Nikki Hill
Nikki Hill Credit: Aubrey Edwards

Most of the well-known headliners at this weekend’s 31st annual Chicago Blues Festival are older artists with mainstream appeal—that is, they play some combination of vintage blues, soul, and R&B. This is more or less standard operating procedure for the fest, but the 2014 lineup distinguishes itself in other ways: further down the bill you’ll find an array of talent more diverse than in many recent years, covering soul-blues, roots rock, old-time string-band music, and more.

From among the dozens of acts on the festival’s six Grant Park stages, my Reader colleagues and I have spotlighted 18 on the schedule that follows—and they include several veterans with the kind of old-school cred that makes them reliable draws. Bettye LaVette and Dr. John (who play the Petrillo Music Shell on Saturday and Sunday, respectively) might seem as though they’ve been around forever, but they’ve maintained viable and often innovative careers. Dorothy Moore, who plays the new Jackson Mississippi Rhythm & Blues Stage on Sunday, still sings as sweetly as she did when she hit in 1976 with “Misty Blue,” her signature song. And Friday evening 78-year-old Billy Boy Arnold, the last living disciple of harmonica pioneer John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, plays Mark Hummel’s Harmonica Blow Out on the Front Porch Stage. His other festival appearance is also a “guest star” turn (at a tribute to Williamson at Petrillo later that night), which is a shame—Arnold was a member of Bo Diddley’s early street bands and played harp on his 1955 classic “I’m a Man,” so he deserves better.

Willie Clayton, who’s at Petrillo on Saturday, remains one of the hottest attractions on the soul-blues (or “southern soul”) circuit; his recordings use aggressively contemporary production, even as his vocals and most of his lyrics hark back to the golden era of deep soul. And Cicero Blake, who plays the Front Porch Stage on Friday, is likewise an old-school soul man who switched to southern soul-blues in the 70s; despite recent health problems (he’s 76 years old), he’s still a potent performer.

We’ve also covered some Petrillo headliners from outside the blues mainstream, including high-velocity roots-rocker Nikki Hill (Sunday), blues-noir surrealist Otis Taylor (Friday), and deceptively subversive folkies the Carolina Chocolate Drops (also Friday). Twenty-five-year-old Theo Huff, who plays Saturday, is Chicago’s soul-blues wunder­kind, poised to challenge elders such as Blake and Clayton for primacy.

Half our writeups are of artists on the side stages, though—their bookings are even more eclectic, and deep enough that it’s worth mentioning a few sets we didn’t cover at greater length. Harpist Sugar Blue, on the Front Porch Stage on Sunday, uses pyrotechnical prowess to deconstruct traditional blues with fury and audacity; soul-blues stylist Pat Brown, who plays the Rhythm & Blues Stage on Sunday, imbues a smooth, amiably rakish blend of neosoul and contemporary R&B with bluesy immediacy and emotional depth. Homemade Jamz, a family act from Tupelo, Mississippi, play the Crossroads Stage on Sunday; they’ve outgrown their novelty-act cuteness to become a fully realized blues band. And Saturday’s “Blues Divas” revue on the Crossroads Stage is a mini survey of contemporary styles: Deitra Farr melds Chicago blues with deep soul, funk, and pop; Peaches Staten spices up her bluesy vocals with rhythms she taps and scratches on a frattoir (the washboard worn by zydeco percussionists); Nellie “Tiger” Travis switches between contemporary soul-blues numbers and 12-bar Chicago standards sung with a full-bodied power that recalls the late Koko Taylor.

The layout of the festival’s stages has changed in some small ways. The Juke Joint Stage has been renamed the Jackson Mississippi Rhythm & Blues Stage, and it’s located near the intersection of Columbus and Harrison. The new Meet Me in Memphis Blues Pavilion is a dining area under a tent where the Crossroads Stage used to be, at the far end of Jackson near Lake Shore Drive; the Crossroads Stage itself has moved to the rose garden south of Jackson on Lake Shore Drive. The Front Porch Stage is on the lawn south of Jackson and east of Columbus, and the Petrillo Music Shell is northeast of Columbus and Jackson. Farther north on Columbus, between Jackson and Monroe, are tents set up by nonprofits that support the blues—among them the Koko Taylor Celebrity Aid Foundation, the Windy City Blues Society, and Fernando Jones’s Blues Kids Foundation. The latter two also host live music, and the schedule for the Windy City Blues Society Stage appears below. As always, all events are free. David Whiteis


