Chicago’s MudCity Blu Youth Band at the IBC 2020

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Meet MudCity Blu youth band sponsored by Windy City Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis this January, 2020. MudCity Blu includes Kendall Carter (20) on guitar and vocals, Stacy Groove Girl Norris (17) on drums, and Peyton McDowell (17) on bass.

The band got its start playing in the Chicago neighborhood of Bronzeville. Ms. Anita Rebecchi, a longtime resident of Bronzeville, started inviting jazz and blues musicians in the community for summer jams and fellowship in her yard on South Indiana. As the event grew in popularity, Ms. Anita found a new home for “Jazzin and Jammin in Bronzeville” in the basement of Corpus Christi Hall on King Drive. On both blues and jazz nights, you could come enjoy some of the best Chicago can offer. On blues nights, you would find well-known Chicago favorites such as the Original Chicago Blues All-Stars, Low-Reen, Melody Angel, and Elmore James Jr., just to name a few. It is in this nurturing community atmosphere that MudCity Blu blossomed.

The young trio opened for some of these favorites and received great support and encouragement from the community and the artists. This is the real Bronzeville, rekindling the spirit of the blues and jazz artists who left their mark on Bronzeville and the world. Chicago, with its heart and soul in Bronzeville, was indeed the capital of jazz and urban blues in the early 20s and after WWII as the Great Migration brought thousands of African Americans from the south to the city. You could find a multitude of clubs and ballrooms throughout Bronzeville and along the famous “Stroll” from 31st to 39th street including the famous Grand Terrace. All this activity slowly disappeared with artists finding new opportunities in clubs opening on the North side of Chicago, New York and elsewhere, and general economic hardship in the inner city, especially on the south and west sides. Ms. Anita’s music “joint” aimed to rekindle that fire and MudCity Blu is proud to be a part of that cultural renaissance. One of the goals of the band is to share their love of the blues with the younger generation that has leaned toward other musical genres, but also just to share music in the community as a tool for peace and an intergenerational bridge.

Kendall Carter is a guitarist, a songwriter, and vocalist. He currently studies computer science and music at Illinois State University. When writing music, Kendall’s originals integrate many different genres, reinterpreted and fresh. His favorites include Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, but he also whips up those classic blues and R&B tunes with his own stamp and style.

Stacy Norris started playing the drums when she was 7. As a drummer, her influences include Clyde Stubblefield, Neil Peart, and Sheila E., but has learned her blues grooves watching some of Chicago’s blues drummers like Dr. Odie Payne and Dr. Tillman and mixing it up with a funky touch at times.

Peyton McDowell has been steeped into the blues and jazz from an early age also with great Chicago mentors. At 14, he came out with a blues-influenced CD along with his brother Carlton McDowell and continues to play in the Chicagoland area. The three members connected at Fernando Jones Blues Camp in Chicago. Stacy and Peyton still attend the camp every summer.

Curious about the name? “Mud City” is one of the earliest nicknames for Chicago, originally settled on muddy flat and marshy terrain. And yes, it is also a wink at Muddy Waters, one of the fathers of the Chicago-style Blues. 



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