Blues legends

Chicago welcomes the “Queen of the Blues”

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You could say that Shemekia Copeland was born to the blues. Born in New York in 1979, she was encouraged to sing at an early age by her father, bluesman Johnny Clyde Copeland. She even wound up on stage at Harlem’s Cotton Club with her father at just eight years old. At 15 she began […]

Blues history

Newport 1960: When blues hit the mainstream

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As far as music goes, 1960 fell in the midst of transition: the first euphoric shots of rock and roll had given way to something of a lull. Elvis was in the army, Little Richard had rejected rock and roll for the holy scripture, and Buddy Holly and other promising artists had died a year […]

Blues legends

Billy Branch—Ambassador of the Blues

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Billy Branch has been playing the blues for more than 40 years. During that time, he has appeared on more than 150 recordings, including 12 albums under his own name. His performances on Harp Attack, an all-star effort with Carey Bell, James Cotton, and Junior Wells, solidified his reputation among a generation of harmonica players […]

Blues legends

Keith Richards—A true champion of Chicago blues

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To mark the release of Crosseyed Heart, Keith Richards’ first solo album in 23 years, the guitarist seems to be everywhere: doing interviews to promote the album; appearing at the Apollo Theater to honor singer Merry Clayton as part of A Great Night in Harlem, a concert put on by the Jazz Foundation of America; […]

Blues legends

Chicago living legends: Carl Weathersby

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The history of the blues is one of a music passed down from one musician to another over successive generations. The core of the music remains the same, but each new generation brings a unique voice. Even the most legendary figures such as Muddy Waters and B.B. King learned their craft at the feet of […]

Blues history

Historic venues: The Checkerboard Lounge

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If blues is a people’s music, then the best blues clubs are often located in neighborhoods. The Checkerboard Lounge, originally located at 423 E. 43rd St, definitely qualified on that count. From 1972, when it was opened by Buddy Guy, until its closing in 2003, the Checkerboard maintained a welcoming vibe, with a host of […]

This week in blues

Catch Aaron Neville at City Winery

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Each week, Chicago Blues Experience brings you the latest news on blues artists, venues, and events around Chicago. Featured event: Aaron Neville at City Winery See Chicago Blues Experience board member Aaron Neville at City Winery in Chicago on Monday, October 12 and Tuesday, October 13. The Neville family has become synonymous with New Orleans’ […]