Modern Blues Harmonica – February newsletter

Hey Blues Harm-aniac:
The photo above was taken in Harlem back in 1996 by Paul LaRaia when Living Blues came calling with talk of a cover story on Satan and Adam.  Amazingly, both musicians are still alive and kicking.  We’ll be doing our thing outdoors, one more time, on Saturday, February 15th, at the Riverwalk Blues Festival in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  If you live in the vicinity, please come on down and say hello.
More news below.
On Saturday, March 8th, Ronnie Shellist and I will be bringing our traveling road show to the Legendary Why Not Lounge in Altamonte Springs, Florida.  An all-day workshop on a range of blues harmonica topics, followed by a four-hour evening harp blowoff (8 to midnight) featuring The Blues Doctors (our Florida debut), Ronnie, and RJ Harman and his band.  If you’re interested, please click this link to find out more.
If you’re interested, plan on attending and paying your registration fee day-of, and DON’T click the link, there’s a possibility that the workshop will be canceled.  As I write, we’re slightly behind the number of pre-registrations that our fixed expenses (Ronnie’s airfare, site rental, etc.) require us to nail down before we’re good to go.  So please don’t hesitate!  Here’s a video that tells you more.
I’ve got a pair of albums, one old and one new, in play right now.  The old album, my 2010 solo debutKick and Stomp, has just been (re)issued as a CD by Right Recordings in the UK, with a heavy publicity campaign:  seven pages of radio and TV shows, newspapers and magazines, the whole shebang.  (If I get booked to play Jools Holland, you may be sure that I will let you know.)  The album is currently #49 among mp3 blues albums on Amazon’s UK chart and has spent every day since (re)release in the Top 100.  If you want a CD rather than digital files, click this link.  
Roosters Happy Hour, the debut album by my Blues Doctors duo, has been #1 in Amazon’s “Hot New Releases in Acoustic Blues” mp3 chart for more than five weeks now, and it’s getting play on many of the blues shows that report to Living Blues.  See what all the fuss is about!  You can preview and purchase it from iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, or us.  (CDs as well as downloads from CD Baby and the Docs.) 
My 2014 gig calendar is starting to fill out.  I’ll be in Clarksdale, Tupelo, and Oxford this week, for those of you in north Mississippi, but I’ll also be visiting Arkansas, Louisiana, Ontario, Atlanta, and South Carolina over the next six months, with more to come–including, I’m quite sure, a UK swing this spring and/or summer.  If you come out to see us live, please say Hi!
Please note the June 28-29 engagement:  I’ve known Carlos del Junco for 25 years, and both of us have been overblowing for that long, but we’ve never taught or performed together.  Both those things will happen for the first time at the Harmonica Retreat weekend in Dunnville, Ontario.
Here’s the gig list:  
   2/4/14:    Clarksdale, MS – Hambone Gallery (Blues Doctors, 7-10 PM)
   2/6/14:    Tupelo, MS – Blue Canoe (Blues Doctors, 8 – 11 PM)
   2/8/14:    Oxford, MS – Lamar Lounge (Blues Doctors, 7-9 PM)
   2/15/14:  Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Riverwalk Blues Festival (Satan & Adam; sets at 4:45, 7, and 9)
   3/8/14:    Altamonte Springs, FL – The Legendary Why Not Lounge ( Gussow/Shellist workshop + evening concert w/Blues Doctors, Ronnie Shellist, RJ Harman and his band)
   4/5/14:   Jonesboro, AR – Roots Music Festival (Blues Doctors, time TBA)
   5/2/14:   Central, LA – American Farmhouse (Blues Doctors, 6-10 PM)
   5/3/14:   Zachary, LA – Teddy’s Juke Joint (Blues Doctors, 9 PM – 1 AM)
   6/28/14: Dunnville, Ontario, CANADA – Harmonica Retreat Weekend at Shared Harvest Community Farm (teaching and performing with Carlos Del Junco and Jerome Godboo!)
   6/29/14: Dunnville, Ontario, CANADA
   8/7/14:   Atlanta, GA – Northside Tavern (Blues Doctors, 7:30 – 9:30 PM, opening for Carlos & the Breeze Kings)
   8/9/14:   Sunset, SC – The Reserve at Lake Keowee (Blues Doctors, 8-10 PM)
Back in 1988, when Mr. Satan and the white boy were working 125th Street, just down from the Apollo Theater, we got our first commercial gig:  a pitch for Swatch watches that was shown in-house at Macy’s.  It was filmed down in Chelsea on a very cold, very sunny day, with real-time sound–nothing dubbed, just lavalier mics clipped to our shirts.  It was our first recording.  Here it it:  BACK TO THE ROOTS video 
A couple of weeks ago, the Blues Doctors made a short southern swing.  Here are a couple of videos:
Next Time You See Me (Junior Parker)

