The Company: Stepson of the Blues LLC

An Illinois company founded by Bonni McKeown in 2012.
full Stepson logo

Bonni McKeown - Producer, Writer

Bonni McKeown, writer and co-producer, has for 10 years promoted unsung Chicago blues musicians as a journalist, manager, piano player, teaching artist, presenter and film and music producer. www.barrelhousebonni.com 

Bonni founded Stepson of the Blues LLC, in 2012, a Chicago film production company, and has served for five years as sole member-manager with all the bookkeeping, administrative and promotional duties including managing the website and social media. Darryl Pitts is the leading producer of the film itself.

She co-authored in 2010 the book on which the film is based: Stepson of the Blues: A Chicago Song of Survival, autobiography of West Side Chicago blues singer and drummer Larry Taylor. In 2004 she co-produced Taylor's debut CD They Were in This House, reissued by Wolf Records in 2011. They also co-produced Taylor’s 2017 EP/CD of all-original songs featuring a band of his fellow South and West Side musicians, New Chicago Sounds of Larry Taylor, and a studio session for the TRTB soundtrack.
http://www.larrytaylorchicagoblues.com
For Taylor's website she  produced several short films, interviewing him on blues history and learning drumming. She produced a blues concert video in 2013 at the West Side social agency BBF, which screened it in its community film festival the following year.

Bonni's script for The Rhythm and the Blues, written with help from Darryl Pitts, carries her conviction that music  helps bring people together.  Read her blog, West Side Blues  and her freelance articles in the Austin Weekly News neighborhood newspaper . BonniWriteTrain 

 

Darryl Pitts - Producing partner, Director

Darryl Pitts has been TRTB’s producing partner and director. With his guidance, a segment of TRTB was filmed in July 2015.  After 20 years of creating and producing TV programs, starting on BET, Darryl Pitts toured in 2013-14 with his own documentary, Reel Black Love, showing the history and flavor of African-American romance in the movies.  During the 1990s his half hour TV special on the Negro Baseball Leagues, The Playing Field, was nominated for a regional Emmy.  He distributed another documentary special, The Original Temptations, featuring the last public interviews with Motown legends David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks. His film Dramatic Moments in Black Sports History aired on TNT  after two highly rated NBA games. Distributed by New Line Domestic Television and highlighted in TV Guide, Dramatic Movements earned praise from viewers and program directors around the country.   In the advertising field, Darryl brokered a $20 million deal for a small advertising agency for an Illinois Lottery commercial appearance by Bernie Mac. He has created brand content for Toyota/NBA, Allstate, and Chrysler.   

Darryl Pitts mug

 

Kelvin Bulger - Attorney

Attorney Kelvin Bulger prepared the original documents for Stepson of the Blues and helped to launch the production. An attorney with over 20 years of litigation experience, Mr. Bulger previously worked as a commercial litigation associate at Much Shelist, and served as senior judicial law clerk for Hon. Blanche M. Manning, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He was an appellate law clerk, Illinois Appellate Court, First District, and served with the Judicial Research Division for Cook County Circuit Courts. 

Mr. Bulger earned his law degree from IIT Chicago’s Kent College of Law, a Masters in urban affairs and policy analysis from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and a Bachelors in public administration from Fisk University.  For 13 years he has taught courses in Types of Ownership and Legal Issues at the Joseph Business School.  

Mr. Bulger is executive producer of “The Good Time Kids,” a national television show airing on DirectTV channel 378 and Sky Angel channel 126 and streamed on National RB Network TV, reaching 18.5 million households. 

Larry Taylor - Consultant, Story and Music

Larry Taylor, the Chicago West Side blues and soul singer and drummer on whose life experience The Rhythm and the Blues is based, is serving as story and music consultant for the film. Born in 1955, Larry grew up in the rough neighborhood of North Lawndale and heard blues first hand from his musical parents Eddie Taylor Sr. and Vera Taylor, and visitors like Howlin' Wolf but also experienced life in the street.  Through the grace of the Almighty and some wonderful mentors, he won his freedom from prison and the opportunity to play internationally with many great musicians and carry on their legacy. He recorded his own album, They Were in This House, re-released in 2011 by Wolf Records, honoring the blues ancestors who visited his mother and stepfather Vera and Eddie Taylor. He produced an EP CD of original tunes, New Chicago Sounds of Larry Taylor, in 2017, plus music for the movie which includes the musicianship of his talented brothers and sisters. Hear Larry's music and read more at http://www.larrytaylorchicagoblues.com

LarrysingWolf