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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Chord On Blues Tries to Rise From The Dead

I noted in early January that Chord-On Blues, the huge, beautiful club in St. Charlse, IL, shut its doors. Here is a letter that the manager of the club circulated recently:

A Letter to Our Loyal Patrons
The Best Blues Fans in the Country

As most of you know by now, Chord On Blues closed it’s doors on Friday January 5th. After celebrating our 10th Birthday on New Years Eve, it became brutally clear that we could no longer afford to absorb the losses we were incurring. Not even for one more day. So, we closed the doors saying that we were going to step back and regroup. In the interim, many of you have sent e-mails of support and encouragement. I can tell you that those letters have been THE single most moving experience in ten years of business and rocked me to my core. So … after 30 days of “regrouping” we have decided a couple of things. 1) 30 days is not enough time to restructure a 10 year old business. 2) Not having the nation’s finest blues musicians on our stage is too much to bear. So … we need a band aid or a bridge to what will eventually be our future. To that end I’m happy to announce a few shows that we hope will help bridge the gap.

On Saturday February 10th we’re pleased to announce that we will be able to honor our contract with Chris Duarte. Over the past 6 years or so, C.O.B. has become a Chicagoland home for Chris and his tour depended on this gig. I hope you can all come down and get your blues groove on with one of the most dynamic guitarists in the country.

And then … From Friday February 23rd to Sunday February 25th, we’ll throw a three day Blues Festival, tentatively titled, The Chord On Blues Winter Fest 07 / One More For The Road or Never Say Die! The lineup consists of all the bands from January that I had to cancel. This is my way of trying to get that money back in their pocket. Money they sorely need. If you were ever going to support a show here at C.O.B. this is the show. It’s going to be one hell of a party and will help keep these talented and humble musicians working.

As for our future plans … We’re going to do at least one show a month. They will be hard to market as the dates will revolve around the artist’s tour so the dates will fluctuate between the beginning, middle and end of the month. The only way you will know about them is through e-blasts to our e-mail list and our web site. PLEASE sign up for our e-mail list. We do not share it with anybody … EVER! My hope is that by reducing the amount of shows we do each month, we can fill the room up and give these bluesmen and women the crowds they deserve. We will certainly continue to bring in the artists that you have supported in large numbers. People like Lonnie and Ronnie Brooks, Tab Benoit, Walter Trout, Tinsley Ellis, Coco Montoya etc.

Our show in March is Hamilton Loomis on Friday March 16th. He was here last fall and played to a half full house. I’m bringing him back because it’s one of the best shows we’ve had in here. Trust me on this one and never mind the fact that he’s not a house hold name. Ham is great and he has the chops and stage craft to make himself one of the most popular acts in the blues biz.

For a month now I’ve been trying to find the words to write this letter and convey to all of you how much your support over the years has meant. Many bluesmen who have counted on us for their Chicago play have now lost another venue, as many have closed throughout the country. I don’t want to add my name to that list. Not after 10 years. I’m hoping this band aid will in fact be a bridge to a new and improved version of Chord On Blues. As always I invite your comments so please feel free to call or drop me an e-mail.

Thanks for your support, Sincerely Steve Chapman

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