(Arlington Heights, IL) – Winter has traditionally been a slow season for music festivals in Chicagoland while folks recover from their holiday hangovers. Other than the TNK Festival in Chicago, a sturdy and dependable showcase of emerging talent, there’s not been the equivalent in the suburbs.
The folks at Hey Nonny and Straight Arrow Productions are changing the indoor music festival landscape with the first annual Winter Blues Summit, which runs from January 31 through February 2 on four stages at both Hey Nonny and Metropolis in Arlington Heights [Illinois]. “Just about every Chicago blues great will be appearing at the Winter Blues Summit,” Hey Nonny co-owner Chip Brooks told IE. Straight Arrow Productions president Dave Katzman added: “Hey Nonny has become the go-to destination for true Chicago blues in the northwest suburbs, so this seemed like a natural fit.”
Headlining the event will be the on-stage reunion of Chicago blues legends Jimmy and Syl Johnson. The Johnson brothers were born and grew up in Holly Springs, Mississippi, but moved to Chicago in the 1950s, where they quickly became part of the exploding Chicago electric blues scene with pioneers Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, and Little Walter. Through those early years, Jimmy Johnson played with Freddy King, Albert King, Magic Sam, Otis Rush, and Eddy Clearwater. Syl Johnson also played with Magic Sam (his neighbor), as well as Billy Boy Arnold, Junior Wells, and Howlin’ Wolf. He went on to release the hit records Different Strokes and Is It Because I’m Black on Chicago’s Twinight Record label. He also recorded “Take Me To The River and “We Did It” for the Hi Records label.