view more
view more
view more
view more
view more
view more
Mike Munson - Delta and Country Blues Musician from Winona, Minnesota

Featured Musician - Mike Munson

We had been luring Mike Munson to record his next album under Blue Front Records ever since Mike opened for Jimmy during a tour of Minnesota and Wisconsin in July 2015. Appropriately, that first show was in Mike’s hometown of Winona, MN along the banks of the Mississippi River just off US 61 – the Blues Highway. When Mike open his set with a Jack Owens song, Jimmy stopped what he was doing, listened intently and then leaned over to me and said, “Listen to that. He plays that like Jack. I’ve never heard anyone else who could play it like that.” At the end of the song, he turned and said, “He's got to be our next record. Talk to him. Make it happen.” Three years later, we are absolutely thrilled to release Rose Hill by Mike Munson on November 1, 2018. Recorded in the oldest surviving juke joint, the Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia, MS, where Henry Stuckey, Skip James, Jack Owens, Cornelius Bright, Jimmy "Duck" Holmes and others developed the haunting and distinctive Bentonia Blues sound, this album is steeped in the Bentonia and Delta Blues traditions of Mississippi and the folk blues traditions of Minnesota. Munson combined these unique traditions from each end of the Blues Highway into a complex and compelling album.

Rose Hill - by Mike Munson

Blue Front Record's Story

Mike Munson

Mike Munson makes his home in Winona, Minnesota, a town sandwiched between the Mississippi River and the bluffs, with train tracks cutting through its middle. Well known for playing outstanding slide guitar blues, the driving rhythms in his songs are reminiscent of the trains that barrel through his neighbourhood. He’s a humble fellow who loves making food and playing guitar and singing. We can vouch that he does the last two very, very well. 

Munson’s blues influences include Fred McDowell, Jack Owens, and Jesse Mae Hemphill – who all hailed from areas of rural Mississippi that Munson visits often.  From sad and somber slow tunes to swampy, caterwauling stompers, his music is a master class in creative blues composition and performance, lyrically compelling, full of unique turns and twists, yet never losing sight of his art form and the music’s roots. 

Following a debut studio recording in 2013 and "Live at Ed's", his acclaimed 2014 release, his upcoming album, “Rose Hill”, was recorded in Bentonia, MS at the Blue Front Cafe, the oldest juke joint in Mississippi and owned by Jimmy "Duck" Holmes (who appears on two album tracks).  Mike has become a fan favorite of multiple NPR stations across the country, is scheduled to perform on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio and is performing at major Blues, folk and roots music festivals across the United States and Canada.

Jimmy "Duck" Holmes

Jimmy “Duck” Holmes is the embodiment of raw country blues as one of the most original and uncompromising acoustic blues musicians playing today.  From his first, Back to Bentonia (2006), to his most recent, It Is What It Is (2016), Duck’s albums have won numerous blues music awards from the Blues Foundation, the Living Blues Critics, and other organizations, and been named to annual top ten blues albums by NPR, Paste Magazine, Living Blues and others.  Duck and his rhythmic and haunting minor tuned blues have been featured in numerous documentaries and programs by the BBC, Netflix, and independents including last year’s acclaimed documentary I am the Blues

Duck’s importance as a blues musician was recently recognized when the State of Mississippi featured him on the Mississippi Bi-Centennial Forever Stamp issued by the United States Postal Service.  Duck has developed fans across the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and South America through appearances various festivals and by attracting fans to Bentonia for the past 46 years to the Bentonia Blues Festival, held the week ending on the third Saturday in June each year.  Duck is finishing his new album - Surubi - the Bolivia Sessions -  he recorded in La Paz, Bolivia. 

Duck is referred to as the Last of the Bentonia Bluesmen since he is the last direct musical descendent of Henry Stuckey, Skip James and Jack Owens.  After Henry Stuckey and Skip James passed, Jack Owens continued Jimmy’s instruction while the two would sit and play at the Blue Front Café, the oldest surviving juke joint in Mississippi.  Started in 1948 by Jimmy “Duck” Holmes’ parents, Jimmy took over the old juke in 1970.  The local blues musicians would meet at the Blue Front, shoot pool, have a few drinks and play for each other.  Today, Blues fans from all over the world travel to the Blue Front to soak in its history and hear authentic Blues from Jimmy “Duck” Holmes and others.

"Make No Mistake: Jimmy Duck Holmes is a major blues figure, the most important active performer in the country blues tradition."

Paste Magazine

If you like your blues evil, down and dirty, Jimmy "Duck" Holmes is your man.

No Depression Magazine

"His themes are dark and moody, and his guitar work is simple yet stunning, building a hypnotic reverie on each track. 
Holmes … proves that the real blues are indeed not dead and buried.  If you’re a deep blues fan, this is an essential modern recording.”

Vintage Guitar Magazine

“His originals are as low-down as anything by Son House, Charlie Patton, or even Robert Johnson. Holmes is the heir to such blues and deserves a pedestal so more people can hear the real thing.”

Classicalite Magazine