YouTube video/audio:
An almost-complete set of my YouTube blues harmonica video tutorials–a total of 196 videos, from .000 all the way through my “final video” with Jason Ricci at the crossroads.  I have bundled the videos into three very large zip files (roughly 1.1 gigs each), and they are available either individually (for $19 each) or together (for $49, a savings of $8).  These are the ORIGINAL VIDEOS as uploaded to YouTube in the MPEG-4 format.  Perfect for PCs, laptops, and iPhones!
Modern Blues Harmonica Advanced Beginner’s Special
For beginning players who have completed the first handful of lessons on my website (most of which can be found in the “Beginner’s Special,” above) and are ready to commit to the next step, here is a bargain:  six video tutorials with the tab sheets thrown in for free.  The lessons in this collection continue your education into the world of blues harmonica by teaching you a range of ways of moving through the 12-bar changes–the “blues progression.”  These include a boogie-woogie (Bittersweet Boogie), a melody drawn from a vocal line (Same Old Blues), a jazzy melody that deliberately breaks across the bar lines (Whistlin’ the Blues), a two-beat stomp that uses double stops and chords (Red Dress), a simplified version of a Chicago blues standard (Mojo 1.0), and a rock classic (Rock Around the Clock).  There is a method in Gussow’s madness!  These songs socialize you into the wide and wonderful world of blues musicianship, even as they develop your lip-strength, coordination, and reflexes.
PLEASE NOTE:  All these songs are demonstrated using a key of C harmonica, except for Mojo 1.0, which uses a key of A harmonica.

ADDITIONAL NOTE:  You do NOT need to know how to bend notes in order to play these songs.  This is why they are appropriate for beginners and advanced beginners.    


Chicago Blues Classics

For INTERMEDIATES and ADVANCED INTERMEDIATES who want a selection of the best that the Chicago blues tradition has to offer, I’ve bundled five video tutorials into an easy-to-download zip file,with the tab sheets thrown in for free.  Included in this package are Sonny Boy Williamson/Junior Wells (“Checking Up on my Baby”), Junior Wells (“Messing With the Kid”), Big Walter Horton (“Easy”), Paul Butterfield (“Born in Chicago”), and Little Walter/Kim Wilson (“Got My Mojo Working”), all for only $25, a savings of $10 off the item-by-item price.
“Bending the 3 Draw”:  NOT just for BEGINNERS and ADVANCED BEGINNERS, but for INTERMEDIATES as well.  The 3 draw bend–several different bends, actually–is more challenging than 4 draw and 2 draw.  Gussow helps you extract the deep bluesy sound that lies buried in the harp; he uses a guitar to explain exactly which pitches you’re trying for and where they’re located.

 “When the Saints Go Marching In”:  This New Orleans classic is perfect for the INTERMEDIATE players (and a challenge for the adventurous ADVANCED BEGINNER) looking to add a little jazz to the repertoire.  Play it fast or slow–it always swings.

“Messin’ With the Kid”:  I’ve tabbed out Junior Wells’s two-chorus solo and adapted the guitar riff from bars 11 & 12.  This is an amazing, challenging solo–so challenging that I encourage you to slow it to 80% of full speed using the Amazing Slow Downer application.  Great rewards await students who embrace this challenge; Junior’s approach, properly understood and adapted to your needs, can significantly expand your bag of tricks.

   Harp:  F

“Got My Mojo Working”:  The holy grail for many harp players.  A song that you absolutely, positively need to know.  This is a two-part lesson organized around a two-page tab sheet.  First page is my adaptation of the “head” or intro that always kicks the song off; second page is a transcription of the first 12 bars of Kim Wilson’s solo on Jimmy Rodgers’s LUDELLA album–a kick-ass harp throwdown, decoded and reassembled.  The head is within reach for INTERMEDIATE as well as ADVANCED INTERMEDIATE players; the solo is extremely challenging at full speed.

   Harp:  A

That’s all for this time.  See you down the road.
402 Meadowlawn Drive  Oxford, MS 38655
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