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| 5 March 2015 | 2 Replies

Perth International Arts Festival – Chevron Festival Gardens
Charlie Musselwhite with The Gentle Good
Monday, 2 March, 2015
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Charlie Musselwhite

Considering the depth of blues talent around the world right now, it seemed an incongruous choice to have The Gentle Good open for blues harp master Charlie Musselwhite.

Sounding at times more like Peter, Paul & Mary, Welshman Gareth Bonello – joined sometimes by wife Jennifer – played haunting Welsh folk songs and originals inspired by the same. A brilliant guitarist with an ethereal voice, his music soared and met with polite applause, but provided precious few thrills.

Thrills, however, are the name of the game for Musselwhite, the 71-year-old former moonshine running legend from Mississippi, and his ultra-tight four piece band.

Starting with the stomping Bad Boy, a briefcase of harmonicas open on a side table beside his microphone stand, Musselwhite hollered and yelped like a man half his age, his raspy vocals sidestepping for repeated blows on his feisty harp.

“If you feel like movin’, don’t hesitate,” says the man, “this is dancin’ music!” and sure enough, half the crowd were on their feet shuffling and shaking their moneymakers from the start.

A supremely talented yet humble man, Musselwhite doesn’t make it all about himself, happily stepping back to nod approvingly as his band lock down a groove, especially hot shot guitarist Matt Stubbs, and they enjoy their moments in the spotlight.

As The Crow Flies, You’ve Been Gone Too Long, Stranger In A Stranger Land and Roll Your Money Maker all give ample proof why Musselwhite has a reputation for not only being arguably the most iconic harmonica player in history, but also a wonderful entertainer, and with his imposing presence and tongue-in-cheek quips between songs, it’s easy to see where Dan Ackroyd got the inspiration to base his Elwood Blues character upon him.

Everyone deserves to see Charlie Musselwhite at least once in their life, and it’s unlikely they’ll be able to resist coming back for more once they have.

Category: Live Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

Comments (2)

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  1. Thanks for the great review. We all love Perth and we loved the festival. Everybody w as so nice to us. But I have to say that I hope to still be playing at 81 I am a mere 71.
    I hope to return to Perth soon. Thanks again for the outstanding festival.

  2. Shane says:

    Oops – sorry Charlie, my maths must have been off! I’ll correct that now, and thanks again for a tremendous show!

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