Maria Muldaur is best known worldwide for her 1974 megahit “Midnight at the Oasis,” which received several Grammy nominations and enshrined her forever in the hearts of baby boomers everywhere. But despite her considerable pop-music success, her fifty-year career could best be described as a long and adventurous odyssey through the various forms of American roots music. During the folk revival of the early 1960s, she began exploring and singing early blues, bluegrass, and Appalachian “old-timey” music, beginning her recording career in 1963 with the Even Dozen Jug Band and, shortly thereafter, joining the very popular Jim Kweskin Jug Band, touring and recording with them throughout the 1960s.
In the forty years since “Midnight at the Oasis,” Muldaur has toured extensively around the world and has recorded forty solo albums covering all kinds of American roots music, including gospel, R&B, jazz, and big band (not to mention several award-winning children’s albums). She has now settled comfortably into her favorite idiom, the blues. Often joining forces with some of the top names in the business, she has recorded and produced, on average, an album per year, several of which have been nominated for a Grammy and other awards.
Her critically acclaimed 2001 Stony Plain Records release, Richland Woman Blues, was nominated for a Grammy and as Best Traditional Blues Album of the Year by the Blues Foundation, as was the follow-up to that album, Sweet Lovin’ Ol’ Soul. Her timely 2008 album, Yes We Can! featured her Women’s Voices for Peace Choir, which included Bonnie Raitt, Joan, Baez, Jane Fonda, Odetta, Phoebe Snow, Holly Near, and others. In 2009, Muldaur teamed up with John Sebastian, David Grisman, and Dan Hicks to release Maria Muldaur & Her Garden of Joy, which garnered the veteran singer her sixth Grammy nomination and was also nominated for Best Traditional Blues Album of the Year by the Blues Foundation.
In 2011, she released Steady Love, a contemporary electric blues album that reflects the kind of music she loves to perform live—what she calls “Bluesiana Music”—her own brand of New Orleans–flavored blues, R&B and “swamp funk.” Steady Love reached number one on the Living Blues Chart and won for her another nomination for Best Traditional Female Blues Artist from the Blues Foundation.
In 2012, for her fortieth album, Muldaur produced the critically acclaimed First Came Memphis Minnie, a loving tribute to the pioneering blues woman who inspired and influenced so many female blues artists who followed in her footsteps, many of whom joined Muldaur on this special project: Bonnie Raitt, Phoebe Snow, Ruthie Foster, Koko Taylor, and Rory Block, accompanied by the amazing guitar work of Del Rey, David Bromberg, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Roy Rogers (slide guitar), and others.
She created a musical genre. . . . [Muldaur] has spent the last 50 years fusing folk, blues, jazz, gospel, bluegrass, country, even jug band music.
—New Jersey Herald
Best known for her seductive ’70s pop staple ‘Midnight at the Oasis,’ Maria Muldaur has since become an acclaimed interpreter of just about every stripe of American roots music.