Joanna Connor Live and Raw!

I caught Joanna Connor at the legendary Chicago club, B.L.U.E.S. ON HALSTED, on February 4, 2005. The large Friday night crowd was treated to arguably one of Chicago’s best modern blues performers.

Joanna Connor is the complete electric guitar package and vocalist extraordinaire. She covered the range of modern blues, slide guitar and blues-rock with her own compositions and threw in a couple shuffles and an occasional cover for good measure. Her sense of melody, phrasing and dynamics, along with a very modern technique make her a very funky, soulful and compelling guitarist. As for vocal abilities, if Joanna Connor wasn’t a guitarist; she could easily be a lead singer in any band.

Speaking of bands, The Joanna Connor Band is flawless! Lance Lewis on drums and J.R. Fuller on bass both were locked in and laying down funkified blues grooves along with the band’s second guitarist, Toronzo Cannon. They all displayed exceptionally stellar rhythmic sensibilities, tasty fills, occasional solos and backing vocals. If you want to experience modern Chicago Blues played by a tight, seasoned musical unit, you need to checkout The Joanna Connor Band.

Joanna’s most recent CD Joanna Connor Live & Raw! hasn’t been listed on her website. The word is it will be shortly. Keep an eye on the website Joanna Connor Band for the latest information on it. All of Joanna’s other recordings are available there.

I was privy to an advanced copy of “Joanna Connor Live & Raw!” This recording was made of the August 28, 2004 show at the Bowlful of Blues in Newton, Iowa.

The CD captures 10 live tracks. Some of the many highlights include Walkin’ Blues, which boasts Joanna’s best slide work on the CD and a very funky bass solo from J.R. Fuller. Lance Lewis’ drumming keeps everybody tied together and a stinging solo from Toronzo Cannon makes you appreciate the bands chops.

Then there’s Big Girl Blues, taken from Joanna’s studio album of the same name. The guitar riff sounds like a nod to Led Zeppelin’s Traveling Riverside Blues. The band is locked and loaded and delivers the goods on this number.

And in Doctor Feelgood the rhythm section propels this vocal driven song with an uptown rework of the chord progression from Stormy Monday. Joanna’s vocals are playful but filled with earthy desire…