Exclusive Interview with Eddie Martin

Eddie Martin How did you discover the bluesharp ?
~ I was listening to singer songwriters of The Folk Blues boom before I got into blues, and Woody Guthrie was a big influence, I heard Sonny Terry's tracks with Woody Guthrie before finding out about his duo with Brownie McGhee.

If everything would be possible (waking the dead included), which bluesharp player would you invite for a jam session?
~ Little Walter or Sonny Terry or Deford Bailey

What is your favorite blues harp brand / type and tell us why?
~ Hohner Crossover.It's a refinement and improvement on the classic Marine Band. I love the bamboo for tone and I love the smoother finish.

What are the most important tips you can give to someone who wants to learn to play the bluesharp?
~ Never let the pursuit of technique override the musicality of your playing.

Tongue blocking or lip pursing, what do you prefer and tell us why.
~ Tongue blocking gives a wider range of effects I believe than lip-pursing.

Give us the 3 most important albums every (beginning) blues harp player must buy.
~ 1. Boss Blues or The Best of Little Walter
2. A good compilation like Various Artists Mississippi Saxophone: The Great Blues Harmonica Players
3. For the historical roots: DeFord Bailey -The Legendary DeFord Bailey
Label: Tennessee Folklore Society

How do you clean your harps?
~ With a compressed air duster and pin, file whatever is at hand for flotsam buildup.

Describe the ultimate recording studio (not the technique but the facilities)
~ A good sounding live room and an engineer with knowledge of the harmonica sounds that you are wanting to achieve and th skills and equipment to achieve them. Since my third album back "Looking Forward looking Back" on, I have been lucky enough to work with my son using his recording studio, engineering expertise, knowledge of the sounds I want, and equipment to supplement my own vintage gear to achieve them.

Are you still nervous before going on stage and if so, do you use any "rituals" to calm you nerves?
~ Not generally although to record my "Live in Tuscany" album where with a 20 piece band I had one take to record cd and dvd in front of a full house I successfully used a self-prep routine of a professional singer friend to get in a calm and relaxed pre-performance zone.

What was the most memorable day in your musical career?
~ Recording the "Live in Tuscany" album with a fantastic big band of world class musicians and a gospel choir in a beautiful theatre in Tuscany. It is the album I am most proud of and was an amazing experience...for once it was working creatively and performing in the optimum circumstances and with the best musicians who gave so much to my ideas, then the fabulous audience also rose warmly to give us the best possible atmosphere to excel in a live setting.

Eddie Martin

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Answers given on june 29, 2017