Joanna Connor and the place she calls home: Kingston Mines in Chicago

CHICAGO — On a Friday night at the legendary Lincoln Park blues bar Kingston Mines, the searing sound of Chicago’s signature music pours out onto Halsted Street.

Inside, the crowds gather to watch bluesmen dressed in fedoras and sunglasses and deliver the hard-driving rhythms that reverberate across the hard-edged city.

But on one stage, there is an anomaly.

“I’m a mom,” Joanna Connor said. “I look like a mom. I don’t fit the image, you know?”

But when Connor, a a veteran blues musician known as Chicago’s Queen of the Blues Guitar, steps onto the stage, it doesn’t take long to figure out she’s exactly where she should be.

“She plays guitar like no other woman I’ve ever seen,” the co-owner of Kingston Mines Laura Gennaro said.

At one recent performance, the audience was mesmerized by her precision, speed and the commanding skill with which she plays, providing a show within a show. MORE >>