Posts Tagged ‘Music’

“Hoodoo Blues” EP Released

Greetings! It is my great pleasure to announce the release of “Hoodoo Blues”, the latest blues EP from Sam Hooper and yours truly!

Go ahead and click play.  Groove with the tunes while I give you some background..

The story:

Sam Hooper & Mike Null Hoodoo Blues

I first met Sam in Shanghai, China, during the 15th Anniversary party at the House of Blues and Jazz back in November of 2010.  My band, The Soulcasters, was about 4 months deep into a contract performing 6 nights per week.  We were well rehearsed and on top of our game when the club’s management asked us to be the backing band for the big anniversary party.  Of course we accepted, and got to work learning all of the tunes for the guest stars.


Sam was the 2nd guest star to visit the House.  We had a blast learning his tunes and working on his show.  My first impression of him was that he was a sweet guy, obviously extremely talented, and very easy to work with (aka, a pro!).

Sam’s shows were surprisingly well attended.  It became clear that he was loved by many in Shanghai, making those week’s performances rich with magical atmosphere.

Years later, Sam and I connected while we were both in Ohio.  We went to a few shows and jams around town.

The following summer after I returned from another contract in China, he and I decided to go into the studio and record!  We gathered together some of Cleveland’s finest..  Here is a video of us jamming in the studio.  (Sakait Baksar on keyboards, Derrick James on bass, and Reggie Holmes on drums, live at Bad Racket Studios in Cleveland, Ohio)

Once the CD was ready, we held a CD Release party at Nighttown in Cleveland, Ohio.  The house was packed full of new friends and old, family, and some of Cleveland’s musical history (One of the founders of the legendary Boddie Recording Company was there).

(photos coming soon)

During the process of making this EP, Sam’s family and my family have become good friends.  Special thanks goes out to my family for putting up with.. well, me.. and my crazy hours and spontaneous BBQ’s, and for Sam’s family for being so kind and welcoming during the making of this project.

You can listen to us on Spotify, you can purchase a digital copy on iTunes, or you can go old school cool and BUY YOUR OWN PHYSICAL COPY OF THE CD!  We obviously prefer the third option.  That way, we actually get paid!  But seriously, whatever works for you.  My favorite part of the CD is the guitar duel on “Just got back from Baby’s“.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the music!  Stay tuned for more albums and performances!


The 10 Commandments of Jam

Recent wisdom from one of the most soulful, lyrical and melodic guitarists alive.. Mr. Derek Trucks:

1. Just listen.
Make sure that when you’re on stage with others, you are paying attention to what’s going on and not getting self-involved in your own world.
2. Respect everyone else’s musical space.
The easiest way to kill a vibe is by jumping in and adding your two cents too soon, while someone else is still trying to build something. Just let things happen.
3. Make you sure you are telling a story.
Never just be playing scales, filling space or going through the motions. Sometimes people resort to such tactics just to fill space but it’s always a mistake. Longer solos aren’t always better solos. Always have something to say.
4. Try to play an emotion.
Always be aware of what emotion you want to convey and try to tap into it. You can often hear what a great soloist is going through. It doesn’t take words to express a thought; you can definitely spell out emotions musically and should always strive to do so.
5. Never use the bandstand to practice.
Don’t waste time working through things. It’s great to take chances but not to try things you are completely unsure of. Save your practice time for off stage.
6. Treat the stage as your church.
Respect what you are doing. If you want people to respect what you’re doing and think it means something, you have to act like it does. All great artists treat the stage like it is sanctified.
7. Make sure your intentions are right.
Don’t be up there to boost your ego or career. Mean what you’re doing and appreciate it. You won’t get anywhere musically if you are just on stage to impress people.
8. Always make the band sound better.
Don’t just highlight what you do; serve the group and the music. Playing rhythm behind someone or even sitting out at the right moment is just as important as soloing. Some people sound great when they’re doing their thing but just get in the way when they’re not.
9. Educate with your music.
Always move forward and turn your audience on to new things instead of relying on the same old tricks. A core audience gets stuck listening to one group and think that’s it, but you’re around so much music and should always be inspired by new things. It’s important to pass that along, and it keeps you out of ruts.
10, Make sure you mean what you’re doing.
Do what you want and love. If you’re playing with somebody, you might as well do it right. No matter what the gig, dig in and go to town.

Original Source:

New Videos from Beijing!


