John Primer to bring legendary blues to the M-Shop on Friday


John Primer earned legendary status as a blues musician in Chicago and will now bring his legendary act to the M-Shop.

Collin Maguire

Maxwell Street in Chicago has been home to a number of blues legends over the years. John Primer, like many others, found his start on this very street. 

Primer carved himself into the Chicago blues legacy as the house bandleader at the historic Theresa’s Lounge. The lounge hosted blues icons such as Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and Primer himself, to name a few. 

Now from Chicago to Ames, John Primer will perform at the M-Shop in the Memorial Union at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $8 with a student ID and $12 to the public.

Primer played an integral role in the establishment of the blues genre and collaborated with some of the biggest names in the scene at the time. Primer began gaining momentum playing in Willie Dixon’s Chicago Blues All Stars group. After touring the U.S., Mexico and Europe, Primer began garnering attention from the likes of Muddy Waters. Waters made Primer his guitarist and bandleader up until Waters’ death in 1983.

After that, Primer became a member of the Teardrops alongside the blues-hall-of-famer Magic Slim as a guitarist. Primer acted as a guitarist for the group for over 13 years.  The Teardrops quickly established themselves among some of the top names in the realm of blues.

In 1995, Primer branched out and pursued a solo career. That same year, he released his debut solo project “The Real Deal,” which quickly established Primer as a legitimate solo talent. His technique was reminiscent of the likes of Magic Slim and Willie Dixon.

Ever since that point, Primer’s career has taken him all over the world, garnering an international following. His top-three listening locations on Spotify include São Paulo, Amsterdam and Madrid.

Since 1995, Primer has released or recorded over 12 studio albums all while touring the world. Primer has also accumulated his fair share of accolades, including two Grammy nominations and two Living Legends awards. 

Primer also won the 2019 Blues Blast Award for best soul blues album with his project “The Soul of a Blues Man CD.” Primer was also nominated for the Blues Music Awards’ Best Traditional Blues Artist.  

Primer has collaborated with a number of artists over the past years, including Gary Clark Jr., The Rolling Stones, Ray Charles, B.B. King and many other musical legends.  

Primer has been a marathon man in the blues scene for over 40 years. His lyrical ability along with his ability on the guitar has allowed for him to remain among some of the top names in blues music.