Les Inrocks: “At the high level of the best heirs of the blues”

Muddy Gurdy sort un album à la hauteur des meilleurs héritiers du blues du Mississippi […]

Cette musique est un fantasme. Celui, bien compréhensible, de tous les amateurs de musique qui un jour ont entendu le morceau Goin’ down South du bluesman R. L. Burnside, et ne s’en sont jamais remis. Cette chanson est un sésame, la porte d’entrée vers les mystères et les moites délices du blues du Nord Mississippi. Le Nord Mississippi n’est pas le delta. C’est le pays des collines, des forêts recouvertes d’un manteau de kudzu et d’une manière bien locale et sorcière de jouer du blues – hypnotique, électrique, érotique, dansant, fondant et fondé sur la pulsation rythmique plutôt que la mélodie. […]

Menaçant, chaotique et sexy, cet album est incroyablement bon, à la hauteur des meilleurs héritiers du blues de là-bas. C’était vraiment une bonne idée, ces ébats entre le vieux (blues) et la vielle (à roue).

Hypnotic Wheels’ Muddy Gurdy’s Project is featured in Les Inrockuptibles, one of France’s major music magazine —a critique full of praise written by Stéphane Deschamps.

Read the full critique (in French). 


The review, as translated by Richard Rosenblatt, founder-president of Vizztone, the label which releases the album this week:

This music is a fantasy. That, understandably, of all the music lovers who one day heard the song Goin Down South by bluesman RL Burnside and never recovered. This song is an ‘open sesame”, the gateway to the mysteries and sweet delights of North Mississippi blues. North Mississippi is not the delta. It is the land of hills, forests covered with a Kudzu mantle and a very local and arcane way to play the blues – hypnotic, electric, erotic, dancing, melting and based on the rhythmic beat rather than the melody .

Goin ‘Down South opens the first album of Muddy Gurdy. Muddy Gurdy is the parallel and traveling project of a French trio called Hypnotic Wheels, Of note: they play blues with a ”vielle à roue” —a hurdy-gurdy (Literal translation: Old Wheel). Last spring, they went down south, a Homeric voyage to record with some demi-gods, or their descendants, of the local blues – Pat and Shardé Thomas, children of Burnside and Kimbrough. The recordings were made in field-recording style, in houses or courtyards, with bits of dialogue, barking dogs and train sirens, far from any confinement.

Muddy Gurdy plays covers, these totemic songs shaped by RL Burnside, Fred McDowell, Jessie Mae Hemphill: Shake em on down, She Wolf, See My Jumper on the Line, Rollin’ and Tumblin’, and of course, Goin ‘down South. Playing covers is easy. Honoring them with a vision is better and that’s what Muddy Gurdy does. Used as a second guitar, the hurdy gurdy sounds like an African violin, with dense, rotating notes marrying this lascivious-aggressive North Mississippi blues. We find this huge, rumbling primitive rhythm, coming from fife & drum, the night of the blues. And these guitars like volcanic rock that becomes lava again.

Threatening, chaotic and sexy, this album is incredibly good, at the high level of the best heirs of the blues from there. It was really a good idea, these frolics between the old (blues) and the old (wheel.)


Gonna Love You played on Live from the Midnight Circus

“It is strong, it is growing and it is going to be huge,” says, about the blues indie scene, Richard Lhommedieu, who just came back from the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, where he was a judge.

For his January 30, 2018, Live at the Midnight Circus show, in which he is “honoring the past, praising the present, empowering the future,” he picked Cameron Kimbrough’s Gonna Love You, which the Mississippi musician recorded with Hypnotic Wheels for their Muddy Gurdy CD at the Moon Hollow Farm in Como, Mississippi.

The song starts just before the 7:00 mark.

For Sunday breakfast in Oregon

KRVM’s Breakfast With the Blues airs every Sunday morning from the Eugene, Oregon, area. A show hosted by BoogieKing Steve.

On January 28, 2018, at 9:11 am, he broadcasted Muddy Gurdy‘s Rollin’ and Tumblin’, right before R.L. Burnside’s Old Black Mattie. For those interested, here is the full playlist.

