“The sound between a shot and a beer.” That’s how Bill Barrett, perhaps the most interesting man in the chromatic harmonica world, describes the sound he’s going for in this interview for Hohner’s Masters of Harmonica series. Barrett reflects on his beginnings, talks about gigging with Hazmat Modine, and demonstrates his idiosyncratic sound.
Here’s another cool harp cat, the inimitable Jason Ricci. He was recently interviewed by a Greek blues blog (the blues is everywhere, man!) about his time with such notables as RL Burnside and David and Jr. Kimbrough, as well as his latest recording with the late Johnny Winter. Ricci shares some fun anecdotes, his thoughts about music in general and playing the blues in particular: “The blues is about honesty, integrity, sincerity, loss and redemption from our human errors. Being “cool” is not what the blues is about to me. Being real is.”
Ann Arbor news magazine The Ann has a nice profile of local boy (and SPAH regular) Peter Madcat Ruth. Bonus fun fact, Madcat was the first non-chromatic player to appear as a featured performer at a SPAH convention, waaaay back in 1980. Up until then, SPAH conventions had only featured chromatic players and harmonica trios. Read the article for more on Madcat’s trailblazing ways.
When harmonica players think of Fender, words like “Champ,” “Deluxe” and “Bassman” immediately come to mind, but now Fender wants you to think two new words: “harmonica manufacturer.” Fender has just launched 2 new lines of diatonic harmonicas, the Blues Deluxe and the Blues Deville (guess they know to stick with some word associations), in a limited number of keys. The Blues Deluxe, pictured, has the standard-issue uncoated metal cover plates. The Blues Deville covers are black matte. No word yet on where they are manufactured, how they play or if they will ever come in tweed.
It’s been awfully quiet around here, but there’s finally a new issue of Harmonica Happenings coming out. There’ve been a lot of changes behind the scenes at HH, including a new designer and publisher. Besides a new look for the magazine, we hope this means more time to post to the blog as well.
This first new issue, a double-issue covering Spring & Summer, features interviews with Annie Raines and Jerome Godboo, a philatelist’s look at harmonicas (or is it a harmonicist’s look at stamps?) and much more. Just click on the image below for a preview PDF. If you’re a SPAH member, a print copy is headed to your door. If you’re not a member of SPAH and you’d like a copy, why don’t you join?
Late in the season, but the Fall issue of Harmonica Happenings will be out soon. Here’s a preview of the issue, with photos from the 50th anniversary convention held in St. Louis, MO.