Blues-rock queen Joanna Connor’s latest release finds her receiving branding advice from none other than Joe Bonamassa. Impressed by her viral Youtube slide performances, Bonamassa put his money where his mouth is and gave Connor the royal treatment.
The album title is the address of Theresa’s Lounge, a legendary Chicago blues club with a raw and visceral magic that inspired the music. Co-produced by Bonamassa and Josh Smith, 4801 South Indiana Avenue has a warm and intense club feel, with Connor performing in full beast mode on vocals and slide guitar. Though she’s known for her musical eclecticism, Bonamassa forgoes this in favor of a focused, balls-out Chicago blues record. With an interactive band (including Bonamassa and Smith), Connor burns down the neighborhood.
“Come Back Home” features Reese Wynans on keys and showcases Connor unleashing old-world blues grit, power, and musicality. She dresses Luther Allison’s “Bad News” with tear-soaked passion and authority. “Trouble Trouble” features Smith deploying Otis Rush musical iconography, while “Please Help” is a blistering tribute to Hound Dog Taylor. In all, 4801 is a slide tour-de-force.
This article originally appeared in VG’s June 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.