Interview with Little Joe Mclerran
by Monica Yasher

Posted on 1/23/2010 by Monica Yasher

"That’s what my show usually is, obscure blues things."

(Pittsburgh, PA) The passing of the torch... Today is the last day for Little Joe Mclerran to be the reigning king of the acoustic solo/duo act for the 25th International Blues Challenge. During his reign, he has traveled the world and released a new CD, "Believe I'll Make a Change".

As you read Little Joe's biography, you realize this competition isn't won in one night. He has played since the age of nine and was always committed to the blues. Little Joe, I hope nothing changes about that! Let me share our talk with you as I thank Little Joe for keeping traditional blues music alive and wish him a great blues future!

Monica: For all the upcoming contestants what kind of good hints can you give them? Why did it work for you?

Little Joe: You know it was my fourth year of doing it. So I did it twice with a bass player. Just me and a bass player. The third year I did it with my whole band that I brought down from Tulsa. I won by doing it all by myself, which I guess is kinda an ace in the whole for what I do. Well, really choose your material wisely and try to hit all aspects of the blues. Yeah that’s kinda what I did. I did a guitar rag, a New Orleans tune like a Mambo and just some really straight ahead barrel house blues stuff. I guess that’s what they wanted to hear. So….

M: I guess that’s what they wanted to hear. What does that mean for you and your band? Or you a sole performer now?

LJ: I travel with my bass player because I don’t drive. He drives me here and there and he plays bass. So a lot of these things I play with him. When I’m in Tulsa I have a band with me.

M: Do you prefer one kind of performance over another for any reason?

LJ: The band stuff is fun. You can really pull out tunes that I don’t normally do. Be able to kick the solos around. I love doing that. I love just singing and leading the band. The freedom of playing all by yourself is really cool because you can do what you want to do and nobody is there to hold you back from what you feel like doing. You can do really funky chord changes and stuff like that you wouldn’t be able to do with the band.

M: What has the International Blues Challenge done for your career?

LJ: I’ve been all over the place. I’ve been traveling none stop. I’ve been to Italy. So many blues festivals. It got me into the circuit of blues festivals. It’s very nice to be in with the blues festival crowd rather than a beer joint where people are there to get drunk or pick up girls. The people at the festival are there to listen to blues.

M: Do you still do the bar scene?

LJ: Around Tulsa every now and then. Different places it really depends. Those nights are fun in their own kind of way. I’ve seen some interesting stuff!

M: What have you noticed, if anything, in the differences of the audiences of Europe and the US?

LJ: That’s really strange. This is deja vue. In Italy it was really funny that I got a request for ‘Mule Skinner Blues’ which is a Jimmie Rogers song. It’s country music. Early, early country music. I don’t know ‘Mule Skinner Blues’ but I did another Jimmie Rogers tune called ‘My Rough and Rowdy Ways‘. It has a yodeling thing in it. The second I did the yodeling thing the place went nuts for IT! They wanted me to do country for the rest of the night! I ended up doing a couple more for them and I had a great time!

M: Great memory!

LJ: I met all kinds of wonderful people over there. I hope I get to do it again sometime.

M: What about CD’s?

LJ: I have a new CD that I did with a old friend from Denver Colorado who plays clarinet and saxophone. He was rated by “Downbeat Magazine” as the top ten best clarinet players in the world. Pretty heavy blues and jazz. Dexter is amazing. I did some things with him in Colorado. I love the Baritone Sax. People would come up and ask him when he was going to play it and he would say, “You don’t bring out the elephants at the beginning of the circus!” That is a great one liner. A lot of my friends from Tulsa are on it. These old guys I play with around there.

M: Are they originals or standard blues?

LJ: I’m doing half originals and the other half will be kinda obscure blues things. I’m not going to do 'Key to the Highway'. I’m not going to do standard blues songs. Pretty much obscure things. That’s what my show usually is, obscure blues things. I’ve been listening to this stuff since I’ve been a child. I kind of gained this repertoire of 500 old blues tunes that people haven‘t listened to since the twenties. There’s a section chain gang song I’m doing. It’s a legit real deal section gang tune called. It’s two of them actually into one. ‘Ratty Ratty Section’ and the other half is ‘Don’t You Hear Your Poor Mother Calling You?’ It’s a section thing song. There’s no telling who wrote it.

M: It sounds interesting. Anything you want to tell us that I didn’t ask?

LJ: I have a website. and if you are interested and want to book me you can reach me through that.

M: Thank you for your time and nice talking to you.

LJ: Well thank you Monica.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you may enjoy reading Izzy and Chris.

Copyright © 2010 Copyright Monica L. Yasher. All Rights Reserved.
Photograph Copyright © 2010 Maureen Ceidro. All Rights Reserved.

American Blues News Staff

What makes American Blues News unique is our coverage across America. Here is our lineup:

Mon: Memphis Correspondent - Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms
Nighthawk is our resident globetrotter and man behind the scenes, as he tours with the Reba Russell Band.

Tues: New York Correspondent - J. Blake
Blake is the American Blues News review and interview guru. You may catch him out and about in NY playing the blues.

Wed: National Correspondent - Monica Yasher
Monica is our executive director and artist interview specialist. You can catch Monica singing the blues around Pittsburgh or working on some country music songs in Nashville.

Thurs: Washington, DC Correspondent - Virginiabluesman
Geraldo offers inteviews and reviews. You may have seen him at an Ana Popovic concert or conversed with him on her websites, as he offers administrative support with her music.

Fri: Northeast Photographer - Nelson Onofre
Nelson offers a Friday column of blues photography and pictorial support for the interviews covered by the team.

Jim Stick in Colorado
Jim will be focusing on the Blues Festivals in the beautiful state of Colorado, and the artists that live and visit there.

Maureen Elizabeth, our resident art correspondent, will be focusing on blues art as she explores the creation of CD covers, or speaking with artists who also have a love of creating pictorial art in addition to their music! She may also feature some of her good friends in the Pittsburgh area. In her love of art, you may find Maureen's photography accompanying writer's articles on our pages. Maureen is also our marketing director.

Pittsburgh correspondent and photographer, CR Bennett, will share the Pittsburgh scene with all of you. You may also see CR's pictures accompanying other writer's articles.

We head to the big state of Texas! Abby Owen, our Texas correspondent.

Another big area to cover, the West Coast with Casey Reagan, Casey will feature many artists and events on this ocean's shores.

Lastly, we have our roving blues entertainment writer,
Chef Jimi.

And of course, we will surprise you sometimes!

Internet Marketingdata recovery