The Tantramarsh Blues Society Presents The Lurrie Bell Band (Chicago) 9 PM, Friday, July 9, George’s Roadhouse Tickets: $15 (available at Ducky’s and Tidewater Books)

Born on December 13, 1958, the son of famed Chicago blues harmonica master Carey Bell, Lurrie Bell was raised in a Chicago household naturally steeped in the blues. “Because of my dad there was all kinds of music, growing up in that house,” Bell reminisces. All manner of blues greats would regularly drop by to rehearse: guitarists including Eddie Taylor, Eddie C. Campbell, Jimmy Dawkins, and Eddy Clearwater (Bell’s cousin); harmonica legends like Big Walter Horton; and equally storied keyboardists including Sunnyland Slim and Muddy Waters sideman Lovie Lee, whom Bell came to regard as his spiritual grandfather.

At 15, he formed his first band while attending Crane High School on the city’s West Side. In 1977 at the age of 17, Bell was a founding member of The Sons of Blues with fellow Chicago blues scions Freddie Dixon (son of Willie) and Billy Branch (son of Ben), and performed that year at the Berlin Jazz Festival presented as the New Generation of Chicago Blues. Soon afterwards the group cut three standout tracks for Alligator Recordss Grammy-nominated series Living Chicago Blues. Lurrie had already made his first appearances in the recording studio earlier that year with his father on Carey’s Delmark album Heartaches and Pains, and on Eddie C. Campbell’s Rooster Blues album King of the Jungle. Not only was Bell recognized as an exceptionally talented guitarist and musician, his knowledge of different blues styles, his soulfulness and his musical maturity brought write-ups in publications such as Rolling Stone and The New York Times.

At 20, Bell joined the band of Chicago’s acknowledged Queen of the Blues: Koko Taylor and stayed for several years, honing his chops and learning the ropes of being a traveling musician. Bell teamed up again with his father, as a member of Carey Bell’s Blues Harp Band. “It was quite an experience,” Bell says fondly. “He always told me I sounded as good as his guitarist, Eddie Taylor, and it made me feel good to hear those comparisons.”

Battling and defeating a series of personal demons kept him out of the studio and off the road for a long spell in the late 1980’s, but Bell finally persevered and re-surfaced in the mid-1990’s with a succession of four highly acclaimed records for Chicago’s Delmark label. In 2002 saw the release of the CD Cuttin’ Heads and in 2004 Alligator Records released Second Nature an acoustic duet record with Carey Bell that was nominated for Acoustic Record of the Year by the Blues Foundation in Memphis.

Sadly, Lurrie lost his long-time friend, partner, and mother of his daughter Aria, Susan Greenberg, to cancer on January 20, 2007. Lurrie’s loss of Susan was soon followed by the death of his legendary father, Carey Bell, to heart failure on May 6, 2007. Their last recorded project together, the live DVD/CD release on Delmark, Getting Up Live ended up to be their most special.

Bell responded by immersing himself even deeper into his music and with the generous financial support of the Greenberg family launched his own label imprint Aria B.G. Records. The result was Let’s Talk About Love his most accomplished, deeply heartfelt album yet. Produced by longtime associate Matthew Skoller, the record vividly displays Bell’s unshakeable faith in the power of the blues.

Bell’s recorded output has been prodigious, even despite his lengthy absence from the scene: he has contributed to well over 50 albums. Bell was voted Most Outstanding Guitar Player in the 2007 Living Blues magazine critics’ poll, and was nominated for a 2007 Blues Music Award for Best Guitarist by the Blues Foundation. As producer Skoller’s liner notes for Let’s Talk About Love observe, “Lurrie is now a blues master at a needed time when there are very few blues masters left.”

Reviews of Bell’s new CD: “  Lets  Talk  About  Love”

On his latest CD, Bell’s guitar work melds raw emotion and fiery technique in a majestic  meld of tonal aggression, linear sureness, and exploratory drive. A sound these days is shot through with triumph: although he may continue to face down his demons in song, his music has an undercurrent of hard– won tranquility that reminds us that the blues, for all the stereotypes about pain and suffering, is ultimately about overcoming.” The Chicago Reader–honoring Lurrie Bell as the Best  Chicago Blues Musician of 2008.

Chicago blues scion Lurrie Bell  celebrates a come back with an album that focuses squarely on his  fast strengths: a Blunt, ripping guitar style, dark, brooding vocals and menacing, reverb–drenched arrangements very much in the  Howlin’ Wolf/Willie Dixon  mode. Buoyed by a sinewy band of top Chicago players, Bell sounds ready for his close–up. The Boston Herald

Bell has the amazing ability to play the  blues in a very traditional way, and yet not like anyone else either before him or now. His singing sounds better than ever, passionate and personal. This is the best Chicago blues album of the year. Tom Marker–WXRT Chicago

The disc is more than a musical time… is an affirmation of life, a beam of light cost to what the future. Through the endlessly varied realms of joy, doubt, fear despair and redemption that characterized the blues expression, Bell has done more than provide us with a template of hope; it is music–and with his life–he has provided us with a roadmap how to find it. David Whitis – Living  Blues

Weblinks

For more on the band please visit: http://www.lurrie.com/

For our website, please visit: http://www.mta.ca/tbs

Misc.

For our out of town friends, you can buy your tickets by phone by calling Ducky’s at 536-1344.

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