Joanna Connor debuts at #1 on Billboard Blues Chart with new album ‘4801 South Indiana Avenue’

“Joanna Connor is a mother, a lover, a singer, a guitarist, a songwriter, an actress, and a badass blueswoman who can’t be subdued.” – American Blues Scene
“Heart-wrenching blues, gritty vocals and excellent guitar… She solidifies her place as a blues master.” – Parade
“Near nonstop, taut fisted, propulsive playing that might have caused some serious heart palpitations.”  –American Songwriter (4/5)
“Musically, 4801 South Indiana Avenue is Connor’s most focused outing. It arguably showcases her world-class talent better than the others, simply because, unfettered from the practical concerns of a session, she can — and does — pursue this music for its own sake. With Bonamassa and Smith assisting, Connor’s performance offers her iconic playing, delivered with joyful abandon and plenty of attitude.” – AllMusic
“4801 South Indiana Avenue is a career-defining record for Joanna Connor. It’s an album that’ll be remembered for decades to come and everyone who lives for true, from-the-guts blues needs to hear it. If you only buy one record this year, this is the one you want.” – Rock and Blues Muse
“4801 South Indiana Avenue is both a celebration of the past and a vital recording for the present.” – Chicago Music Guide
“Connor belts these songs out with surprising, primal emotion, all the while sliding into 10-car pileups of sheet metal with her guitar. Ten gutbucket blues songs, some familiar, most not, and none run-of-the-mill, are taken to places they’ve never been before. A full complement of seasoned players gets them there.” – Tahoe OnStage
“Joanna Connor has truly hit the bullseye here. Surrounding herself with world class musicians, she has created a masterpiece which takes the Blues at grassroots level and redefines it into an emotional, powerful monster of an album that confirms Connor’s place in the halls of the Blues elite. This is destined to be a future classic.” –Metal Planet
“The road has been long, but Joanna Connor has proven that her hard work and talent will always be appreciated, and her name will be on the lips of countless more people from this moment onwards.
Simply brilliant.” – Metal Talk
“Music like this makes you realize just how vital Blues is and how it sits at the core of so much great music made in the last 60 years… terrific album.” – Music News
Renowned Chicago-based slide guitar virtuoso and singer-songwriter, Joanna Connor, debuts at #1 on the Billboard Blues Chart with her 14th album 4801 South Indiana Avenue, released via Joe Bonamassa’s new independent blues record label Keeping The Blues Alive! The album is available here. This is the second release for the label following the critically-acclaimed Blues With Friends from legendary artist Dion. Both albums debuted at #1!
To celebrate International Women’s Day yesterday, Parade Magazine debuted the latest music video for Joanna’s song “Bad News,” which they deemed “as good as Blues gets,” going on to note Joanna’s independent style and flavor, calling out her “heart-wrenching blues, gritty vocals and excellent guitar with forlorn tone.”
There’s no better way to kick off Woman’s History Month than to honor such an incredible woman who is best known as one of the reigning Queens of blue rock guitar, who Parade also highlighted as, “a Blues master.” Not to mention, Joanna is a wonderful, hard-working mother, meanwhile has been making her stamp on the music industry for the last four decades — a major force in women’s history!
In addition to taking the well-deserved top seat at #1 this week on the Billboard Blues Chart, Joanna’s album also made #15 on the Top New Artist Albums, #34 on Current Rock Albums and #35 for the Indie Albums chart.
4801 South Indiana Avenue was produced by Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith at Ocean Way Recording Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. Joanna, Joe and the rest of the musicians on the album dug deeply and conjured up an authentic, alive and kicking non-derivative set of Chicago Blues.
Joanna has played guitar with the who’s who of blues including the likes of James Cotton, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Page, and Junior Wells. Debuting at Chicago’s premiere blues club Kingston Mines in the 1980s, she played there three nights a week ever since, in between gigs at larger clubs and festivals, before the spread of the pandemic earlier this year.
4801 South Indiana Avenue
Track Listing
1. Destination (3:31)
2. Come Back Home (4:19)
3. Bad News (6:26)
4. I Feel So Good (3:35)
5. For The Love Of A Man (4:20)
6. Trouble Trouble (3:40)
7. Please Help (4:14)
8. Cut You Loose (4:09)
9. Part Time Love (5:06)
10. It’s My Time (4:39)
4801 South Indiana Avenue
Track by Track
All the songs on the new album were lovingly hand-picked by Joe and Josh Smith and were ran by me for final approval. Each song was true to the original but were given a few twists and turns with subtle and not so subtle shifts in approach, rhythm, and attack.
This is a real house rocking tune written by a somewhat overlooked band called The Assassins, led by Jimmy Thackeray. It was made sweeter by the soulful background vocals of Jimmy Hall. Joe and Josh joined on as well. It’s a great showcase for my frantic and frenetic guitar work.
Come Back Home
This song features a killer blues piano performed by Reese Wynans. Joe encouraged me to play some raw and old school slide guitar.