Windy City Blues Society Stage

11 AM Low-reen & the Maxwell St. Market Blues Band

11:50 AM Chicago Blues Challenge 2014 round one winner

12:45 PM Morry Sochat & Shoji Naito (2013 Chicago Blues Challenge duo winner)

2 PM Kevin Purcell & the Nightburners (2013 Chicago Blues Challenge band winner)

3:15 PM Slide guitar shoot-out

4:45 PM Jimmy Nick & Don’t Tell Mama

5:55 PM Acoustic Delta Trilogy: Alice Drinks the Kool Aid, Dan Phelps, Matt Hendricks

Crossroads Stage

Ronnie Hicks
Ronnie HicksCredit: Constance Carroll

11:15 AM Ronnie Hicks & Masheen Company Keyboardist Ronnie Hicks and his group Masheen Company are one of the most esteemed backing bands playing blues, soul, and R&B in Chicago—they’ve recorded or performed with artists as varied as the late Artie “Blues Boy” White, Cicero Blake, and Nellie “Tiger” Travis. Versatility is their stock in trade, and at their own shows they’ll segue from a 12-bar Chicago blues standard into a series of deep-soul house rockers and hard-funk workouts, then jump to a glitzy cover of a Culture Club favorite without missing a beat. But no matter how antic or irreverent their genre jumping, they never lose their grip on the deep-souled emotional and musical commitment that remains their most distinctive calling card. David Whiteis

12:45 PM Guy King

2:30 PM James Armstrong

4:15 PM Kevin Purcell & the Nightburners

Jackson Mississippi Rhythm & Blues Stage

11:30 AM Panel discussion on John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson with Billy Boy Arnold and Mark Hummel For more on Billy Boy Arnold and Mark Hummel, see Friday’s Front Porch Stage listings.

1 PM Ben Payton

2:30 PM Mr. Sipp “The Mississippi Blues Child”

Vick Allen
Vick AllenCredit: Courtesy City of Chicago

4 PM Vick Allen Mississippi soul man Vick Allen developed his crushed-­velvet voice back when he was singing gospel with the Canton Spirituals, and now it conveys seductive sweetness and good-natured machismo—with enough ironic detachment that he can find new angles on well-worn themes such as backdoor cheating and dance-floor booty shaking. He’s at his best, though, when he has a serious story to tell: on “I’m Tired of Being Grown,” a contemporary-­sounding R&B number from his 2012 CD Soul Music (Soul 1st), Allen’s vulnerable croon bristles with anger as he describes the perils and frustrations faced by a young man who’s been raised right but has to survive in a fallen world. David Whiteis

5:30 PM Ronnie Hicks & Masheen Company Band Jam Session See today’s Crossroads Stage listings.

Front Porch Stage

Noon Blues in the Schools with Stone Academy students, Eric Noden, and Katherine Davis

Harmonica Hinds
Harmonica HindsCredit: Courtesy City of Chicago

1:30 PM Harmonica Hinds Local bluesman Harmonica Hinds has been playing around town since the 70s, and his music feels invitingly broken in. On last year’s I’d Give You Anything If I Could (Wolf), his harmonica work lends his songs an antique earthiness, while his mellow, mush-mouthed vocals make him sound like a karaoke-bar regular who’s had his fill of whiskey but can still sing his heart out. This stuff is second nature to Hinds, and you can tell right away on “Child of the Universe,” where he punches up a steady, shuffling beat with bold blasts of locomotive harp. Leor Galil

