Years Performed: 2017
Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, Freddie King, Luther Allison — all come to mind when you think “Chicago blues greats.” Now you can add Toronzo Cannon to that illustrious list.
Toronzo Cannon has become one of Chicago’s most recognized and most popular bluesmen through the sheer force of his music, his songs, his live charisma, and maybe most impressively, his passion for what he is doing. He’s played the Chicago Blues Festival on nine separate occasions, either as a sideman, a special guest, a band leader or, most recently, as a main stage headliner.
When he’s home, Cannon drives a Chicago Transit Authority bus by day and performs by night. Using every vacation day and day off and working four ten-hour shifts a week, Cannon arranges his schedule to gig out of town as much as possible. He’s performed in a number of U.S. and European cities and continues to build his audience one roof-raising show at a time. It isn’t easy, but, like all of the Chicago greats who have come before him, blues is his calling. “I am proud to be part of a movement,” he says, anxious to hit the road and bring his music to new fans in new places. “I’m proud to be standing on the shoulders of every great Chicago blues musician who came before me.”
Earlier this year, Toronzo received four Blues Music Award nominations for Album of the year and Contemporary Blues album of the year (Chicago Way), Contemporary Male Blues artist of the Year and Song of the Year (Walk It Off)
Leaving Mood — 2011
John the Conquer Root — 2013
The Chicago Way — 2016