Toronzo Cannon review…October 21, 2016…

TORONZO CANNON

THE CHICAGO WAY

ALLIGATOR RECORDS  ALCD  4969

THE PAIN AROUND ME–BAD CONTRACT–WALK IT OFF–FINE SEASONED WOMAN–JEALOUS LOVE–MIDLIFE CRISIS–CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST–STRENGTH TO SURVIVE–WHEN WILL YOU TELL HIM ABOUT ME–MRS. FROM MISSISSIPPI–I AM

Toronzo Cannon grew up in the shadows of Theresa’s Lounge on the tough South Side of Chicago.  As a youngster, he’d stand outside that iconic club to catch a glimpse of the legends who played there, and with whom he would one day join.  His Alligator Records debut, “The Chicago Way,” is full of his blistering guitar, gritty vocals, and original songs, eleven to be exact, that are written from things he’s seen in his everyday working life as a sho’ nuff Chicago Transit Authority city bus driver!  The stories within his songs could be about any of us, and that’s a part of his appeal for bus.

Leading off is a poignant minor-key story of the plight of the inner city.  Everywhere he goes, he sees “The Pain Around Me,”  with “thugs, drugs, and prostitutes on every corner.”  The set closes in a similar vein, with a cool acoustic guitar intro giving way to Toronzo’s burning leads on “I Am,” where society’s shortcomings are spelled out while “the Devil is laughing while God is reachin’ out to you!”

Toronzo has a lot of fun on here, too.  “Bad Contract” is where the funk hits the fan, after a soured marriage ends with him “signing the line and only gettin’ half back!”  His preference for the more mature females is the theme of the horn-heavy “Fine Seasoned Woman,” while he flat-out rocks the juke joint  extolling the virtues of his mighty fine “Mrs. From Mississippi.”

Our favorite was easy.  The slow groove of the stop-time story of a man faced with one challenge after another has to “Walk It Off, before I do something wrong!”  The guitar is blazing throughout this one, too!

Toronzo Cannon will tell you straight up that there ain’t but the one way to play the real-deal blues–“The Chicago Way!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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