Jason Ricci and New Blood
And now for something completely different. Here is some dirty old backwater blues for you, heavy on the harmonica and rollicking in a very good way.
Jason Ricci and New Blood's album Blood on the Road was on music critic/longtime friend Brad Kava's top ten list of albums for 2005. Kava plays the harmonica himself, so I was not surprised to hear that Ricci can wail. Kava says:
"This powerful quartet takes me back to the days when blues rock was a lethal weapon, sharp and brutal. The Rolling Stones once sounded this pure, a long, long time ago."
Check out this sample live track:
"Shake Your Hips" - Jason Ricci and New Blood
(orig by Slim Harpo, made famous by the Stones)
If you want to hear more, then you can peruse the 11/11/04 show on the Live Music Archive from whence this came. Or you can listen to a more recent set from February 2006; it's from one of my favorite clubs in San Francisco, Biscuits and Blues. Sah-weet place! Check out "Mellow Down Easy" from that set.
Although Jason is only in his late 20s, he is making a huge splash among those who know blues harp. In 2000, Jason received a two page write up in Blues Access magazine written by Adam Gussow saying: "I am convinced that he . . . is one of the best harmonica players of his generation."
It is also interesting to read Jason's list of favorite harmonica players/styles to get a better sense of what makes him such an amazing player. As is usually the case when you start reading about an instrument that you admire but do not play, I had no idea that there were so many factors that went into playing a harmonica well. I just thought, put to mouth, blow. Sheesh.
Here is one bonus track as well, Jason playing harmonica with Heidi and the El Cats, covering the Led Zep classic, "Going to California."