Blues Community Concerts

Select dates, August 29–September 19

Free Admission

DCASE Homepage  >  Year of Chicago Music  >  Chicago In Tune  >  Chicago Blues Festival  >  Blues Community Concerts


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Join us for Bronzeville Blues, the Chicago Blues Club City Tour, the Music Lives Here: Record Row Series – and Soul City Blues - Austin.


Kenny Beedy Eyes Smith

Joe Filisko & Eric Noden Gerry Hundt

Bronzeville Blues

Sunday, August 29, 2021


Presented with Bronzeville Blues Collaborative: Chicago Blues Revival, Haven Studio, Muddy Waters MOJO Museum and Urban Juncture, the free Bronzeville Blues event will feature three stages of live music in the neighborhood that is the cradle of classic Chicago Blues. If Chicago is home of the blues, Bronzeville is the neighborhood where it grew up. Through the classic era of Chicago blues, many of the most famous blues musicians lived and worked in Bronzeville including Muddy Waters, Otis Rush and Sonny Boy Williamson. It was home to important clubs such as the Checkerboard Lounge, Pepper’s Lounge and the 708 Club. Bronzeville Blues will have outdoor stages on East 43rd Street/Muddy Waters Drive within easy walking distance of the Green Line station. Stages will be near The Forum, a historic dancehall and social center currently being renovated; the site of the original Checkerboard Lounge; and at Park 43, a community park and gathering space. Self-guided walking and biking tours of other nearby blues historic sites such as the Muddy Waters House and MOJO Museum, Theresa’s Lounge and Pepper’s Lounge will also be available. The event is co-produced with the Bronzeville Blues Collaborative, a collective of non-profit organizations bringing all-ages blues programming to Bronzeville, Chicago’s blues neighborhood. See for more information. Performers include John Primer and Real Deal Blues Band, Melody Angel, Big James & The Chicago Playboys, Bob Stroger, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, Harmonica Hinds, Joe Filisko & Eric Noden, Greasy Gravy Duo: Matt Hendricks & Rick Sherry, Gerry Hundt’s Legendary One-Man Band, Nick Alexander Blues Band with more artists and groups TBA.

Performance Locations: Hadiya Pendleton Park, 4345 S. Calumet Ave.; and Muddy Waters’ Home front porch, 4339 S. Lake Park Ave.

Music Lives Here – Bronzeville Blues Historical Markers:

  • Muddy Waters Home, 4339 S. Lake Park Ave.
  • Pepper’s Lounge, 503 E. 43rd St.
  • The Checkerboard, 423 E. 43rd St.
  • Theresa’s Lounge, 4801 S. Indiana Ave.

Music Lives Here (, a multi-media project by DCASE, Chicago graphic art studio Sonnenzimmer and Maya Bird-Murphy of Chicago Mobile Makers, will pay tribute to the spaces, places and people that have shaped Chicago’s music landscape, past and present. Launching on August 29, Music Lives Here will take the form of unique graphic sidewalk markers installed at 50 sites across Chicago, an accompanying website to provide a further window into the background of each site, a print publication and pop-up performances.


Music Lives Here: Record Row Series Chess Records Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation

Sunday, August 29, September 5, September 12, September 19, 2021
Chess Records Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation
2120 S. Michigan Ave.
12–4pm tours are available (must RSVP in advance), 6–8:30pm
(performances in the Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Garden)

Performers include Joe Pratt and The Source One Band (August 29), Mzz Reese (September 5), Vino Louden Band (September 12) and John Primer with Steve Bell (September 19). Chess records, located at 2120 S. Michigan Ave., was the premier record label instrumental in bringing the distinguishable Chicago blues sound to the world. Shortly after being designated a historic landmark in 1990, the Chess Records building was purchased and extensively restored by Marie Dixon, widow of Willie Dixon songwriter/ producer/ arranger/ talent scout, session musician, and founder of the Blues Heaven Foundation, to serve as home to the nonprofit organization he established in1982 with the mission to Promote, Preserve and Protect the Blues. Located in a nine-block segment of Michigan Avenue, in the area known as Record Row, which housed over a dozen record labels and distribution companies, 2120 S. Michigan Ave. remains the only location of Record Row still intact and to this day continues to bring music from within the 2120 studios. It is not only home to the Blues Heaven Foundation, but also to the only Blues Museum in Chicago. Visit for more information.

