Blues legend Musselwhite will serve a tasty music menu to Park City
What: Blues legend Charlie Musselwhite
When: 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18 and 19; 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20
Where: The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St.
Cost: Friday tickets range from $45 to $65. Saturday and Sunday tickets range from $53 to $69
At 75, Blues Hall of Fame inductee Charlie Musselwhite shows no signs of slowing down.
“Other than winning the lottery, I look at my future and look forward to playing more gigs,” the mouth harpist and guitarist said. “It’s great to take the music around the world to different people and see their reactions.”
Park City will get a chance to see Musselwhite in action for three nights when he plays Oct. 18-20 at the Egyptian Theatre.
Musselwhite said his band — guitarist Matt Stubbs, drummer June Core and bassist Randy Burmudes — is one of the main reasons he continues to enjoy playing live.
“We just click,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun playing together, because we know we can all count on each other to play the right thing at the right time. They are really good musicians and they love the blues, so we hardly need to rehearse.”
Born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Musselwhite was weaned on the rockabilly and country swing of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Johnny Burnett. As a young adult, Musselwhite headed to Chicago with his guitar and harmonica in hand.
“I was playing guitar and harmonica when I first got to Chicago, but there were tons of guitar players,” he said. “However, I got offered work to play the harmonica.”
He likes playing the harmonica because of its “voice-like” sound.
“When I’m playing it, I feel like I’m singing without words,” he said. “You can make it sound happy. You can make it cry and moan.”
Although he still plays guitar, recorded a few guitar albums and performs with Elvin Bishop, Musselwhite’s exposure in the pop- and world-music communities has come through playing the harmonica with artists such as Cyndi Lauper, INXS and Cuarteto Patria, a Cuban band hailing from the Santiago region.
“It’s a lot of fun to play with Cyndi, or a Cuban band or a rock band,” he said. “When I step out of the blues and get into a different situation, say, like with Cyndi, it’s a fun challenge for me to see how I can adapt to a different style.”
Still, the blues are Musselwhite’s bread and butter. In 2013, Musselwhite joined forces with singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ben Harper. The result was “Get Up!” which took home the Grammy for Best Blues Album.
To date, Musselwhite has been given the Living Blues Award nine times, and the title track from his most recent album, “No Mercy In this Land,” which was also recorded with Ben Harper, was named the 2019 Song of the Year at the Blues Music Awards.
Those awards and a string of other nominations mean a lot to Musselwhite.
“For the Grammys, the voting is by your peers, people in the business and other musicians, and it’s not based on sales or fans,” he said. “So that gives it a different kind of prestige.”
The Blues Music Awards, on the other hand, are voted on by the fans.
“That’s great, because it means people like what you’re doing,” he said. “That makes you feel like you’re doing something right.”
Musselwhite, who plans to release a guitar album next year, said with a laugh that his main focus these days is staying alive.
“There are a lot of car wrecks that happen on the way to gigs as we travel around the world,” he said. “There have been a lot of missed flights, and hotel reservations that haven’t been secured. You know, all kinds of things happen, but I just keep rolling along. Things for me, just keeps getting better and better.”
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