Chicago blues songstress Deitra Farr seems to be at the height of her power writing and singing, and her new musical alliance with Matt Skoller in Chicago Wind presents exciting possibilities, both for them and for blues audiences here and abroad. She sang soul as a young woman growing up in Chicago, and at eighteen years of age sang lead with the Mill Street Depot on You Won’t Support Me (with “The Amazing” Jimmi Mayes on drums), which became a Cashbox Top 100 R&B hit
in 1976. Farr began a career singing blues in Chicago clubs after receiving an opportunity from pianist Erwin Helfer, and it wasn’t long before she was touring the country and Canada as a member of the Sam Lay Blues Band.
After appearances on a handful of compilations, she joined Mississippi Heat with whom she toured
and recorded on two CDs in the 1990s. Two additional albums of her own followed for Lon- don-based JSP Records, The Search is Over, and Let it Go!, for which she composed nearly all the titles.
Matt Skoller is a man whose skills are always sharpening and whose mind is always
at work on another great idea. He jumped into the local blues scene with both feet following his arrival in Chicago in 1987, honing his harp skills behind Jimmy Rogers, Big Time Sarah and Deitra Farr. He was invited to join J.W. Williams’ Chi-Town Hustlers and within a year Skoller became a member of Big Daddy Kinsey’s band with whom he toured the U.S. and Canada.
In 1992 the earnest and talented singer, songwriter, and harpist began his own touring unit, The Matthew Skoller Band, which has seen frequent duty locally and internationally. Skoller has contributed harp to recordings by Koko Taylor, Big Daddy Kinsey, Larry Garner, Bernard Allison, and John Primer, among many others, and produced five of his own CDs, plus the acclaimed Lurrie Bell CD, Let’s Talk About Love.
Skoller has cemented his deep connection to Chicago blues with his playing and co-production (with brother Larry) on the Grammy-nominated, two-volume Chicago Blues: A Living History. As blues musician and cultural commentator on the blues scene, Skoller is a powerful advocate for the blues its historical importance, its future, and its near moribundity and keeps alive some
of the nest aspects of the blues, including its tradition of social commentary and protest, as best evidenced by his previous release, Blues Immigrant, a 2018 Grammy nominee.