One of the great joys in my life is playing music. And I love playing "out" — in front of people. I know I’ll never be a star or go national, but it makes me happy to share my music live.

I’m a blues guy. Though I’ve got a pretty wide taste in music, my skills in playing are fairly limited. I can play some blues. Not even great at that, but I’ve worked at it enough that I can get a crowd going and not suck! And I’ve studied and listened to a lot of blues over the years, enough to know that there are many subgenres of this genre: Chicago blues, west coast blues, blues rock, Mississippi hill country blues, acoustic and electric…. it goes on. My chosen passion is old school Chicago style blues. By that I mean what you can hear on records coming out on Chess from the 40’s to the 70’s. So we’re talking Muddy, Wolf, Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers, and a whole bunch of other lesser known artists. That’s the stuff that really moves the needle for me!

I played regularly at the local blues jams wherever I happened to be living, and I’ve always enjoyed the fun that happens when you get up with 3 or 4 other people you may never have played with. It’s either great synergy, or sometimes… a train wreck! Or anywhere in between.

But then the pandemic happened. Being in a high-risk health category, I didn’t go out. It’s not that I didn’t "feel safe"; it’s that it wasn’t safe! As restrictions lifted and numbers receded a bit, I still chose to stay safe, though I was dying to get back out there.

So this week, I went to an open mic. It was outdoors, which helped me feel better. It wasn’t super crowded, and it was only about a 10 minute drive from my house. The host told me that I could bring electric guitar, so I took the plunge!

In spite of ominous weather, I had a blast. I ran through part of my setlist (Walkin’ Blues, Five Long Years, Sell My Monkey, What Good Can Drinkin’ Do, and For What It’s Worth). Audience response was terrific.

So Chicago Bob rides again! I hope to keep dipping my toe in the waters when and where I feel safe. But as my signature song says, "The blues is a healer"!