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The Journal Gazette

  • Courtesy Chicago blues artist Toronzo Cannon will perform Saturday at Blues Bash 2017.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017 9:45 am

Spotlight: Blues musician Toronzo Cannon

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

If you go

What: Blues Bash 2017

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: C2G Music Hall, 313 W. Baker St.

Admission: $20; 441-0551 or

Also: VIP tickets are available for $75 and include a soul food dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Chicago blues artist Toronzo Cannon was drawn to blues music as a child. He has spent a lifetime with blues, now as a guitarist, singer and songwriter. His most recent album, "The Chicago Way," was released last year.

He will perform Saturday during Blues Bash 2017 at C2G Music Hall. The event is a fundraiser for The League for the Blind and Disabled. All proceeds from Blues Bash will support The League's new Home Health Care Plus program.

Cannon answered some questions via email. Responses have been edited.

Q. What makes the Chicago blues scene so unique that you hope to bring with you to shows outside the city?

A. I think Chicago blues is more “in your face” feeling type of blues. The music and songs are demanding to be “heard” not “listened” to.

Q. You say that blues is "truth-telling music." What are the basic truths you believe unite us – the ones that your audiences connect with?

A. I try to write songs about things that we all go through. We're all going to get old, we're all going to love someone more than they love us, we all get jealous about love, most will get a divorce, things like that. I don't believe in writing politically correct blues songs. Life is life and it can be expressed in song to let others know they are not alone in certain problems.

Q. How hard is it deciding what makes the cut for an album? Is there anything that didn't make it onto "The Chicago Way" that maybe you are saving for the next one or do you always want to start fresh?

A. It can be difficult to decide what's going to be on the album. We have a couple of songs in the can for the next record. I'm always thinking and writing, so most of my songs are kinda fresh all the time.

Q. Aside from the basics – clothes, instrument, wallet – is there anything you always have to have when you're traveling for a show?

A. I have stuff like extra cables for the guitar and pedals. I have extra pedals, just in case. I've always wanted to take an extra amp, but sometimes there's not enough room.

Q. If there is some alternate universe where Toronzo Cannon never picked up a guitar, what has that guy missed out on? What do you think he's doing with his life?

A. Well, he would have missed out on traveling the world and experiencing different cultures, but he always wanted to work with people doing social work, so I guess he's kinda doing the same thing, only singing and playing guitar for solutions.

To hear some of Cannon's music, go to