On Fanny Hill: John Mooney’s blues/jazz
August 3, 2005
Get thee to Fanny Hill early for John Mooney’s 6 p.m. performance, as it’s likely to draw big crowds.
Mooney’s sound is a brilliant melding of his Delta blues and New Orleans second line roots. Over the years he has developed into one of the most distinctive and easily identifiable guitarist/vocalists on the scene.
Originally, Mooney’s interest in music filtered down from his grandfather, a musician himself. “He used to play the mandolin and banjo back in the ’20s,” Mooney was quoted as saying. “He even cut a couple of 78s for the Peerless label that I’ve heard. It was really hot stuff, a kind of raggy jazz.”
At 15, Mooney left home and, shortly thereafter, began playing with Joe Beard. Joe introduced him to the first and most enduring influence on the development of Mooney’s music, the legendary Delta blues singer, Ed “Son” House. The 16-year-old musician managed to impress Son, and they soon became friends.
“I wasn’t aware of what the opportunity meant, but I knew there was nobody better in Delta blues,” Mooney explained in his biography.
Mooney cites Son’s heavily rhythmic style as having a strong influence on him. In fact, the way Mooney adapts acoustic playing to a modern electric format is one of his most distinctive trademarks.
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Mooney and his band have earned a musical reputation over the years that have gained them invitations to play at numerous folk and jazz festivals across the globe, including the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Newport Folk Festival, the Chicago Blues Festival and a yearly appearance at New Orleans’ world renowned Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Blues Access called Mooney’s most recent album “a seductive musical cocktail that leaves you deliriously drunk with pleasure every time,” and Blues Revue recently wrote, ” ‘Gone To Hell’ bumps, grinds and simmers with the emotional intensity of a musician who plays directly from his soul to yours.”
On his most recent tour, Mooney continues to cook up special musical treats, served up with his unique hot and spicy primal voodoo magic. Expect tonight’s show to sizzle.
Fans and audiences seem to agree that Mooney is one incomparable artist who’s still on a roll.