Toronzo Cannon (from the album The Chicago Way on Alligator Records) - Toronzo Cannon takes a cue from guerilla warfare with his guitar playing. His riffs are quick hits, snake bites of notes, snapping out and back before you can feel the sting. Toronzo’s riffs are like razors accenting his words on The Chicago Way, his recent debut with Alligator Records. His playing is based in the Chicago tradition where he has developed and grown over the past ten years. His stories mirror the lives around him, culled and crafted from working as a bus driver on the West Side where he had a traveling fishbowl view of the life around him. The Chicago Way showcases the force that is Toronzo Cannon. The album (co-produced by Toronzo and Alligator Record head Bruce Iglauer) stacks stories that slash and cut with the same efficiency as the guitar playing.
Though Toronzo Cannon writes what he sees in the people passing by, his pen points in both directions and The Chicago Way tells as much about the man behind the guitar as his city. The sputtering cough of horns welcomes Toronzo Cannon into his “Midlife Crisis” as sharp guitar notes spit and snap trying to ward him off from signing a “Bad Contract”, and he slows the groove to show the seriousness of his question in “When Will You Tell Him About Me”. Chopped chords open the album as Toronzo shoots off a volley of guitar notes before acting as tour guide describing “The Pain Around Me”. The Chicago Way heads uptown with its arrangement to escort “Fine Seasoned Woman” out for a Saturday night, pushes real life out of the way of dreams to gain the “Strength to Survive”, lists the ingredients for a bad day suggesting to “Walk It Off”, and rumbles the rhythm to bring “Chickens Comin' Home to Roost”. Toronzo Cannon exits The Chicago Way by owning the evil that surrounds him in “I Am”.