"Hummel, a specialist in West Coast Blues, knows a thing or two about about how to please an audience"
- New Yorker
Grammy Award Nominee and Winner of two Blues Music Awards, 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. Read Full Bio
New CD "HarpBreaker" Set For Fall Release
Mark Hummel’s newest CD HarpBreaker on ElectroFi Records set for release this fall is an all instrumental project featuring the Golden State Lone Star Revue, California Honeydrops, Mel Brown, Rusty Zinn, Kid Andersen, June Core, Billy Flynn, the Deep Basement Shakers and more.
When I took up the blues harmonica at 15 years old, I was hooked, lined & sunk! It truly gave me purpose in life at a time when nothing else did. In High School I was a miserable student, hung out with a drug and booze addled crowd & skipped a lot of school. Harp gave me a motivation I’d never had! Once I’d found it, all I did was play-day and night. All things harmonica, all the time. I sought out records that featured the instrument. I’d go to sleep at nights with Little Walter LPs playing with the arm up so it would play over and over. Eventually I’d wake up and turn it off.
One of my reasons for making an all instrumental CD of my harp playing goes back to that era. Back then I ONLY was interested in harmonica as opposed to singing. After a couple years I appreciated the voice as much or more but early on I focused on the instrumentals and instrumental passages of tunes. My favorites were Little Walter, Big Walter Horton, James Cotton, JR Wells, George Harmonica Smith, Sonny Boy “Rice Miller” Williamson, Charlie Musselwhite, Paul Butterfield, Sonny Terry, Magic Dick, Lee Oscar plus many more. I learned every harp instrumental I could of theirs. Sonny Terry I could never duplicate but the rest I had a handle on. When I joined bands in high school I figured out to be a valuable asset you also had to sing a couple, as it was a way to do the songs you wanted to do by fronting the band. I’ve always been known first and foremost as a harp player & then a vocalist but I do love both. But the truth is I feel a bit more free on harp, as it was what drew me into music. The voice is the soul of blues, so it was certain singers that captured me with their voices as well as their playing, but most of those were guitar players, Muddy, Jimmy Rogers and Brownie McGhee in particular. Eventually I fell in love with Little Walter’s voice, though its quality was not smooth as the others, his spirit really shone through. Same with Jimmy Reed. The spirit in blues is that essence.
Rusty Zinn Joins Golden State - Lone Star Revue through 2018
Rusty Zinn will be joining the Golden State-Lone Star Blues Revue on lead guitar through 2018 while Anson Funderburgh recovers from shoulder surgery.
Vocalist/guitar phenom Rusty Zinn has been on the blues scene since 1990, when he absorbed guitar from Chess Session guitarist Luther Tucker. Hummel gave Zinn his start in 1991, taking him all over the world and into the recording studio, both as a band and behind blues legends Jimmy Rogers, James Cotton and Billy Boy Arnold. By 1993 Kim Wilson hired Zinn into his band, where Rusty appeared on the Antones’ Tigerman LP. Zinn debuted in 1996 as a frontman singer on Black Top Records Sittin & Waitin, following it up with a second CD in 1999, Confessin, before the label folded. Rusty was nominated for a Handy Award for Best New Artist in 1999. Rusty’s vocals and guitar playing garnered rave reviews. Alligator Records recorded Rusty’s, The Chill in 2000. Zinn’s “in demand” sound landed him recording sessions with Kim Wilson, Rod Piazza, Little Charlie & the Nightcats, Hummel, Jody Williams, Phillip Walker, Fingers Taylor, Wee Willie Walker, Johnny Dyer, Johnny Jones, Indigo Swing, T 99 Nelson, Pinetop Perkins & Lou Pride. The last few years Rusty has pursued reggae and recorded with Sly & Robbie, Hux Brown among others.