Joanna ConnorOnce she stepped off a greyhound bus in Chicago in October of 1984, it took Joanna Connor but a few months to take the city's highly competitive blues circuit by storm. Chicago magazine hailed her as "the most exciting new talent on the blues scene." The Chicago Sun-Times called her "a powerhouse guitarist with a sense of rock dynamics - her playing has a fire that is free of self-indulgence."

Joanna Connor and her searing slide guitar work have been raising eyebrows of blues aficionados and critics everywhere ever since. As the Boston Globe noted, "She brings a revved-up rock flavor to the blues with a desire to move the music forward, not just embalm it." Her latest Blind Pig CD, Slidetime, displays her maturity as a songwriter, with all 11 tunes being penned by Connor. This recording also features her trademark gritty guitar work and strongest, most impassioned vocals to date.

Born in Brooklyn on August 31, 1962, Joanna was raised in Worcester, Massachusetts from the age of four. Enamored of her mother's Taj Mahal and Jimi Hendrix albums as a child, Joanna received her first guitar at age seven and sang with various Worcester groups while still in high school. She turned professional in 1981, forming the Pino/Connor Band with guitarist Ken Pino, which performed at various clubs and colleges throughout New England. She was named "Best R&B Vocalist of the Year" by Worcester Magazine .

After arriving in the Windy City, Joanna first joined the combo of slide guitar great Johnny Littlejohn and began playing the local club circuit. In March of 1985 guitarist Dion Payton invited Joanna to join his popular 43rd Street Blues Band, wisely featuring Joanna's talents prominently at top local clubs such as Kingston Mines and the Checkerboard Lounge. Connor set the town's hallowed blues bars on fire with her slashing lead guitar work, her passionate slide solos, and incendiary vocals. Musicians that Joanna idolized when she was growing up, artists such as Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, and James Cotton, began to take notice. Joanna's reputation continued to grow as she backed Payton on his track for the acclaimed New Bluebloods album.

By the autumn of 1987 Joanna was obviously ready to put together her own band. She assembled the first edition of her own combo in between extensive national touring with veteran tenor saxophonist A.C. Reed. Her band became a full-time priority a few months later.

Connor's red-hot debut album on Blind Pig Records, entitled Believe It!, was released in 1989 and received outstanding reviews from critics across the country.Cashbox said, "Ms. Connor is an accomplished Texas-style blues guitarist with fleet fingers and a razor-sharp tone. She slings a steaming guitar, literally burning through every solo she plays." Pulse! called it "one of the strongest new blues packages of the year. Connor simply kicks ass, ripping off a variety of scorching solos."

Jim Gaines, Grammy Award-winning producer of such artists as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Santana, and Steve Miller, was so impressed by Joanna's talents that he signed on to produce her second release, Fight, also on the Blind Pig label. Billboard said, "Connor boasts a strong voice and is a truly dazzling guitarist, with a flaming slide attack." Playboy said, "The obvious comparison is Bonnie Raitt, since she's female and plays blues guitar. I say Connor's a soprano Johnny Winter. Most blues records miss the passion that made the original stuff compelling. This one reclaims it all."

The Joanna Connor Band has gone on to become a frequent attraction not only at leading blues nightspots, but also as a featured act at major festivals in the U.S. and Canada. Joanna has also developed a strong following in Europe, Brazil, and Japan as a result of many overseas appearances. In Germany, she became very popular after being featured several times on national television.

In 1996, Connor's third Blind Pig recording, Big Girl Blues, was released to critical acclaim in the press and the blues world. The reviews echoed Connor's maturity as a guitarist and songwriter. The Album Network called it "her definitive album." Living Blues called her "a slide guitarist of ferocious intensity." Stereo Review said that Big Girl Blues is "a potent excursion that should establish her as a major blues writer and performer."

The release of Slidetime will no doubt further Joanna's reputation as a major talent with an exhilarating sound all her own. She has earned her place as one of the brightest stars of the new blues generation.