Guitarist Lurrie Bell was raised on Chicago blues: his father was famed harmonica player Carey Bell, and his musical education began with legendary bluesmen who frequented their home, greats like Big Walter Horton, Sunnyland Slim, and Carey’s godfather, pianist Lovie Lee. His biggest inspiration was his father’s longtime boss, Muddy Waters. At age five, Lurrie picked up his father’s guitar. “Something inside told me,” he recalls, “this is what you have to do in your life.”
Chicago blues developed as African American musicians moved north during the Great Migration, transforming Delta blues to reflect their new urban environment. Lurrie’s music continues that north-south dialogue; born in Chicago in 1958, he spent seven musically formative childhood years with his grandparents in Mississippi and Alabama, immersed in gospel music. Returning north, the teen blues prodigy soon began playing for stars like Willie Dixon and Koko Taylor.
Now, Lurrie Bell is one of the most heralded artists in Chicago blues. Among numerous awards, he was Living Blues’ Outstanding Guitar Player seven of the last 10 years. Boston Blues News declared, “If there is a Chicago blues child who … epitomizes the blues life, it’s Lurrie Bell … the premier guitarist in the Windy City.”