Exclusive Interview with Alain Messier

Alain Messier How did you discover the bluesharp ?
~ Well, I was twelve I think and I discovered Blues harp listening Muddy Water Band with James Cotton.

If everything would be possible (waking the dead included), which bluesharp player would you invite for a jam session?
~ If I could : Pat Ramsey for sure!

What is your favorite blues harp brand / type and tell us why?
~ I'm using Golden Melody custom, with Andrew Jazac comb for the precision, and Blue moon harmonica wood combs and cover plates for the sound.

What are the most important tips you can give to someone who wants to learn to play the bluesharp?
~ Listen to the old masters and make inside you the link between the message in the lyrics and the meaning of the notes. Even for a young guy who only wants to play harp without singing...because playing harp, or sing, is always a message.

Tongue blocking or lip pursing, what do you prefer and tell us why.
~ I'm playing "lip pursing". I don't have problem with tongue blocking, that sounds deep and smoothy, but I prefer keep all the movement possible with the tip of my tongue for many technics, notes and effects, and I can't do all that, in the same way with the tongue blocking.

Give us the 3 most important albums every (beginning) blues harp player must buy.
~ For sure one of Sonny Boy Willamson 2, another from Little Walter, and White hot and Blue from guitar hero Johnny Winter for the incredible play and sound of Pat Ramsey.

How do you clean your harps?
~ I put the plates in a little vinegar and water and brush them slowly.

What is the question interviewers never seem to ask you and...you wish they would? (Please provide your answer as well.)
~ Surely a question about blues ethic, authenticity and legitimity for playing the Blues. Maybe a question everyone have to ask himself!

Describe the ultimate recording studio (not the technique but the facilities)
~ The feeling between the sound engineer and I. He really have to understand my ears for giving me the best, and after, be the most cool partner to make the thing arrive.

Are you still nervous before going on stage and if so, do you use any "rituals" to calm you nerves?
~ I 'm never nervous before playing one of my show, and always nervous when I play in someone else show.

What was the most memorable day in your musical career?
~ Long ago, in a little town, I was first part on Canned Heat concert. We play Canned Heat version of "Walkin by myself" and this day I decided to play exactly the original solo of Al Wilson... When we finish the manager hug me very strong and said me "Thank you".

If I can I'd like to add a word. Blues has always been saved by dignity... I send my best wishes to all Blues harp players.. and others also. Thank you.

Alain Messier

For more info about Alain Messier you can go to:


Answers given on September 7, 2017