Toronzo Cannon & Cannonball Express at Sinnissippi June 30

Toronzo Cannon & Cannonball Express performs at the Sinnissippi Music Shell at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 30. (Photo provided)

Staff Report

Charlotte’s Web for the Performing Arts notes that this will be their 14th year of collaborating with the Rockford Park District in the three-concert Saturday Sinnissippi Summer Series. The next concert will be at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 30, at the Sinnissippi Park Music Shell, 1401 N. Second St.

Kicking it off with some high-energy Chicago blues, marking his Rockford debut is Delmark recording artist Toronzo Cannon & Cannonball Express. Growing up in the shadows of Chicago’s blues mecca, Theresa’s Lounge, had a lasting effect on Toronzo Cannon. As a kid, he listened to the raw, soulful sounds of legends like Junior Wells, Buddy Guy and Muddy Waters.

It wasn’t just the music that got me, but the effect on the people,” he recalled. “I knew right then, that was what I was gonna do.” These experiences led him to pick up his first guitar as a teen-ager and begin to learn to sing and play the sounds he heard.

Inspired by the three Kings (Freddie, B.B. and Albert), a little Hendrix and some ’70s R&B/Soul, Toronzo soon developed his own sound. “If I wasn’t gigging, I was hitting every jam session I could find. I couldn’t get enough,” he said. It was during this time that he developed his own powerful, gospel-flavored vocal style and electrifying stage presence.

Mark Thompson, former president of Crossroads Blues Society, writes: “While some fear for the future (of blues), Toronzo Cannon uses vibrant material coupled with his unbridled enthusiasm to provide ample evidence that the blues tradition is safe in his hands.”

Charlotte’s Web gives a great big “thank you” to the Rockford Park District for making the Charlotte’s Web Summer Series at Sinnissippi possible free to the community. Rain site is Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center, 415 N. Church St. Call (815) 987-8800 after 2:30 p.m. on the day of the concert for rain site info. All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. Picnic baskets are welcome, no alcohol.

The Rockford Park District welcomes the opportunity to assist guests with special needs. The Music Shell is wheelchair accessible. An assistive listening system is available for those who are hard of hearing. For special assistance, call (815) 987-1600 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours in advance.

For more about concerts, call (815) 964-2238 or visit

From the June 27-July 3, 2012, issue

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