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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Blues Harp Women. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blues Harp Women. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Special Night With Blues Harp Women May 12th in SF

Hike Up Your Skirts and Run To The Freight & Salvage
On May 12th For An Evening of Blues Harp Women
Join Three Blues Harp Blowing Gals
That Will Expand Your Mind!
Blues Roots DJ/Promoter Norman Davis along with the Freight & Salvage is proud to present a special evening with Blues Harp Women; spotlighting on a diverse group of female harp players. This particular show spurs from the Ruf Records release, a double cd called Blues Harp Women produced by Norman Davis, a DJ out of Idaho.  This will be at the iconic venue in Berkeley, on May 12th with the following harp blowers: Jenny Kerr, Beth Kohnen and LynnAnn Hyde. Show time is 8 PM with doors opening at 7 PM. Tickets are $22.00, and you can get them at the door or go to the Freight & Salvage site:

A little background on the accidental discovery of this project: Norman Davis - A DJ with radio station KRBX. Davis spins wax on his Monday night show "The Juke Joint" as well as his long-running show: “Midnight Flyer" that can found via the internet: He is a long-time advocate of preserving the blues music genre and continues his journey through various production projects like this CD.

From the DJ’s microphone or desk:
“Big Mama Thornton is responsible for this album. I played one of her tracks on my radio show, heard a sweet harmonica solo and checked the liner notes to see who it was. It was Big Mama! It was the first time I recall hearing a woman playing blues harp, and it set the wheels turning in my head. I started wondering if other women played the harmonica and why they are virtually unknown. I began searching. Eventually, I found others, then more. I was inspired to create a website. As I was discussing it with a friend, he mispronounced harmonica as “hermonica”. “That’s it!” I shouted. “That’s the name for the website!”

So was born and became what Adam Gussow called “the definitive site on women harmonica players.” We discovered and contacted almost 200 players around the world. There was some discussion of putting an album together. As far as we know, it had never been done before. A label-owning friend suggested I try Ruf Records and (bless his heart) Tom Ruf agreed to back the project.
It has taken a few years and numerous obstacles to overcome, (working with 30-plus artists can get very complicated), but finally, the album is finished and is about to become a unique part of music history; the very first women’s blues harmonica compilation album ever made!

I hope this album will shed some light on what has been a black hole in the blues universe. It proves that as with other instruments, women are the equal of men on the harmonica. Perhaps this will help them get the attention that has passed them by in the past. I am delighted to have been a part of this project.”

About the three woman harp players:  
Jenny Kerr: San Francisco native and Oxford dropout, multi-instrumentalist (finger-style and slide guitar, claw hammer banjo, harmonica, piano), as well as a poetic and passionate songwriter, Jenny Kerr is known for foot-stomping live shows and powerful, authentic voice, delivering a seasoned yet spirited sound with forays into swamp rock, straight-up soul, backwater honky tonk, and old-time blues and finely-hewn ballads. Jenny has headlined festivals in 12 countries and shared the stage with such luminaries as Guy Clark, Peter Rowan and opened for Dr. John among others.   Her most recent release is "Head of Fire" whose title track was produced and performed on by legendary multi-platinum producer Bill Bottrell (Sheryl Crow, Michael Jackson, Tom Petty).  Learn more at 

Beth Kohnen: A former banker, Beth has performed in the SF Bay Area since 1998 sharing the stage with blues legends Steve Freund, Rusty Zinn, Willy Jordan, Birdlegg, RJ Mischo, Lara Price, and Bonnie Hayes. She has also toured in New Orleans, Paris, Florence, Venice, Scotland, and Dublin. She has released three albums--the first two with a rocking full band and the latest a mellow duo with renowned blues guitarist Rusty Zinn. Fans of Big Walter Horton have often exclaimed that they can hear echoes of his deep tone and phrasing in Beth's music - not strange since he is her favorite musician and primary influence.
LynnAnn Hyde: LynnAnn is a well-known and nationally endorsed harmonica and button-box player (former Hohner Harmonicas USA Artist Endorser/Lifetime Baldoni Accordions Artist Endorser) and is also a songwriter/arranger of note in the Pacific NW. She is one-half of the duo Kinzel & Hyde that regularly performs all over the West Coast.

