The Chicago Files


Cher on train music

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a musical soundtrack playing as I walk around.  You know, like they do in the movies.  An upbeat tempo playfully in sync with my sauntering gait as I approach a puppy to pet.  Or a brooding baritone leading my way when I miss the train yet again.  What about the melodic serenity of an acoustic guitar strumming as I am humming to myself along the lake shore.

Now, if you are creating a vision of Mary Tyler Moore gleefully dancing in downtown Minneapolis, please cease and desist at once! 🙂  Ah, that’s better! Okay, I think you have the picture!

Chicago is a mecca for musicians.  Although an exhaustive list would be impossible, I’ll highlight a few for your entertainment value! 🙂

I must start this list with the legendary blues musician Buddy Guy.


Although Buddy was born in Louisiana, he has made Chicago his home since 1957.  He has his own bar here called, “Buddy Guy’s Legends” so appropriately named.  ‘Legend’ has it that Buddy can be seen at his bar most evenings with two exceptions:  If he is on tour, or if there is a televised Chicago Bulls basketball game on; he’ll be unavailable for comment.

CHItown musicians include the group, “Chicago” (what else?), Kanye West, the group, “Styx”, Jennifer Hudson, Muddy Waters, The Smashing Pumpkins, Earth Wind and Fire, just to name names.

There is a plethora of music happening in the most unexpected places in Chicago.  R&B singer, “R. Kelly” is from Chicago.  When he was a teenager, he used a Casio keyboard and played music in the subway.


He has sold over 40 million records in the US and 60 million worldwide.  Not bad for a guy who played his music in front of train bound passengers.

Speaking of said passengers, I am overwhelmed at the musical talent exuding from the subway platforms.  It fills the tunnels with the acoustics of a much grander venue, to be sure.  Unless a train arrives/departs the station.  Then it’s time to hit the pause button for a few minutes.

A few days ago as I was increasing my step to catch the train, I was greeted by the sound of an incredible voice singing, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”.  The gentleman sang a cappella, and the notes of this stirring song enveloped me as I purposely slowed down my walk.  I could not help but grin from ear to ear, as I strolled by with his heart-felt rendition of this iconic song still looming in the distance.

Sometimes there are numerous musicians in the subway who bring a ‘boombox’, as it were.  There’s a man who is very consistent in his appearance on the subway circuit.  He faces away from the crowds, does not have an instrument; well, in the traditional sense.  He ‘drums’ on the subway timetable sign.  It’s usually the same sound, but after hearing him oh, I would say at least a dozen times or more, I still have not figured out what he is singing.  That’s okay, I’m sure he knows; after all, his audience appears to be that of one.

Ah, the man with his coin collecting cup, sitting near a street corner, belting out an old rock tune (or 10) attempting to entice passers-by to toss a coin or two in exchange for perhaps a high-school memory.  AC/DC, Highway to Hell I think was a more recent rendition.

Why, we have music seemingly coming from thin air on State Street here in the Windy City.  These lights are always in sight, though. 🙂

State Street lights - music coming from them

I absolutely love music; all kinds of music.  What an incredibly musical place to live, this CHItown!  And who knows, the next musical discovery may be just a train ride away!


5 thoughts on “CHItown, Where musical moments magically manifest………………

  1. sunshinebright says:

    I was in Chicago only once – in the O’Hare Airport. Waiting for a connecting flight. I am learning about the city through your eyes and ears, and I so much appreciate it. I have heard that Chicago is a greatly diverse city, and you are making it come alive for me. Thanks.


    1. seaangel4444 says:

      My dear, I cannot even begin to tell you how incredibly grateful I am for your kind words. I am so happy you like, “The Chicago Files”. I’m going to keep writing about my adventures and observations as a ‘foreigner’ living here! Please stop by anytime, and I’d really appreciate your comments or questions as well. My American husband has said that having my observations about Chicago has given him new perspective on this incredibly (as you mentioned) diverse city. Thanks again!! Cher xo


  2. I like musicians who play in subways on the street. It’s a creative way of making money and makes it always makes my day better to hear them. I’m much more likely to give them money than just someone who is begging.


    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thanks for stopping by, David! I honestly am amazed at the talent here in Chicago. About a month ago there were ‘competing’ performers at the same subway station. Perhaps they should consider banning together; would be easier to listen to one song instead of two at once!! 🙂


      1. That would be something, a sort of subway symphony. Of course, then they’d have to share tips. 🙂 Still, that would be something I’d like to see.


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