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Take Five with Maria Muldaur

Maria Muldaur By

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About Maria Muldaur

Maria Muldaur is best known for "Midnight At The Oasis," though she has toured extensively worldwide for over four decades, and has released 41 albums covering all stripes of American Roots Music, including Gospel, R&B, Jazz and Big Band, as well as several award-winning children's albums. Often joining forces with other fine artists, she has recorded and produced on-average, an album per year. These last few years have seen the 50th Anniversary Kweskin Jug Band Reunion concerts, gospel collaborations with the Campbell Brothers, performances with Bill Wyman and The Rhythm Kings, and notable reissues of her early recordings with Jim Kweskin. She is a twelve-time Blues Award and five-time Grammy nominee—the most recent of which, Don't You Feel My Leg: The Naughty Bawdy Blues of Blue Lu Barker was nominated for a 2019 Best Traditional Blues Grammy. She remains a revered and preeminent interpreter of American Roots music.

Instrument(s):

I am mainly a vocalist, play a mean tambourine and a smattering of Appalachian old-timey fiddle.

Teachers and/or influences?

When I was five years old I was absolutely captivated by the singing of Hank Williams, Kitty Wells, and other early country artists, and learned many of their songs In my early teen years, I was intensely listening to all the early R&B artists... Ruth Brown, Etta James, etc. While still in high school I discovered the Complete Works of Bessie Smith in a friend's collection, and her deeply soulful singing became a profound influence and inspiration to me! I met a contemporary of Bessie Smith's, classic blues queen Victoria Spivey in 1962 in NYC, and she took me under her wing and encouraged and mentored me, taking me to her apartment to play old 78 blues recordings, in hopes of finding songs suitable for my young voice... she played me many of her early recordings, as well as introducing me to the early work of Memphis Minnie, who also became a big inspiration, musical influence and role model to me, both musically and personally! Around that time I also discovered and fell in love with Peggy Lee's voice and cool, spare, Zen delivery!

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I never really made a conscious definitive "choice" to have a "career" in music! Rather, music was always the thing that attracted and magnetized me the most. My entire life could be described as a long and adventurous odyssey through various forms of American roots music... Blues, Jazz, Gospel, Bluegrass, Old-timey, etc. and from a very young age I just followed my passion wherever it led, until I found myself totally immersed in musical endeavors and have been doing it for living my entire life! I didn't choose a career in music! Music chose me!

Your sound and approach to music.

From an early age I listened intensely to many wonderful roots music singers (i.e. country, bluegrass. blues, jazz gospel, etc.) and totally immersed myself in those genres, so I suppose my singing "sound" is an amalgam of all those different tones and inflections that inspired and informed me. My "approach" to music is a completely natural and unschooled approach... if I feel attracted and moved by a melody and/or lyric, then I am naturally drawn to the song, no matter what the genre. I don't write music or lyrics myself, but I feel I have a keen discernment for good songwriting, and have always been blessed with the ability to choose songs that really speak to me in the moment, but turn out over the years to have universal and timeless appeal. if the song says something I can feel or relate to, I can find a way to deliver it! if not... well why bother?

Your teaching approach:

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Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jun3Mon
Maria Muldaur
Yoshi's Oakland
Oakland, CA
$19
Jun15Sat
Maria Muldaur, The Garcia Project
Sweetwater Music Hall
Mill Valley, CA
Jul19Fri
Maria Muldaur
Colony
Woodstock, NY
Jul21Sun
Maria Muldaur
Daryl's House
Pawling, NY

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