Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Girl Guitar Slinger?

originally prineted in the paper Blue Monday January 2006 issue

It was a rather normal cold December night (the 10 to be specific) there was a bit of snow on the ground and the air temp had finally crawled up from the arctic freezer to near normal temps (right around 25 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit) so as I headed out to catch some live music I was able to grab my usual jacket rather than my north pole parka, I had my comfortable gloves instead of the ones designed to save your fingers in case you freeze to death so they can print you for identification, along with a standard stocking cap in place of the fur lined Elmer Fud looking head gear suitable for mushing across the tundra in the Iditarod that had adorned my head for the previous week of frigid weather; okay you get it had been cold and if your reading this you already knew that, after all this is Minnesota and we are a hardy lot used to this kind of thing; right? So I headed out at my usual time right around 8:00pm off for another night of blues at famous Dave’s the was some stiff competition in town on this particular night for the blues entertainment dollar however with both BB King and Tab Benoit make quicker than usual return visits to the cities. Mr. King of course was here back in March and Tab had been here earlier in the year as well, anyhow I was headed to Dave’s to see one of the few female guitar masters on the scene today, Miss. Joanna Conner, billed with one of Chicago’s newly rediscovered legends Jimmy Burns, unfortunately Joanna told me when I arrived that Jimmy had to cancel the afternoon before so it would be a full night of her and her rock solid band. A bit disappointed as I have not seen Mr. Burns in person yet, I settled in and got ready for the show. Joanna who moved to Chicago from New York at the age of 17 learned her rough and tumble blues at the feet of some of the masters, playing with the likes of JB Hutto, Son Seals, Lonnie Brooks and countless others, she plays guitar like one of the boys, no apologies, no compromise just full tilt aggression, attacking the fret board with power and skill weather pulling out a fiery BB or Albert King riff, a blazing Buddy Guy style solo or working her slide like a player possessed with the sprits of Elmore James, Bukka White and Dwayne Allman simultaneously. Joanna can play and as the band tore into their first number she and the guys had the thin though enthusiastic crowd in the palm of their hands. Starting off with a pair of instrumentals the band was able to showcase what they had in store for the night whit fierce solo’s from all and then the solid vocals from Joanna who is an effective and emotive singer, add to this the fireball that is Quintus McCormick on second guitar and vocals and this band is capable of devastating any room and denigrating all comers in a head cutting contest While Joanna is rock solid weather playing lead, slide or rhythm, Quintus is like a stick of Dynamite ready to go off when you least expect it, he sings with pure intensity and his playing is subtle yet explosive at the same time and the pair together are a volatile combination. As the night went, on the first set ended with standing ovations and then of course the inevitable thinning of the crowd, and as the band retook the stage for set 2 they continued to play their hearts out while the audience grew more and more disinterested making it hard for them to keep the energy up on stage, they however did a more than respectable job of it with Joanna inviting a friend that had made the trip with the band from Chicago to join then on stage and lend some vocals to a couple of classic soul tunes, all the while the band maintained a mastery of the music and total domination of the stage, of course the crowd continued to thin, some people drifted in as others flowed out yet Miss. Conner’s and company never gave in they played with 110% from start to finish ending the night at about a quarter to 1:00am. And as we said our goodnights Joanna assured me she’ll be back as soon as they’ll have her and once more , leave no one untouched by her own brand of rock laced hard driving urban blues.


  • Joanna Connor comments on Chris Cain from Cain's website:

    Subject: you are the best

    i am an unabashed chris cain fan. i once got into trouble some years ago about this. a young guitarist came up to me in a club and was raving about jimmy thackery being the greatest guitarist ..bla bla ..and asked what did i think? i told him that if he wanted to hear absolutley sublime playing and try to learn hot licks..check out chris. so, this kid tells thackery(who i do think is good ..but)and it gets back to my agent (WHO IS ALSO THACKERY'S)and everybody's pissed. haha! too damn bad! chris is a triple threat ..guitarwise, vocally and as a songwriter. he is the next king of the blues in my opinion, the heir apparent. and then he is so much more. my dream is to sit with him weekly and take guitar lessons.right now geography is a problem.what is most impressive to me is chris's humility, humor and graciousness. love to you chris for making the universe a little brighter place. joanna connor

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:24 PM  

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