RJ Mischo – RJ Mischo In Finland
12 tracks – 46 minutes
Robert Joseph “RJ” Mischo is an award-winning and renowned blues singer and harmonica player. Born in Chilton, Wisconsin in 1960, he started playing at age ten and by age 19, he was working as a full-time professional player in the Minneapolis and St. Paul twin cities. Lynwood Slim became his mentor and aided RJ in his growth in playing his instrument. He moved to San Francisco in 1996 to extend his musical career. RJ has played alongside of many major blues artists including Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Jimmey Thackery and many others.
With this album, the Hohner endorsed musician now has released fourteen albums. He has had two songs reach no. 1 on Sirius/XM”s BB King’s Bluesville station. His 2012 album reached #4 on the Living Blues Radio charts and two of his albums placed in the top 50 of that magazine’s Top 50 in their individual release years. His music has been used in movie scores, tv ads, and Discovery Channel documentaries. He is also a staff member at Jon Gindick’s Harmonica Jam Camps held in Clarksdale, Mississippi and Ventura, California.
RJ’s professional life has led him to play at many venues and festivals across the U.S. and internationally. That has led to his current album being recorded live in Tomi Leino’s Suprovox Analog Studio in Finland. The album consists of eleven originals and one cover. RJ Mischo plays harmonica and performs the vocals with Leino’s band backing him. That band consists of Tomi Leino and Jonne Kulluvaara on guitars, Jaska Prepula on bass, and Mikko Peltola on drums.
The album kicks off in rousing fashion with “Everybody”, noting that everyone “has to try more love” and “needs to let their love light shine…to get everybody together”. The guitars carry the lead with RJ’s harmonica not kicking in until the end of the song. Sonny Boy Williamson’s “She Got Next to Me” penned by Rice Miller is the sole cover and is given a nice shuffle beat. “Next, he notes that “everybody is talking and nobody’s listening” and “Everybody’s got “Two Ears and One Mouth” for a reason” so you should “be talking half as much as you are listening”.
He states that “I am gone, “Good Intentions” do nobody wrong.” His harmonica weaves in and out of some fine guitar work on the song. On “Second Wind Two”, he notes that you only find “him when the lights grow dim”. The “Avanto Shuffle” is a harmonica driven instrumental. He advises a woman he met to “Spread Your Hustle”, “you better move right along baby or the world gonna find you out.”, but notes that he met those types of women in multiple cities.
On “She’s Good to Me” he announces “My baby’s good to me. She does not need any diamonds or fancy pearls. So much sugar and so doggone sweet” as the harmonica offers some kissing sounds. With “Tried To Kill Me #2”, he tells a story that in 1989 he was “shot by a pistol and stabbed by a butcher knife, they tried to kill but it was not my time to die”. But sometimes a tragedy turns into the best of your life, as he ran into a club and met the woman who would become his wife. “No lie”.
On “Don’t Look Down”, he recognizes “I have done way too many shots and way too many last calls” but advises “you just have to keep looking up” and notes “that people in the graveyard are people just like you and me.” “I’m going to work to stay on this side of the ground”. On “Dark Road, City Light”, he speaks of traveling long times and on “a dark road, you never know what you are going to find.” “Come to a fork in the road, can’t tell which way to turn, but either way you have got something to learn.” He concludes the album with a tale of “Going Out to California” and notes that “All my life I have been a traveling man, go to sleep in London, England and wake up in Birmingham”. “Got tired of traveling and hanging my hat from town to town, but I’m going out California where my baby can be found”.
As should be readily apparent from the lines offered above, RJ delivers songs based in humor and offering sage advice all mixed in a traditional blues style. His stories certainly reek of the life he has led and the things he has observed and learned. His ever-present harmonica shuffles in and out of the lines with the band excellently supplementing his sound.
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