Grammy-nominated Harmonica man/singer/songwriter/bandleader/author/impresario MARK HUMMEL was born in New Haven, CT but moved to Los Angeles as a newborn. Hummel took up an interest in blues harp & rock-blues music in high school but soon discovered the originators like Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson & Little Walter. Soon after, Hummel frequented the Ash Grove club on Melrose Ave. in LA where he saw (in a three month period) three blues legends he would later work with on a regular basis; Charlie Musselwhite, Brownie McGhee (w/Sonny Terry) & James Cotton. By 1985 Mark Hummel’s Blues Survivors hit the road full time & continue till the present (Hummel’s memoir, “Big Road Blues: 12 Bars on I-80” recounts many road exploits). Hummel’s been featured on over thirty recordings since 1985 including his 2014 Blind Pig Records, Remembering Little Walter (a recording of a Hummel Blues Harp Blowout.) The CD was nominated for a Grammy Award and won two Blues Music Awards. Hummel’s most recent release, Harpbreaker (2018/Electro-Fi), is an all-instrumental harmonica album that redefines the scope and beauty of what the instrument is capable of in the right hands.
Cash Box King’s vocalist Oscar Wilson hails from Chicago’s South Side, where he learned blues from his father’s friends, Big Smokey Smothers and Honeyboy Edwards, as a kid. The Cash Box Kings are one of the hottest new acts on Alligator Records and also recorded two for Blind Pig Records a few years back. Oscar has been the star attraction in the band, thanks to his elastic range and natural showmanship. Wilson is one of the most real sounding voices in the blues world and is quickly gaining a following world-wide! Their newest, Oscar’s Motel is number ONE on most blues radio charts the last two months!
Guitarist, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist Billy Flynn has recorded on fifty Delmark Records Releases, Jimmy Dawkins, Hubert Sumlin, Kim Wilson, Otis Rush, Jimmy Rogers,Legendary Blues Band( w/Willie Big Eyes Smith & PinetopPerkins), most recently Alligator Records’ Cash Box Kings. Billy recorded on Beyoncé’s Grammy-winning version of “At Last” from the film Cadillac Records. Flynn played on the entire soundtrack.
At 83 years old, blues singer and guitarist Joe Beard hails from Ashland, MS. Joe grew up around both Matt and Floyd Murphy plus Jimmy and Syl Johnson as youngsters. Beard settled down in Memphis in his teens and started playing guitar but didn’t play out till 1965, favoring John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed and Muddy Waters songs. When Joe became an electrician in Rochester, NY in 1957 , music was a hobby but a busy one. Joe and Soul Brothers Six opened shows for BB King, Bobby Bland, Albert King, Little Milton, James Cotton and anyone else that landed at the famed BK Lounge in Rochester.
In the early 60s, Joe would be approached while playing on his porch by a guy by the name of Son House, the legendary idol/mentor to Robert Johnson The two men became close friends till House died. Beard has started many careers of younger players, Ronnie Earl, John Mooney, Steve Grills, Marquise Knox and many more. Touring Europe in 1983 Joe recorded w/Lafayette Leake, Memphis Slim and Buster Benton. In the 1990s Beard sang for James Cotton Trio as part of the band. Beard and Billy Flynn most recently appear as guests on Hummel’s 2020 CD, Wayback Machine.
Plus Charlie Musselwhite bassist & former Fab TBird, Randy Bermudes & Austin drumming legend Wes Starr( Asleep at the Wheel, Willie, Marsha, Delbert, Omar, Anson, Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Jimmy Reed Highway tour, Golden State Lone Star)