For the last several months, I have been attending as many blues jams as possible in town. Through this process, I was able to extend my network to many local musicians and a few club owners.
In Chicago, it is not unusual to see renowned blues musicians hanging out casually at blues clubs, and you never know whom you run into unexpectedly.
A few weeks ago, Lurrie Bell saw me jamming at The B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted St. The other night, it was my pleasant surprise when he called me up to his stage at Rosa's Lounge.
I can't describe in words how epic this moment was for me to play guitar with such a legendary blues artist in Chicago. He is one of the very rare hold outs of the traditional Chicago Blues guitar that I truly admire, in particular, with his “squeeze” guitar style and its natural tone.
Back in the early 1980's, I saw Mr. Bell's father the late great Carey Bell at his show in Kyoto, Japan. Since then I have been paying close attention to what this Bell Dynasty does to the blues music.
Moving forward, I will be focusing more toward sitting in as a guest with the featured bands. Fortunately several musicians are giving me strong support to gain public exposure.
In parallel, the venue that my band played a few weeks ago in the suburb of Chicago wants to book me again in early next year. Being new in town, it is gratifying to know that my music is accepted by the people in the area.
My effort will continue in all aspects in 2018.
(photo: Lurrie Bell & Melvin Smith at Rosa's Lounge in Chicago)