MudSlide Charley
Gig Seeker Pro

MudSlide Charley

Missoula, Montana, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | SELF

Missoula, Montana, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2004
Band Blues Roots




"Mudslide Charley – Words & Bones | Album Review"

Blues Blast Magazine - August 19, 2018 - Rhys Williams - Mudslide Charley are a very interesting band out of Montana, who play rough, raw and raucous blues and roots music. Words & Bones is their fourth album and features 13 tracks of sharply-written, blues-infused, toe-tapping music that really repay close listening. The band comprises Marco Littig on slide and lead guitar, Phil Hamilton on harmonica, saxophones, guitar and percussion, Lee Rizzo on vocals, rhythm guitars and washboard, Roger Moquin on drums and Tahj Kjelland on bass. Each musician also contributes backing vocals. The majority of the instrumentation is acoustic, other than the occasional electric guitar from Littig. All of the instruments are played, however, with serious attitude and no little abandon. Lee Rizzo’s voice perfectly complements the rough edge of the music. At times, such as on the live rendition of Son House’s “Death Letter”, she sounds out of control with passion and pain. On other tracks, her voice sounds not dissimilar to Debbie Harry’s with its ostensible dispassion and distance that belies an underlying emotional vulnerability. A febrile imagination is evident in many tracks. The old Etta James and Sugar Pie DeSanto classic “In The Basement” draws out the call-and-response of the vocal lines and subtly adjusts the rhythmic groove to sound closer to the B-52s, while “Papa’s Coming Home” re-engineers the Bo Diddley sound. The wild 60s jazz-pop of “Liquid Velvet” includes a short bass solo from Kjelland as well the magnificent couplet “I like sugar in my tea. I like honey all over me…. If you walk out that door, who’s gonna be your baby now?” But while there may be hints of pop, jazz, rock or folk in many of the songs, it is the blues that is the foundation stone and the essence of everything on the album. 11 of the 13 tracks on Words & Bones were written by various members of the band. Rizzo contributed the folk-blues-rock of “Holy Man” (which has a fine sax solo from Hamilton) and the gentle pop of “Little Birdie”. Littig wrote three tracks while Hamilton came up with six. The folky blues of Hamilton’s “Southern Don’t Cross The Dog” is particularly impressive with its echoes of Led Zeppelin’s early acoustic explorations and contains the attention-grabbing opening line of “Southern don’t cross the dog in Montana. No night train headed South. It’s a hard, cold ride when you gotta get out. Southern don’t cross the dog in Montana.” Mudslide Charley have a very distinctive, almost ramshackle sound, one that appears to be constantly teetering on the edge of disaster. But this untamed quality only adds to the band’s charm. Littig and Hamilton both lay down a series of uninhibited but spot-on solos that never forget to serve the song first and foremost, while the rhythm section of Moquin and Kjelland are as comfortable on the rumbling gospel of “Burden”, the quiet restraint of “Jelly Donuts” or the Tom Waits-esque “Devil Can’t Stop The Rain”. Recorded at Black National Studio in Missoula with engineer, Chris Baumann, Words & Bones is that rare release, offering stone cold blues viewed through a novel prism. Highly recommended. - Blues Blast Magazine

"MudSlide Charley Words & Bones"

Blues Matters - Issue 104 - October, 2018 - This is an excellent refreshing eclectic Blues album by this Missoula Montana based five-piece band who play the Blues the way I believe it should be played, with grit and straight from the heart. They have been quoted as saying that their inspiration comes from the era when the likes of Howlin’ Wolf & John Lee Hooker brought together rural blues with modern electric instruments. The eleven self-written tracks are all very strong and already sound like Blues classics! The album gets off to a great start with Starting To Scratch a cracking driving blues written by multi-instrumentalist Phil Hamilton, who excels on the harmonica as well as providing some tasteful wailing Saxophone, the other song writers are slide and lead guitarist Marco Littig and the bands main vocalist Lee Rizzo. The bands configuration includes a rhythm team of Roger Moquin and Tahj Kjelland who keep everything ticking over while Phil and Marco take the lead roles, Lee’s voice grows on you, initially I felt that her vocal was too light almost “hippified” but on reflection it suits the band well, she even develops a Janis Joplin growl on the live recording of Death Letter Blues which is one of the standout tracks, especially as both Marco and Phil deliver some scintillating solos on slide guitar and harmonica respectively. The band members are all seasoned musicians and on this album everything seems to have jelled to perfection allowing them to construct this album which ticks all my boxes, difficult to articulate why it has left such a positive impression on me but one key aspect is the freedom the musicians have with their playing and song writing, Montana is often referred to as being “wild & untamed”, this perfectly describes Mudslide Charley, please don’t ever change. - Blues Matters Magazine


Words & Bones  - 2018
New & Used - 2014
Ramshackle Soul - 2010
Goes Like This - 2008



MudSlide Charley is a Missoula, Montana born band that delivers house-rockin’ roots rhythm and blues.  Montana, in all of its open space and jutting peaks is the last place you would expect to find a piece of deep Mississippi tradition. In this town in western Montana, a group of five musicians have steadfastly harvested the foundations of Delta blues to compose relevant modern music. The music and the band are bound together by a fourteen year history of performing for the people of Montana and the seminal influence of the raw blues. 

From MudSlide Charley’s first sparks in 2004, the band has continued to ignite and morph over the years into the now five piece powerhouse.  The band draws its inspiration from a more antiquated era, when Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker first fused the rough and rural vibes of southern acoustic blues with modern electric instruments.  MudSlide Charley weaves their blues foundation with Stax era R&B, Hip Hop, and Indie Rock to perform original songs that bristle with electric vibrancy and emotional fervor.  

MudSlide Charley has produced four albums and have shared the stage with Hoyt Axton, Anna Popovich, Charles Neville, and Hillstomp, and have performed at the Wallace Blues Festival, Hot Springs Blues Festival, Flathead Blues Festival and the Western Montana State Fair.

Band Members