Blues music thrives on live interaction between performer and audience, but for nearly a year and a half, that’s been in short supply. Clubs are caught between “waiting to reopen” and “slowly coming back,” and Millennium Park has been largely quiet—for two Junes running, the city has canceled the Chicago Blues Festival. Our blues artists […]
Pioneering house DJ Lori Branch shouts out her fellow Windy City originators, including Chaka Khan and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
By the early 90s Lurrie Bell didn’t even own a guitar anymore, but now he’s got a shelf full of Blues Music Awards.
This year’s lineup details a sprawling cross section of the genre, including world-changing explorers the Art Ensemble of Chicago, trad band the Fat Babies, venerable guitarist George Freeman, and restless experimenter Rob Mazurek.
Guitarist George Freeman and harmonica player Billy Branch demonstrate the common roots of the sounds they love.
Blues tributes are too often dire affairs—note-for-note reworkings of timeworn ideas and riffs that betray an almost puritanical obsession with “authenticity.” That approach, of course, dishonors the spirit of the music it purports to celebrate—Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Elmore James, all of whom attract frequent tributes, weren’t purists or revivalists but instead radically reimagined […]
As a bandleader and an educator, harmonica master Billy Branch links blues tradition to the genre’s evolving future.
Che “Rhymefest” Smith’s devotion to Chicago’s black cultural legacy finds a new outlet in a Billy Branch remix.
The Chicago Blues Festival moves to Millennium Park for 2017, with an adventurous bill that includes Rhymefest, Rhiannon Giddens, and Ronnie Baker Brooks.
Every set at the 2017 Blues Festival, from Friday morning through Sunday night on all five stages in Millennium Park
More people turn out for Blues Fest than for Pitchfork and Lollapalooza combined—and here are a couple dozen reasons why, including Syl Johnson, Shemekia Copeland, Clarence Carter, Chick Rodgers, and Buddy Guy.
The Italian immigrant and her son have logged 31 years on Armitage.
Gerri’s Palm Tavern, once a crown jewel of Bronzeville, was shut down by the city in 2001. But blues harpist Billy Branch remains dedicated to preserving the history and culture it embodied.
A Templeton Rye documentary, The Beat Cop’s Guide to Chicago Eats, a survivalist’s supper, and more.