Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy Birthday: Charlie Musselwhite

Charlie Musselwhite (born January 31, 1944 in Kosciusko, Mississippi) is an American blues-harp player and bandleader, one of the non-black bluesmen who came to prominence in the early 1960s, along with Mike Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield. Musselwhite was reportedly the inspiration for Dan Aykroyd's Blues Brothers.

Musselwhite has released over 20 albums, as well as guesting on albums by many other musicians, such as Bonnie Raitt's Longing in Their Hearts and The Blind Boys of Alabama's Spirit of the Century, both winners of Grammy awards. He also appeared on Tom Waits' Mule Variations and INXS' Suicide Blonde. He himself has won 18 W. C. Handy Awards and six Grammy nominations, as well as Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Monterey Blues Festival and the San Javier Jazz Festival in San Javier, Spain, and the Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts.

Ultimately, for Charlie Musselwhite the thrill and challenge of engaging an audience fuels his artistry. "It's about the feeling, and connecting with people," he explains, "And blues, if it's real blues, is loaded with feeling." Charlie continues that, "it ain't about technique either, it's about truth, connecting to the truth and communicating with people."

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