Throughout the years John Mooney has developed one of the
most distinctive and easily identifiable guitar and vocal
signatures of anyone alive today.
Part of the original impetus for his interest in music
may have filtered down from his grandfather, a musician
himself. “He used to play the
mandolin and banjo back in the 20’s” says Mooney. “He
even cut a couple of 78’s for the Peerless label that
I’ve heard. It was really hot stuff, a kind of raggy
John left home at 15 and began playing with Joe
about that same time. 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.
Impressed by the 16 year old musician’s talent, Son
and John soon became friends. “I
of what the
opportunity meant, but I knew there was nobody better in
Delta blues.“ Mooney cites Son’s heavily rhythmic
style 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.
In 1976 John moved to New Orleans and immersed himself
in that city’s vibrant music scene.
played with the likes of Earl King,
The Meters, Snooks Eaglin, and the man who was to influence his music greatly,
the father of New Orleans piano, Professor
was playing regularly in front of New Orleans drummers
like Zigaboo Modeliste, John Vidacovich,
and Herman Ernest.
At this place in time John successfully combined the sounds
of the delta with the syncopated rhythms of the Crescent
City to create the style that has become uniquely his own.
Since 1981 he has been touring with his group, the
Bluesiana Band, performing throughout the U.S., Canada, Panama, Europe,
Australia, and Japan. Current Bluesiana band mates include
long time band member Jeff Sarli on bass.
Jeff may be best
known for playing on the Rolling Stones “Bridges
to Babylon” album and for sharing the stage with
the likes of Keith Richards, Levon Helm, and the Band.
Other Bluesiana members include the legendary Professor
Longhair band mate Alfred “Uganda” Roberts
on congas & percussion and renowned New Orleans drummer Carlo Nuccio perhaps best known for his work with Emmylou
Harris and Tori Amos.
Over the years John and his band
have earned a musical reputation that have gained them
invitations to play at numerous folk, jazz, and blues festivals
across the globe, including the Montreaux
Jazz Festival, the Newport Folk Festival, the Chicago Blues
and a yearly appearance at New Orleans’ world renowned Jazz & Heritage Festival.
In 2000 Mooney released “Gone
to Hell,” with
special guest Dr. John adding some extra spice. The critics
welcomed this comeback with open arms and high praise.
Blues Access called the album “a
seductive musical cocktail that leaves you deliriously
drunk with pleasure every time.“
Blues Revue wrote, ”Gone
to Hell’ bumps, grinds, and simmers with the emotional
intensity of a musician who plays directly from his soul
His newest disc, “Big Ol’ Fiya” with special guest Jon Cleary has been a long time coming but
Mooney has brought some profound musical styles and songwriting
to his signature syncopated delta blues sound. If there
was ever a Mooney CD to own, this one is truly it.
far his most heartfelt, intimate, soulful and incredibly
intricate vocals, this is a John Mooney album that is simply
like none other.
He’s back…and he’s better than ever! Guitar Player Magazine says “John Mooney’s music is thicker than sweet potato pie and spicier than okra gumbo. His phrasing, timing and tone are the stuff dreams are make of, and he plays with a conviction born of endless nights in steamy Louisiana bars.” And Esquire Magazine dubbed Mooney “The King of white blues!”
John’s latest release, Gone To Hell, on Blind Pig Records, reaffirms Bonnie Raitt’s description of Mooney as a “true New Orleans Blues Legend.” This release showcases his mastery of the Delta slide sound, which he learned from his friend and mentor Son House.
Mooney is currently touring with Jeff Sarli on upright bass. Sarli recently recorded with Keith Richards and The Rolling Stones (he’s on three tracks on the Stones’ Bridges to Babylon.) Richards is a Sarli fan and says his playing reminds him of Willie Dixon.
John Mooney & Bluesiana was the talk of the town after their moving performance at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival this year. Don’t miss this incredible, legendary trio!
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