Three weeks have passed since I arrived in Chicago. It started looking like it is my sabbatical leave from California as I have two ongoing projects currently - one with Mary Lane and another with Lori Lewis.
Both were "seeded", in a sense, back in June when I came to see the Chicago Blues Festival and stayed a few weeks afterwards. I attended local blues jams as many as I could during my stay.
That is when I met Mary at Rosa's. She was the headliner for the jam night. And Lori at Water Hole Lounge while she was hosting the jam.
Blues jams are efficient to get to know musicians and local venue owners who often book bands. When you only meet someone cold and try to introduce yourself and give your business card and CD, they would likely end up straight to a trash can unopened.
At a jam it is extremely important to give your best performance and stand out if you intend to be remembered, as if it was your audition. As is often said, you can never make another first impression. If such jam sessions are organized in a way that you are pushed over as a new comer, it is not the right one to bother attending.
I have done the first gig with Mary last weekend. It was literally my dream come true to play the old school Chicago Blues to my heart's content. I cannot ask for more than to play for such a legendary blues singer who lived through the heyday of traditional blues in this city.
With Lori on the other hand, she is helping me gaining exposure that I need. I made my first appearance in Kenosha, WI, 50 miles north of Chicago last night.
My further networking continues daily till the end of my residency.
I am being drawn to Chicago more and more, day by day. This is the town where gritty, gut wrenching blues can be seen more than any other places that I have been. Namely, blues with soul.