JoAnne Reinhard knows a good harmonica player when she hears one.
“I loved Bob Dylan and it just carried over,” she said. “About eight or 10 years ago, I decided, ‘I’m going to learn this instrument and I’m going to learn it right.”
Since then, she has taken lessons and is part of The Harmonica Club, which performs throughout the Tri-State. She attends an annual week of blues performance at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, W.Va., learning in workshops that last all morning and all afternoon and in jam sessions that last into the wee hours.
She continues learning by taking lessons via Skype from the world-famous New Jersey harmonica player Dennis Gruenling, who often tours with Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones, playing blues all over the world. Gruenling also hosts a blues radio show, “Blues and the Beat,” on Thursday afternoons from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Hackensack, N.J., on WFDU 89.1 FM and has been published in Real Blues Magazine and the American Harmonica Newsletter.
Gruenling will present a harmonica workshop at 6 p.m. Tuesday at at 2545 Fifth Ave. in Huntington. Cost is $30. He and Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones will perform at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Gino’s Pub on Fifth Avenue in Huntington. The workshop and free show are part of an ongoing national tour taking Gruenling to Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia and points north, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, New York and Massachusetts, with plans to add dates to the already busy scheduled.
He learned the classic harmonica and studied Chicago Blues records, R&B and swing listening to saxophone records., which is apparent in his performances.
In 1998, he formed his own band; his debut album, “Dennis Gruenling and Jump Time!” garnered him fans and rave reviews from around the world. He has shared the stage with many well-known musicians, including Snooky Pryor, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Little Sammy Davis, Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers, Rusty Zinn, Steve Guyger, Greg Piccolo and Mark Hummel.
Gruenling has four albums to his credit and has signed with VizzTone label group to release his fifth album.
Gruenling was featured recently on the box of the new Hohner Marine Band Crossover.
“It is a huge honor to be featured on the box,” he said.
Reinhard, who teaches harmonica at Charles Russell Elementary School, said she has taken lessons from Gruenling for three years.
“He’s one of the best in the country,” she said. “You’re honored to take lessons from him.”
Videos of some of Gruenling’s performances may be viewed at youtube.com/watch?v=-7sWv_sHs68 and www.youtube.com/watch?v=V66bjVoSSis.
Workshop and concert
World-renowned harmonica player Dennis Gruenling will offer a workshop at 6 p.m. Tuesday at 2545 Fifth Ave. in Huntington. Cost is $30. He and Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones will perform at 8 p.m. at Gino’s Pizza and Spagheii House on Fifth Avenue in Huntington. The show is free. For more information about Gruenling, visit badassharmonica.com.
LEE WARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2661.