For the story, Hypnotic Wheels recorded Rollin’ and Tumblin’, a song made famous by Muddy Waters and later by R.L. Burnside, with R.L.’s grandson, Cedric Burnside, in the Como, Mississippi, countryside in late April, 2017. 


The BluzNdaBlood: “A great song”

“Hot blues for a cold winter,” announces The BluzNdaBlood‘s Dave Harrison for its 283rd show, broadcasted on January 26, 2018.

“Here is a great song, that’s a cover of an R.L. Burnside number. Muddy Gurdy is a French band. They met a bunch of the North Mississippi Hill Country blues bloodline, that features Cedric Burnside, Cameron Kimbrough, Pat Thomas, and Sharde Thomas. Enjoy!”

Muddy Gurdy will be released on February 2, 2018, by Vizztone.

The story starts at 43:26.

Muddy Gurdy getting some air time in London

John Cushley aired Muddy Gurdy’s version of That Girl is Bad, featuring Cedric Burnside, during his Balling the Jack show on Resonance FM in London.

A wonderful project called Muddy Gurdy. The voice you heard that was Cedric Burnside, of the Burnside dynasty of North Mississippi. The project is basically a French band called The Hypnotic Wheels traveling to North Mississippi with a hurdy gurdy, and collaborating with lots of local musicians, including Sharde Thomas, Cameron Kimbrough, Cedric Burnside, Pat Thomas.

The whole project has come together incredibly well. It has got this hypnotic drive, atmosphere, with this edge European of experimentalism underpending it under the hurdy gurdy. A marvelous cross-cultural coalition. Beautiful stuff.

Listen at 27:30 (and the rest of the show as well, as Muddy Gurdy is in really great company, including Etta James and Dorothy Love Coates), and John Cushley’s beautiful critique of the project and the album.

And the link to Balling the Jack for more shows…

Muddy Gurdy spinning in Italy

Italian journalist Nicola NiQ Conforti enjoyed Shake Em on Down, one of the songs included in Muddy Gurdy, Hypnotic Wheel’s second album to be released on February 2, 2018, which he played on the 184th of his Blues Top 10 show.

“Muddy Gurdy’s name is inspired by the hurdy gurdy, an instrument with a crank, typical in Europe,” explained Nicola NiQ Conforti.

Go to 9:50:


On ABS Magazine’s cover

To record their second album, The Muddy Gurdy Mississippi Project, the Hypnotic Wheels trio (Tia Gouttebel, guitar, vocals; Marc Glomeau, percussion; and Gilles Chabenat, hurdy gurdy), traveled to the North Mississippi Hill County and the Delta. They met with descendents of emblematic bluesmen from the area: Cedric Burnside (R. L.’s grandson), Sharde Thomas (Otha Turner’s grand-daughter), Cameron Kimbrough (Junior’s grandson), and Pat Thomas ( James Son’s son).

“The sociologist, researcher, and journalist Scott Barretta –a reference in the domain– already told the Hypnotic Wheels musicians: «What makes your project so unique is that you didn’t come here just to take, but to give and to share, bringing something from your culture.” 

The choice of the locations, the nomadic conditions of recording, the fact that they brought whith them a unique cultural element of our folklore, the hurdy gurdy, their generosity made of this musical and human adventure a rare and unique moment. A story which is told from the inside by one of the musicians –which is rather rare, a choice made by our magazine. What you will read, listen to and watch can only intice you to want to learn more about the project.

By Marcel Benedit, in ABS Magazine.

Read the full editorial by Marcel Bénédit and the story written by Marc Glomeau.

Hypnotic Wheels featured in The Panolian

For one group of French musicians, playing music isn’t just the end goal. Rather, their pursuit of creating music is intricately tied to a working philosophy that continually drives rich sensibilities about people, places and culture. And lately, right here in Mississippi.

But why?

The group, Hypnotic Wheels, arrived in Como, Mississippi last week and will spend the next two weeks traveling the Hill Country and Delta working on a project that hopes to further identify the cultural and musical commonalities between rural Mississippi blues musicians and rural French folk musicians, both whose music is born from a place of necessity rather than luxury. […]

By Karen Ott Mayer. Read the full story in The Panolian