Cicero Blake
Cicero BlakeCredit: Tom Cruze/Sun-Times Media

3 PM Cicero Blake Chicago soul and blues singer Cicero Blake is 76, and his voice has coarsened and stiffened over the years. But on his most recent album, last year’s Cicero (CDS), his keening tenor remains compelling, largely because he can convey strong emotion through subtle variations in timbre and tone. This gift of his is especially evident on songs such as “Yes I Do,” the testimonial of a scarred soul survivor desperate to keep believing in the redemptive power of love; the pleadingly vulnerable “Be Careful With My Heart“; and “Damn Fool,” a hard-eyed admonition to an abused woman, telling her to get out before it’s too late. Chicagoan Bob Jones wrote most of the material, and coproducer Ronnie Hicks sweetened the mix with fatback horns. David Whiteis

Mark Hummel
Mark HummelCredit: Courtesy the artist

4:30 PM Mark Hummel’s Harmonica Blow Out with Billy Boy Arnold Mark Hummel and Billy Boy Arnold both appear again in this evening’s all-star Petrillo tribute to Chicago blues-harmonica pioneer John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, but this may be the better venue to appreciate the satisfying subtleties of these two veteran harpists. Chicago-born Arnold took his first lessons from Sonny Boy, and he put them to splendid use behind Bo Diddley as well as on his own mid-50s Vee-Jay classics “I Wish You Would” and “I Ain’t Got You.” West-coaster Hummel displays the influence of Little Walter in his fat-toned wails, but he’s an inventive, sensitive player in his own right. Bill Dahl

Meet Me in Memphis Blues Pavilion

Noon James Armstrong

1 PM Billy Branch

2 PM Sanctified Grumblers

3 PM Sanctified Grumblers

4 PM Harmonica Hinds See today’s Front Porch Stage listings.

Petrillo Music Shell

Carolina Chocolate Drops
Carolina Chocolate DropsCredit: Michael Wilson

6 PM Carolina Chocolate Drops The Carolina Chocolate Drops are best known for their lively re-creations of vintage fiddle-guitar-banjo tunes, and they’re equally comfortable with the less family-friendly side of the folk tradition—they do an uncompromisingly dark rendition of the Appalachian murder ballad “Tom Dula.” They’ve also reworked less antique fare, including Sidney Bechet and Noble Sissle’s jazz-age stoner anthem “Viper Mad” and the Slickers’ 70s reggae ghetto vignette “Johnny Too Bad.” On the 2012 CD Leaving Eden (Nonesuch), the Chocolate Drops up the ante further with percussion from beatboxer Adam Matta, and onstage they mix venerable reels and buck dances with folkified versions of modern-day throwdowns—including a version of Blu Cantrell’s 2001 R&B hit, “Hit ‘Em Up Style,” complete with hip-hop moves and MC-style shout-outs from banjoist and fiddler Rhiannon Giddens. David Whiteis

Otis Taylor
Otis TaylorCredit: Sun-Times Media archives

7:05 PM Otis Taylor Band Though he continues to be billed as a blues artist, Otis Taylor transcends category. His music draws equally from black and white American folk traditions, fusing taut emotion and opaque abstraction into a kind of dreamlike haze that occasionally dissolves to reveal sharply etched images. He uses acoustic and electronic instruments to create sparse, arid soundscapes suffused with haunted desperation—appropriate to his lyrics, which expose the dark side of the American dream. Taylor’s cast of loners, seekers, and cast-aside losers struggle with oppression, poverty, and neglect, but even when they stagger beneath their burdens, they’re redeemed by the fire in their souls and their determination to survive. David Whiteis

8:25 PM Celebrating the Centennial of John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson: The Siegel-Schwall Blues Band with Sam Lay, Billy Boy Arnold, Marcella Detroit, Billy Branch, Omar Coleman, Mark Hummel, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, Billy Flynn, and Johnny Iguana For more on Billy Boy Arnold and Mark Hummel, see today’s Front Porch Stage listings.


