Hohner Easy Reeding Magazine

Hohner Easy ReedingGeneva Red's Got A Lot Of People In Her Corner

Fall 1998

By Toni Radler
Editor

Just as her guitar player Jackie 5 & Dime warned, people don't forget Geneva Red once they've seen her perform. Part of the reason is that Red is six feet tall and has flaming red hair. The rest of the reason is her killer harmonica playing.

When it comes to playing the Special 20, Red is a standout. Red learned how to play harmonica by listening to old recordings of blues legends like Sonny Boy Williamson, Sonny Terry, Little Walter and James Cotton. Then she gradually moved to more contemporary blues. "I really enjoy listening to the old guys. But I think now the contemporary players have more of an influence on me. I find Jerry Portnoy absolutely outstanding. I love James Harman too. These guys are my favorites, their tone and phrasing and everything about them is just great. In the beginning I was drawn to Little Walter and Sonny Terry because I had heard about them. But as you grow, you look for ways to make what you do better. Guys like James Harman and Jerry Portnoy represent what is happening with the Blues now."

Progress for Red and the Roadsters is measured by better and better gigs and more mainstream festivals coming their way. Red's next CD, which she plans to cut early in 1999, will include mostly originals. "Generally as a performer, I'm much deeper into the blues now. I've learned more about the harmonica, I've had more experience, and I feel the vocals are getting stronger and I'm more secure with it."

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