Maria was there at the epi-center of the early 60's folk music scene which included Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. She objects to the use of the "F" word, in this case, folk.
"Don't use the F word. I don't like the word 'folk,'" she told me. "It makes me picture some long haired, pretty young thing with quivering nostrils playing a nylon string acoustic guitar. I call what I play roots music - blues, rock, country, soul, jazz, gospel - the music that is timeless. I've done that all my life.
"A perceptive music writer once told me that I invented the genre that became Americana music before anyone had ever heard the word. My career could be described as a long and rambling odyssey through American music."
She has performed with many of the greatest names in music over the last five decades, and when asked to name her favorites, the list is impressive.
"Benny Carter and His All Star Big Band," she began. "Dr. John, Doc Watson, John Sebastian, Bonnie Raitt, Phoebe Snow - how much time have you got? I could go on and on."
Maria recently had her interest in jug band music renewed when she heard some new young bands on the radio. She called old bandmates John Sebastian, David Grissom and Dan Hicks, among others, told them she had an idea for doing a new album in the jug band tradition, and the result is Maria Muldaur & Her Garden of Joy, subtitled Good Time Music for Hard Times.
Maria said she enjoyed hunting down the songs on the album, some of which go back to the late 1920s. Two of the cuts are new songs penned by the impossible-to-label Hicks. She said there is a good reason that light hearted, humorous music was popular during the Depression, and is making a come-back now.