We have RJ Mischo’s older brother Mike to thank for having the foresight to present his younger sibling with his first Hohner Marine Band harmonica around the age of twelve. That very same brother was also responsible for aligning Mischo’s career trajectory by taking him to see a Muddy Waters concert when he was only 16-years old. Sitting just a mere ten feet away from the pioneering blues legend at the Bel Ray Ballroom in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Mischo was awe-struck. Witnessing Waters’ magnetic performance instilled a life-long hunger and appreciation for the blues that Mischo continues to nourish to this day.
Mischo’s formal music career got its start over thirty years ago while working his way up through the thriving Minneapolis blues scene—his first paying gig came by way of Mississippi-bred singer/guitarist Percy Strother in the late-1970s. By the early ‘80s, Mischo was working with Muddy Waters’ band alumni, George “Mojo” Buford, and had discovered the secrets to achieving a full-tone on his harmonica via tongue-blocking, a method taught to him by recent Los Angeles transplant, Lynwood Slim, who had taken up residence in Minneapolis at the time.
About a year after establishing an all-star blues jam with guitarist Teddy Morgan every Sunday evening at the Five Corners Bar in 1991, the pair released their collaborative debut effort, “Ready to Go,” featuring vocalist Percy Strother on Blue Moon Records. Mischo’s first official solo album, “Gonna Rock Tonight,” followed in ‘94. Mischo continued to release top-shelf recordings, building up an impressive and sizable catalog in the process, while always employing the services of high-caliber musicians such as Jeremy Johnson, Steve Freund, Junior Watson, Franck Goldwasser, Rusty Zinn, Kid Andersen, Barrelhouse Chuck, June Core and Richard Innes. He’s also maintained a consistently aggressive touring schedule, making regular trips overseas to Europe, and has even travelled to South America for performances with Brazil’s own blues emissaries, the Igor Prado Band.
His Delta Groove debut, “Make It Good,” is RJ Mischo’s tenth release and he makes good on the promise of that title by delivering a high-octane fueled album—complete with 100% original material—backed by a formidable stable of talent featuring Austin’s foremost blues elite. Mischo explains: “I was at the King Biscuit Blues Festival watching a performance of Anson Funderburgh when the vision for this album came to me. I knew the drummer Wes Starr lived in Austin, Texas. I asked him right then and there if he would be interested in working with me on this project.” Joining Starr on the Austin sessions are guitarists Nick Curran and Johnny Moeller, bassist Ronnie James Weber, and pianist Nick Connolly. Drummer Richard Medek and Mischo’s old pal, guitarist Jeremy Johnson, are also on board for a couple of lowdown tracks recorded in St. Paul, Minnesota. Prepare yourself for some big blues and a little rock ‘n roll, on what most assuredly adds up to one of RJ Mischo’s toughest sounding and most satisfying ventures yet…make it good indeed!