Mark Hummel was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and grew up in Los Angeles, California. He began playing the blues harmonica professionally in 1973 after moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. Mark's extensive career includes traveling the, "Big Roads" and blue highways of the United States and Europe for over thirty years as a harmonica maestro, band leader, music producer, and journal and blog writer. Big Road Blues is his first book.
"Mark Hummel is a harmonica God"
- Blues Revue
Grammy Nominee, Blues Award Winner, Author, Harp Man Mark Hummel had a banner year in 2014. Grammy Nominated for his Remembering Little Walter CD he produced and performed on, Mark also won Best Blues CD and Best Traditional Blues CD at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis, TN. Mark's The Hustle Is Really On climbed to #2 and stayed in the top five for four months on the Living Blues Radio Charts. Hummel's book "BIG ROAD BLUES:12 Bars on I-80" garnered rave reviews and was nominated for best Independent Book release.
Mark Hummel started playing harmonica in 1970 and is considered one of the premier blues harmonica players of his generation. Thanks to over thirty recordings since 1985, including the Grammy nominated 2013 release Blind Pig recording Remembering Little Walter (part of the Blues Harmonica Blowout CD series). Mark Hummel's Blues Harmonica Blowout™ started in 1991 and have featured every major legend (Mayall, Musselwhite, Cotton, etc.) on blues harp as well as almost every player of note on the instrument - a who's who of players.
Hummel is a road warrior - a true Blues Survivor. Along the way, he has crafted his own trademark harmonica sound - a subtle combination of tone, phrasing and attack combined with a strong sense of swing. Mark has been with Electro Fi Records since 2000, releasing five CDs. Thanks to Mark's earlier albums, constant touring and appearances at the major blues festivals, he's firmly established his solid reputation around the US and Europe.
Born in New Haven, CT but raised in Los Angeles till he graduated high school. Mark moved to the Berkeley at age 18 to pursue a career in blues music, where he felt the music was taken more seriously.
Mark started the Blues Survivors in 1977 with Mississippi Johnny Waters. By 1984 Hummel began a life of non- stop touring of the US, Canada and overseas, which he still continues at least 130-150 days out of each year. Hummel has toured or recorded with blues legends Charles Brown, Charlie Musselwhite, Lowell Fulson, Billy Boy Arnold, Carey Bell, Lazy Lester, Brownie McGhee, Eddie Taylor, Luther Tucker and Jimmy Rogers.
What The Critics Are Saying
"Hummel, a specialist in West Coast Blues, knows a thing or two about about how to please an audience"
- New Yorker
"Hummel plays the harmonica with the fat, full sound that made Little Walter sound almost like a saxophonist rather than a harp man".
“Mark Hummel is a Harmonica Virtuoso. He is one of a handful of the Best Players ever on the Instrument”.
– Blues Revue Magazine
"Harmonica ace Mark Hummel has always surrounded himself with top notch talent.
Hummel certainly spends time on center stage with both his vocals and harmonica, most prominently on the instrumental "Walking with Mr. Lee". Top notch from start to finish, skip this one at your peril."
- Mark Smith/Music Revue
Big Road Blues:12 Bars On I-80
Big Road Blues:12 Bars On I-80 is the often irreverent blues memoir by blues harmonica man Mark Hummel. Fact and fiction combine in this memoir in a variety of hilarious to frustrating incidents taken from twenty six years on the blues highway. Big Road Blues tells the story of a blues musician's life and trials, driving to and entertaining in clubs with his band, as they travel around the USA and the world. Mick Jagger and Sting lead the glamorous life on the road but not so with Hummel and his traveling troubadours of Blues Survivors. Working their way across the country from one blues venue to the next, in a van packed with the band, instruments, and product, in all degrees of violent weather, and managing a band of often radically troubled musicians in the process! Yet somehow, our harmonica virtuoso and promoter Mark Hummel, manages to play extended tours back and forth across the USA, Canada and overseas on a full time basis. Hummel has been playing over two hundred gigs a year for three decades!
Big Road Blues:12 Bars On I-80 contains some of the tall and small stories that grew from these adventures and misadventures on the Big Road Blues Highway! Throw in Mark Hummel himself, by no means a simple man, and the often insane club owners and you have the savory brew of the real life on the road! Hummel manages and books the tours himself and he has his work cut out for him. Are you ready to meet some of the worldwide network of unethical bar owners and promoters, sleazy motel managers, paranoid highway patrolmen, grumpy toll booth collectors, bored waitresses and convenience store clerks, brain-dead teenage Burger King employees who can't get an order right, vengeful customs officers, unscrupulous mechanics, novice tour directors, drunken fans that regularly insist on singing and dancing on stages (when there even is a stage) that provide no security? Then you're ready for this book!