Windy City Blues Society Stage

11 AM Garage Band U with Willie Hayes For more on Hayes, see Sunday’s Windy City Blues Society Stage listings.

12:15 PM Marty “Big Dog” Mercer Trio

1:30 PM Tallan Noble Latz Band

2:45 PM Dave Riley Band with Bob Corritore and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith

4 PM Billy Flynn and friends

5:15 PM Tyrannosaurus Chicken

6:30 PM Geneva Red’s Original Delta Fireballs

Crossroads Stage

11:15 AM Michael Charles

12:45 PM Vance Kelly & the Backstreet Blues Band

Selwyn Birchwood
Selwyn BirchwoodCredit: Courtesy Intrepid Artists International

2:30 PM Selwyn Birchwood Born in Florida in 1985, Selwyn Birchwood says Hendrix was his first inspiration, but since then he’s worked with lap-steel master Sonny Rhodes and added old-schoolers such as Lightnin’ Hopkins to his pantheon of idols, alongside Buddy Guy, Albert King, and other relatively modern blues stylists. On his major-label debut, this year’s Don’t Call No Ambulance (Alligator), Birchwood shows off fiery chops and maturity beyond his years—he’s an energetic but articulate soloist who sounds as if he’s playing ideas, not just notes. The myriad styles at his command include neopsychedelic blues-rock and bare-bones modal northern Mississippi “trance blues,” and his lyrical range is equally wide—he’s a deft storyteller with words as well as with music. David Whiteis

4:15 PM Chicago Blues Divas with Peaches Staten, Deitra Farr, and Nellie “Tiger” Travis

Jackson Mississippi Rhythm & Blues Stage

11:30 AM Panel discussion: “Mississippi’s Next Generation of the Blues” with Mr. Sipp “The Mississippi Blues Child,” Dexter Allen, and Chris Gill, facilitated by Alex Thomas

1 PM Chris Gill & the Sole Shakers

2:30 PM Southern Komfort Brass Band

4 PM Dexter Allen

5:30 PM Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith jam session

Front Porch Stage

Noon Guy King

1:30 PM Matthew Skoller Band

3 PM Tribute to Phil Guy: Italy/Chicago collaboration with Dario Lombardo, Delores Scott, and friends

4:40 PM Big James & the Chicago Playboys

Meet Me in Memphis Blues Pavilion

Noon Southern Komfort Brass Band

1 PM Deitra Farr

2 PM Eden Brent

Fernando Jones
Fernando JonesCredit: Glenn Kaupert

3 PM Fernando Jones & My Band Fernando Jones‘s most recent album, 2010’s self-released American Bluesman, makes it clear that this Chicagoan’s music belongs to the 21st century. The tinny piano loop on “The Great Migration” sounds like a GarageBand preset, and on “Love Proof” he lists some very modern-day ways his lover has spurned him: “You Facebook this / You MySpace that / You won’t return my e-mails / And you won’t text back.” Despite these efforts to embrace new technology, though, much of Jones’s approach remains timeless. He plays his guitar with laid-back virtuosity and sings soothing, sorrowful melodies—on the acoustic “Headstone Blues” he sings about spending hours trying to find the graves of loved ones in a cemetery. Leor Galil

4 PM Eden Brent

Petrillo Music Shell

6 PM Theo Huff Theo Huff turns 26 this July, and he’s already the most promising newcomer the Chicago circuit has seen in years. With his remarkably mature and textured voice, he’s reminiscent of Johnnie Taylor in his prime, and his stage persona blends grown-up romanticism, cocksure flamboyance, and impish flirtatiousness—he can bring even the most seasoned clubbers to their feet. His most recent outing, a self-released single called “Wet Pannies” (sic), isn’t quite the deep-soul testimonial his admirers might have wanted, but it’s an amiably naughty and extremely danceable bit of fluff. Huff is at work on a full-length CD, and with any luck he’ll delve further into the soul tradition—and into his own soul—to make the kind of fully realized musical statement he clearly has in him. David Whiteis

Willie Clayton
Willie ClaytonCredit: Courtesy Louis-Kortez Group, Inc.

