Karen Mantler is a singer, songwriter, pianist, organist AND chromatic harmonica player who got her professional start at age 10 playing glockenspiel with Carla Bley (the jazz composer and arranger who also happens to be her mother). She's made a handful of wonderful records including her most recent, Business is Bad which showcases her highly personal, often humorous and sometimes deeply touching lyrics along with her piano and harmonica playing. We talk about her musical upbringing, her frustrations as a major label signee in the early 2000s, how she came to discover and fall in love with the sound of the harmonica, her recordings with Robert Wyatt and much more.
I've also launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to fund a trip to Nashville I'm hoping to make in early November to interview three harmonica greats: Charlie McCoy, Buddy Greene and Jelly Roll Johnson. All three have agreed to be interviewed for Harmonicast and if it's funded through Kickstarter, I'll head to Music City to meet up with them. You can contribute here.