Paul Rishell: There are blues interpreters and there’s Paul Rishell. When I first heard an album by Paul, I could tell there was something different about the way he presented the music of the masters. It’s in the way he gets inside a song. Whether it’s pre-war Delta blues, Piedmont style, spirituals, or post-war Chicago Paul has a way of internalizing the music we love and making it his own. In its own right that is a beautiful art form. Plus, anyone who has seen Paul perform or has read the liner notes to his records knows what a great historian he is! So much of what I understand about blues music is thanks to Paul Rishell.
Annie Raines: I don’t know if I’ve heard a better harmonica player than Annie Raines. From Sonny Terry to Little Walter, she can do it all! Annie also has a deep appreciation for the history of blues and an approachable way about her. I expect Annie to be right in the thick of it when it comes to camp: jams, advice or just chatting about the music. Along with Paul Rishell she has taught private lessons and courses for years, making her a great instructor for our weekend!
Paul Size: Paul has a really interesting story. He was a member of an LA-based blues band called the Red Devils, and has toured with ZZ Top. In the ‘90s the Red Devils were under the wing of and being produced by Rick Rubin. Via this connection they made a straight-up blues record as the backing band for Mick Jagger. Paul claims he had no idea who Jagger was at the time, having grown up in rural Texas. That’s gotta count for some kind of cred right there! As for his own style, he’s got a “Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson-meets-Jimmie Vaughan” way of playing guitar. Say no more!
Samuel James: I first heard of Portland, Maine’s Samuel James about 15 years ago when he put out an album on a label that also put out records by Toni Lynn Washington and Watermelon Slim. That was enough for me to like him right off the bat. When I heard his album I immediately liked the blues and storytelling elements of his music, plus the cover photo featured him decked out in a pin-stripe suit with Prince-like manicured sideburns! During his travel in subsequent years Samuel has been a featured storyteller on the Moth Radio Hour and has taught at Augusta Heritage Blues & Swing Week. He’s from a long line of performers dating back to post-slavery 1800s, and that lineage is evident during his shows. Make no mistake, though: Samuel James is no revivalist!
WUMB Blues Music Camp is open for registration now! I really hope you’ll join us for this fantastic weekend – for more info and to reserve your spot visit the Blues Camp page.
I’ll follow up next month with more info on the other instructors: Toni Lynn Washington, Bob Halperin, Kerri Powers and Daniel Fox!