Music Review: Miss Maybell and Slimpickin's

The quirky duo sings America's music

Times were tough back in the early years of the 20th century. Maybe they didn’t have ISIS, Zika virus and Clinton vs. Trump, but they had Prohibition, the KKK, the Great Depression and World War II. And while we’ve got Pokémon Go and assorted internet memes to distract us from our woes, the main thing they had back then was music. So they made some good music. Today, most of it is either forgotten or converted into novelty treatments for TV ads.

Miss Maybell and Slimpickin’s have tapped that ancient vein and are now supplying the simple joys of ragtime, rootsy blues and soulful jazz to a generation in dire need of a little revival. Their first album, optimistically titled “Vol. 1,” is a sweet sonic pill for what ails the country.

The duo is based in New Hampshire’s North Country and had their official CD release party at Jackson’s Wildcat Tavern back in May. Since then, they’ve filled rooms like Le Fanfare in Brooklyn and appeared at intimate halls such as The Press Room in Portsmouth (they play there again on Sept. 7). Everywhere they go, the reaction is the same — people smile.

Great old music, long unheard, lovingly reinterpreted by talented musicians has that effect on people. It helps that Slimpickin’s has a versatile command of his National resonator guitar and that Miss Maybell can sing the blues so sweet and low that you may have to pick yourself up off the floor after hearing her deliver classics like “Baby Please Don’t Go” or originals like “Old Man Moon.” Toss in a kazoo and a washboard contraption (with a call bell mounted on top for a punctuating “ding”), and you’ve got nostalgic fun that also just happens to be fantastic music — the kind that makes you want to sway, sing along, or maybe just sit there and smile. 

Hopefully, “Vol. 1” is the start of something big for these talented and lovable performers.

Get the CD or more information on performance dates at

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