Originally from Michigan, Mick Kolassa (aka “Michissippi Mick”) has lived in Mississippi for the past 20 years. An avid blues fan and musician, Kolassa currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation, and he is a staple on the Memphis Blues scene. Kolassa views this album as his labor of love for the blues, and it is obvious that he had a blast recording it too. In addition, he is showing his love for the blues by donating all gross proceeds to the Blues Foundation, split equally between two wonderful programs: the HART Fund, and Generation Blues.
Michissippi Mick, on the Swing Suit Records label, contains 12 songs; seven originals and five covers. Recorded by Adam Hill, mixed by Dawn Hopkins, and produced by Jeff Jensen, sound quality is excellent, and the mix really lets this music shine. Personnel here are Mick Kolassa – vocals and guitars, Jeff Jensen – lead guitar, Bill Ruffino – bass, Doug McMinn – drums, and Chris Stephenson on organ. Guests include the always awesome Brandon Santini on harmonica, 2014 Pinetop Perkins BMA winner Victor Wainwright on piano, and Eric Hughes joins in on harmonica as well. Reba Russell and Redd Velvet deliver divine vocals here, elevating songs to a whole other level of impressive.
This album is such a joy on so many levels. First of all, it really is a lot of fun to listen to. Second, the playing here is just so good! Lots of tasty cuts here, and as usual, we had our favorites. There’s a friends-on-the-back-porch rendering of W.C. Handy’s “Beale Street Blues,” and a very smoky jazz tinged blues performance of Johnny Mercer’s “Blues In The Night” that is superb. “Blues Are All Around You” features excellent guitar, and the organ contributes to the overall club feel of the song. There’s also a very spirited, joyful interpretation of the classic “Refer Man,” and a stirring version of “The Letter.”
Michissippi Mick will be a welcome addition to any blues fan’s collection. Bringing this home is a win-win for everyone. The Blues Foundation receives donations from the sales, and blues lovers experience some outstanding blues, served up with a joyful heart.