Bad News
This is a Luther Allison song, and we chose it because we were all huge fans of his. I toured with him in Europe for almost ten years as his opening act, so it was an honor to record this haunting piece. Joe came up with the bell idea to further capture the mood.
I Feel So Good
This is one heavy boogie tune. The opening note I held was a fun challenge! This tune absolutely burns. Joe used some interesting microphone technique on the vocal and overdrove it purposely. The drummer (Lemar Carter) and I were flying by the seat of our pants so to speak and miraculously ended the fade out together. I particularly love the way the musicians come roaring back- all Joe’s idea!
For The Love of a Man
This is our Albert King tune! What blues album would be complete without one?
Trouble Trouble
This song features slinky horns and stellar Josh Smith guitar licks. It’s another facet of the classic blues genre that we wanted to cover.
Please Help
This is our tribute to Hound Dog Taylor. I believe he would have liked it.
Cut You Loose
This is one of my favorite songs that features a hypnotic rhythmic shift.
Part-Time Love
This song is a real staple in the repertoire in Chicago. I think we did it justice. A cracking horn section really makes it shine.
It’s My Time
This song was written by Josh Smith. It was Joe’s idea to have me do a spoken word and make some of the verses personal to me. Joe and I perform a slide duet, conjuring up Ry Cooder.
Recorded and Mixed by JJ Blair
Assistant Engineer Austin Atwood
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Ludwig Mastering
Produced by Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith
Executive Producer – Roy Weisman
Recorded at OceanWay Studios Nashville, TN
Joanna Connor – Vocals, Guitar all tracks
Joe Bonamassa – Guitar on all tracks (Solos on 9 & 10)
Josh Smith – Guitar on all tracks
Reese Wynans – Keyboards
Calvin Turner – Bass
Lemar Carter – Drums and Percussion
Steve Patrick – Trumpet
Mark Douthit – Saxophone
Barry Green – Trombone
Jimmy Hall – Vocals on Track 1
Horn Arrangements by Calvin Turner
Numerous artists have been influenced by or had love affairs with the iconic African American art form called the Blues. Not many sought after it by diving headfirst into its epicenter – Chicago, and even fewer women have attempted.
Joanna made a pilgrimage at the age of 19 to the Windy City and set her mind to move there three years later. An abridged version of her years spent during the 80s prolific blues explosion would include years spent playing with Dion Payton and the 43rd St Blues Band in residencies at Buddy Guy’s Checkerboard Lounge, Theresa’s, the Cuddle Inn on the Southside of the blues capital, absorbing musical and life lessons playing guitar with Buddy Guy, Jr Wells, Otis Rush, Phil Guy, James Cotton, Lefty Dizz, Sugar Blue, Billy Branch, Son Seals, Lonnie Brooks, Johnny Littlejohn, Magic Slim, Eddie Shaw, and many other artists.
Years spent in the trenches at the late-night institution the Kingston Mines led to further musical adventures including a late-night set with none other than Jimmy Page.
Joanna was asked by the owner of Kingston Mines to headline her own nights at the club, and this led to the formation of her own wicked Chicago band and subsequently caught the ear of Blind Pig Records and the release of her first album “Believe It” in 1990. The music world was piqued with this brash in your face guitarist in the guise of an unassuming 28-year-old.
Years spent touring Europe, Asia, South America were to follow, deals with Gibson Guitars, Victoria Amps, almost a decade spent opening and recording occasionally with the legend Luther Allison in Europe and Albert Collins in the U.S., increased her notoriety as well as the release of almost a dozen recordings on her own and also numerous guest spots with others, a documentary film made about her by German Television WDR and several national and international television appearances all blazed a trail for future female guitarists and her hybrid blend of blues, rock and funk became a template for dozens of acts to follow.
In 2019, a few viral videos and her relentless work ethic caught the attention of Joe Bonamassa, and within a year Joe’s passionate and articulate vision to bring to the world Joanna’s unique, blazing, gritty, and electrifying blues guitar prowess came to life. His expertise as a musician, vocalist, and producer cut to the core of Joanna’s tremendous and uncompromising musical life story and brought to fruition her best and most representative work to date.
The new independent record label is an offshoot of Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation, Joe Bonamassa’s non-profit that aims to conserve the art of music in schools and preserve the rich culture and history of the blues. Bonamassa along with his long-time manager, Roy Weisman, have expanded their business by creating the new label, Keeping the Blues Alive (KTBA) Records. The first release on the label was Dion’s album “Blues with Friends” which was released to critical acclaim in June 2020.
KTBA Records’ main objective is to provide a platform for musical talent in blues and blues-rock based music and helping promote the careers of extraordinary musical talent. The label works synergistically with the non-profit’s mission of supporting musicians to continue the legacy of the blues. 10% of all profits from KTBA Records are donated to the non-profit.
KTBA Records is an important step in the co-evolution of the music and the business of making it. It represents another of Bonamassa’s continuing efforts over the last 25 years in support of the artistic community. It reflects the philosophy of paying it forward just as so many did for Joe in the hope of paving the way for blues artists in the future. Visit for further information.