Nellie “Tiger” Travis and Pokey Bear head to Chi-Town Blues Festival | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Nellie “Tiger” Travis and Pokey Bear head to Chi-Town Blues Festival 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

click to enlarge Nellie "Tiger" Travis

Nellie "Tiger" Travis

courtesy the artist

Chicagoan Nellie “Tiger” Travis’s 2013 song “Mr. Sexy Man” has become a modern-day soul-blues classic with its earworm guitar pattern, propulsive beat, and vernacular chorus (“What yo’ name is? What yo’ name is?”), but despite its good-timey vibe, Travis shouldn’t be typecast as merely a party girl. As evidenced by outings like the searing “Don’t Talk to Me” from 2008’s I’m a Woman (CDS) and the soul-baring “Walking in the Rain in Memphis” on last year’s independently released Mr. Sexy Man: The Album, she’s also a spellbinding storyteller—the same voice that can kick your ass on a dance floor can break your heart with a ballad. Baton Rouge vocalist Pokey Bear created his own firestorm in 2016 with “My Side Piece,” the gristly, testosterone-filled ode to infidelity he rode to notoriety as the lead singer of the Louisiana Blues Brothas—a group of three relatively young African-American artists, performing on a primarily African-American circuit and proudly billing their music as “blues” and themselves as bluesmen. Though they should have been welcomed by blues lovers of all stripes as the long-awaited Second Coming of their beloved genre, they’ve made virtually no impact outside of southern soul audiences. It’s evidence (as if more was needed) that most pure-minded white blues aficionados remain oblivious to what the folks who invented the blues celebrate as its living legacy.   v

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Galleries & Museums
September 10
Performing Arts
March 21

Popular Stories