Toronzo Cannon
The Hamilton Live Presents

Toronzo Cannon

Memphis Gold

$19.75 - $39.75
All Ages
“Deep, contemporary Chicago blues…razor-sharp guitar and compelling, forceful singing” — The Chicago Tribune

TORONZO CANNON - TICKETS

  • Pre-sale begins 8:00pm February 26
  • Tickets on sale 10:00am February 28

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Gold Seated GA Tickets - $39.75

Seated GA Tickets - $24.75

Bar Area GA Tickets - $19.75

For any wheelchair or ADA needs, please contact the Box Office in advance of the performance at (202)-769-0122.

All tickets are general admission (GA). Seats cannot be reserved in advance. We recommend that guests arrive early to secure their favorite seats within their section.

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TORONZO CANNON

Chicago bluesman Toronzo Cannon defies all expectations. The blistering guitarist, soulful vocalist, singular songwriter and city bus driver fuses his muscular, rock-inspired blues guitar playing with his original, keenly detailed slice-of-life songs, blazing his own blues trail. With the 2016 release of his Alligator Records debut, The Chicago Way, Cannon burst onto the international stage as one the most electrifying bluesmen to emerge from Chicago in decades. His live performances unfailingly earn him heaps of critical praise and hordes of wildly enthusiastic fans. Cannon has played major cities all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He recently performed for the first time in Japan, delighting and surprising audiences with one unforgettable gig after another. Now, with the release of The Preacher, The Politician Or The Pimp, Cannon builds upon the foundation he’s laid, creating and defining his vision of contemporary blues.

The Preacher, The Politician Or The Pimp features twelve Cannon originals, ranging from the burning social commentary of the title track to the wryly told, up-to-the-minute truths of Insurance to the trademark Cannon humor of Stop Me When I’m Lying and Ordinary Woman. He gets serious on the haunting The First 24, the Martin Luther King-inspired The Silence Of My Friends and on the moving final track, I’m Not Scared. Cannon’s blazing guitar and soul-baring vocals are front and center. His songwriting is inspired by his deep Chicago roots, the wisdom of his grandparents and his years of observing the public while driving a bus. His songs tell timeless stories of common experiences in uncommon ways.

“It’s not about the solos,” Cannon says, “It’s about the songs. People get used to everyday life, so it’s easy to miss the things around them. I write about those things. I know the problems of Chicago, the hardship, ’cause we’re always a scapegoat. But I choose to love and respect the city because of the Chicago blues giants that came here from down south. I’m proud to be standing on the shoulders of every great Chicago blues musician who came before me.”

Toronzo Cannon was born in the Windy City on February 14, 1968, and grew up in the shadows of the notoriously tough Robert Taylor Homes. Theresa’s Lounge, one of the city’s most famous South Side blues clubs, was nearby. As a child, Cannon would stand on the sidewalk outside the door, soaking up the live blues pouring out while trying to sneak a glance inside at larger-than-life bluesmen like Junior Wells and Buddy Guy. He also heard plenty of blues growing up in his grandfather’s home, and listened to soul, R&B and contemporary rock on the radio.

Cannon bought his first guitar at age 22, and his natural talent enabled him to quickly master the instrument. Although his initial focus was reggae, he found himself increasingly drawn to the blues. “It was dormant in me. But when I started playing the blues, I found my voice and the blues came pouring out.” He absorbed sounds, styles and licks from Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Hound Dog Taylor, B.B. King, Albert King, Freddie King, Jimi Hendrix, J.B. Hutto, Lil’ Ed and others. Although influenced by many, Cannon’s biting, stinging guitar sound is all his own.

Cannon began his rise in the intensely competitive proving ground of the local club scene, where only the best musicians reach the top. Iconic blues artists from Muddy Waters to Howlin’ Wolf to Koko Taylor to Hound Dog Taylor to Luther Allison all paid their dues in the Chicago blues bars before making their mark on the world. The same holds true today, as newcomers look to living legends like Buddy Guy, Jimmy Johnson and Lil’ Ed Williams for inspiration in taking their music from Chicago to fans across the globe.

From 1996 through 2002, Cannon played as a sideman for Tommy McCracken, Wayne Baker Brooks, L.V. Banks and Joanna Connor. But he was determined to prove himself. In 2001, while continuing to work as a hired-gun guitarist, he formed his own band, The Cannonball Express. By 2003, he was working exclusively as a band leader. Cannon’s first three albums—2007’s My Woman (self-released), 2011’s Leaving Mood (Delmark) and 2013’s Blues Music Award-nominated John The Conqueror Root (Delmark)—document his rise from promising up-and-comer to star-in-the-making.

Almost immediately upon the release of The Chicago Way, Chicago media helped launch Cannon toward blues stardom. He was the subject of multiple newspaper and magazine feature stories and appeared on every local television station. National and international media soon took notice. CNN filmed Cannon leading a tour of Chicago blues clubs and then broadcast the piece around the world. England’s MOJO magazine declared The Chicago Way the #1 Blues Album Of 2016, as did the readers of Living Blues magazine in their annual poll. The album and Cannon were also nominated for four Blues Music Awards (the Grammy of the blues) in 2017. And the world champion Chicago Cubs invited Cannon to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the September 13, 2017 game. All the attention only makes Cannon more focused. “I feel like I’ve become an ambassador for Chicago blues. People expect a lot from me,” he says. “But it’s good, because I’m forced to keep upping my game.”

