Joanna Connor Credit: Maryam Wilcher

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If you’d stumbled unawares into one of Joanna Connor’s regular gigs at the House of Blues or Kingston Mines in the 2010s, the blues singer and guitarist might’ve seemed like some sort of hidden treasure. But Connor has been playing all over the local blues scene for almost four decades, and she’s attracted devoted fans drawn to her forceful stage presence and fiery slide guitar. When she moved to Chicago from Massachusetts in the mid-1980s, she started out as a guitarist for Dion Payton’s 43rd Street Blues Band, then the house band for the storied Checkerboard Lounge. She branched out with her own group in 1988, building a reputation as a reliably energetic shredder with a brassy alto and playing steady gigs at a variety of clubs. She released her debut album, Believe It, in 1990, and spent the next 11 years touring internationally and enchanting festival audiences. Connor took time off from the road in the mid-2000s to raise her daughter, but the music didn’t stop: she became a mainstay on the local circuit, playing several nights a week and using the occasional blues festival appearance to show off new songs. The growth of social media helped launch yet another stage in Connor’s career—a 2014 audience video from Maine’s North Atlantic Blues Fest received more than a million views on YouTube and gave her recognition beyond the blues world. And with the new 4801 South Indiana Avenue, Connor shows off the passionate blues-rock sound she’s developed over the past 30 years. The album is named for the address of legendary Bronzeville blues club Theresa’s Lounge, which closed around the time Connor arrived here, and on songs such as “Come Back Home” and “I Feel So Good,” she sounds like she’s trying to shout out the devil and conjure up the soul of Albert King with her guttural growl and chunky guitar leads. The solid set of electric blues grooves on 4801 South Indiana Avenue makes a great showcase for this seasoned blueswoman’s talents.   v