6:55 PM Willie Clayton Born in the mid-50s in Indianola, Mississippi, Willie Clayton was still in his teens when he journeyed to Memphis in ’74 to work under the aegis of Hi Records producer Willie Mitchell, but even then his vocal style was soul-steeped enough for him to hang with labelmates Al Green and Otis Clay (he’d spent the previous few years singing in Chicago clubs, managed by WVON disc jockey Pervis Spann). Today Clayton is a mainstay on the southern chitlin’ circuit, in no small part because he keeps his horn-powered soul-blues hybrid sounding contemporary without losing track of his roots—Little Milton was his first musical hero, so the blues runs bone-deep in him. Bill Dahl

Bettye Lavette
Bettye LavetteCredit: Carol Friedman

8:15 PM Bettye LaVette On her most recent album, the hard-hitting Thankful n’ Thoughtful (Anti-), Detroit soul veteran Bettye LaVette fronts a lean quintet that modernizes the classic Muscle Shoals sound by adding ominous atmospheres. She and her band re­imagine a wide range of pop and rock tunes from the past four decades so perfectly that they might as well have been written for her—and the dark angles and harsh truths she brings to the material make the originals seem sunny by comparison. She customizes Ewan MacColl’s “Dirty Old Town,” turning it into a biting lament for the Motor City; she strips away the effervescent veneer of the Gnarls Barkley hit “Crazy,” giving it a nasty sting; and she turns the existentialism of Neil Young’s “Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere” into a feverish plea to get out of this world. Each performance contains some trace of the original melody, but LaVette reshapes every one, using her tense phrasing to make the words hit like an anvil or cut a knife. Peter Margasak


Windy City Blues Society Stage

11 AM Fernando Jones and friends See Saturday’s Meet Me in Memphis Blues Pavilion listings.

12:15 PM Tony Brown Blues Band with Ice Mike

1:30 PM Gerald McClendon Band Chicago native Gerald McClendon bills himself as “the Soulkeeper,” and not without reason. He’s been performing on the local circuit for a quarter century or so, keeping alive the hallowed days when giants such as Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, and the Temptations roamed the R&B landscape. McClendon’s pipes are up to the task, and he revives classics from the 1960s and ’70s (mixing in a few original blues numbers) with confidence and grace. The band behind him includes local veterans Thomas Klein (guitar) and Vince Salerno (saxophone), who know the groove inside and out. Bill Dahl

2:45 PM Jim Liban with Joel Paterson Trio

4 PM Blue Coast Band with special guests

5:15 PM Willie “the Touch” Hayes Band Over the past few decades, Chicago drummer Willie Hayes has stayed so busy keeping flawless time for other artists—Magic Sam, Mighty Joe Young, Big Twist & the Mellow Fellows, Junior Wells, Koko Taylor, Luther Allison, and Rob Stone, among others—that he hasn’t had much time to lead a band of his own. Now he’s rectified that. Hayes’s deep-toned vocals are as impeccable as his stickwork—in the late 1960s and early ’70s, he sang with a splendid local soul group called the Mandells—and he’s a real showman behind the kit, busting out his trademark “windmill” move on a house-rocking number to ignite the crowd. Bill Dahl

6:30 PM Harry Garner & Mark Wydra Duo

Crossroads Stage

11:15 AM Homemade Jamz

12:45 PM The NuBlu Band

2:30 PM Mike Wheeler Band

Smiley Tillmon
Smiley TillmonCredit: Courtesy of Chicago Blues Kathy

4:15 PM Smiley Tillmon Band One of the Chicago blues circuit’s best-kept secrets since the 1960s, Smiley Tillmon seems to be popping up everywhere these days, and he’s a mighty welcome sight. The ebullient guitarist’s dazzling solos exhibit B.B. King’s influence (as is common with bluesmen of his generation), but he takes more chances than most, moving up and down his fretboard in startling twists and turns—and his singing voice is equally at home in smoldering blues and danceable R&B. He’s a crowd pleaser too: at Smoke Daddy over the holidays, he put on a Santa hat and tore into an extended version of “Feliz Navidad.” Bill Dahl

Jackson Mississippi Rhythm & Blues Stage

11:30 AM Panel discussion: Farish Street Blues with Marcia Weaver, Dorothy Moore, and Gayle Dean Wardlow

1 PM Lady L

2:30 PM Pat Brown

Dorothy Moore
Dorothy MooreCredit: Courtesy City of Chicago

4 PM Dorothy Moore Born in 1946 in Jackson, Mississippi, Dorothy Moore started out singing with a girl group called the Poppies. Her early idols included Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight, but the church-trained singer was doing her own thing when she nailed her 1976 R&B smash “Misty Blue” in one take. It was a moving soul rendition of a country ballad, and her producers at Malaco Records returned to that hybrid formula more than once. Her 2012 album for her own Farish Street label, Blues Heart, includes a cover of Bobbie Gentry’s eerie “Ode to Billie Joe” alongside the blues-soaked “Let the Healing Begin,” where Moore shows off her harmonica skills. Bill Dahl

