Chicago West Side blues singer/band leader Larry Taylor hasn’t been featured in the Chicago Blues Festival since 2008.  This year it’s time for him to shine.

New Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot has declared 2020 “Year of Chicago Music.” She has also kicked off an effort to “Invest South and West” to revive the city’s neglected Black neighborhoods.  Larry grew up on the West Side, played music in its parks, clubs and community centers, and still lives there. He strongly pushes for his own people to rise, benefit from Black culture, and share it with everyone.  (Psst… it’s Black History Month!)

Neighbors, fans and musicians respect Larry as a leader in both traditional blues and R&B/soul music. For 35 years, before forming his own act in 2004, he drummed with the greats—from John Lee Hooker to Junior Wells, AC Reed, Johnnie Taylor and Otis Clay—all over the city, U.S., and overseas.  He describes the history in a 2019 CAN-TV interview shown on his website

Larry’s skills as a bandleader and studio producer just keep on growing. Though underpromoted, he’s a dominant talent in his generation of Chicago blues men and women. He organized and directed three separate acts on the Crossroads Stage for 2008.

Larry’s brother Eddie Taylor Jr. invited him to sing two songs in his act in 2017 and 2018.  Eddie Jr., a master of traditional blues guitar, died of illness in 2019 at age 47.  They are among the musical children of singer Vera Taylor and of VeeJay recording artist Eddie Taylor Sr, including drummer Tim Taylor and singers Demetria, Brenda and Edna Taylor.  Eddie Taylor Sr. is best known for playing guitar with Jimmy Reed. 

Having Larry Taylor on the Chicago Blues Fest stage, June 5-7 2020 at Milennium Park will help revive Chicago blues—and spotlight the neighborhoods it came from. Won’t you join our campaign to put him there?

Send an email to Blues Fest director Carlos Tortolero

Do it TODAY while they’re still deciding the lineup.  Tell Carlos:

–I love Larry’s music and his stage show

–Please give the best of the West Side a chance in the Year of Chicago Music.

–Larry’s lively show appeals to all kinds of people. Your fans will love him!


Sincerely, with thanks

Larry Taylor (West Side Bluesman) and Bonni McKeown (publicist)



"Barrelhouse Bonni" McKeown, the author of "West Side Blues Blog," has played piano and written about blues music for over 15 years.  She has led classes for young and old on...