The musical pairing of Paul Rishell & Annie Raines has been likened to a match made in Blues Heaven, following in the footsteps of virtuosic duos like Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Muddy Waters and Little Walter, and Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy. For the last 20 years, Rishell and Raines have carried the torch to new generations of blues lovers and musicians, playing festivals and concerts, teaching workshops and earning loyal fans around the globe. They have recorded 6 albums together, including MOVING TO THE COUNTRY, the W.C. Handy Award Winner for Acoustic Blues Album of the Year, and received multiple nominations for Blues Music Awards. They have appeared on the cover of Blues Revue and performed on radio and TV shows including A Prairie Home Companion, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and PBS's Arthur. They were also featured members of the J Band, led by John Sebastian of the Lovin' Spoonful, and have opened for Ray Charles, Asleep at the Wheel, Susan Tedeschi, Leon Russell, Little Feat and Dr. John.
Paul Rishell was Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1950. At the age of 13, captivated by a recording of Son House singing “County Farm Blues,” Rishell began a lifelong study of prewar blues and its progenitors. He moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts in the early 1970’s and began to perform with and learn from blues greats such as Son House, Johnny Shines, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, and Buddy Guy. In 1990 he released the critically acclaimed BLUES ON A HOLIDAY and partnered up with Raines while recording his second album, SWEAR TO TELL THE TRUTH. Rishell’s original music has been used in plays, films, and countless television shows including Friends, Oprah, and A&E’s Biography. After nearly 50 years of practicing his craft, he is a treasure trove of American roots music history and techniques, which he shares in performance, in his instructional video “Dirt Road Blues,” (Truefire, 2008), on his new CD ‘TALKING GUITAR’ and as a Visiting Artist at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Born in 1969, Annie Raines grew up in the suburb of Newton, Massachusetts. She picked up the blues harp at 17 and made her stage debut at the 1369 Jazz Club in Cambridge a few months before her high school graduation. Enthralled by the recordings of Muddy Waters, Little Walter Jacobs and Sonny Boy Williamson, Annie honed her chops at Boston area blues jams, becoming in-demand harp player on the New England club circuit and traveling to Chicago where she met and played with Pinetop Perkins, Louis Myers, and James Cotton. She also played in the Tarbox Ramblers and the Susan Tedeschi Band, going on to perform on Susan’s first three albums. Her harmonica wizardry was the perfect complement to Rishell's aching vocals and driving guitar, and he asked her to join him for a tour. After only 14 years on the road together, they married in 2006. Raines is regarded by fans and colleagues alike as not only one of the best female harmonica players out there, but simply one of the best. Her new groundbreaking instructional video, ‘Blues Harmonica Blueprint,’ (Truefire, 2012) shows her to be a passionate educator as well.
Touring internationally, playing festivals and concerts and teaching workshops, Paul Rishell & Annie Raines have built up a reputation for serving up real music with real feeling, both on their recordings and their unforgettable live shows. They have even been known to break into bluegrass and country, with Rishell switching to pedal steel and Raines doubling on guitar and mandolin and occasional tap dancing. "While their guitar, harmonica, and vocals are roiling, muscular, and masterful, their shows are down home- friendly and fun-loving." - Scott Alarik, Boston Globe