So please come out to a wonderful evening of blues, harp and female attitude!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Ruf Records artists: Blues Harp Women - Various Artists - New Release Review

I just received a super release of women harp players, Blues Harp Women, and it shows talent across opening with Harmonica Girl, Paula Rangell leads a lively shuffle track with crisp harp playing and her band the Pontiacs. Roxy Perry is up next with Roadmaster. Backed by a cool horn section and cool harmonies this track has real punch. Stacy Jones Band grinds down with Heavy Water, a swampy lumbering track. With strong vocals and warm guitar tones, Jones plays a real nice complimentary harp part over the track. Very nice. Big Mama Thornton blows a real nice Down Home Shakedown reinforcing that she was as much a harper as a singer. Lynnann Hyde plays harp and sings, accompanied by acoustic guitar on 30-20 Blues in vert traditional style. Down To The Hollow by Trina Hamlin is really interesting with nice breathing techniques and rich vocals. Tracy K performs Stop! Wait A Minute with a rocky attack on the blues. Her harp techniques are slick and driving. Very cool! Slow ballad, One More Lie, features Teresa "T-Bird" Lynne on vocal and guitar. Lynne plays a real nice solo on harp and her guitar player digs deep as well. Very nice! Octavia has a 70's rock style with guitar, harp and sax all playing hot riffs along with her Grace Slick style vocals. Kat Baloun takes the R&B route with organ driving the pace. With a bit of funk slick guitar solos and harp work carries the track high. Beth Kohnen plays Ain't Easy keeping the blues soft and easy on harp with bass and guitar accompaniment. Fresh! Jane Gillman does a nice vocal duet with acoustic slide guitar and spoons as rhythm. Zola Moon stomps with authority singing Mechanical Beast. With solid guitar work and searing harp tones the band blazes it's path. Mattie Phifer lays down a real nice blues rhythm on Please Call Daddy and sassy vocals. I really like her blues style on this track giving the track an authentic blues rock feel. Wrapping disc one is Dorothy Jane "DJ" Gosper with a slow San Francisco style blues number, Sadder Than Sad. DJ puts everything into it with strong support by organ, blows an incredibly soulful harp to close.

Jenny Kerr opens disc 2 with Cash Is King, a heavy footed rocker and flanging guitar riffs. Kerr's confident vocal style, a rock solid bottom and aggressive guitar styling makes this one of my favorites on the release. Cheryl Arena steps up with Blues Got Me along the lines of King's Hunter. With deft guitar soloing, solid vocals and raw harp riffs this track has a cool blues feel. Annie Raines leads off Lookin' Good with John Mayall like harp work and light guitar rhythm. This track builds steam as it goes and is a very nice instrumental addition to the set. On boogie track, He's Gone, Marion Turner grinds in with harp and vocal. This is a really basic blues track and with few frills hits the nail on the head. Very nice! Terry Leonino's Meet Me Where They Play The Blues is a light and breezy jazz number with warm chords and floating vocals. Nice and easy. Boogie, Crazy Maisie, by Dana Dixon, really grinds in with solid harp work and a driving bottom. Her vocals are real and the harp/guitar interplay creates excitement. Beata Kossowska lays down an interesting track, Everybody's Dancing with a Latin rhythm. With almost Spanish style guitar work and soulful harp soloing, this track is an interesting look at another side of the blues. Jill Fromewick really makes the harp sing on Take The Lead and her vocals are pure and rich. Very nice track. Diana Redlin gets things hopping with a high energy, Never Leave Me Home. With snappy drum work and a guitar mantra, solid sax work and fever pitched harp work this track hits the read running. Classically trained, Christelle Berthon turns in the most beautiful harp rendition of Summertime accompanied by piano. This track is excellent! Judy Rudin does her blues with a country 2 step feel blended with Chicago harp styling on Hit The Road. With steel guitars and country rhythm, Rudin knows how to play the blues. Cecilia Loforti's, Doctor C, has a bit of funk and her vocal styling borders on Blondie's on Rapture. A playful little number, Loforti knows her way around the harp. Maria Coyote's Rikers Island, follows a standard blues format but with a loose worldly San Francisco twist. Interesting. Jackie Merritt takes an easy pace with acoustic backing. Her harp work is nicely complimentary to her vocals on Fast Food Mama. Big Nancy brings the whole package with a great voice and soulful harp work on Bring It On Home (To Me). A casual pace and clever guitar work, this is a real nice track. Wrapping the release is Rhonda Alla Blue, by Rhonda Rucker. A traditional blues number with traditional blues style riffs backed by acoustic guitar, this is a terrific closer for this diversely bluesy release.

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