Peter Hope-Evans has performed with Who songwriter and guitarist Pete Townshend since the 1970s but they've been friends even longer. He's also been a part of the blues duo Medicine Head, guitarist Robbie McIntosh's band, and the Blues Club Band. Peter's unbridled playfulness and joy is apparent not only in his music making but in how he speaks about making music with Townshend over the years, learning from harmonicas (or "organs of the mouth" as he calls them), and his ongoing practice of being in the present moment.
Episode 10 - April 10, 2016 If you don't know Graham Nelson's harmonica playing, you should. He's performed with everyone from Lonnie Brooks to Gypsy jazz guitar great Alphonso Ponticelli to Donovan (whom he has a long history with being the son of Donovan's longtime road manager). We talk about his music-filled upbringing, his love of Middle-eastern and other ethnic musics, and his penchant for not only customizing harmonicas but making his own flutes.
Marc Lempert is the director of the feature-length documentary Pocket Full of Soul, a "comprehensive exploration of the culture, the players, the politics, and of course the music" associated with the harmonica. He and the producers of the film are offering special free screenings on World Harmonica Day, April 18. We talk about what it was like interviewing the numerous star players, learning about the instrument and its community, and his personal transformation in making the movie.
He's part blues master, part composer, part sage. Corky Siegel spent his early years in the Siegel-Schwall Band which performed with blues legends including Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters in Chicago. Since then he's brought blues music to the classical world, initially with Siegel-Schwall's collaborations with symphony orchestras and later with his exciting combo Chamber Blues. We also talk about his ideas on music and meditation, his writings and experience the concept and practice of dynamic variation and his views and experiences on music and life in general.
Catriona Sturton "sings like an angel, plays like a beast." While her career started with the indie rock band Plumtree in the 90s playing bass, she's always been deeply connected with her first instrument, the harmonica. As a solo artist she sings, plays guitar and percussion in addition to harmonica. As this year's special guest at the Hideout Harmonica Hoedown, we held the conversation in Chicago a day after the big event and talked about her musical roots, her time in Plumtree, her love of Dolly Parton, her adventures touring Canada, Europe & the U.S. and much more.
Steve Baker is an incredible player performing and recording in a diverse range of styles and genres. He's also a consultant for Hohner who's come up with many of the recent Hohner models including the Crossover, Thunderbird and Marine Band Deluxe. We talk about his musical journey that brought him from the U.K. to Germany in the late 70s, his teaching philosophy and the many harp innovations he's been responsible for.
Todd Parrott was first exposed to the power of the harmonica when a traveling evangelist played at his church when he was 13. Maybe you’ve seen him playing in churches and religious gatherings around the U.S. in recent years or in his large collection of online videos demonstrating harmonica ideas and licks or reviewing and evaluating different harp models. His latest CD Songs from the Harp honors his gospel roots and we talk about his musical history, penchant for playing in spiritual settings and what he’s working on lately.
James Conway is a harmonica master specializing in traditional Irish tunes but he also incorporates musical ideas from blues harp masters. We sit down in his basement studio to talk about how he learned from Junior Wells and Sugar Blue as a doorman at Rosa's Lounge in Chicago, his Celtic "power trio" the Boils, his monthly music jam train trips from Chicago to Kenosha, and his current recording, Mouth Box.
PT Gazell got his start playing bluegrass and later occupied the harmonica chair in outlaw country star Johnny Paycheck's band. He dropped out of music for about 15 years and came back after discovering the half-valved diatonic set up which he continued to perfect into what he calls the Gazell Method.
We're joined by one of the most innovative, versatile and accomplished harmonica players of all time, Howard Levy. We talk about his discovery and mastery of the "Levy Techniques" (aka "overblows," which is a bit of a misnomer), other aspects that make up his sound, his many students around the world who learn from him thanks to his online teaching through ArtistWorks, and his latest composing and recording activities.