RETRO: Quick Q and A with Geoff Muldaur

It’s time to revisit an interview that I did with Geoff Muldaur back in 2009.  Geoff’s discography and musical accomplishments are most impressive and show his eclectic taste as well as a broad knowledge of genres that intertwine to create unique masterpieces.  Geoff’s influences range from blues to jazz to jug band and at the end of the day, all of his music enriches and educates appreciative audiences.

Tom Rush has this to say about Geoff Muldaur: “Geoff has a voice like nobody else. When he sings you just have to listen. He has a way with a song that makes you wish it would never end. The combination of Geoff’s amazing voice and the way he wraps it around a song makes his music irresistible.” As though that peer endorsement wasn’t good enough, iconic Richard Thompson says this: ”There are only three white blues singers, and Geoff Muldaur is at least two of them.”  

Strongly suggested: visit Geoff’s website.

Here’s a video of Geoff playing the classic “Downtown Blues.”

And here’s my Quick Q and A from 2009.

Tell us a little bit about your first memories of music.

My mother singing me to sleep.  Jazz from my brother’s room…. Louis, Bix, Bessie et al.  Walter Huston singing the “September Song”.  Sabu singing “I Want To Be a Sailor.”

How and when did you discover the blues?

In Jazz compilations.  1st was Leadbelly’s “Easy Rider”. . . BW Johnson doing “Dark Was the Night.”

Any career highlights you’d like to share?

Felt nice to be playing a club in LA (The Ash Grove) in the sixties when Buddy Ebsen came to see us with his cronies. . . Paul Mason Howard, who played Zither with Leadbelly, Stan, the tall Keystone Cop, and the fellow who was the musical director for Fibber McGee and Molly.  To be candid. . . none of my old memories can touch my recent ones. . . this new life as a troubadour.

You play all over the world, but especially in Europe.  How is your music received abroad?

Hard to say exactly.  They clap and they ask for encores, but maybe they’re just being nice.

What kind of music do you listen to when you have a chance?

Gospel, Beethoven, Django, Puccini, Louis Armstrong, Bartok, Mahler, Blind Lemon, Josephine Marsh, and on and on and on

What’s your take on young musicians discovering American roots music?

Better than watching TV.

Your discography is amazing.  You’ve done so much and it’s all so diverse.  Any favorite recordings?

I think The Secret Handshake is important for me because it put me back in things.  It had been 17 years since I last recorded.  A lot of feeling had to come out.  And, of course, the Bix tribute, Private Astronomy was a lifelong dream come true.  I’m rather amazed I got to do it.

Geoff Muldaur Signature Martin 00-18H