Sunday, September 9, 2012

Big Road Blues:12 Bars on I-80 Review

Mark Hummel's music career began in the mid 1970's when he was played with local Oakland bluesmen such as Cool Papa, Boogie Jake, Mississippi Johnny Waters and Sonny Lane. In 1980, he formed the Blues Survivors Band.  Around 1991, he started the critically acclaimed Blues Harmonica Blowouts which have played international festivals and have featured some of the legendary giants of the instrument such as: Carey Bell, Billy Branch, James Cotton, Sam Myers, Rod Piazza, Snooky Pryor and Kim Wilson.

In spite of this tremendous success, very little has been written about Mark Hummel throughout his musical career.  The release of "Big Road Blues:12 Bars on I-80" should correct that.  In this self penned book, Mark writes about his formative years as a blues musician around the Oakland scene and his decades of time on the road with some true legends.  Some of the stories are funny, while others are sad enough to break one's heart.  

Mark's writing style is almost conversational.  If you've met Mark, quite often it feels like he is in the same room telling his story.  I found it quite difficult to put down and found myself learning quite a bit about Mark Hummel, the artist, business man and person.  Overall, if you are a Blues fan or a harmonica player, you are highly likely to find it a great read and very worthwhile addition to your Blues library.