"He makes the masters like Son House and Robert Johnson speak to us across time."
- Frank-John Hadley, Downbeat
Paul Rishell – the W.C. Handy Award-winning blues master singer and guitarist who played with and learned from Son House, Johnny Shines, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, and Buddy Guy, and Junior Wells – has come full circle in creating his new album 'Talking Guitar' (May 8 / Mojo Rodeo Records) returning to the music which inspired him to play the blues in the first place when he began honing his craft over 45 years ago. It is his first solo album since 1993 and his first all-acoustic outing.
'Talking Guitar' sports interpretations of songs from the repertoires of Blues Hall of Famers Lead Belly, Skip James, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, and others in addition to two Rishell originals. His musical partner of the past 18 years Annie Raines guests on harmonica for three songs including "Big Road Blues" and the rousing original "I'm Gonna Jump and Shout."
Rishell has reached what Boston Phoenix writer Ted Drozdowski called "a place deep and resonant as Robert Johnson’s crossroads, where authenticity, soul, and a sense of purpose and commitment ring out in every note he sings and plays." Billboard Magazine says, "Rishell is a master of country/blues styles, particularly slide played on a National steel guitar."
Here's video of Rishell teaching and playing "Down the Dirt Road Blues" and talking about Charley Patton from his instructional DVD by the same name on True Fire (performance starts at 1:23):
He is also a blues historian and educator, who is currently a Visiting Artist at Berklee College of Music. Born in Brooklyn, NY, Rishell has long lived in Cambridge, MA.
A Rishell guitar pupil, Susan Tedeschi recorded an "unplugged" version of Paul’s "Blues on a Holiday" with Paul on guitar. With Raines, he has opened for Ray Charles, Asleep at the Wheel, Susan Tedeschi, Leon Russell, Dr. John, and John Sebastian. They were also featured members of the J Band, led by John Sebastian of the Lovin' Spoonful.
The duo has played on A Prairie Home Companion and PBS’s Arthur and Rishell has performed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. They have performed and recorded with Tedeschi, Sebastian, Hubert Sumlin, and Pinetop Perkins.
Paul Rishell – Talking Guitar
1. Fannin' Street (Leadbelly)
2. Special Rider Blues (Skip James)
3. M & O Blues (Willie Brown)
4. Down the Dirt Road Blues (Charley Patton)
5. Big Road Blues (Tommy Johnson).feat. Annie Raines, harmonica
6. I'm Gonna Jump and Shout (Paul Rishell).feat. Annie Raines, harmonica
7. Police Dog Blues (Blind Blake)
8. One Dime Blues (Blind Lemon Jefferson)
9. Weeping Willow Blues (Blind Boy Fuller)
10. Screamin' and Cryin' Blues (Blind Boy Fuller)
11. Tired of Being Mistreated (Clifford Gibson)
12. Louise (Paul Rishell)
13. Michigan Water Blues (Clarence Williams, adapted & arranged by Paul Rishell).feat. Annie Raines, harmonica
For more information on Paul Rishell, please contact Nick Loss-Eaton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 718.541.1130.