At the age of 23 and 24 Paul Rishell opened for and sat in with Howlin' Wolf in Cambridge, MA, experiences that set him on the path to becoming the blues master he is today. Rishell recalls, "There'd be no set list and no arrangements. It was extemporaneously done. It was about making things work, making connections quickly, and not worrying about the particulars. These guys didn’t count off. They'd just start playing. It was in your blood, in your feet, it was ethereal. By the time they were finished, the whole room bent in half. It was galvanizing, hypnotic, and unbelievable."
The young Rishell had to think fast in that situation. He says, "You had to come up with a part. Wolf might turn around and say 'too loud' or 'too fast.' He'd tell the key if it was specific song. And you'd find yourself playing with Hubert Sumlin: that guy was a monster!"
He continues, "Meeting these guys meant so much to me. I used them as a model: the way they handled themselves, the way they did their work and went about it. You've got to have your own style."
'Talking Guitar' comes out May 8 on Mojo Rodeo Records.