When 22-year-old harmonica ace Annie Raines first sat in with 42-year-old country blues guitarist Paul Rishell in a Boston bar in 1992, few in the crowd suspected that they were witnessing the beginning of a musical partnership that would span the next fifteen years and counting. As a working team, Paul and Annie have racked up hundreds of thousands of miles on the road in the U.S. and Europe, collaborated on original songs, and released I Want You to Know (Tone-Cool/Artemis 1996), Moving to the Country (2000), the W.C. Handy Award winner for Acoustic Blues Album of the Year, and Goin’ Home (2004), which was nominated for two Handy Awards.
Paul and Annie’s fifth project together, the live recording A Night in Woodstock, was released on their own Mojo Rodeo label. Paul and Annie are equally passionate about their craft and devoted to the study and performance of a wide range of blues styles, from the syncopated acoustic guitar wizardry of Blind Lemon Jefferson and Son House to Chicagoan “Little” Walter Jacob’s swinging amplified harmonica. Paul has reached what Boston Phoenix writer Ted Drozdowski called “a place deep and resonant as Robert Johnson’s crossroads, where authenticity, soul, and a sense of purpose and commitment ring out in every note he sings and plays.” Annie has added vocals, mandolin, piano, and other instruments to her musical arsenal, while being recognized by top professionals and fans worldwide as the “queen of the blues harmonica.” Says blues legend Pinetop Perkins, “She plays so good it hurts!”
In 2012, Paul brought out a new album of acoustic guitar songs entitled Talking Guitar, with Annie credited as guest artist, and Annie came out with her own instructional video called Blues Harmonica Blueprint.