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Rockin' Johnny Band: The Blues

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Petty Auditorium

The Rockin’ Johnny Band has been one of Chicago’s most loved blues bands since 1995. Their music has been played on WXRT’s Local Anaesthetic and Blues Breakers radio shows, the band has often been featured at The Chicago Blues Festival, and they regularly work in Chicagoland’s best blues clubs such as Buddy Guys Legends. Their CDs and live performances have drawn great reviews in Living Blues, The Chicago Sun Times, Pioneer Press, and National Public Radio.

Guitarist Johnny Burgin came to Chicago from South Carolina to attend the University of Chicago, and earned the name Rockin Johnny as a DJ at the college radio station WHPK. Rockin Johnny began playing in the ghetto clubs of Chicago’s West Side with blues singer Taildragger, and then began touring nationally as a sideman with former Howlin’ Wolf drummer Sam Lay and blues piano legend Pinetop Perkins.

After learning from the masters, he put his own band together. Things started happening for the Rockin Johnny Band after they took a Monday night residency at The Smoke Daddy in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Their original, energetic approach soon made them a strong local draw week after week and year after year, bringing in blues aficionados, every musician in town, and a younger crowd that normally didn’t go to hear blues bands. The atmosphere the band generated was so electric, that Delmark Records offered them a contract after hearing just one set. This was especially exciting because the prestigious Chicago label is revered by blues aficionados as the home of Junior Wells and Johnny’s idol, Magic Sam!

Since those days, they’ve regularly toured Europe, played festivals and headlined clubs all over the Midwest. The Rockin’ Johnny Band has recorded five CDs including Grim Reaper, released in April of 2012. A true musician’s musician, Rockin’ Johnny has been one of Chicago’s most in-demand blues session men since the 90s, contributing his incisive playing to over a dozen CDs by artists such as Billy Boy Arnold, Jimmy Burns, Tail Dragger, Little Arthur Duncan, Paul DeLay and many more.