Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast

Mark Hummel interview

April 13, 2021 Neil Warren Season 1 Episode 36
Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast
Mark Hummel interview
Show Notes Chapter Markers

Mark Hummel joins me on episode 36.

Mark is a West Coast blues harp player who has put out some great harmonica songs in his catalogue of over 30 albums. 
A real connoisseur of the Blues, he has drawn inspiration from a wide range of the classic players.  Mark felt a particular affinity with Little Walter early on, and received a Grammy nomination for his 2013 album, Remembering Little Walter. This was part of the harmonica blow out series, where he has put together numerous tours featuring some of the best harp players around.
Mark has been a hard touring bluesman for over forty years, and has written a book about life on the road. He’s currently working up a solo show as he prepares to get back out to playing live gigs once again.


Mark runs his own podcast:

On YouTube:


YouTube Channel:

Harpin’ By The Sea workshop:

Ricky Cool videos on adapting saxophone solos or riffs for harmonica:

Podcast website:



If you want to make a voluntary donation to help support the running costs of the podcast then please use this link (or visit the podcast website link above):

Spotify Playlist: 

Also check out the Spotify Playlist, which contains most of the songs discussed in the podcast:

Podcast sponsor:

This podcast is sponsored by SEYDEL harmonicas - visit the oldest harmonica factory in the world at www.seydel1847.com  or on Facebook or Instagram at SEYDEL HARMONICAS

Moved to West Coast of US at a young age
Mark first heard R&B music from Mexican babysitters
Really got into music in High School and discovered Chicago Blues
Saw Junior Wells in one of first blues concerts he attended
Started playing harmonica around 1970
A lot of blues artists played on West Coast as part of Blues Revival
Mark was into Chicago Blues style
Good blues scene on south side of Los Angeles
Mark starting playing West Coast blues harmonica as that was the scene around him
Opened for Junior Wells, and knew James Cotton
Black clubs was the only place you could play blues, so Mark went to those
Learning from the greats, and recent Harpin’ By The Sea online event
Draws influences from many different players
Started playing in a band at High School
The importance of singing as a blues harmonica player
Mark learnt his craft singing in the Blues Survivors band
Record yourself as part of your practise
Has made over 30 albums, and Mark’s approach to these
Very interested in acoustic blues now, and also the history of the Blues
Mark has recorded a lot of harmonica instrumentals, noticeably on his Harpbreaker album
Remembering Little Walter album, which was nominated for a Grammy
Mark felt an affinity to Little Walter from the beginning
Has organised Harmonica Blowouts for many years now, with several live albums out from those
Creeper Returns is a song which Mark is well known for playing
Harmonica Party song
Mark loves to play some chromatic
Walking With Mr Lee is adapted from a saxophone song
Latest album is Way Back Machine, of pre-war material
Tough life being a Bluesman
Mark has written a book about working in a touring band, something which he fears may
Lot of musicians working solo these days, which Mark is considering
10 minute question
Has been doing some live streams with other harp players
Playing harmonica on a rack
Mark is a Seydel endorser, and plays 1847 model
Doesn’t use any different tuned diatonic, as uses chromatic for that purpose
Doesn’t use any overblows
For embouchre uses all tongue blocking
Amplifiers of choice
Mics of choice
Effects pedals
Future plans, including online at SPAH in 2021