Where to Get the Blues in Chicago

Listen to the music of Chicago at a blues club.

Chicago Blues is said to be the precursor to Rock ‘n Roll. The soulful music was brought to the industrialized north by African Americans who migrated from the deep south in the 1920s. These musicians created an urban sub-genre of the southern form. The big names then? Big Bill Broonzy, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, T-Bone Walker, and Koko Taylor. Big names now? John Primer, Billy Boy Arnold, Melvin Taylor, Nellie “Tiger” Travis, and Otis Taylor.

The stage at Blue Chicago is perfectly unpretentious but it’s what, or who, is on it that counts. Music is the number-one priority here, seven days a week.

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Run by Tony and his mother Rosa, Rosa’s Lounge opened its doors in the 1980s. Traditional and modern blues are played most nights in Logan Square.

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Opened 46 years ago, Kingston Mines plays mostly local bands (that you may not have heard of) on two stages nightly. Southern food takes center stage on the menu.

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To hear a bit of everything, plan a trip to Chicago during the Blues Festival. Admission is free and it happens annually in June.

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