The Chicago Blues Scene

Clubs Off the Beaten Path Now, didn’t you just think that there must be more to the Chicago blues scene than what you see in the Reader or in some of the guidebooks? Well ME TOO! So I started blues traveling in my own city! Here are some Chicagoland spots to check out. Some are not in the safest neighborhoods, so don’t be stupid about it. Be friendly & respectful, don’t have too much to drink, and park on the main street. Some have parking security. These clubs do a great job to create a safe atmosphere inside but be careful coming & going. Oh, and have fun!

Big Ed’s BBQ, Fountain Square, Waukegan. Music on Fri 7pm Archie Parks Project Carolyn’s Zodiac Lounge, 1744 N Central, Chicago (773) 804-9664, occasional blues Linda’s Place, music on Mondays w/ Fantastic L-Roy & the Bulletproof Band Keynote Lounge, 1116 W 63rd St, Chicago, occasional blues Odyssey East, 9942 Torrence Ave, Chicago, Fridays 9pm-1; Sundays 7-11pm: JoJo Murray Phyllis’ Musical Inn, 1800 W Division, Chicago, first Thursdays 10pm Smilin’ Bobby, no cover Rooster’s, 600 S Kedzie, Chicago, Sunday nights Cyrus Hayes Spectrum Bar & Grill, 233 S Halsted, Chicago (312) 715-0770 sometimes Linsey Alexander The Water Hole Lounge, 1400 S Western, Chicago (312) 243-7988, Wednesdays blues jam Low-reen & crew 8pm, no cover. 1st Fri Elmore James Jr. 2nd & 4th Tuesdays Tail Dragger

  • Other Chicagoland blues clubs: Blue Chicago, B.L.U.E.S., Buddy Guy’s Legends, Chord on Blues, Harlem Ave Lounge, House of Blues, Kingston Mines, Lee’s Unleaded, Nick’s, Rosa’s, Smoke Daddy

Special Events & News—–”It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses” -Elwood Blues

Chicago Blues News, weekly e newsletter with Chicago & beyond blues happenings. Editor & Photographer Karen Murphy, Photographer Mike Murphy. Go to to sign upBig thanks to Dave Smith for helping me keep the Milwaukee area jams updated!ArtSpace Lofts. Mixed use arts facility with subsidized housing 1-3 bedroom apts & studio space for artists including musicians. Wait list approx 1 yr. Rents range from $350-850, 214 W Washington St, Waukegan, IL (847) 445-6440
Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research, focused on the needs of musicians with bipolar disorder,

?Kenosha Musicians: want to influence the local music scene? Get your gig listed in the local calendar? Join Musicians Advancing and Assisting Music at, on Facebook.Milwaukee Musicians: want to get heard on WMSE FM 91.7? Drop off your CD or album at 820 N Milwaukee or MSOE Krueger Hall 9am-6pm. OR mail it to WMSE, 1025 N Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202 attn: Music Director. Tune in weekdays 3-6pm for the Blues Drive.
Maxwell St Market Vendor Association “Like” them on Facebook, help make the market more friendly to musiciansCheat You Fair, a documentary about old Maxwell Street, available for purchase at Amazon.Maxwell St links, courtesy of Professor Steve Balkin

Darnell DC Conley on You Tube performing Steve Balkin’s song Maxwell St Market 100th Birthday Blues projects: you can get in on the ground floor and financially back blues projects for as little as a buck!