5:30 PM Blues jam session with Dexter Allen

Front Porch Stage

Noon Diamond Jim Greene

1:30 PM Mike Dangeroux Blues Band

3 PM Chicago Delta Blues Band with Bob Stroger, Barrelhouse Chuck, Billy Flynn, Lil’ Frank, and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith

4:30 PM Sugar Blue

Meet Me in Memphis Blues Pavilion

Noon Smiley Tillmon See today’s Crossroads Stage listings.

1 PM Fernando Jones & My Band See Saturday’s Meet Me in Memphis Blues Pavilion listings.

2 PM Diamond Jim Greene

3 PM Diamond Jim Greene

4 PM Fernando Jones & My Band See Saturday’s Meet Me in Memphis Blues Pavilion listings.

Petrillo Music Shell

5:30 PM Nikki Hill Purists of all stripes will no doubt drop their monocles at Nikki Hill‘s take-no-­prisoners fusion of rootsy rock ‘n’ roll, country, and boogie blues. Because she surrounds herself with good-ol’-boy country rockers and often performs in honky-tonks and roadhouses, she exudes defiance simply by being an African-­American woman—she struts fearlessly in the sort of environments that in the past were inhospitable, if not outright dangerous, to people of her ancestry and gender. To be honest, quite a few artists have the chops and resumés to deserve this slot more; nonetheless, Hill can rock a house (or a festival) as thoroughly as anyone, her voice ranging from a childlike mewl to a coarsened party-­girl screech. Her music not only exemplifies but celebrates the cultural miscegenation that has informed the blues from day one. David Whiteis

6:45 PM Aaron Neville

Dr John
Dr JohnCredit: VALERY HACHEVALERY HACHE/Getty AFP/Getty Images

8:15 PM Dr. John Few people embody the ethos and sound of New Orleans music better than Mac Rebennack, aka Dr. John—the keyboardist is a veritable encyclopedia of Big Easy repertoire, partly because he played on so much of it. Nothing could take the Crescent City out of his soulful croak, but it sounded totally fresh on 2012’s Locked Down (Nonesuch), where producer Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys helped shape grooves informed equally by American R&B and decades-old African pop. I’m sure the good doctor will be back in voodoo mode tonight, mixing classic material with more recent tunes—and his instantly recognizable voice will make it all seem equally ageless. Peter Margasak

Thinking Outside the Park

These days relatively few shows and special events coincide with Blues Fest, and some of the bookings aren’t much more imaginative than blooze-and-boogie tourist-trap fare. Nonetheless, there are some highlights. Petrillo headliner Otis Taylor plays at SPACE in Evanston on Thursday, and on Friday at the same venue, hard-driving contemporary stylist Larry McCray (one of last year’s festival acts) tops the bill. Also on Thursday, the City of Chicago brings Theo Huff and Nellie “Tiger” Travis to the Navy Pier Beer Garden, and at 6 PM the Cultural Center hosts a free screening of Big Bill Broonzy: The Man Who Brought the Blues to Britain. Harp maestro Billy Boy Arnold, who knew Broonzy personally, and multi-instrumentalist Eric Noden, who accompanied Arnold on his recent Broonzy tribute album, will perform before the film; director Jeremy Marre and Chicago blues historian Bob Riesman, who wrote the 2011 biography I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy, will attend.

