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Roy Rogers Slide Player

Donna Herula is a Chicago born singer and slide guitar player that plays country, Delta and modern blues styles.  With a percussive guitar style and soulful voice, Donna plays fingerstyle as well as blues slide guitar on her resonator guitars, including a 1930’s National Steel Triolian and National Steel Tricone (see pictures above).

In her solo and duo acoustic performances, Donna plays a mix of songs from the early blues women, including Memphis Minnie, Ma Rainey, and Bessie Smith and the early Delta blues men, including Robert Johnson, Robert Nighthawk, Furry Lewis, Blind Blake, and Muddy Waters.  She also performs music from more recent blues and slide players including Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Lucinda Williams.

An accomplished slide guitarist, Donna performed a tribute to slide guitar master Robert Nighthawk at the 2009 Chicago Blues Festival for his centennial celebration.  She also performed as part of a Nighthawk symposium for the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, AR.  Songs included, “Crying Won’t Help You,” “Friar’s Point” and “Every Day and Night.” 

Donna has played at a number of other blues festivals including the King Biscuit Blues Festival (a.k.a. Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival), the Bayfront Blues Festival in Duluth, MN, Blues by the Bay in East Tawas, Michigan and the Mother’s Best Music Festival in Helena, Arkansas. 

In 2008, Donna won the Illinois Central Blues Club’s solo-duo blues challenge as a solo performer, and represented the Club at the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis in 2009.  With harpist John Jochem, Donna won the 2010 Chicago Blues Challenge, solo-duo category, and represented the Windy City Blues Society at the 2011 IBC.  In 2011, Donna and Liz Mandeveille (singer, songwriter, guitarist)won the Windy City Blues Challenge, solo-duo category, and were semi-finalists at the IBC in Memphis in February 2012. 

Donna’s second CD “The Moon Is Rising: Songs of Robert Nighthawk” was released in February 2011 and in September 2011, placed #32 on the Roots Music Report for top Blues albums played on the radio.  It includes songs from early in Robert Nighthawk’s career -- when he was known as Robert Lee McCoy/McCollum -- as well as songs that influenced him. Her CD was selected to represent the Illinois Central Blues Club in the Best Self-Produced CD Competition at the 2012 IBC.  The song, “Crying Won’t Help You” was listed as song #13 on James “Skyy Dobro” Walker’s Top 50 Songs of 2011.

In October 2011, Donna was nominated for the “Best Female Blues Performer” by the Chicago Black Music Awards.

She has been on a number of blues radio shows including five times on King Biscuit Time, with Sonny Payne, legendary host and member of the blues hall of fame, as well as on Delta Sounds with host Terry Buckalew, both on www.KFFA.com radio in Helena.

Donna plays as a soloist as well as in a duo with blues singer/songwriter/guitarist, Liz Mandeville, and also plays in a duet with her husband singer/songwriter/guitarist, Tony Nardiello. (See website page “Duet with Liz and Tony” for more information.)

See below for information on past performances.

Venues Played:

Blues and Music Festivals

Chicago Blues Festival (Route 66 Raodhouse Stage)

Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival (Lockwood-

   Stackhouse Acoustic Stage)

Bayfront Blues Festival, Acoustic Stage (Duluth, MN)

Blues By the Bay, Main Stage (East Tawas, MI)

Old Town Blues Festival, Main Stage (Lansing, MI)

Mother’s Best Music Festival, Main Stage (Helena, Arkansas)

Robert Nighthawk Symposium, Miller Hotel (Helena, Arkansas)

CU Folk and Roots Festival (Urbana, IL)

Festival for the Eno, All 4 stages (Durham, North Carolina)

Ice Melting Blues Festival (Long Grove, IL)

No More Blues Baby, Blues Festival (Janesville, WI)

Glenwood Avenue Art Festival (Chicago)

Cuneo Gardens Art Festival (Vernon Hills)

Evanston Lakeshore Art Festival

Deerfield Festival of Fine Arts

Grayslake Art Festival

Highwood Fine Art Festival

Northbrook Art in the Park Festival

Apple Fest (Long Grove, IL)

Chocolate Fest (Long Grove, IL)

International World’s Tour (Long Grove, IL)

Strawberry Festival (Long Grove, IL)


Buddy Guy’s Legends (Chicago, IL)

   -For the 2011 Honeyboy Edwards Tribute with

   Liz Mandeville

   -For the 2011 Blues Challenge (which Donna won with Liz


   - Showcased as the 2010 Winners of

   Chicago Blues Challenge, Solo/Duo Category with

   John Jochem

Rosa’s Lounge (Chicago, IL)

Blues Bar (Mt. Prospect, IL)

Mr. Handy’s Blues Hall (Memphis, TN)

The King’s Palace (Memphis, TN)

Wet Willie’s (Memphis, TN)

Duke’s Bar (Rogers Park, Chicago)

Rhythm Room (Phoenix, Arizona)

Red Line Tap (Rogers Park, Chicago)

Bill’s Blues Bar (Evanston - now closed)

The Horseshoe (Chicago)

Dragon’s Dome Sports and Events Complex (Pekin, IL)

Fitger’s Brewhouse (Duluth, MN)

The Pavioion After Dar (Northbrook, IL)

Toby’s Tavern (North Chicago)

Peanuts Bar & Grill (Naperville)

Coffeehouses, Restaurants & Wineries

Lovell’s of Lake Forest (Lake Forest, IL)

Cellar Gate Wine Market (Highwood, IL)

Noodle Bar (Lake Bluff, IL)

Uncommon Ground, Clark (Chicago, IL)

Mother Fool’s Coffeehouse (Madison, WI)

The Walnut Speakeasy (Elgin, IL)

Newport Coffee House (Bannockburn, IL)

The Common Cup (Rogers Park, Chicago)

The Buzz Cafe (Oak Park)

The Heartland Cafe (Rogers Park, Chicago)

C.J. Arthur’s (Wilmette)

Potbelly Sandwich Works (Gurnee)

Ace’s On First Martini Bar (Duluth, MN)

The Vine Martini and Wine Bar (Grayslake)

Mocha European Cafe & Wine Cellar (Highwood - now closed)

Schools, Libraries, Benefits & Special Events

Maxwell Street Revival/Chicago Blues Jam

Chicago Blues Tour

Blues, BBQ and Brew, Benefit for the Pioneer Center

    (Crystal Lake, IL)

Delta Blues Workshop (Urbana, IL)

Park Ridge Library

Barrington Library (Second Friday Series)

Bartlett Library

Live at the Union: CROYA (Lake Forest, IL)

Hersey High School (Arlington Heights)

College of Lake County’s Women’s Center (Grayslake)

College of Lake County Performing Arts Center (Grayslake)

St. John Vianney Ladies Guild

Blackthorn Grill (Benefit for American Cancer Society)

Highland Park Country Club (Benefit for Juvenile Cancer)

The Tonic Room, Chicago (Fundraiser for the Illinois

    Association for Marriage and Family Therapy)

The Brickyard Grill, Westmont (Green Party Fundraiser)

Central Lake YMCA (Vernon Hills)


Farmer’s Market (Grayslake)

Westmoreland Country Club

House Parties

Contact Information

To be added to her mailing list, e-mail: belladonnablues@yahoo.com.  For more information, go to the Music tab on this Web.

Donna playing “Crying Won’t Help You” at the 2009 Chicago Blues Festival