Hackneyed descriptions notwithstanding, Joanna Connor
a rocking blues mama. During the 1980s, she made her name in Chicago with hard-edged guitar work, which was compared as often to rockers such as Eric Clapton and Johnny Winter as it was to bluesmen Luther Allison and Buddy Guy. And the 43-year-old is a real mother, with two kids that she's raised as a single parent while simultaneously pursuing her career. However, as she's matured as a singer and songwriter, Connor has moved beyond traditional topics and forms. Her lyrics for "Big Girl Blues" and "Sister Spirit" examine contemporary female concerns like body image and women's history, while her guitar playing and band now incorporate influences from funk, rock, jazz and world music as well as blues.