Hugh Blumenfeld performs at the University of Connecticut in 2009.
|Born||October 11, 1958|
Jamaica, Queens, New York City, U.S.
Hugh Blumenfeld (born October 11, 1958) is an American folk musician and singer-songwriter from Connecticut. He was born in Jamaica, Queens, New York City, graduated with degrees in Biology and Humanities from M.I.T. in 1980, and got a Masters in English Literature from the University of Chicago in 1981. He was active in the Greenwich Village music scene in the 1980s, attending the Cornelia Street Songwriters Exchange and performing at Folk City and Speak Easy while working on a PhD in Poetics from New York University. He also helped to edit the Fast Folk Musical Magazine (now part of the Smithsonian-Folkways collection) and recorded songs for a dozen issues. After earning his PhD in 1991, he worked as an English professor until 1994, when he began writing and performing full-time. Over the next 10 years he toured mainly in the Northeast and Midwest, with several short tours in Europe and one in Israel. In 1999 he was appointed Connecticut State Troubadour.
In the fall of 2003, after many forays into the realm of music and healing, he enrolled in medical school at the University of Connecticut and became an MD. He currently practices family medicine in Hartford, Connecticut, and continues to perform as part of a folk quintet, The Faithful Sky with long-time collaborators including Jim Mercik.
Blumenfeld's first album, The Strong In Spirit, was self-released as an LP in late 1987. It featured performances by Lucy Kaplansky, Marshal Rosenberg, Kenny Kosek and Mark Dann, and was produced by David Seitz. It includes "Brothers" and "Let Me Fall In Love Before the Spring Comes," which was later included in On A Winter's Night, a popular compilation edited by Christine Lavin. His second collection of songs, Barehanded, was recorded in 1990 and originally released on cassette for limited distribution. In 1993, this album became the first release of the New York-based independent label Prime-CD, which re-released The Strong In Spirit on CD the following year.
In 1996, Blumenfeld released Mozart's Money, an album that helped him gain a national audience through reviews and indie radio airplay. The album combined high energy folk-rock and jazz-tinged tracks with more lyrical, strictly acoustic pieces. Lucy Kaplansky and Mark Dann feature prominently and are joined by Michael Visceglia (of Suzanne Vega's band), Mindy Jostyn and Madwoman in the Attic. Its hidden track, "When Hiroshima Comes to Disneyland" was penned during a recording session, the first in a string of sharp political satires. Rocket Science, the last of his Prime-CD recordings, came out in 1998 and includes "Longhaired Radical Socialist Jew." In 2000, he recorded Big Red in Switzerland for the Brambus record label during one of his tours with percussionist Shane Shannahan, who later toured and recorded with Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road Project. On the CD, recorded live in the studio in just two days, they are joined by popular Swiss country music singer Doris Ackermann. Mr Jekyll and Dr Hyde is an expanding collection of satirical songs that includes live recordings, basement tapes and previously released CD tracks.
- The Strong in Spirit (1988)
- Barehanded (1993)
- Mozart's Money (1996)
- Rocket Science (1998)
- Big Red (2000)
- Mr Jekyll and Dr Hyde (1998, 2004)
- On A Winter's Night (Rounder)
- Big League Babe: Tribute to Christine Lavin, Vol. 2 (Prime-CD).
- Postcrypt (Prime-CD)
- The Folk Next Door (WWUH-FM)
- Fast Folk Musical Magazine
- Fast Folk Musical Magazine: A Community of Songwriters (Smithsonian-Folkways, 2002)