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lurrie bell

biography | selected discography | awards & nominations

Lurrie Bell "An incendiary fusion of Chicago Blues boilerplate and his own mercurial imagination, hyperkinetic energy, and dazzling technical dexterity."
- David Whiteis - Chicago Reader

"If there is a Chicago blues child who perhaps epitomizes the blues life, it's Lurrie Bell...the premier guitarist in the Windy City."
- Boston Blues News

Born in 1958, the son of famed blues harmonica player Carey Bell, Lurrie Bell picked up his father’s guitar at age of five and taught himself to play. His musical gift was shaped and honed by his father’s friends and associates, the Chicago blues legends who were his world; Sunnyland Slim, Big Walter Horton, Eddie Clearwater, but none as much as his father’s long-time employer Muddy Waters. At seven years old, Bell left Chicago to live in Mississippi and Alabama with his grandparents. During this time he played mostly in the church, immersing himself in the passionate expressiveness of the gospel tradition. At fourteen he moved back to Chicago and continued to play in church as well as forming his first blues band while attending high school.

By seventeen Lurrie Bell was playing on stage with Willie Dixon. In 1977 he was a founding member of The Sons of Blues with Freddie Dixon (son of Willie) and Billy Branch. The band recorded three standout tracks for Alligator Records’ Grammy nominated “Living Chicago Blues” series. In 1978 Bell joined Koko Taylor’s band and stayed for several years, honing his chops and learning the ropes of being a traveling musician. He continued to work with his dad as well, recording the 1984 Rooster Blues album “Son Of a Gun” and several other titles for UK’s JSP Records.

Battling and defeating a series of personal demons kept him out of the studio and off the road for a long spell in the late 1980’s, but Bell persevered and re-surfaced in the mid-1990’s with a succession of four highly acclaimed records for Chicago’s quintessential blues label Delmark Records. Since the onset of the new millennium, Bell’s profile has been steadily rising. 2002 saw the release of the CD “Cutting Heads” and in 2004 Alligator Records released “Second Nature” an acoustic duet project with his father Carey Bell that was nominated for a WC Handy Award "Acoustic Record of the Year" by the Blues Foundation in Memphis.

In 2007 Bell started his own label Aria B.G. Records and released “Let’s Talk About Love,” a deeply heartfelt personal statement. On the strength of this record, he was voted "Most Outstanding Guitar Player" in the 2007 Living Blues Magazine’s Critic's Poll, and in 2008 and 2012 he was named the magazine’s "Male Blues Artist of the Year." 2009 found him pairing up with Billy Boy Arnold, John Primer, Billy Branch on the recording “Chicago Blues: A Living History” which garnered him his first official Grammy nomination for "Best Traditional Blues Recording." In 2011 a follow-up was released, “Chicago Blues: A Living History (The Revolution Continues)” featuring Buddy Guy, Magic Slim and Ronnie Baker Brooks.

“The Devil Ain’t Got No Music” (Aria B.G. – 2012), funded by a grant from the prestigious 3Arts Foundation, (known for supporting playwrights, choreographers and classical composers/conductors), features a collection of acoustic blues and gospel songs that recollect the music he often played with his dad and in Southern churches. In January 2013 “The Devil Ain’t Got No Music” was honored with the “Prix du Blues” award from the respected French L’Academie du Jazz for the “Best Blues Recording" of 2012.

Bell re-signed with Delmark in 2013 and enlisted famed Chicago producer Dick Shurman to make the record “Blues in My Soul,” returning to the solid foundation of Chicago-style guitar blues. “Blues in my Soul” features three new Lurrie Bell originals plus songs by Little Walter, T-Bone Walker, Jimmy Rogers, Big Bill Broonzy and others.

At last count Lurrie Bell has now appeared on over 50+ recordings either as leader or featured sideman. Lurrie Bell’s elegant and intense guitar playing and passionate vocals have made him a favorite at clubs and festivals around the world and have earned him a reputation as one of the “leading lights” in the future of the blues.

