Official Biography

“An incendiary fusion of Chicago Blues boilerplate and his own mercurial imagination, hyperkinetic energy, and dazzling technical dexterity.”
David Whiteis – Chicago Reader

“If there is a Chicago Blues child who perhaps epitomizes the blues life, it’s Lurrie Bell…the premier guitarist in the Windy City.”
Boston Blues News

Born in 1958, the son of famed blues harmonica player Carey Bell, Lurrie Bell picked up his father’s guitar at age of five and taught himself to play. He was clearly gifted. In addition, he grew up with many of the Chicago blues legends around him. Eddie Taylor, Big Walter Horton, Eddie C. Campbell, Eddie Clearwater, Lovie Lee, Sunnyland Slim, Jimmy Dawkins and many more were frequent visitors to his house. They all helped to shape and school him in the blues, but none as much as his father’s long-time employer Muddy Waters.

At seven years old, Bell left Chicago to live in Mississippi and Alabama with his grandparents. During this time he played mostly in the church, immersing himself in the passionate expressiveness of the gospel tradition. At fourteen he moved back to Chicago and continued to play in church as well as forming his first blues band while attending high school.

By seventeen Lurrie Bell was playing on stage with Willie Dixon. In 1977 he was a founding member of The Sons of Blues with Freddie Dixon (son of Willie) and Billy Branch. The band recorded three standout tracks for Alligator Records’ Grammy nominated Living Chicago Blues series. In 1978 Bell joined Koko Taylor’s band and stayed for several years, honing his chops and learning the ropes of being a traveling musician. He continued to work with his dad as well, recording the 1984 Rooster Blues album Son Of a Gun and several other titles for UK’s JSP Records. Not only was Bell recognized as an exceptionally talented guitarist and musician, his knowledge of different blues styles, his soulfulness and his musical maturity delivered write-ups in publications such as Rolling Stone and The New York Times.

Battling and defeating a series of personal demons kept him out of the studio and off the road for a long spell in the late 1980’s, but Bell persevered and re-surfaced in the mid-1990’s with a succession of four highly acclaimed records for Chicago’s Delmark label.

Since the onset of the new millennium, Bell’s profile has been steadily rising. 2002 saw the release of the CD Cutting Heads and in 2004 Alligator Records released Second Nature an acoustic duet record with his father Carey Bell that was nominated for a WC Handy Award Acoustic Record of the Year by the Blues Foundation in Memphis.

In 2007 Bell started his own label Aria B.G. Records and released Let’s Talk About Love, which has been called his most accomplished, deeply heartfelt album yet. On the strength of this record, he was voted Most Outstanding Guitar Player in the 2007 Living Blues Magazine’s Critic’s Poll, and in 2008 and 2012 he was named the magazine’s Male Blues Artist of the Year. Since 2007 he has received multiple Blues Music Award nominations as Best Guitarist and Best Traditional Male Blues Artist by the Blues Foundation.

2009 found him pairing up with Billy Boy Arnold, John Primer, Billy Branch on the recording Chicago Blues: A Living History which garnered him his first official Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Blues Recording. In 2011 a follow-up was released; Chicago Blues: A Living History (The Revolution Continues) featuring Buddy Guy, Magic Slim, and Ronnie Baker Brooks.

And in 2012 came the arrival of his second CD on Aria BG Records The Devil Ain’t Got No Music, a collection of acoustic blues and gospel songs that recollect the music he often played with his dad and at church in Mississippi and Alabama as a child. In January 2013 The Devil Ain’t Got No Music was honored with the Prix du Blues award from the prestigious French L’Academie du Jazz for the Best Blues Recording of 2012 and the title song (written by producer Matthew Skoller) received a nomination from the Blues Foundation for song of the year.

In 2013 Bell re-signed with Delmark and enlisted famed Chicago producer Dick Shurman to make the record Blues in My Soul. For this project he wanted to get back to the solid foundation of Chicago-styled traditional guitar blues. Blues in my Soul features three new Lurrie Bell originals plus songs by Little Walter, T-Bone Walker, Jimmy Rogers, and Big Bill Broonzy and others. In 2016 Bell returned to studio with Dick Shurman for his next Delmark CD “Can’t Shake This Feeling.”

At last count Lurrie Bell has now appeared on over 50+ recordings either as leader or featured sideman. Lurrie Bell’s elegant and intense guitar playing and passionate vocals have made him a favorite at clubs and festivals around the world and have earned him a reputation as one of the “leading lights” in the future of the blues.

