Born: September 12, 1943 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Maria for over 40 years as a performer, she's literally lived the life of someone steeped in the American roots music songbook, whether it's blues, jazz, gospel, folk, country or rhythm & blues. She's the real deal, a true natural resource without any artificial affectations or jive.
For Maria Muldaur, the inspiration to sing and perform literally arrived in her own backyard. Born and raised in the Greenwich Village section of New York City, Maria was at the epicenter of the burgeoning folk and roots music boom that happened in the early '60s, with Greenwich Village as its hub. The pull of this exciting new music was strong, drawing singers, songwriters and musicians such as a young Bob Dylan from all across the USA to The Village to be a part of that scene.
At the tender age of 17, I ran away from home, recounts Maria in her new album's liner notes. I wound up about seven blocks away, taking care of two young girls in exchange for my room and board, while continuing my senior year of high school. Every evening when the kids were in bed and the parents were out, I would spend hours exploring the vast collection of original blues an jazz recordings that took up one whole wall, floor to ceiling, God must have sent me to that family because on those shelves was all the great American music I would end up loving and exploring my whole life!
During the same time, Maria discovered the bluegrass and old timey music of the American rural south, which also informed her musical upbringing. All of these elements inspired Maria to sing, learn how to play the fiddle and perform, eventually becoming a member of the Even Dozen Jug Band, whose members included John Sebastian, David Grisman and Stefan Grossman. She later joined the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, which included her future husband, Geoff Muldaur. It was also around that time that she met legendary blues singer Victoria Spivey, who took Maria under her wing and taught her the finer points of blues singing and performing.
Throughout her critically-lauded career as a singer and performer, Maria has held tight to her roots, carrying the torch for these truly American music forms. Even her substantial commercial success with songs such as Midnight at the Oasis, I'm a Woman and others, owes a debt to the music she loves.