April 2, 2017

The guidebooks still recommend that travelers to Chicago "experience the legendary blues scene" in the "world capital of the blues."

It's a nice sentiment, Fodor and Frommer, but the reality is that, aside from a handful of spots filled with more tourists than locals, Chicago's blues scene has withered in recent years. It's harder than ever to find those little clubs that once nurtured such greats as Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, legends who migrated north from the Mississippi Delta and created the distinctive Chicago blues style.

While other cities — Memphis, New Orleans, St. Louis — have grabbed hold of their own connections to the blues and made them a thriving part of their local tourism industries (St. Louis opened the National Blues Museum nearly a year ago), Chicago has done little to celebrate its own musical legacy beyond the annual Chicago Blues Festival.

A private organization called the Chicago Blues Experience seeks to change that. Sona Wang, the group's co-fou...

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