Cannon has played the Chicago Blues Festival on ten separate occasions, initially as a sideman, then as a special guest, a sidestage band leader and finally as a main stage headliner. When he’s home, he drives a Chicago Transit Authority bus by day and performs by night. Using every vacation day and day off and working four ten-hour shifts a week, Cannon arranges his schedule to gig out of town as much as possible. It isn’t easy, but, like all of the Chicago greats who have come before him, blues is his calling. Blues Music Magazine declares, “His guitar playing has all the fire and spontaneity of the Chicago legends he carries; his songwriting is a timely and original look at the world he sees by day on a bus and in blues clubs by night, and his assertive voice is the perfect vehicle to deliver the message.”

Now, with The Preacher, The Politician Or The Pimp, Toronzo Cannon delivers his messages loud and clear. Between his searing chops, soul-satisfying vocals and vibrant and distinctive original songs, Cannon has grown from being a local attraction to become a world-renowned torch bearer for the blues. PBS Television’s Chicago Tonight sums it up like this: “Cannon is just your typical CTA bus driver who moonlights as a sought-after Chicago blues musician. As a guitarist, singer and songwriter, he drives the sound of Chicago blues from the city to blues clubs and festivals around the world.”

MEMPHIS GOLD

"He is the genuine article, perhaps a throwback to the blues men of yore who learned their licks at the knee of legendary patriarch like Charlie Patton. And having done so, serves as one of the last links to the days when cotton was king on the Mississippi Delta." - Larry Benicewicz, Music Monthly.

"He is the genuine article, perhaps a throwback to the blues men of yore who learned their licks at the knee of legendary patriarch like Charlie Patton. And having done so, serves as one of the last links to the days when cotton was king on the Mississippi Delta." - Larry Benicewicz, Music Monthly.

Memphis Gold has come a long way on a journey that has lasted half a century. Having released four full length albums to date, he has shared the stage billing with such artists as Bernard Allison, David Banner, Eric Bibb, Billy Branch, James Brown, R.L. Burnside, Barbara Carr, Big Lucky Carter, George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic All Stars, Deborah Coleman, Shemikca Copeland, Robert Cray, Eddie Cusac, John Hammond, Cathy Ponton King, Lil Ed and the Imperials, Little Jimmy King, Junior Kimbrough, Bettye Lavette, Johnny Lang, Kenny Neal, Taj Mahal, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Brett Micheals, Bobby Parker, Louisianna Red, Lil Jimmy Reed, Jimmie Lee Robinson, Charlie Sayles, Guitar Shorty, Elder Utah Smith, Mavis Staples, Hubert Sumlin, Roomful of Blues, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Otis Rush, The Temptations, Jimmy Vaughn, Joe Louis Walker and many more.

Nine international tours and several festivals worldwide have brought Memphis Gold’s high energy blues to audiences in Thailand, Sweden, Hungary, Turkey, Germany, Croatia, Macedonia, Egypt, Japan, Korea, The Marshall Islands, Guam, Guantanamo Bay and so many more. His international appeal landed him on the cover of the world’s oldest blues magazine, Sweden’s Jefferson Blues Magazine, the Living Blues Magazine (USA), the Block Magazine (Netherlands), and the cover of Blues and Rhythm Magazine in the United Kingdom.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1955, Memphis Gold, Chester Chandler was the thirteenth child of fourteen. His father also a musician introduced his son to the guitar at the tender age of 4. By the age of 8, he was a regular on historic Beale Street in Memphis where he played the guitar and danced for pocket change from the crowd. At the age of 12, his guitar skills were honed learning licks at the knee of legendary Delta picker and gospel player Reverend Robert “Tim” Wilkins. He has a host of brothers and relatives, who pastor churches within the Church Of God In Christ. As a matter of fact his fathers father, was one of the founders of the COGIC denomination in the 1800's. Chester is proud to say he is cousin of Pop/Gospel singer Denise Williams who co-recorded with singer Johnny Mathis, and also cousin of activist Dick Gregory.

After decades of juke joints, blues festivals, and Navy military duty, Memphis Gold landed in the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. Friendships and regular performances with famed blues harp player, Charlie Sayles (W.C. Handy Award nominee, JSP Records) and noted D.C.-based bluesman Bobby Parker made Memphis Gold a regular staple of the DC music scene.

In 1995, he served a year-long stint as lead / rhythm guitarist in Blues Artist Deborah Coleman’s touring band (with the late Willie Hicks on bass). By 1998, he issued his first and very well-received eponymous CD which was produced by Parker, the beginning of a stretch of very successful album releases.

2008 posed a dramatic turning point in Memphis Gold’s career. In a life threatening accident, he fell 35 feet to the ground from up in a tree, breaking his back in three places. Doctors stated that there was very little chance of him ever being able to walk again. Despite these early warnings, he continued to write songs for Gator Gon’Bitechu!, the early 2009 album release, from his hospital bed. Through rigorous rehabilitation and pure determination to continue performing, Memphis Gold has recovered his mobility and is once again taking stages coast to coast and internationally.

The blues world continues to discover and love the music of Memphis Gold. Living Blues Magazine, the oldest authoritative Blues Magazine in America placed him on the cover of their February/March 2009 edition, and Gibson Guitars recognized Memphis Gold by awarding him with a custom guitar and endorsement. He was thrilled to perform at the Red, White and Blue Ball, the Official Military Inaugural Ball in January 2009,and 2017 the Heroes Inaugural Ball opening for Brett Micheals. His music can be found on BB King’s Bluesville on XM Radio, Comcast Music on Demand, and radio stations throughout the world.

This is no flash in the pan artist. He is as they say, the real deal.

Venue Information:
The Hamilton Live
600 14th St NW
Washington, DC, 20005
https://www.eventbrite.com/v/the-hamilton-2104