Joanna Connor (M.C. Records)

She’s one powerhouse of a slide blues guitarist, someone who attacks frets with a beautiful fury and doesn’t let go. Joanna Connor just put out her first release in 14 years and, wow, it’s a keeper.

If you like blistering Chicago blues solos and gut-wrenching, soul-searing performances with equally strong vocals, this is it. Besides the rock-blues genre, Six String Stories offers some gospel, soul, and funk.

Eight of the 10 tracks were co-written by Connor and longtime band member Marion Lance Lewis. Connor, a fixture at Chicago clubs and a YouTube sensation, took time off from recording and touring to raise her daughter. She’s back in a big way now, and has in years past shared stages with Jimmy Page, Robert Cray, B.B. King, the Doobie Brothers, the Neville Brothers, and others.

— TOM HENRY, The Blade