Life is good for Chicago bluesman Lurrie Bell. The singer and guitarist was recently nominated for three Blues Music Awards, and his latest album is riding up the blues charts. As VOA's Doug Levine tells us, Lurrie's love for the blues began right at home.
Lurrie Bell was literally born into the blues. His father, the late harmonica master Carey Bell, was a legend on the Chicago blues scene, playing alongside Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon. Being introduced to the blues at such an early age, Lurrie, a self-taught guitarist, naturally gravitated towards music. He was just a teenager when he became a regular on the Chicago blues circuit.
Lurrie's early years included stints with Koko Taylor's Blues Machine, the Sons of Blues, Eddie Clearwater and Big Walter Horton. Lurrie says he learned from the best, including his father who inspired him both on and off the stage.
"Every time I played with my father, I learned something," Bell says. "Every time I hit a note with my dad, it was a learning experience for me."
Lurrie Bell is doing his best to keep the blues torch burning. His new release, Let's Talk About Love, marks a return to traditional blues, or, as Lurrie describes it, blues from the heart.
"I tried to be as traditional as I could on this particular record," Bell says. "I've got some stuff that you would say is modern Chicago blues but I wanted to let people know, basically, in my heart, that the blues live on forever and ever."
Music has indeed come to Lurrie's rescue. He says he's managed to stay focused even after the devastating losses of his wife Susan and father Carey in 2007.
"I'm doing better than I've ever done in my life," Bell says. "I'm having a good year. I gave up drinking and other bad habits that I had, and right now, I'm paying more attention to my music more than ever nowadays."
Lurrie Bell recently performed at the International Blues Festival in Santiago, Chile. Later this year, he will appear at the Bern International Jazz Festival in Switzerland and the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis, Tennessee.