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Blues, Brews & BBQ

Champaign, Illinois

Story by Carl Abernathy January 7th, 2016

A friend and I went to the Champaign, Illinois, Blues Brews and BBQ Festival this summer. Good year to go. All the acts were led by women. Incredible blueswomen.

We’ll be back.

Janiva Magness

Janiva Magness

Janiva Magness was the biggest draw at the festival for me. I’d seen most of the other acts over the years and I’ve loved Janiva’s music for a long time. Her voice is intoxicating. But when she picked up her cigar box guitar, she started smoking.
Laura Rain
Shaun Murphy
Joanna Conner

Chills and Thrills

Laura Rain is super soulful. Shaun Murphy funked my world when she was with Little Feat; she’s still doing it. And I don’t know many blues guitarists who shred like Joanna Connor does.


Ana Popovic’s a world-class guitarist, as is Carolyn Wonderland. Sena Ehrhardt is a really good blues singer. And Sara Hall of Upshot and Adrianna Marie & Her Groovecutters are a lot of fun, too.

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