Music Lives Here – Record Row Music Series Historical Markers

  • Chess Records, 2120 S. Michigan Ave. and 320 E. 21st St.
  • Constellation Records, 1421 S. Michigan Ave.
  • Jerry Butler’s Songwriters Works, 1402 S. Michigan Ave.
  • One-derful Records, 1827 S. Michigan Ave.
  • Vee-jay Records and Brunswick Records, 1449 S. Michigan Ave.

Chicago Blues Club City Tour

Wednesday, September 1 – Monday, September 6, 2021

DCASE and CIVL (Chicago Independent Venue League) will partner to present and promote a FREE city-wide Blues club tour with 20 shows in 11 venues. Club tour will take place during "Chicago In Tune '' and will be promoted as part of the Year of Chicago Music. Programs will be free-admission, first-come, first-serve. COVID protocols and social distancing to be implemented and followed, as needed, per CDC guidelines.

Formed in 2017, CIVL now represents 50+ venues in the city of Chicago. Members include some of the preeminent independent music venues, comedy clubs, performing arts centers, concert promoters, dance centers, and festivals in our city. The CIVL member community consists of for-profit independent businesses of all shapes and sizes, and non-profit organizations.

CIVL acts to secure the long-term future of these and other venues for the benefit of our communities and emerging artists. Member venues have played a crucial role in the development of Chicago’s music over the last 50 years by nurturing local, national and international talent, and providing a platform for these artists to build their careers and develop their music. Chicago's independent venues provide thousands of jobs, as well as millions of dollars in salaries, revenues, charitable donations and taxes. CIVL strives to gain recognition for the essential role these venues have played in defining the music culture as it exists in Chicago today. Visit for more information. #CIVL #beCIVL

Participating Venues: Golden Dagger, Hungry Brain, Independence Tap, Martyrs’, Reggies, Rosa’s Lounge, Taylor Street Tap, The GMan Tavern, The Hideout, The Promontory, The Quarry Chi

Schedule of Events:

Golden Dagger - 2447 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60614

Saturday, September 4
Anne Harris & Dave Herrero (75 min)Katherine Davis (Photo credit: Paul Natkin)
6pm doors, 7pm show
FREE, 21+

Hungry Brain - 2319 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL 60618

Friday, September 3
Erwin Helfer with Katherine Davis (60 min)
7pm doors, 7:30pm show
FREE, 21+
*Hungry Brain requires people to show proof of vaccination. Either by paper or by a photo on your phone

Independence Tap - 3932 W. Irving Park, Chicago, IL 60618

Rico McFarland (Photo credit: Paul Natkin)Saturday, September 4
Rico McFarland (75-90 min)
FREE, 21+

Martyrs’ - 3855 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60613

Thursday, September 2
Jimmy Johnson (Photo credit: Paul Natkin)Jimmy Johnson Blues Band (75-90 min)
Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames (45-60 min)
Support at 7:30pm, Headliner at 9pm
FREE, 21+

Friday, September 3
Mike Wheeler Band with Demetria Taylor (75-90 min)
Luke Pytel Band (45-60pm)
Support at 8pm, Headliner at 9:30pm
FREE, 21+

Saturday, September 4
Mud Morganfield (75-90 min)
Chicago Bound Blues Band (45-60 min)
Support at 8pm, Headliner at 9:30pm
FREE, 21+

Billy Branch (Photo credit: Paul Natkin)Reggies Music Joint - 2105 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60616

Friday, September 3
Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues (75 min)
Joey J. Saye Trio (45-60 min)
8pm doors
FREE, 21+

Rosa’s Lounge - 3420 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60647

Wednesday, September 1
Pete Galanis Band featuring Dave Herrero (75 min)
FREE, 21+

