‘Every Night Now Is A Treat’: Joanna Connor On 35 Years In Chicago Blues
Four weeks after moving to Chicago, a 22-year-old Joanna Connor approached blues giant Lonnie Brooks at a club on the North Side. That encounter kicked off her 35-year career as one of the most powerful women in Chicago blues.
It was 1984, and Connor had just left a budding music career in her native Massachusetts to hone her skills in Chicago. She met Brooks during a show at B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted. He was skeptical but let her show off her chops on his guitar. Impressed, he invited Connor to sit in with the band that night.
“To be honest, I had a couple of shots of whiskey,” Connor told WBEZ. “I was a little afraid but I was extremely inspired. It was a dream come true.”
Today, Connor performs upwards of 200 shows a year and is planning to release her 13th album this summer.
“It wasn’t an easy path,” Connor said. “I look back and I was so determined and so focused and so excited, too.”
Connor got hooked on music at an early age. She learned to play guitar when she was 7 and recalls sitting in the front row at age 10 to watch Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy perform at Clark University in her hometown of Worcester, Mass.
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