A trip to Memphis Minnie's gravesite in Walls, Mississippi several years ago inspired Richland Woman Blues, Maria's second album for Stony Plain Records. On the 25th recording of her wide-ranging career, roots pioneer Maria Muldaur celebrates one of the most profound inspirations of 20th-century American musicóthe early blues of the 1920's and 1930's. On this, her fourth self-produced album, she collaborates with half a dozen of her contemporaries and a member of the next generation, all of whom she considers "keepers of the flame".
Maria's longtime soul sister, Bonnie Raitt, pays tribute to her slide guitar mentor Mississippi Fred McDowell on McDowell's "It's a Blessing", while John Sebastian, founder of the Lovin' Spoonful, and with Maria, an alumnus of the Even Dozen Jug Band, plays on one of Maria's most-frequently requested tunes, Mississippi John Hurt's Richland Woman Blues.
Also on the recording, former Mother Earth vocalist Tracy Nelson joins in on a rare Bessie Smith/Clara Smith duet, while Taj Mahal lends his soulful touch to a spirited Blind Willie Johnson number. Maria also teams up with Alvin Youngblood Hart, the new-school blues man from the Bay area, to interpret two duets originally recorded by Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe.