North Adams, MA: Just 32, Mamie Minch is one of the youngest old-school blues guitarists and singers around. She plays songs of her own devising that sound like they’ve been stored in her old National guitar for decades. Sound familiar? Minch brought what Guitar World cites as a unique blend of “Americana, folk, blues and sass” to MASS MoCA’s FreshGrass Festival in September 2012, winning fans with her pop-up gallery performance and instrument-making workshop for kids. She returns to North Adams accompanied by her full band in MASS MoCA’s Club B-10 on Saturday, March 9, at 8 PM.
Minch told Guitar Girl Magazine how her love affair with blues guitar began:”I started as a teenager, just picking out some of these finger-picking blues songs by Mississippi John Hurt… My dad played some folk guitar, so there was a Martin guitar in the house. I would just go into my room and shut the door, and play these solos over and over until I could get them.” A self-taught student of guitar, Minch has been the head of repair at RetroFret, a Brooklyn shop that specializes in vintage, rare, and unusual stringed instruments, for five years.
Minch found her niche reviving – and writing – antique blues songs. She lists Reverend Gary Davis, Memphis Minnie, Bessie Smith, Big Mama Maybelle, and The Carter Family among her inspirations. In 2005, Minch co-founded The Roulette Sisters, a popular all-woman retro quartet that performed originals and covers of blues, country tunes, and early girl group harmony pieces by the likes of The Boswell Sisters and The Andrews Sisters.
Minch shouldn’t be mistaken solely for a revivalist; she is most definitely a product of her own time. Her 2008 solo debut album Razorburn Blues showcased her ability to “make the blues mutate and evolve, pushing the envelope while remaining true to the honesty and raw emotion of the original source,” according to Lucid Culture. Minch’s trademark voice and guitar “use the sounds of vintage blues to write modern songs.”
Mamie Minch is sponsored by the Hans & Kate Morris Fund for New Music. In addition to her evening show in MASS MoCA’s Club B-10, Minch will perform a special show for kids at 11:30 AM on Saturday, March 9. Tickets for the family show are $5.
Minch performs in MASS MoCA’s Club B-10 on Saturday, March 9, at 8 PM. Club B-10 is an intimate, casual venue on the third floor of MASS MoCA. Full bar plus dinner and snacks from Lickety Split are available before and during the show. Tickets are $12 in advance, $16 on the day of the show, and $10 for students. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office, located off Marshall Street in North Adams, from 11 AM until 5 PM (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased online at www.massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings. MASS MoCA is an independent 501(c)(3) whose operations and programming are funded through admissions and commercial lease revenue, corporate and foundation grants, and individual philanthropy.