Thursday, September 2
Chicago Wind featuring Matthew Skoller (75 min)
FREE, 21+

Norma Jean Wallace (Photo credit: Paul Natkin)Friday, September 3
Norma Jean Wallace (75 min)
FREE, 21+

Saturday, September 4
Jimmy Johnson with Billy Branch (60 min)
FREE, 21+

Johnny Iguana’s Chicago Spectacular featuring Matthew Skoller, Billy Flynn, Bill Dickens, Michael Caskey, and Stephen HullSunday, September 5
Johnny Iguana’s Chicago Spectacular featuring Matthew Skoller, Billy Flynn, Bill Dickens, Michael Caskey, and Stephen Hull
(75 min)
FREE, 21+

Taylor Street Tap - 1358 W. Taylor St., Chicago, IL 60607

Friday, September 3Donald Kinsey (Photo credit: Paul Natkin)
The Kinsey Report (75 min)
FREE, 21+

The GMan Tavern - 3740 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60613

Gerry HundtSaturday, September 4
Gerry Hundt
4-8pm, 2-40 min sets with intermission
FREE, 21+

Sunday, September 5
The Smiley Tillmon Band featuring Kate Moss
4-8pm, 2-40 min sets with intermission
FREE, 21+

The Hideout - 1354 W. Wabansia Ave., Chicago, IL 60642

Thursday, September 2Erwin Helfer (Photo credit: Paul Natkin)
Erwin Helfer (60 min)
Devil in a Woodpile (60 min)
8pm doors, 8:30pm show
FREE, 21+

The Promontory - 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. W., Chicago, IL 60615

Thursday, September 2Jamiah Rogers
Taildragger (75-90 min)
The Jamiah Rogers Band (60 min)
Support at 8pm, Headliner at 9:30pm
FREE, 17+

The Quarry Chi - 2423 E. 75th St., Chicago, IL 60649

Sunday, September 5
Freddie Dixon’s Chicago Blues Allstars (75 min)
5pm doors, 6pm show
FREE, 21+

Monday, September 6Michael Damani (Photo credit: Ahraon Gordon)
Michael Damani Band (75 min)
5pm doors, 6pm show
FREE, 21+

/content/dam/city/depts/dca/yocm/in_tune/lurriebell.jpg Jimmy Burns Mary Lane

Soul City Blues - Austin

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Chicago & Mayfield


Through the years, Chicago’s West Side has cultivated a rich and lasting blues legacy. Some of our city’s most legendary blues venues have been located there. Silvio’s, originally at Lake and Oakley and later at Lake and Kedzie, was for years a home base for Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and many others; it stayed alive and rockin’ as the Riviera Lounge well into the 1980s; Mel’s Hideaway (a.k.a. the Tay May Club) at Roosevelt and Loomis was the inspiration for the Freddie King classic “Hide Away”; the Alex Club, a few blocks west at 1816 Roosevelt, became world-famous after Eddie Shaw, Wolf’s longtime saxophonist and bandleader, purchased it in the mid-1970s. Other venues that were vital in making the West Side a thriving blues nexus included Walton’s Corner at Roosevelt and Fairfield; the Big Squeeze on 16th St.; the Zanzibar on Blue Island; the Majestic and the Golden Slipper on Pulaski; the Avenue Lounge, Big Duke’s, and Ma Bea’s on Madison; and the Peppermint Lounge at Harrison and Kedzie (where the waitstaff dressed as candy canes, and the Jackson 5 played some of their earliest Chicago gigs). Today, clubs such as Smooth’s Venue on W. Madison and Rooster’s at Ohio and Kedzie continue in that same tradition. Join us to celebrate the living legacy of Chicago blues! Performers include Lurrie Bell, Vance Kelly, Jimmy Burns, Mzz Reese, Mary Lane and Larry Taylor.
Low-Reen & the Maxwell Street Market Blues Band

Fruteland Jackson (Photo by: Bruce Greenaway)

Blues Music Celebration

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Maxwell Street Market, 800 S. Desplaines St.


Blues Music Celebration presented as part of Chicago In Tune with Low-Reen & the Maxwell Street Market Blues Band + Fruteland Jackson