So little in the world seems to be going right that I hardly feel the need to explain why the Secret History of Chicago Music is extending its annual Winter […]
It’s officially spring, which is always a relief in Chicago, but the threat of World War III, the stubborn persistence of the pandemic, and the new flood of horrifying Republican […]
Covering dozens of blues artists in the Secret History of Chicago Music has taught me that a few of the cliches about old-time bluesmen are rooted in reality. Many such […]
In the more than 15 years I’ve been writing the Secret History of Chicago Music, I’ve often tried to give props to the past and present venues and labels that […]
A few months ago, when I saw that blues guitarist J.B. Ritchie had passed away on November 23, 2021, I made a mental note to dig into his story. First […]
Folks often ask me how I’ve come up with subjects for the Secret History of Chicago Music month after month. I have lots of answers, all of them true, including […]
Snowstorms, cold snaps, the most contagious wave of COVID-19 yet—it’s clearly time for the Secret History of Chicago Music to begin its yearly Winter Blues series. That’s where I cover […]
Andrew “Big Voice” Odom toured internationally—and also used to drop by Maxwell Street and overwhelm the makeshift sound systems.
Despite a 1952 smash for Chess Records, pianist Willie Mabon was soon overshadowed by labelmates such as Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters.
Bluesman Johnny Shines spent the late 30s on the road with the great Robert Johnson, then lived long enough to win a W.C. Handy Award in the 90s.
The Aces are best known as a backing band, but they took the lead when it came to the future of the blues.
Kokomo Arnold’s recording career lasted less than a decade, but he changed the world by influencing the likes of Robert Johnson and Elmore James.
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.
Big Maceo’s heyday as a recording artist lasted just five years, but his output includes some of the most widely covered songs in the history of the genre.
The Supreme Mayor of Maxwell Street left a scant recorded legacy, but he’s well remembered for his efforts to preserve the historic market and open-air blues hub.