Charlie Musselwhite: Back In Australia In September

Charlie Musselwhite is heading back to Australia for the first time in a decade, bringing with him almost sixty years of blues experience, writes Samuel J. Fell

“There’s a lot of stuff I don’t remember,” says Charlie Musselwhite. He laughs as he says this, leaning back in his chair and shifting position. Behind him, a couple of guitars rest against shelves, there’s general clutter about the room, a gig poster from times gone by affixed to a cabinet. Outside, through the window, trees wave in the springtime wind.

Musselwhite is at home, in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the state in which he was born but left at age three, first to Memphis, then to Chicago and San Francisco as the second wave of the blues boom broke and the genre evolved anew and, thusly, was introduced to vast new audiences. He moved back to his home state a few years ago; he tells me that Clarksdale is growing again, that live music is back, “Seven nights a week,” he smiles, and you know he knows where it’s at.

Where it’ll be come September, is right here in Australia, as Musselwhite heads back down under for the first time in around ten years. With him will be long-time drummer June Core, who’s been in his band for twenty years this year, and bassist Randy Bermudes. Added to this is guitar whiz Kid Andersen, a line-up sure to blow minds and win hearts within the realms of Musselwhite’s stellar harmonica work, his blues chops in general.

“Kid plays with me often, I played with him just last Friday night,” he says. “He brings a lot of humour, he’s got a great sense of humour, we have a lot of fun on the road, but he’s also a straight-ahead, fabulous guitar player, and he knows a lot of music, it’s easy to work it out with a guy like that.”

Working it out is what Charlie Musselwhite has been doing for close to sixty years, having played with any and all the blues greats along the way. For him, the blues is an “attitude”, a “way of living life”, something there’s no denying.

He pauses for a second, thinking about it. “Well, blues is more than just music,” he muses slowly. “It’s not a fad, it’s really like a philosophy or something – a way of dealing with life. Blues is your buddy in good times, and your comforter in hard times. It’ll accompany you through life, make the hard times easier, and you can party with it too, you know? It’s honest music.”

“I love the blues, I aways have, it’s just part of my nature,” he laughs. “It’s just me.”

Charlie Musselwhite Australian Tour, September 2024

Sept 18 – Northcote Theatre, Melbourne

Sept 20 – Manning Bar, Sydney

Sept 21 – Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane

Sept 24 – Harmonie German Club, Canberra

Sept 26 – Astor Theatre, Perth

Sept 28 – The Gov, Adelaide