CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE at Times Square
Type: Music & Concerts
Harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite's life reads like a classic blues song: born in Mississippi, raised in Memphis, and schooled on the south side of Chicago. A groundbreaking recording artist since the 1960s, he continues to create trailblazing music while remaining firmly rooted in the blues. His worldly-wise vocals, rich, melodic harmonica playing, and deep country blues guitar work flawlessly accompany his often autobiographical and always memorable original songs. About Musselwhite, Living Blues declares: "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."
Born into a blue collar family in Kosciusko, Mississippi, in 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 first recording, under the name Memphis Charlie, was with Big Walter Horton on the famous Vanguard Records series. Signing with Vanguard himself, Musselwhite (along with Paul Butterfield, who was as urban as Musselwhite was rural) brought the amplified harmonica blues to a new audience of young, white rock 'n' rollers, who discovered that he personified the cool and hip counter-culture icons they admired. Over the years, he has released albums on a variety of labels, ranging from straight blues to music mixing elements of jazz, gospel, Tex-Mex, Cuban, and other world music, winning new fans at every turn. He has been touring nationally and internationally for over four decades and is among the best-known and best-loved blues musicians in the world.
Musselwhite has appeared on numerous recordings as a featured player, including cuts with Tom Waits, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, John Lee Hooker, Bonnie Raitt, The Blind Boys of Alabama, INXS, and Cyndi Lauper. He has shared stages with countless blues and rock musicians and was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Blues Hall of Fame in 2010. He has been nominated for six Grammy Awards and has won 24 Blues Music Awards. His latest album The Well (2010) is perhaps the strongest, most intimate album of his entire career. How do you describe a living legend who's every bit as on top of his musical game as he was 40 years ago? The San Francisco Chronicle does it well: "Charlie Musselwhite's harmonica playing shows taste, bite, restraint, and power. He's one of the best, and as a bluesman, he's as real as they come."