June 22, 2024

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Interview with Charlie Musselwhite: Blues is more than just music! Video

Interview with Blues guitarist, harmonica player and singer Charlie Musselwhite. An interview by email in writing. Dear readers, the respected musician wrote his answers in capital letters, we did not change it, it is a bit difficult to read, but please forgive us.

JazzBluesNews.com: – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music.  How exactly did your adventure take off? 

Charlie Musselwhite: – I WAS BORN IN MISSISSIPPI BUT GREW UP IN MEMPHIS. Johnny and DORSEY BURNETTE OF ROCKABILLY FAME LIVED ACROSS THE STREET AND JAMES JONES WAS WRITING FROM HERE TO ETERNITY IN THE TRAILER COURT BEHIND ME. I LOVED ALL KINDS OF MUSIC BUT BLUES SOUNDED LIKE HOW I FELT. I WAS AN ONLY CHILD OF A SINGLE MOM. SHE WORKED AND I WAS ALONE A LOT SO BLUES WAS LIKE A COMFORTER TO ME. I NEVER HAD A DREAM OF BEING A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN, BUT I LOVED BLUES SO MUCH I FELT LIKE I JUST HAD TO PLAY FOR MYSELF IF NOBODY ELSE.

JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?

CHM: – I LISTENED TO A LOT OF 60s JAZZ/BLUES LIKE BIG JOHN PATTON AND JACK MCDUFF AND LOTS MORE.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?

CHM: – I DONT PRACTICE UNLESS IM WORKING ON SOMETHING BUT SOMETIMES ILL PLAY ALONG WITH SOMETHING IF I LIKE THE GROOVE FOR FUN

JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?

CHM: – I HOPE IM ALWAYS GETTING BETTER AT PLAYING WHAT FEEL. ITS LIKE LANGUAGE WHERE YOU LEARN BETTER WAYS TO EXPRESS YOURSELF.

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JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

CHM: – USE WHATEVER TECHNIQUE YOU HAVE TO EXPRESS WHAT’S IN YOUR HEART.

JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?

CHM: – SURE! TO ME THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT.

JBN: – How can we get young people interested in blues when most of standard tunes are half a century old?

CHM: – GOOD QUESTION. THEY HAVE TO THINK ITS HIP AND INTERESTING. IF MUSICIANS THEY LOOKED UP TO TALKED ABOUT HOW THEY LOVE BLUES AND HOW IT INSPIRES THEM THAT MIGHT HELP.

JBN: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?

CHM: – FOR ME, BLUES IS MORE THAN JUST MUSIC. IT HAS DEPTH AND SUBSTANCE AND ITS ALWAYS THERE FOR YOU. ITS YOUR BUDDY IN GOOD TIMES AND YOUR COMFORTER IN HARD TIMES. ITS NOT A FAD.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

JBN: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?

CHM: – FIND A WAY THAT ALLOWED ALL MUSICIANS A CHANCE AND NOT JUST THE ONES THE CORPORATE WORLD WANTS YOU TO HEAR. BLUES HAS SPREAD AROUND THE WORLD ON A GRASS ROOTS LEVEL ALL IN ITS OWN.  MOST MUSICIANS ADMIT THEY ARE INDEBTED TO BLUES, BUT BLUES MUSICIANS ARE ALWAYS TRATED LIKE THE LOW MAN IN THE TOTEM POLE.

JBN: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?

CHM: – I AKWAYS LISTEN TO OLD GOSPEL AND JAZZ FROM THE 60s AND ON BACK. OLD HILLBILLY AND BLUEGRASS. OLD FOLK MUSIC FROM AROUND THE WORLD AND TRADITIONAL CUBAN SON LIKE MY FRIEND ELIADES OCHOA PLAYS

JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?

CHM: – ID LOVE TO GO BACK TO A SATURDAY NIGHT IN THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA IN THE 30s AND HEAR CHARLIE PATTON IN HIS PRIME.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Note: https://jazzbluesnews.com/2023/03/19/useu-jazz-blues-association-festivals/ You can express your consent and join our association, which will give you the opportunity to perform at our Jazz and Blues festivals in Europe and Boston, naturally receiving an appropriate royalty. We cover all expenses. The objectives of the interview are: How to introduce yourself, your activities, thoughts and intellect, and make new discoveries for our US/EU Jazz & Blues Association, which organizes festivals, concerts and meetings in Boston and various European countries, why not for you too!! You can read more about the association here. https://jazzbluesnews.com/2022/11/19/useujba/

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