Maria Muldaur
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Maria Muldaur

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Singer Maria Muldaur has earned yet another Grammy nomination — her third for Stony Plain, her Edmonton-based roots music label. The nomination, in the "Best Traditional Folk Album" category, is for Maria Muldaur & Her Garden of Joy, a fun-filled collection of jug band material that hearkens back to her very first recordings with the Even Dozen Jug Band and the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, recorded in the early ’60s. It's the third album — out of five on Stony Plain — to be nominated for the singer, who first came to prominence with her massive 1973 hit, "Midnight at the Oasis." Other Stony Plain albums by the singer that earned Grammy recognition were Richland Woman Blues (2001) and Sweet Lovin' Ol' Soul (2005).

Maria Muldaur & Her Garden of Joy includes performances by veteran bluesman Taj Mahal, The Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian, singer/songwriter Dan Hicks and mandolin virtuoso David Grisman. Subtitled Good Time Music for Hard Times the record was released at the height of the U.S. recession, and includes two old songs from the ’20s that Muldaur rediscovered, "The Panic is On" and "Bank Failure Blues." - NARAS


If there's a more passionate purveyor of American musical tradition than Muldaur please do me a favor and send me their names. And since I'm on a retirement income, feel free to send along some cds while you're at it.

Though this is her fifth disc for kids, parents and any and all adults within hearing radius will be hummin', strummin', kazooin', and kickin' up their heels when they hear this swinging, breathing collection. Muldaur's beautiful gift of bringing the past alive is what has kept her front and center of American roots music, and Barnyard Dance doesn't dim her spotlight one watt.

Surrounded by emphatic musicians as in love with these free rolling shenanigans as she, jugger/guitarist Kit Stovepipe, fiddler Suzy Thompson, and plenty of cans, bells, whistles, kazoos, bones, washboards, pots, pans, 'n whatnot by Lucas Hicks, Devin Champlin, Joe Crockett, and Jim Rothermel make these crazy tunes—I Love To Ride My Camel, Mama Don't Allow No Jug Band Music 'Round Here, and Under The Chicken Tree will have all ages dancin' 'round the barn.
- Mike Jurkovic for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange


As the cartoonist Robert Crumb has pointed out, the current depression is worse that it was in the 1930s "because we don't have the music to get us through it". Muldaur attempts to remedy that with a selection of jug band tunes new and old and collaborators such as John Sebastian, Taj Mahal and the songwriter Dan Hicks. Shout You Cats and Garden of Joy provide some vintage optimism, while Bank Failure Blues and The Panic is On add a piquant topicality.

- John Clarke, Times Online

Any album boasting a song called "Bank Failure Blues" has got to be dead contemporary, right? Weil, no, actually. Martha Copeland sang that selfsame song back in 1927. But that's the beauty of Maria Muldaur's latest offering. It's a complete return to the past that, without relinquishing anything in the way of authenticity, sounds great in 2010. And, while reminding us that the world is crashing clown around our heads, confirms that happiness is only a good tune or two away. Remember the Kweskin Jug Band, where the Muldaur story began? Well, here we are, back in that rooty-tooty way of things, except the cast these days includes John Sebastian, David Grisman and Taj Mahal. And, of course, good-time guru Dan Hicks, whose duet with Muldaur on a mediey that includes "When Elephants Roost In Bamboo Trees," is the ultimate, melodic, wide grin. Grab yourself a washboard and join in.
- Fred Dellar, MOJO - Various Publishers






Maria Muldaur / Hugh's Room / Toronto, Canada / Oct 28h / Jug Band



Reviewed by Joe Montague



Hugh’s Room in Toronto was buzzing with excitement as the concertgoers anticipated the arrival of the saucy songstress Maria Muldaur, a native of Greenwich New York, who began her career singing with the Even Dozen Jug Band and John Sebastian (who went on to help found The Lovin’ Spoonful). She enjoyed a top ten pop hit “Midnight At The Oasis,” (# 6, 1973) and since then has established herself as a performing musicologist of American folk, blues and sometimes jazz music. On this evening, Muldaur’s career has come full circle as once again she is performing with a jug band, this time The Garden Of Joy Jug Band, featuring Kit Stovepipe on guitar, the multi talented percussionist Lucas Hicks (jugs, tubs and rhythm bones to name but a few), banjo wielding Devin Champlin and upright bass player Kurt Jensen. To tease the audience just a bit, and to whet their appetite even more, the Garden Of Joy Jug Band opened the set with two numbers, the first being a song they referred to as having gone feral, and they turned the title of “Alabama Jubilee,” inside out. This journalist is not even going to attempt to spell how they pronounced it.

Finally the time had come for Maria Muldaur to take the stage and she began her set with the Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller song “I’m A Woman,” a song written by two of America’s iconic songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (who also penned “Hound Dog,” (originally performed by Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, 1952), “Kansas City,” and “Yakety Yak.”). “I’m A Woman,” possessed a hillbilly vibe, Muldaur’s gritty vocals, and to add flavor she included a yodel. As she sang, Mulduar brandished a tambourine in each hand.

Muldaur who always infuses her conversations with an abundance of wit, introduced the next song, a Dan Hicks’ tune, “The Diplomat,” as a lesson in anger management and Lucas Hicks slid over to play the washboard. The song was up-tempo and the rhythm carried the listeners along with it.

