Mulebone brings the blues to Sparta

Sparta. The blues duo will take the stage on Friday for the Summer Concert series.

| 23 Jul 2021 | 12:26

The Sparta Summer Concert Series is very happy to welcome the very unique blues duo Mulebone back to the stage on Friday July 30. Mulebone is a musical partnership comprised of multi-instrumentalist, John Ragusa and roots music specialist, Hugh Pool. The grist for their mill is traditional blues.

Together Mulebone has recorded 5 critically lauded CDs and achieved AMA Top 100 with all. Their fourth CD “Keep on Movin” earned the distinction of being the only independent release in the AMA Top 40 for 6 weeks in 2015. Along with playing live and TV appearances, they won blues artist of the year at radio stations from Seattle, Washington to Red Bank, New Jersey and Hugh Pool was inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame in 2016.

“John Ragusa can play anything he can put his lips on ...wait a minute....did I say that out loud?”

In Mulebone, John plays conch shell, Jews harp, cornet, all manner of flutes, tin whistle, and chimes in on the harmony vocals. He is member of Beth Nielsen Chapman’s group as well as his own John Ragusa outfit, and plays regularly in conjunction with Deepak Chopra’s speaking engagements. Amongst dozens of his studio credits are contemporary jazz greats Joe Taylor, Jeremy Wall and world music icon Tom Ze.

Hugh says, “One time we were in Lexington, Kentucky sitting at an outdoor cafe and John played me a bunch of melodies sliding a straw up and down in a cup of ice water” get the drift.

Hugh Pool plays guitars, harmonica, boot board and sings, all with a mouth full of whiskey and a giant heart. He has played in clubs and at festivals from Jakarta, Indonesia to North Cape, Norway; From Vienna, Austria to Ottawa, Ontario and has been critically lauded by The New York Times, New York Press, The Village Voice, Pittsburgh Press, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Blues Revue Magazine...the list goes on. He is also a noted recordist and producer who has worked on hundreds of records at his Williamsburg, Brooklyn studio, Excello Recording including sessions with Taj Mahal, Debbie Harry, Marshall Crenshaw and even Molly Ringwald.

Together in Mulebone, Hugh and John play slide guitar boogies, 1 chord trance riffs a la Howlin’ Wolf, the uptempo rags of Reverend Gary Davis and country blues of all shapes and colors. Sometimes they play close to the source, almost as if tracing the image, and at other moments, they re-examine the source, float above it, take a new look as one understanding their home from a distant land.

The opening act for the evening’s show is a great group from Brooklyn called BIN 251. Smooth and sultry original music with select cover songs. BIN251 got together for the first time to play in a small rehearsal studio in Manhattan. The band features Donna Zanger on keyboards and vocals, Tim Frost on guitar and vocals, Armand Diaz on bass and Alan Schissel on the drums. Growing as friends and players over the years helped them to create their debut record “Flights of Fantasy”. They hope you’ll enjoy their bluesy, cocktail lounge sound.

The concert is a rain or shine event, family-friendly and FREE to the public. Performances begin at 7 p.m. at The Nicholson Pavilion in Dykstra Park, 22 Woodport Road, Sparta. Bring lawn chairs and all fans of good music. Please visit for more information on the series and for weather updates.