October 30th, 2010
A groundbreaking recording artist since the 1960s, harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite continues to create trailblazing music while remaining firmly rooted in the blues. Born in Mississippi, raised in Memphis and schooled on the South Side of Chicago, his wise vocals, melodic harmonica playing and deep country blues guitar work accompany his often autobiographical and original songs. Living Blues says, “Musselwhite’s rock-solid vocals creep up and overwhelm you before you know it. He plays magnificent harp with superb dexterity and phrasing. The results are amazing.”
Over the last 43 years Musselwhite has released over 30 albums. And tonight, he took the stage in Seattle to celebrate the release of The Well on Alligator Records. Musselwhite wrote or co-wrote every track on the album, and as a result, these revealing, autobiographical songs recall specific events and places in Musselwhite’s amazingly colorful life. Each track on The Well is also a chapter from his life, and in the liner notes to the CD he offers some very personal insights into the meaning behind the songs. Musselwhite describes his music and the blues in general this way: “It’s about the feeling, and about connecting with people. And blues, if it’s real blues, is loaded with feeling. And it ain’t about technique, either. It’s about truth, connecting to the truth and communicating with the people.”
Born into a blue collar family in Kosciusko, Mississippi on January 31, 1944 and raised by a single mother, Musselwhite grew up surrounded by blues, hillbilly, and gospel music on the radio and outside his front door. His family moved to Memphis, where, as a teenager, he worked as a ditch digger, concrete layer and moonshine runner. Fascinated by the blues, Musselwhite began playing guitar and harmonica. As a teen, Musselwhite attended parties hosted by Elvis Presley and hobnobbed with many of the local musicians, including Johnny Cash and Johnny Burnette, but the celebrities a young Charlie sought out were Memphis’ veteran bluesmen like Furry Lewis, Will Shade and Gus Cannon.
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