Fullerton: A Wednesday Night with Eric Davis at Kingston Mines

Eric Davis Photo. (Photo by Philip Shilling)

Eric "Guitar" Davis jams the night away. (Photo by Phillip Shilling)

Fullerton Stop IconBy Phillip Shilling
The Red Line Project

Updated: Nov. 25, 2012

Tucked into an old set of storefronts on North Halsted Street, Kingston Mines is unmistakable with its bright orange sign emblazoned with its name and logo.

But it's the jazz and blues music played inside that bring patrons in from the city and all over the world.

Kingston Mines has launched the careers of many people within the industry, such as Magic Slim, Byther Smith and Billy Branch. The blues club has been hosting home to blues music since 1968 with a variety of music ranging from jazz to soul.

Every Wednesday night, Kingston Mines sets specific times for different performances: 8 p.m. through to 9 p.m. is the road for new performers to play. At 9:30 p.m., the show turns to its North stage, where performers play upbeat blues. Special guests start playing at 10:30 p.m. and go well past midnight.

One night in February, Kingston Mines played host to blues musician Eric "Guitar" Davis as the special guest. The night was filled with the twang of a guitar and the Davis's rich voice. Davis, who performs regularly at Kingston Mines, often puts his signature on the club by involving the crowd in his act.

Podcast: Listen to some music from Eric Davis at a recent Kingston Mines performance.

Kingston Mines by phillip.shilling

"Eric is a great guest, probably among the nicest guys we get here." said Vanessa Palmona, 24, a Kingston Mines bartender. "We see a lot of acts here and to narrow my favorite down is hard, but Eric is really cool and always makes it fun."

During intermission of his show, Davis talked about playing the blues and traveling.

"We travel a lot, not for the money, but so my music is heard," he said. "Been playing my whole life but you gotta take it day by day in this game."

Davis has been in the blues industry for 45 years, and still carries his same signature now as he did when he was 20.

"I grew up on the South Side, but between here and St. Louis we are getting our music heard," said Davis whose next stop is St. Louis on a Midwest tour.

The music is bringing out the soul in this Kingston  Mines patron, who 
was getting into Davis's performance. 
(Photo by Phillip Shilling)

Kingston Mines remains one of Davis's favorite stops when he tours, as he calls Chicago home.

The club, located at 2548 N. Halsted St. in the heart of Lincoln Park, has expanded to cover three storefronts and a kitchen. The Chicago institution encourages its patrons to "hear the blues, drink booze and talk loud." The bar often fills up after others close at 2 a.m.

Kingston Mines also carries an extensive menu with a particular southern theme. From a slab of ribs, complete with corn bread and slaw, to a classic american burger, Kingston mines offers a wide variety of food. An extensive bar complements the menu and encourages dancing. 

The club has a slightly run-down feeling inside, but the atmosphere brings the club alight. With people from the crown getting up to dance from the originality in cuisine, it defines the reputation of the club.

Eric Ball, 37 from Arlington Heights, is a regular at Kingston Mines.

" I've been coming here for about 10 years now. It's always fun because no one really minds if you dance or just watch the show," he said. "It's unwinding."

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