Jason Ricci is one of the most popular harmonica players on the planet today. That’s what “they” say.
And Bruce Wheeler will agree. That’s why he’s bringing him back to Wheeling. Ricci has played at Heritage Music BluesFest and has performed at BluesDays at River City Restaurant.
He will return to BluesDays at River City at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 4.
“He’s a great entertainer, a great harp player. Probably the best harp player today. I don’t think there’s anyone better than he is playing the harmonica,” said Wheeler, who produces BluesDays at River City and the annual Heritage Music BluesFest at Wheeling’s Heritage Port the second weekend of August.
“I remember the first time he came to BluesFest, he rode his skateboard down the steps at Heritage Port when he arrived at the site,” Wheeler said.
Included in almost every top 10 list of harmonica players on the Internet today, Ricci is a polarizing force always in the spotlight and on the tips of the tongues of critics, artists and fans everywhere.
Ricci was selected to perform at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony with Zac Brown and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello for the induction of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in 2015. Butterfield, who died in 1987, is the only harmonica player and bandleader ever to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Ricci also was a featured performer on Johnny Winter’s Grammy award-winning CD “Step Back” in 2014. He has received multiple Blues Music Award Nominations from 2009 to 2016 and won a Blues Music Award in 2010.
Ricci has worked and/or recorded with Junior Kimbrough, RL Burnside, Nick Curran, Walter Trout, Ana Popovic, Cedric Burnside, Joe Louis Walker, Peter Karp, Sue Foley and many others.
“Through more than two decades of endless touring, TV appearances, recordings and the Internet Ricci’s style of playing is so revolutionary and influential that there exists an entire younger generation of players imitating his music, clothes, gear and even stage presence,” says Ricci’s website. “Nicknamed ‘Moon Cat’ (a street name he once used in Nashville and New Orleans to avoid police detection), Ricci has been an almost constant force for decades in the studio, festivals, club dates and press. Love him or hate him, through performing, singing, songwriting, teaching, harmonica playing and activism in the fields of L.G.B.T., mental health and addiction, it is not an overstatement that this young, white, queer, skateboarding, punk rock-loving, multiple convicted felony-having Moon Cat from Maine is currently changing the world through music and education.”
Come see for yourself at BluesDays at River City.
Tickets are $20. Visit heritagemusicfest.com for more information or to purchase tickets to the June 4 BluesDay at River City, 1400 Main St., Wheeling.