Martin Lang plays traditional Chicago blues harmonica, possessing that wailing and urgent Chicago blues sound you’ve always loved. He has toured Europe and the United States, bringing people all over the world into direct contact with the sound of blues harp. Steeped in decades of session work for the venerated Delmark Records, Martin is a Chicago Hall of Fame Master Blues Artist and can be heard performing at the major blues clubs around Chicago and at the Chicago Blues Festival.
“Martin represents a younger generation of Chicago blues harmonica virtuosos.” - Scott Dirks
“He combines an assimilation of the sounds of the great Chicago blues harmonica artists such as Junior Wells and Little Walter with a sensibility attuned to contemporary trends in arts and music.” - Random Chance Records
An Irishman hailing from the East Coast, Martin arrived in Chicago as a teenager enamored with blues. A former French horn player, his chops found a new home with the harp. Not content to merely appreciate the blues, he dug in like a tick to the crumbling but intact Chicago blues scene in the late 1980’s, gleaning the knowledge that can only be hard won from original players. Today, his playing is great example of Chicago blues harp.
Built on decades of live performances backing Chicago's own Taildragger, as well as fellow vocalists Willie Buck among scores of blues elders and legends, his own album Chicago Blues Sessions was released in 2015. This followed his work on “Harmonica Blues Orgy” (a compilation featuring blues legend Dave Meyer, Little Arthur Duncan, Easy Baby, and Willie "Big Eye" Smith). Lang's tracks help make it one of the best-selling releases for New York's Random Chance Records.
Lang was featured in the Mississippi Saxophone Festival in Clarksdale, Mississippi (2017), part of his tour for his most recent album. “Ain’t No Notion” features Oscar Wilson, Rusty Zinn, Billy Flynn, Illinois Slim, Dean Haas and more, with liner notes by Dick Shurman. Thirteen tracks range from classics including “Watermelon Man” (made famous by Big Mama Thornton) to originals like “Hip Twist”.
“These guys pull off a classic Chicago sound that could have been recorded in the Chess Studio by Little Walter and the Aces.” - Big City Blues Magazine
An adept teacher who enjoys watching people make progress, Lang has run several successful clinics on harmonica techniques, attracting students from all over the Midwest. Full of real-life stories and a succinct style, his teaching helps bring this classic sound to new players and an array of audiences.