Mudbone performs in WOUB’s studios as a part of his “One Man Rollin’ Circus Tour.” (Bryan Gibson)

Rollin’ On the River: A Talk With Mudbone

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After I popped Mudbone’s Rivers & Roads, Part One in my CD player (yes, I still play those shiny discs), I spent some time trying to figure it out. Is it blues? Is it country? Folk?

It’s all of the above, plus bits of gospel and bluegrass. Basically, it’s “American music” – a description that seems to suit Mudbone just fine.

Born and raised near the Black River in Northeast Arkansas – the dividing line between the Mississippi River and foothills of the Ozark Mountains – Mudbone’s musical heritage is front and center on his debut release. (Part Two, a full-band production, is scheduled for release in June.)

After touring with his gospel/bluegrass family band as a child, Mudbone struck out for Memphis as a teenager, eventually landing sideman gigs in honky tonks and juke joints throughout the South (“Like being baptized in Muddy Waters,” as he puts it.)

Fast-forward to 2017 and Mudbone is on his “One Man Rollin’ Circus Tour” of concert venues and radio stations around the U.S., including WOUB.

Two things were apparent once our interview began.

1. The man knows his American music history. In fact, he’s been working on a book about it (which may lead to a film).
2. After so many years on the road, he’s got some stories. From his early travels in the back of his folks’ Econline van (seated in a lawn chair, no less) and racing through Greyhound bus terminals as a teenager (with guitar in tow) to driving through rain, sleet, snow and even fires to get to gigs, I’m guessing he’ll never run out of song ideas.

In the audio clip above, Mudbone performs two selections from his album (“The River Song” and the Paul Rodgers-penned “Muddy Water Blues”) and a couple of Son House classics.

Mudbone’s Rivers and Roads, Part One will be available Feb. 14 via all major online retailers. For more information, visit, or on Twitter @mudbone_music.

Interview recorded by Adam Rich