Baby, is practically the missing link between Earl Hooker and Dick Dale). This new record, however, puts his capable vocals in the spotlight, with blues singer Deitra Farr providing some assistance. Flynn approaches his music with a jazz musician’s sense of precision, but fuses it together with the looseness of the blues. Can’t-miss.   v