Chicago-based blues electric guitar great Joanna Connor will release her 14th album, the Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith-produced 4801 South Indiana Avenue, on February 26.
The same day, the slide guitar master will unveil her latest single, Destination, a cover of the Assassins classic.
Connor, who has played with James Cotton, Buddy Guy, Luther Allison, Jimmy Page and others, cut the new album with Bonamassa and Smith at Nashville’s Ocean Way Studios.
“We chose the album title 4801 South Indiana Avenue because it was the actual street address of the hallowed funky blues sanctuary Theresa’s Lounge,” Connor explained. “We want the listener to open that door, walk in and feel to their core some of the magic that a place like that brought night after night. It was an honor to bring this to you the listener.”
The new album, she continued, reflects an entirely new experience from the way she’s recorded music in the past.
“This album is a homage to the blues school that I attended in Chicago. We attempted to capture the spirit of tradition and inject it with raw energy and passion.”
Regarding how Bonamassa came to produce the album, Connor said, “Joe retweeted one of my videos last May and it went viral on his site. I thanked him in a message, gave him my contact info, and he immediately responded.
“He opened for me years ago at the House of Blues Backporch Stage in Chicago, where I played weekly for years! Joe was totally aware of me for years. He wanted to make an album for me that he felt I needed to make and had never really made.”
Regarding her guitar approach in the studio this time, Connor continued, “We used no effects, lots of cool guitars and vintage amps, which is new for me. We tried to redo it to portray the deep history I have in the blues genre, bring out the thousands of sweaty hours in those blues clubs in Chicago and deliver it to the record.”
As for why Bonamassa wanted to producer her?
“I remember asking Joe point-blank, ‘Out of all the guitar players in the world why me?,’” Connor said. “He said, ‘Because you have an intensity about your playing that most people don’t have. As a matter of fact, I wish I had some of that in myself where you just let it go, and you don’t even think about it.’ ”
4801 South Indiana Avenue features Bonamassa and Smith playing guitar on every track, as well as contributions from keyboardist Reese Wynans, bassist Calvin Turner and drummer Lemar Carter.
The album will be released via Bonamassa’s new independent blues label, Keeping the Blues Alive. To preorder, head here.