Maria Muldaur is best known world-wide for her 1974 mega-hit “Midnight at the Oasis,” which received several Grammy nominations, and enshrined her forever in the hearts of Baby Boomers everywhere; but despite her considerable pop music success, her 50-year career could best be described a long and adventurous odyssey through the various forms of American Roots Music. During the folk revival of the early ’60s, she began exploring and singing early Blues, Bluegrass and Appalachian “Old Timey” Music, beginning her recording career in 1963 with the Even Dozen Jug Band and shortly thereafter, joining the very popular Jim Kweskin Jug Band, touring and recording with them throughout the ’60s.
In the 40 years since “Midnight at the Oasis,” Maria has toured extensively worldwide and has recorded 40 solo albums covering all kinds of American Roots Music, including Gospel, R&B, Jazz and Big Band (not to mention several award-winning children’s albums), before settling comfortably into her favorite idiom, the Blues, in recent years. Often joining forces with some of the top names in the business, Maria has recorded and produced on-average an album per year, several of which have been nominated for Grammy and other awards.
Her critically acclaimed 2001 Stony Plain Records release, Richland Woman Blues, was nominated for a Grammy and by the Blues Foundation as Best Traditional Blues Album of the Year, as was the follow up to that album, Sweet Lovin’ Ol’ Soul. Her timely 2008 album, Yes We Can!, featured songs from some of the most socially conscious songwriters of the past half century: Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Allen Toussaint, Garth Brooks and others, and featured her “Women’s Voices for Peace Choir,” which included: Bonnie Raitt, Joan, Baez, Jane Fonda, Odetta, Phoebe Snow, Holly Near and others.
For her 2009 release, Maria revisited her original Jug Band roots, teaming up with John Sebastian, David Grisman and Dan Hicks. Maria Muldaur & Her Garden of Joy garnered Maria her 6th Grammy nomination, and was also nominated for Best Traditional Blues Album of the Year by The Blues Foundation.
In 2011, detouring from her ongoing exploration of acoustic Vintage Blues, Maria released Steady Love, returning to her much-beloved New Orleans (the place she calls her “musical and spiritual home”) to record a contemporary electric Blues album that reflects the kind of music she loves to perform live – what she calls “Bluesiana Music” – her own brand of New Orleans-flavored Blues, R&B and “Swamp Funk.” Steady Love reached #1 on the Living Blues Chart, and garnered her another nomination for Best Traditional Female Blues Artist from the Blues Foundation.
In 2012, for her 40th album, Maria produced ….First Came Memphis Minnie, a loving tribute to the pioneering Blues woman who inspired and influenced so many female Blues artists who followed in her footsteps, many of whom joined Maria on this special project: Bonnie Raitt, Phoebe Snow, Ruthie Foster, Koko Taylor and Rory Block accompanied by the amazing guitar work of Del Rey, David Bromberg, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Roy Rogers, Bob Margolin, Steve James and Steve Freund. Maria considers Memphis Minnie to be a trailblazing musical pioneer for all women, but also a personal Blues hero. “From that first moment I heard her soulful music on an old scratchy 78 to this,” says Maria, “Memphis Minnie, and the example she set for me, has remained a profound influence on my life and my music.”
In 2013, taking a brief hiatus from her yearly recording schedule, Maria focused on 3 special collaborations, performing worldwide with her old Jug Band mates, in a series of 50th Anniversary Kweskin Jug Band Reunion concerts, teaming up with the Campbell Brothers, world-renowned Sacred Steel Gospel artists, for a very special presentation entitled, “Spirit & The Blues”, touring as Special Guest Artist with Bill Wyman and The Rhythm Kings. as well as continuing to perform with her own Red Hot Bluesiana Band.