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Vance Kelly

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The Blues has a future - Vance Kelly !!!

Vance “Guitar” Kelly was born on January 24, 1954, to Andrew and Lorine Kelly who had moved to Chicago from Missouri and Mississippi. In the early 1960’s the couple had noticed that their son was developing an interest in music and they presented him with his first guitar when he was seven years old. Vance became proficient with the guitar after a short period of practice never taking one professional lesson.

His introduction to the blues as a musical form came in the early 60’s, when he sat at the feet of his uncle, mechanic and part-time blues musician, LeRoy McCauley. Vance’s father and siblings however were gospel singers and musicians and his father and mother encouraged him to play that form of music. He and his sisters and brothers got together at a very young age and formed a Gospel group called “Terry & The Kelly Singers” and were performing together for many years. But his ear and interest for playing the blues became more inevitable.

Kelly played his first blues performance at the age of ten at a Chicago city school and there he was noticed by west side singer Mary Lane, who saw a promising talent in the boy’s playing. When he turned fifteen, Mary asked him to sit in on one of her performances on the west side of Chicago. Vance counts Mary Lane among his important teachers, as well as Chicago’s Buddy Scott and Johnny Christian. His influences include B.B. King, Albert Collins and Howling Wolf.

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