This addition of my blog is on Donna Herula, I recently discovered Donna on the internet. I think the first song I heard her sing was “Bang at the Door”. Donna’s slide guitar playing really drew me to her. I would have to say that Donna’s slide playing is right up there with some of the greats: Bonnie Riatt, Blind Willie Johnson, Son House among some. Donna has such a way of playing the slide that it puts you into such a peaceful place. You almost feel like you’re in Church and having your soul saved.
The CD I have of Donna’s is her latest one “Bang at the Door”. Donna’s singing is not a typical Bluesy style, which is good cause on this album she mixes it up a little with some Blues songs and some songs that would fall into the Jazz genre. Donna’s vocals fit right into both genres. She also has a bit New Orleans sound on this CD.
I definitely have to say for myself that Donna is a force to be reckon with. She has a great style and vocals, at the time of doing this blog Donna has a few nomination 2021 Nominee for Acoustic Blues Album Blues Blast Awards. Plus has top some of the Blues Charts, #1 Blues Album – Roots Music Report (6/12/21), #1 Acoustic Blues Album – Roots Music Report (9-weeks), #3 Australian Blues & Roots Airplay Chart (May 2021).
I highly recommend any Blues Fan check out Donna Herula @ https://donnaherula.com/
Here are some questions I was able to ask Donna, I found these to very interesting, Plus gave me a great respect for Donna.
How long have you been playing music?
I started playing music at an early age – piano at 5 years old and guitar at 10. I started writing songs as a child as well.
How many bands have you been in?
I was in an all-girls rock band when I was in high school. I also played guitar in my high school jazz band for a year. When I got older, I played in a group called the Chicago Women in the Blues that featured female blues artists for about six years. I toured with several women in the group including BB King’s daughter Shirley King. That experience really taught me a lot about stage presence and how to front a band.
Where were you born?
I was born in the Portage Park area of Chicago.
Are you self-taught?
No. I took piano and then guitar lessons as a child. I also took jazz guitar lessons in high school and classical guitar lessons in college. As an adult, I also took acoustic blues guitar and slide guitar lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music. I became a guitar teacher at the Old Town School and now I teach group fingerstyle and slide guitar classes.
Who are your biggest influences?
I have a lot of musical influences and really enjoy a lot of different types of music, where I draw my inspiration. I would say my biggest influences include female slide guitar players and singers that play traditional blues such as Bonnie Raitt and Rory Block. Male slide guitarists Johnny Winter and Eric Sardinas have also been big influences. Other female artists that I like include classic blues singers of the 1920’s such as Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey and Memphis Minnie. I also really enjoy traditional blues guitar and slide guitar players including Robert Johnson, Fred McDowell, Muddy Waters, and Furry Lewis. As far as songwriters, I like modern songwriters including Lyle Lovett and Lucinda Williams.
What style of music do you consider yours?
I consider myself a blues singer, songwriter and resonator guitar and slide guitar player. I love traditional blues and roots music. So, my songwriting tips the hat to the tradition while creating a modern and contemporary perspective in original blues and roots music. The songs and stories I write are relevant to how people feel today.
What was your first gig? How old were you?
I was 15 years old when I performed at my high school variety show with my all-girls band No Men Momentum. I played at piano recitals when I was about six or seven years old as well.
What advice do you have for someone starting out in the music business?
My advise is to put in effort to learn your instrument well and to write songs from the heart that mean something to you. Take the time to write good lyrics and have fun and enjoy yourself.
Do you write your own songs?
Yes. I’ve written 11 songs on my new album Bang at the Door which was released in late May 2021. The album was just nominated for best Acoustic Blues Album by the Blues Blast Music Awards. It includes a variety of acoustic blues style such as Delta Blues, country blues, Chicago blues, folk, country, ragtime, and New Orleans. The album has been played internationally and has been receiving rave reviews.
What would people be surprised to hear that you have in your personal song collection?
I love great guitar players of all styles, so I have songs ranging from rock to gypsie jazz to classical music. But mostly, I listen to acoustic blues music.
What would you be doing if playing music was not an option? Spending more time with my husband. In addition to playing and writing music, I am also a guitar teacher and a licensed marriage therapist. So, I would be involved in that as well as spending more time with my husband, Tony, who I also play with in a duet.
Besides your own songs, what is your favorite song to perform? Delta Blues and Hill Country Blues calls to me because it is such an emotional form of music. I love the slide guitar as well. I enjoy playing with my husband, Tony Nardiello, who plays acoustic guitar, sings and plays harmonica. He is also featured in two songs on my new album. I also enjoy playing with my trio (which includes Marc Edelstein on upright bass and Tony Wittrock on guitar and mandolin). My favorite song to perform is Death Letter Blues by Son House which made me want to learn how to play slide guitar and write heartfelt songs.
Hello, My name is Michael. I am into music, have been for over 48yrs. Big fan of all kinds of music, right now it has been the Blues for the last 10yrs. I do not play any instruments, But I very interested in the recording aspect of the industry. Have messed around with it a little and always learning new things about it. I have met many wonderful people because of Music.. Hope you enjoy my Blogs... In the last two years I have been producing House Concerts. I also in the past 2 years got to produce and engineer an album for a very good friend of mine from Sweden "Magpie".