"Barrelhouse Bonni" McKeown, the author of "West Side Blues Blog," has played piano and written about blues music for over 15 years. www.barrelhousebonni.com She has led classes for young and old on how to make up their own blues tune. www.chicagoschoolofblues.org She stayed on the West Side from 2004-05, then wrote articles on West Side Blues for Big City Blues Magazine and has helped promote West Side Chicago blues singer and drummer Larry Hill Taylor (stepson of guitarist Eddie Taylor). www.larrytaylorchicagoblues.com She co-produced Larry Taylor's 2004 debut CD They Were in This House, reissued in 2011 by Wolf Records. She is in the process of producing a movie based on Taylor's life story starring Leon as Larry's stepfather and Guy Davis in the role of Jimmy Reed: The Rhythm and the Blues
Bonni returned to stay in Austin in 2017, and continues her efforts to increase blues education to keep kids off the street. She promotes blues as a point of local pride and a possibility for economic development and tourism to benefit the community.
A thunderstorm interrupted the 4th annual West Side Blues Fest, at Chicago's Columbus Park Friday night, but the revival of West Side music forges ahead. Festival organizer Isaac "Ike" Carothers and his sister in law Sheila Mingo are working to open Ike's Place, a blues and jazz club, in approximately four months.
Generations did not seem far apart. Grown folks grilled hotdogs, played cards and checked out tables of local nonprofit organizations. Kids played basketball and climbed on playground equipment. They were all grooving to live West Side blues by Larry Taylor and his Soul Blues Healers band, sponsored at Hubbard Park in BUILD's "Light in Night" program.
Generations did not seem so far apart as people picnicked, checked out information from health groups, and climbed on playground equipment in Hubbard Park. They were all grooving to live West Side blues by Larry Taylor and his Soul Blues Healers band, sponsored in BUILD's "Light in Night" program from June 30 through all Fridays in July.
Larry Taylor and the Soul Blues Healers will be playing Saturday June 2, from 8 to 10:30 p.m. at Blues in the Sanctuary, a fundraiser for the ministry of St. Martin's Episcopal Church, 5700 W. Midway Blvd., Chicago IL 60644. This 140 year old church, with an active music and social ministry is still doing good in the hood.