John Mooney started playing guitar at the age of ten. At twelve, he was performing with friends at church gatherings, coffee houses, and barn dances, and by fourteen was performing at large outdoor concerts. Part of the original impetus for his interest in music may have filtered down from his grandfather, a musician himself.
The first and most enduring influence on the development of Mooney’s music resulted from his meeting the Legendary Delta blues singer, Ed “Son” House, in Rochester, New York. Impressed by the sixteen year old musician’s talent, Son (who was Robert Johnson’s mentor and teacher) and Mooney soon became friends.
Over the next few years they spent a lot of time playing together, on and off stage, in and around Rochester. Though music was their common bond, House and Mooney often discussed religion and life goals. “I needed help in those departments,” says Mooney, who left home at thirteen and had a job and an apartment at fifteen.
Following those years with Son House, Mooney sang his blues all over western New York and traveled from Boston to California and down to New Orleans. Mooney spent much of the early ’70’s hobo-ing around the country with his National Steel guitar, honing his skills and evolving his increasingly distinctive style of blues. Since 1981 he has been touring with his group, the Bluesiana Band, performing Delta funk and second line blues throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Japan. He’s played with a host of musical legends, including Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, John Hammond, Mose Allison, and Professor Longhair. He also has recorded with the likes of Junior Wells, Champion Jack Dupree and Jimmy McCracklin.