Lurrie Bell Website:

Management & Booking:
Rick Bates/Nancy Meyer – Bates Meyer Inc. – Tel: (909) 547-0504 – e-mail:

Record Label:
Delmark Records – Tel: (773) 539-5001 – e-mail:

Aria B.G. Records c/o Bates Meyer Inc. – Tel: (909) 547-0504 – e-mail:

Selected Discography:

2016: “Can’t Shake This Feeling” – Delmark Records
2013: “Blues in My Soul” – Delmark Records
2012: “The Devil Ain’t Got No Music” – Aria BG Records
2011: Chicago Blues: A Living History (The Revolution Continues) – Raisin’ Music w/Buddy Guy, Magic Slim, Billy Boy Arnold, Ronnie Baker Brooks, and Billy Branch
2009: Chicago Blues: A Living History – Raisin’ Music w/Billy Boy Arnold, John Primer and Billy Branch (Grammy Nominated)

Selected Discography (continued)

2007: Gettin’ Up: Live at Buddy Guy’s Legends & Rosa’s Lounge – Delmark w/Carey Bell
2007: “Let’s Talk About Love” – Aria B.G. Records
2004: “Second Nature” – Carey Bell and Lurrie Bell – Alligator Records
2002: “Cutting Heads” – Vyper Records & Isabel Records/France in 2004
1999: “Blues Had A Baby” – Delmark
1998: “Kiss Of Sweet Blues” – Delmark
1997: “700 Blues” – Delmark
1996: “Dynasty” – Carey Bell and Lurrie Bell – JSP Records/UK
1995: “Mercurial Son” – Delmark
1994: “The Chief” – w/Eddie Clearwater – Rooster Blues
1992: “Good Candy” – w/Lovie Lee – Earwig Records
1989: “Everybody Wants to Win” – JSP Records/UK
1984: “Son Of A Gun” Carey Bell and Lurrie Bell – Rooster Blues
1982: “Chicago’s Young Blues Generation – Evidence w/Billy Branch and Sons of Blues
1980: “Living Chicago Blues Vol. 3” – Alligator Records w/Sons of Blues and w/Lovie Lee
1978: “Living Chicago Blues Vol. 1” w/Carey Bell– Alligator Records
1977: “King Of The Jungle” w/Eddie C. Campbell – Rooster Records
1977: “ Heartaches and Pain” – Carey Bell – Delmark

Recent Awards and Nominations:

French L’Academie du Jazz (FRANCE)

2013: Prix de Blues Award (Best Blues Recording )

NARAS: Grammy Awards:

2010: Best Traditional Blues Album (Nominee)(For Chicago Blues: A Living History CD)

Recent Awards and Nominations:(continued)

National Blues Music Awards – The Blues Foundation:

2015: Winner: Best Traditional Blues Male Artist
2014: Winner: Song of the Year Nominee: Album of the Year, Traditional Album, Best Guitarist, Best Traditional Blues Male (Nominee)(“Blues in My Soul” CD)
2013: Song of the Year (Nominee) (For the song “The Devil Ain’t Got No Music”)
2012: Best Traditional Blues Album (Winner) (For Chicago Blues: A Living History The (R)evolution Continues CD)
2012: Album of the Year (Nominee) (For Chicago Blues A Living History: The (R)evolution Continues CD)
2011: Album of the Year (Nominee) (For Chicago Blues: A Living History CD)
2010-11: Best Traditional Blues Album (Nominee) (For Chicago Blues: A Living History CD)
2007-8-9-10-11: Best Blues Guitarist – Nominee
2008-9: Best Traditional Male Blues Artist – Nominee
2008: Best Blues DVD – Nominee (Carey & Lurrie Bell – “Getting Up”)

Living Blues Awards:

2015: Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar) – Critics Poll
2014: Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar) – Critics Poll
2014: Best Contemporary Blues Album – Critics Poll (“Blues in My Soul”)
2013: Blues Artist of the Year (Male) – Critics Poll
2013: Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar) – Critics Poll
2012: Blues Artist of the Year (Male) – Critics Poll
2008: Blues Artist of the Year (Male) – Critics Poll
2007-8-9-11: Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar) – Critics Poll
2008: Blues Artist of the Year (Male) – Reader’s Poll

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