Mark Lavoie Visits Taz Michaels Show

Words by John Howland. Photo by Brianna Christenson.

American Blues Roots harmonica player, Mark Lavoie, dropped in on the second hour of the Taz Michaels show tonight to play for us and tell us a bit about what he has been up to lately. Fresh off the Legendary Rhythm and Blue Cruise, Mark had some great stories to share after playing with his duo partner, Bill Simms Jr. and the likes of Taj Majal and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Beyond his love for performance, Mark is on a mission to spread the word about the importance of American Blues Roots music, stating, “the young kids need to be exposed to this. This is history that has a lot of educational value. It’s going to take Universities to pick up on it.”  Lavoie mourns the absence of heartfelt blues in the U.S. and hopes to be able to help bring the rich art form back over from Europe.

Mark has always be musical and first became interested in the harmonica when he heard a musician playing on the street. “He was playing that moaning blues sound and that’s what hooked me,” Lavoie said. He was then “snake bit” in 1976 after he spent the summer driving for legendary harmonica virtuoso, Sonny Terry. Lavoie now looks to a jam style blues as the most natural way to make music. The music he and Simms play is so rich in feeling and history that they rarely rehearse; rather, drawing on their passion for it’s rich quality to fuel their performances.

While looking for festival gigs to promote their sound and message, Lavoie resides in Bristol, Vermont, where he works in schools, such as Middlebury College, teaching the harmonica to curious players. He is looking to tap into the youth culture, hoping to find a way around the politics of today’s music industry and instill within young music listeners an appreciation for, what Lavoie insists is, the root of all music.

Lavoie and Simms, working under the Los Angeles based label, Delta Groove Productions, are getting started on a new album and are beginning to line up shows for the rest of the 2012 year; most notably their upcoming showcase at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis, Tennessee on May 10th. More information along with recorded tracks and an online press kit can be found on their artist page at: