Johnny Mars

Johnny Mars was born in 1942 in South Carolina. The family moved around a lot when he was young and when he received his first harmonica at nine years old he was forced to practise it sitting in the car in the yard. He remembers as a boy listening to jazz on the radio, and sitting in juke joints where he would hear the music of Muddy Waters, B. B. King, Little Walter etc. Aged 14, on the death of his mother, he moved to New York State and played in his first blues band. He played at Woodstock in 1960 and then by the mid-60s was living in California where he formed the Johnny Mars Band. The band toured on the same bill as Earl Hooker, B.B. King and Jesse Fuller. In 1972 he came to the UK and in 1978 moved permanently to Somerset. For 15 years Johnny taught in primary schools and worked with teenagers on music projects. This is what inspired the CD "Dare to Dream, Aim to Achieve", produced with schools in Portsmouth in 1999. One of his latest projects has been working with young teenage musicians, encouraging their love of blues, and forming 'Johnny Mars and Stars'. He is now developing an 'Anthem' project, mentoring young people in schools in the South West in order to help them write and perform songs for their school.

Most recently he has joined forces with blues guitarist Michael Roach and has toured extensively. 

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