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Life & Work with Mad Dog Friedman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mad Dog Friedman. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Mad Dog Friedman started playing blues harmonica at the age of 15. In 1967, Jack Bruce’s version of “Train Time” shook his world, and he followed the trail of blues harmonica from Cream to John Mayall to the country blues. His long-time harmonica heroes include Sonny Terry and Sonny Boy Williamson II, and his love for rural southern blues and rhythm harmonica has only grown through the years. In his teenage years, Mad Dog listened primarily to classical music intermixed with country blues greats like Lightnin’ Hopkins, Big Bill Broonzy, Big Joe Williams, and Bukka White. In 2018, with encouragement from long-time friend and music partner, Jenn Cleary, Mad Dog formed Mad Dog Blues to pursue his lifelong dream of an original acoustic blues band.

Nothing happens in a straight line, and Mad Dog learned to play the traditional electric blues harmonica that was popular at the time. In 1976, when Mad Dog formed the King Comfort Band out of Bailey, Colorado, Carey Bell (Muddy Waters’ Band) graciously showed Mad Dog how to set up an amp and mic to play Chicago-style harmonica. Throughout the years Mad Dog helped to found two popular Colorado electric blues bands, Papa Juke (2008 – 2018) and Harmonica Loowinski (2002 -2007), and still plays electric as part of Verses the Inevitable (winner of the Mile High Blues Society’s Best Self-Produced Album of 2016). His duo with Louisiana Sam Gillis, Blue Lightning (Winner of the Colorado Blues Society’s Best Self-Produced CD of 2018), was a turning point for Mad Dog and marked his return to traditional delta and hill country blues. In 2022 Mad Dog is living his dream of creating a new Colorado-style version of contemporary acoustic blues, Mad Dog Blues’ studio album, Gratitude, won the Pikes Peak Blues Community’s Best Self-Produced CD contest.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
It is difficult to describe our music to music industry folks that want it to be either bluegrass or traditional electric blues and are not sure where to place something that is neither one but something new.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Mad Dog Friedman, harmonica player, musical innovator, and founder of many popular Colorado blues acts over the years including King Comfort, Harmonica Loowinski, Papa Juke, the Mojo Medicine Show & Blue Lightning, has put together an acoustic blues jam band with a unique blues style indigenous to Colorado in the 21st Century while still honoring the blues roots. We call this music Colorado Country Blues because it combines the “Colorado Sound” (jam grass) with traditional rural blues. The result is Mad Dog Blues, a coalition of top-notch, veteran musicians dedicated to exploring this new sound in both their songwriting and performances.

Along with Mad Dog Friedman on harmonica, Mad Dog Blues (5 piece band) includes Jeff “Bone Head ” Becker (Hippie Buckaroos) on mandolin, Clark “The Champ” Chanslor (White Water Ramble) on stand-up bass, Sean “Rocket” Bennight (from St. Louis) on acoustic guitar and Mark “Kaz” Kaczorowski (Blues on the Lamb) on the slide and acoustic guitar. We hope you enjoy our original “Colorado Country Blues” sound, a unique fusion of delta blues, bluegrass, honky-tonk, hokum, and acoustic jam music. Our website is and our Facebook page is

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
I love the diversity of incredible music to be found around Denver but am disappointed with the club’s support of the most unique music bred here.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Charal Harvey

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