In the years that I have known Maria Muldaur, she has never hesitated to speak her mind and her visit to Hugh’s Room was no exception, as she introduced one of several Mississippi Sheiks’ songs which she would perform during the evening, this time, a ballad about a young woman who discovers her true love was not so true. “He was a lyin’,cheatin’ gigolo,” exclaimed Muldaur. Her saucy demeanor was a good fit for this song. The chorus of the song is somewhat reminiscent of “Walk Right In,” by the Rooftop Singers (1963) and upon further research one discovers that Gus Cannon’s Jug Stompers wrote and performed “Walk Right In,” in 1927, which would have made them contemporaries of The Mississippi Sheiks, who in 2008 were recognized for their contribution to music as their song “Sitting On Top Of The World,” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The later tune which was first recorded in 1930, has of course over the years been recorded by a host of well known artists including; Howlin’ Wolf, Nat King Cole, Bill Monroe, Harry Belafonte, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Cream, the Grateful Dead and Jeff Healy.

Muldaur performed “Shout You Cats,” from her new album Garden Of Joy, before moving into “The Ghost Of The St Louis Blues.” She talked about the influence that early twentieth century recording artist, musician / singer Emmett Miller had on country singers such as Hank Williams and Jimmie Rogers and how they in turn influenced her, which resulted in her starting to incorporate yodeling as part of her repertoire.

As you get to know Maria Muldaur it does not take you long to realize the passion that she has for reviving not only songs of yesteryear, but more importantly she wants people to understand who the people were that paved the way for today’s artists. Although this tour was to promote the new album, it is difficult to separate Muldaur’s music of today from the history of folk, blues and sometimes jazz. When one reflects upon Maria Muldaur’s career, her greatest contribution may be that she has helped educate today’s music fan about the origins of American music. One suspects that Maria would find satisfaction in being thought of in that way.

Other highlights from Maria Muldaur’s first set included, “Sweet Lovin Old Soul,” from the Garden Of Joy album, a pretty Dan Hicks tune “Let It Simmer,” also from the current CD, and then never one to shy away from speaking her mind, Muldaur introduced another Mississippi Sheiks’ song “He Calls That Religion,” not exactly an edifying piece, as the chorus says, “He calls that religion / But I know he’s goin’ to hell when he dies.” Muldaur led her fans in a call and response as she had them sing back to her the words “He calls that religion.” Her band played a glorious bridge.

The second set opened with just the Garden Of Joy Jug Band playing “Memphis Blues,” and then Muldaur joined them on stage singing the - Joe Montague


Discography

See http://www.mariamuldaur.com/discography.html.com for list.

Photos

Bio

Maria Muldaur is best known world wide for her '74 mega-hit “Midnight at the Oasis,” which received several Grammy nominations, and enshrined her forever in the hearts of Baby Boomers everywhere; but despite her considerable Pop Music success, her 49-year career could best be described as a long and adventurous odyssey through the various forms of American Roots Music. During the folk revival of the early '60s, she began exploring and singing early Blues, Bluegrass, Appalachian “Old Timey” music, beginning her recording career in 1963 with the Even Dozen Jug Band and shortly thereafter, joining the very popular Jim Kweskin Jug Band, touring, and recording with them throughout the '60s.

In the 37 years since “Midnight at the Oasis,” Maria has toured extensively worldwide, and has recorded 38 solo albums covering all kinds of American Roots music, including Gospel, R&B, Jazz and Big Band (not to mention several award-winning children’s albums), before settling comfortably into her favorite idiom, the Blues, in recent years. Often joining forces with some of the top names in the business, Maria has recorded and produced on-average an album per year, several of which have been nominated for Grammy and other awards.

Her critically acclaimed 2001 release, Richland Woman Blues, was nominated for a Grammy and by the Blues Foundation as Best Traditional Blues Album of the Year, as was the follow up to that album, Sweet Lovin’ Ol’ Soul. Her timely 2008 album, Yes We Can!, featured songs from some of the most socially conscious songwriters of the past half century: Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Allen Toussaint, Garth Brooks and others, and featured her “Women’s Voices for Peace Choir,” which included: Bonnie Raitt, Joan, Baez, Jane Fonda, Odetta, Phoebe Snow, Holly Near and others.

For her 2009 release, Maria revisited her original Jug Band roots, teaming up with John Sebastian, David Grisman and Dan Hicks. Maria Muldaur & Her Garden of Joy was nominated for Best Traditional Blues Album of the Year by the Blues Foundation, and garnered Maria her 6th Grammy nomination, as well.

Now, in 2011, detouring from her ongoing exploration of vintage blues - for her latest release, Steady Love, Maria returned to her much-beloved New Orleans (the place she calls her “musical and spiritual home”) to record a contemporary electric blues album that reflects the kind of music she loves to perform live - what she calls “Bluesiana Music” - her own brand of New Orleans-flavored blues, R& B and “swamp funk.” Maria continues to enjoy creative collaborations with some of the finest artists in her field, tours regularly world wide, and is available for festivals, concerts, club dates, workshops and residencies.

For a hi-res color photo of Maria Muldaur, click here: Maria Muldaur. To access Maria’s EPK for music samples, bio, press, photos, click here: Maria Muldaur Sonicbids EPK.

Maria Muldaur – Steady Love – International release date: September 27, 2011
www.stonyplainrecords.com www.mariamuldaur.com

For further information, new high resolution photographs, and interview arrangements, please contact:

In the United States: Mark Pucci
Mark Pucci Media
770 804-9555
mpmedia@bellsouth.net
www.markpuccimedia.com
In Canada: Richard Flohil
Richard Flohil & Associates
416 351-1323
rflohil@sympatico.ca
www.richardflohil.com
Management/Booking: Charlie Ellicott
Second Octave Talent
707 773-3170
cellicott@secondoctave.com
www.secondoctave.com