Paul Oscher, multi-instumentalist and multiple (W.C. Handy) Blues Music Award winner, is making a rare swing through the Northeast this summer on his first area tour since 1994, when he came through with fellow Muddy Waters alumni Jimmy Rogers, Pinetop Perkins, Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, and Calvin “Fuzz” Jones.
Paul Oscher’s place in music history was cemented in the 1960s when he became the first white musician to join the Muddy Waters Blues Band. He has been an inspiration to a host of new generation harmonica players ranging from Eric Clapton’s Jerry Portnoy to Magic Dick of the J. Geils Band and Rick Estrin of Little Charlie and the Nightcats. Oscher toured the “chitlin’ circuit” with Muddy Waters at a time when mixed race bands were not welcome in the Deep South. He learned the nuances of the blues looking over the shoulders of the best musicians the blues had to offer, players like legendary pianist Otis Spann and guitarist Sammy Lawhorn. Paul lived in Muddy Waters’ house on the southside of Chicago and shared the basement with the great blues pianist Otis Spann.
Oscher remained with Muddy Waters until the early 1970s, and stayed active after leaving the group, recording with and accompanying Louisiana Red, Johnny Young, and numerous other blues artists. He also fronted his own group for years under the name Brooklyn Slim featuring Boston’s own David Maxwell on piano. In the late 1990s Oscher began recording again under his own name, and his unique deep blues sound began earning him multiple music awards. His increased visibility led to collaborations with Mos Def, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Levon Helm, and Hubert Sumlin, and his songs have been covered by Alligator recording artists Little Charlie & the Nightcats and Blind Pig recording artist Big Bill Morganfield. He has also been quoted extensively in two major books about Muddy Waters, Can’t Be Satisfied and Mojo Man, and an excerpt of Oscher’s own upcoming book appears in the companion book to the PBS series Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues. His latest recording “Down in the Delta” earned him two W.C. Handy Awards: “Acoustic Artist of the Year” and “Acoustic Album of the Year “
For the past several years Oscher has been touring as a solo performer, playing clubs and festivals all over the world. Paul likes this traveling arrangement, as he says "the only one I have to argue with is myself -- me and the band are getting along real good." In his unique "Alone With the Blues" show, Paul tells stories of his life in the blues and sings and plays harmonica, guitar and piano, at times simultaneously. He also carries with him a rare giant bass harmonica that invariably floors audiences. Oscher remains true to the real down-in-the-alley, gutbucket blues -- a sound that is rarely heard these days. He’s been playing those low-down blues for the last forty years and in Oscher’s hands it is as potent and current as it was back in the days of Muddy Waters.
Get tickets for Paul Oscher here.