Biography

West Coast harmonica player MITCH KASHMAR (1960/Santa Barbara, CA - ) is one of the California disciples who soaked up the sound and the soul of Chicago and Mississippi and Cali-customized it. His theory is the California harp scene started with Arkansas native George "Harmonica" Smith, who settled in L.A. soon after leaving Muddy Waters' band. "Rod [Piazza] got some of it and Kim Wilson got some," Kashmar says of Smith's fat, rounded tones, which often sounded more like an entire horn section than a man with a harmonica. "I got some of it from them." Like Wilson, The Fabulous Thunderbirds singer and harmonica legend, Kashmar grew up in Santa Barbara. "[Wilson] would come back at holiday time, climb down from the T-Birds and play gigs with us," says Kashmar, who played with Wilson in 1981 while the T-Birds were recording Butt Rockin'. "He's one of those guys who'll do it right up till it's over and then some."

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