The mysterious quality of the harmonica is what drew harp man Mark Hummel to the instrument.
“You just can’t see what is going on with it. It’s all in your mouth,” said Hummel. “It’s almost mysterious to me, that’s what really drew me to it. It was the mystery of not knowing how to get those sounds.”
He bought his first harmonica in the early ’70s when he was about 14 years old.
He was in high school and many of his friends were starting to learn the guitar.
Hummel said he was driven to get better on the harmonica because all his friends kept pestering him to stop playing the instrument.
Hummel was drawn to blues music at an early age.
“In high school I felt like kind of an outsider,” said Hummel. “There was something about the blues that spoke to me … it wasn’t mainstream. It had that underdog quality.”
Over the years the musician has founded and performed with a number of bands as well as enjoyed a solo career.
Hummel received a Grammy nomination for his album Remembering Little Water and won Best Blues and Best Traditional Blues album at the Blues Music Awards for The Hustle is Really On.
Hummel performs in Nanaimo during the show Golden State-Lone Star Blues Revue featuring Mark Hummel Friday (Sept. 30) at 8 p.m. at the Queen’s.
“The band is so good it’s real easy to get in the groove on pretty much every song,” said Hummel.
Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue features axe men Anson Funderburgh and Little Charlie Baty.
Funderburgh performed with Lightnin’ Hopkins twice during the ’70s and in 1978 formed Anson and the Rockets. The band garnered 10 Blues Music Awards.
In the late 1970s Baty formed Little Charlie and the Nightcats. In 2008 he left the band to pursue his interest in gypsy jazz music.
Hummel said there will be a mix of songs that feature the harmonica or the guitarists.
“We have two of the greatest blues guitarists out there, so I want to feature them heavily,” he said.
The band also includes drummer Wes Starr and bassist R.W. Grigsby.
Hummel said the rhythm section makes a huge impact on the type of energy a group has onstage.
“You are only as good as your rhythm section,” said Hummel.
The show is being presented by the Nanaimo Blues Society. Tickets are $20 in advance by calling 250-754-8550, online at www.porttheatre.com or $23 at the door.