Saturday, June 2, 2:30-3:30 pm
Joanna Connor’s scorching guitar solos have been heard around the world by way of a viral video. Based out of Chicago since the mid-80s, Joanna’s in the blues for the long haul, having raised her kids while gigging nightly. Her latest release is “Six String Stories,” exemplifying a wide range of music from gospel to rock to soul and funk, all with the gutsy singing, heartfelt playing, and scorching solos that have always been her trademarks.
No doubt you’ve seen it by now: That viral video of a woman onstage in a bright purple dress, playing one absolute scorcher of a slide guitar solo. That’s Joanna Connor in her home turf of Chicago, with the firepower she delivers to local crowds on a nightly basis.
That video has gone around the world a few times, getting millions of views and being re-posted in Japan, Russia and all over Europe. The viral phenomenon ironically happened while Connor herself has been off the road and out of the studio, devoting herself to being a mom and playing club residencies—not exactly laying low, since she does around 200 shows a year.
Connor’s original hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts is seldom named as a blues hotbed, but she was never one of those rock & roll kids who came to the blues secondhand. “My mom was actually the big influence in my musical life; she listened to blues, folk and rock as much as she could. So I heard Buddy Guy and Taj Mahal when I was a kid, and got into the more obscure artists as I went on. And I saw all the Chicago bands who came through town.” By her mid-teens she was playing the Worcester and Boston clubs with her own band, then moved to Chicago in 1984. Once in town she learned from the best, sitting in with the likes of James Cotton, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. After a spell in Dion Payton’s band, she launched her own group which debuted with 1989’s Believe It. A string of acclaimed albums followed, and in 2002 she made her MC label debut with The Joanna Connor Band— perhaps the first album to display the full scope of her music. Her latest album is “Six String Stories,” with ten tracks that includes tastes of gospel, rock, soul and funk – all with the gutsy singing and heartfelt playing that have always been her trademarks.Joanna Connor's Website