How did you discover the bluesharp?
~ Someone gave me one in passing, I can’t recall the occasion but I was immediately drawn to it. A few days later I went on a camping trip to a bioluminescent island off the coast of NC and brough it with me. It was a full moon, I went out to the edge of the beach from my camp and decided to play around with it, still not aware of how to make any real melody or have any control of sound. Eventually the tide came in and I was separated from my camp by a long river of water. It was night time and I suddenly felt scared to cross the dark water. I had the harmonica in my hand still and in that moment it felt like a saving grace. I stood on the edge of the water breathing in and out of the harp and started slowly entering the water. In some way it felt that I was safe as long as I was playing the harmonica but as soon as I stopped I’d be swallowed whole by the ocean and this river of water cutting across the island. By the time I reached the other side and my camp, the harmonica had become an extension of my breath. Something had clicked and I was playing as I play today. It was as if I downloaded the understanding of the instrument crossing the water, and from that day it has been my go to instrument.
If everything would be possible (waking the dead included), which bluesharp player would you invite for a jam session?
~ Little Milton.
What is your favorite bluesharp brand / type and tell us why?
~ My favorite is Lee Oskar Harmonicas. They always have been, I always loved the tone and how rich the sound was when you bent the notes and really dug in. I love that you can replace parts and that it feels like a real instrument, not a cheap toy as so many of them do. I also love that there are options available that really lend themselves to exploring the harmonica as a “melody maker” and can evoke sounds that are more reminiscent of a saxophone or flute then the typical blues sound. I always played a Lee Oskar but now that I am a featured artist with them, I love them even more since I know their story and the people behind them.
What are the most important tips you can give to someone who wants to learn to play the bluesharp?
~ Don’t over think it. It is an extension of your breath. It’s a percussion instrument. Start there and the melodies and control will come.
Tongue blocking or lip pursing, what do you prefer and tell us why.
~ I would have to say tongue blocking because I can get deeper drawn out tones.
How do you clean your harps?
~ With Q-tips and alcohol and I take them apart if needed. I honestly am not over zealous with cleaning them as I feel some of the accumulated grime gives character to the tone (within hygienic reason of course! ;-).
Read entire interview here