Lurrie Bell Website: www.lurrie.com


selected discography:

2013: “Blues in My Soul” – Delmark Records

2012: “The Devil Ain’t Got No Music” – Aria BG Records

2011: Chicago Blues: A Living History (The Revolution Continues)
Raisin’ Music with Buddy Guy, Magic Slim, Billy Boy Arnold, Ronnie Baker Brooks, and Billy Branch

2009: Chicago Blues: A Living History - Raisin’ Music with Billy Boy Arnold, John Primer and Billy Branch (Nominated for 2009 Grammy – Best Traditional Blues)

2007: "Let’s Talk About Love" – Aria B.G. Records

2007: "Getting Up: Live" - Carey Bell and Lurrie Bell DVD/CD - Delmark

2004: "Second Nature" - Carey Bell and Lurrie Bell - Alligator Records

2002: "Cutting Heads" - Vyper Records & Isabel Records/France in 2004

1999: "Blues Had A Baby" - Delmark

1998: "Kiss Of Sweet Blues" - Delmark

1997: "700 Blues" - Delmark

1996: "Dynasty" - Carey Bell and Lurrie Bell - JSP Records/UK

1995: "Mercurial Son" - Delmark

1994: "The Chief" - with Eddie Clearwater - Rooster Blues

1992: "Good Candy" - with Lovie Lee - Earwig Records

1989: "Everybody Wants to Win" - JSP Records/UK

1984: "Son Of A Gun" Carey Bell and Lurrie Bell - Rooster Blues

1982: "Chicago's Young Blues Generation - Evidence w/Billy Branch and Sons of Blues

1980: "Living Chicago Blues Vol. 3" - Alligator Records w/Sons of Blues and w/Lovie Lee

1978: "Living Chicago Blues Vol. 1" - Alligator Records w/ Carey Bell

1977: "King Of The Jungle" w/Eddie C. Campbell - Rooster Records

1977: " Heartaches and Pain" - Carey Bell - Delmark


awards and nominations

Grammy Award Nomination

2010 Best Traditional Blues Album (Nominee) (For Chicago Blues: A Living History CD)

National Blues Music Awards From Blues Foundation:

2014 Winner: Song of the Year "Blues In My Soul"
Nominee: Album of the Year, Traditional Album, Best Guitarist, Best Traditional Blues Male
(“Blues in My Soul” CD)

2013 Song of the Year (Nominee)
(For the song “The Devil Ain’t Got No Music”)

2012 Best Traditional Blues Album (Winner)
(For Chicago Blues: A Living History The (R)evolution Continues CD)

2012 Album of the Year (Nominee)
(For Chicago Blues A Living History: The (R)evolution Continues CD)

2011 Album of the Year (Nominee) (For Chicago Blues: A Living History CD)

2010 Best Traditional Blues Album (Nominee) (For Chicago Blues: A Living History CD)

2010 Best Blues Guitarist – Nominee

2009 Best Blues Guitarist – Nominee

2008 Best Blues Guitarist – Nominee

2007 Best Blues Guitarist – Nominee

2009 Best Traditional Male Blues Artist – Nominee

2008 Best Traditional Male Blues Artist – Nominee

2008 Best Blues DVD – Nominee (Carey & Lurrie Bell – “Getting Up”)

Living Blues Awards:

2014 Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar) – Critics Poll

2014 Best Contemporary Blues Album – Critics Poll (“Blues in My Soul”)

2013 Blues Artist of the Year (Male) – Critics Poll

2013 Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar) – Critics Poll

2012 Blues Artist of the Year (Male) – Critics Poll

2008 Blues Artist of the Year (Male) – Critics Poll

2010 Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar) – Critics Poll

2009 Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar) – Critics Poll

2008 Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar) – Critics Poll

2007 Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar) – Critics Poll

2008 Blues Artist of the Year (Male) – Reader’s Poll

Chicago Reader:

2008 Best Chicago Blues Musician – Readers Choice

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