Thursday, November 17, 2016

Blues supergroup Golden State - Lone Star Blues Revue coming to SPACE in Evanston


There are not many supergroups that pack as much power as Golden State - Lone Star Blues Revue.

The band features Mark Hummel (harp-blower, vocalist, bandleader and Grammy nominee), Little Charlie Baty (ex-Nightcats bandleader), RW Grigsby (bassist), and Texans Anson Funderburgh (guitarist and Rockets bandleader) and Wes Starr (famed Austin drummer).

The band will perform at 8 p.m. Nov. 17 at SPACE, 1245 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. Tickets are available at

I had the chance to talk to band leader Hummel about Golden State - Lone Star Blues Revue.

Great talking to you again. We last spoke in 2004, when you were playing with your band the Blues Survivors at B.L.U.E.S. in Chicago.

Q - So how did Golden State - Lone Star Blues Revue come together? Did you know who you wanted in the band?

Myself, RW Grigsby and Wes Starr (who've been playing together since high school), started doing gigs in 2010. In 201, Charlie Baty started doing gigs with us and Anson joined in 2012 when we did our first tours together.

Both Anson and Charlie had semi retired previously to starting this group, but we've all known each other many years.

Q - How is the chemistry in the group?

It's a great guitar contrast with these two guys, plus the rhythm section is one of the best with their years of playing together. Both Anson and Charlie backed harp players in their own groups, so they know that style well. 

Q - In sitting down to make Golden State's debut album, what were your goals and do you think you accomplished them?

On the new CD, I had Anson produce and used Kid Anderson's studio and ears (he's got big ears, literally and figuratively). I'm stoked with the results.

We really went into to the studio to do a fairly democratic record and I feel we featured everyone's strengths well.

Q - I know that Anson Funderburgh and Little Charlie Baty are both featured on your 2014 album,"The Hustle Is Really On." What makes the three of you work well together?

Like I say, the fact their styles are so different but also so in the same genre really helps and that they both backed harmonica players makes a huge positive difference. Plus everyone is a bandleader, so they know the drill well- plenty of road experience here, many miles.

Q - You have been called one of the best harmonica players in the country. I know you decided to pick up the harmonica after hearing people like James Cotton and Sonny Boy Williamson. What have you tried to do to set yourself apart from other harmonica players?

I've always listened a lot to horn players, guitar players, piano as well as harp players. I've already tried a lot of different styles of music over the years, but I've always been about blues.

Q - Your 2014 album, "Remembering Little Walter," was nominated for a Grammy award and won two Blues Music awards presented by the Blues Foundation. It features you playing with Billy Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, Sugar Ray Norcia and James Harman. What was that show like? Was it like lightning in a bottle?

That was an amazing tour and we enjoyed it so much we thought recording it was a natural. Billy Boy and Musselwhite go way back to the early '60s, Sugar Ray was a joy to work with and we all owe a huge debt to Little Walter, who we wanted to represent in our own way!

I felt everyone did a hella for that one!

Q - Your book "Big Road Blues - 12 Bars On I-80," has received rave reviews. You still do more than 200 shows a year. What keeps you going and do you ever see yourself giving that up?

The love of music mainly. I've been making my living blowing harp since 1981 and it's too late to change careers now! I still love it though and can deal with the travel as I'm used to it.

Q - You've done so much in your career. Do you have any dream projects or collaborations?

I'm considering some blues review type things - I'd love to work with Dietra Farr and Joe Beard next year and may try to put some projects together.