On Friday the Chicago Blues Angels play at Mayne Stage, and Reggie’s hosts a crowded “Women in the Blues” revue that includes a few Chicago-area veterans (Hollee Thee Maxwell, Shirley King, Liz Mandeville). The city’s year-round blues venues will be jumping all weekend, of course; Buddy Guy’s Legends not only presents the day-long slates of entertainment below but on Thursday also presents a Blues Today Symposium from 2 till 5 PM, followed by a live WXRT broadcast from the club at 6 PM. Especially notable is a rare Chicago club appearance by Mississippi guitarist-vocalist Bill “Howl-n-Madd” Perry on Monday at the Water Hole Lounge. Wallace’s Catfish Corner isn’t technically a blues club (and no longer has bands playing in the parking lot on weekends), but the restaurant has recently been featuring west-side acts inside on Friday nights—as always, call ahead to make sure the show is happening. David Whiteis


Screening of Big Bill Broonzy: The Man Who Brought the Blues to Britain with performances by Billy Boy Arnold and Eric Noden 6 PM, Claudia Cassidy Theater, Chicago Cultural Center Free All ages

Toronzo Cannon & the Cannonball Express 9:30 PM, B.L.U.E.S., 21+

Otis Taylor, Mississippi Gabe Carter For more on Taylor, see Friday’s Petrillo listings. 8 PM, SPACE, $17-$32 All ages

James Wheeler Blues Jam 9:30 PM, Rosa’s Lounge, $5, 21+

Nellie “Tiger” Travis, Theo Huff For more on Huff, see Saturday’s Petrillo listings. 5:30 PM, Navy Pier Beer Garden F All ages

Mike Wheeler, Mark Hummel, Johnny Winter & Ronnie Baker Brooks, Eddie Taylor Jr. For more on Hummel, see Friday’s Front Porch Stage listings. 7:30 PM, Buddy Guy’s Legends, $15, 21+


Chicago Blues Angels, Barbara Clifford, Jon Williams & the Chandelier Swingers 9 PM, Mayne Stage, $12, 18+

Jimmy Johnson, Mike Wheeler, and Big Ray 9 PM, B.L.U.E.S., 21+

Kinsey Report 10 PM, Rosa’s Lounge, $15, 21+

Larry McCray, Toronzo Cannon 9 PM, SPACE, $15-$27 All ages

Shorty’s R&B Blues Band 8 PM, Wallace’s Catfish Corner, 2800 W. Madison, $5 All ages

Super Percy 9:30 PM, Lee’s Unleaded Blues, $5-$10, 21+

Nellie Travis, Eden Brent, Special 20s, Smiley Tillmon with Kate Moss, Austin Walkin’ Cane For more on Tillmon, see Sunday’s Crossroad Stage listings. 11 AM, Buddy Guy’s Legends, $20, 21+

Women in the Blues: Shirley King, Holle Thee Maxwell, Liz Mandeville, Keisha Dixon-Nelson, Vanessa Davis, Donna Herula, and others 7 PM, Reggie’s Rock Club, $15, $10 in advance. 17+


Billy Branch & the Sons of Blues 10 PM, Rosa’s Lounge, $15, 21+

Eddy Clearwater, Big James & the Chicago Playboys, Linsey Alexander, Nu Blue Band, Anthony Moser, Rob Blaine, Nicholas Barron 11 AM, Buddy Guy’s Legends, $20, 21+

Jeff Dale 9:30 PM, Lee’s Unleaded Blues, $5-$10, 21+

Jimmy Johnson, Mike Wheeler, and Big Ray 9 PM, B.L.U.E.S., 21+

Johnny Dean 10 PM, Water Hole Lounge, 1400 S. Western, $10, 21+


First Impressions Band featuring Little Harvey 9 PM, Gene’s Playmate Lounge, 4239 W. Cermak, 21+ Free

Quique Gomez & Luca Giordano 9:30 PM, Rosa’s Lounge, $10, 21+

Ronnie Hicks & Masheen Company See Friday’s Crossroads Stage listings. 9 PM, B.L.U.E.S., 21+

Carlos Johnson, Grana’ Louise, Matthew Skoller, Vino Louden, Homemade Jamz, Breezy Rodio Band, Harmonica Hinds For more on Hinds, see Friday’s Front Porch Stage listings. 11 AM, Buddy Guy’s Legends, $20, 21+

Killer Ray Allison 9:30 PM, For the Good Times Lounge, 5545 S. Damen, 21+ Free


Bill “Howl-n-Madd” Perry 8 PM, Water Hole Lounge, 1400 S. Western, $10, 21+