21 Days in Jail (by Magic Sam), with a little Mansquito (by Duke Levine) thrown in!


Money (by the Beatles)

Performed by:
Mike Null – Guitar and Lead Vocals
Daniel ‘DZ’ Zylinski – Bass
Nancy J Brown – Backing Vocals
Nicolas Mège – Drums
Matthew Parker – Trumpet and Backing Vocals

Recorded live at Xian Bar, Beijing, April 10th 2014.

Back to Beijing until the Spring

It is my great pleasure to announce my next contract brings me back to Beijing for 6 months!

Xian Bar

I’ll be performing at Xian Bar, a very modern and chic bar, restaurant and music venue right next to of one of Beijing’s most popular tourist destinations, the 798 Art Zone.  The bar recently celebrated its one year anniversary, and in that time has managed to build quite a reputation as one of the best spots in the entire city for live music and quality nightlife.




I’ll be singing a nightly blend of Blues, Soul, Rock ‘n Roll and Reggae.  It’s a great band, too!  Yours truly on guitar and lead vocals, along with:



Nancy Jenkinson Brown

Nancy Jenkinson Brown

Giving the weekends some extra punch, from the UK, “Downtown” Nancy Jenkinson Brown on vocals!



Matthew Parker

Matthew Parker

Adding some spice to the stew is the crooked horn from down under, Mr. Matt “Matty” Parker, on Trumpet and backup vocals!



Nico Mege

Nico Mege

Keeping the beat in your feet is fancy Frenchman, Nico “The Mage” Mege on the drums!



Dan Zylinski

And last but certainly not least… Holding down the bottom end is Detroit’s own Dan “DZ” Zylinski on bass!



Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 4

Hi all! I’m very excited to announce that I appear in Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 4!

You can spot me on the side of a building to the left at 3:22!

Latest HOB&J Promo Video

Check out the latest promo video for the House of Blues and Jazz!

Back to Shanghai with Carlton J. Smith

Back to Shanghai!

This spring, I will be returning to Shanghai once again to play at the legendary House of Blues and Jazz.  I won’t be bringing my own band over, rather I’ll be playing the role of a sideman.  This time, it is my great pleasure to announce that I will be playing guitar behind New York and Shanghai’s own Carlton J. Smith!

Carlton J. Smith

Some of you may remember Carlton from the 15th Anniversary Party at the House of Blues and Jazz back in 2010.

Carlton J. Smith

For those who have never seen his show, Carlton J. Smith is one of the most in-your-face, high energy, entertaining Soul Revues you will ever see.  He covers hit songs all the way back to the 50’s and 60’s, all while fronting a super tight band that is ready to stop on a dime and follow his ever move.  To give you an idea of what to expect, back when I played with him before, I saw people dancing on top of the grand piano, ladies thrown over his shoulder, patrons hollering and pounding the bar, and everyone definitely having a good time.

Carlton J. Smith

We will be performing 6 nights a week, Tuesday through Sunday, from March 5 – the end of June.  For those who are in the Shanghai area, I can’t wait to see you there.. and for everyone else, I will be sharing videos, blog and facebook posts, tweets, and all that jazz right here on, so stay tuned!

Choose to Find releases ‘Songs Without Words’

Another recent album release comes to us from former Soulcasters Todd Marston and Max Zemanovic!

Choose to Find - Songs Without Words

They, along with guitarist Colin Sapp, have a great instrumental project called Choose to Find.  This album is brilliantly composed, conscientiously executed and packaged and will leave you feeling energized, inspired and touched.  Click the picture above to buy, listen or find out more!

Songs Without Words on CDBaby

Website for Choose to Find

“Your Music Has the Power to Save Lives”

Sometimes when toiling away at life and fighting to achieve one’s goals, it’s easy to lose the way.. to feel lost. In the middle of the day to day struggle to achieve something or to be someone, often it feels like the work that’s being done is having little to no impact on the world. I wanted to write about an experience I had today that put things into perspective for me.

A Swedish man approached me tonight at the show and said, “You don’t know me, but I know you very well. I’ve been coming to your shows at the House of Blues and Jazz since you started playing here in 2009, and I just wanted to let you know that I stopped coming after a while. I stopped coming because I was in the hospital battling stomach cancer. I’ve had part of my digestive track removed and life has been very difficult. I’ve had to fight for the health I have. When life hands you cancer, it can be hard to find reasons to fight back, but I had my reasons. I have a beautiful wife, a family.. and I wanted you to know that your music had such an impact on me, that I chose to fight so that I could one day come back to the House of Blues and Jazz and see you play again. I want you to think about this when you are playing.. that your music has the power to save lives. Your music has helped to save my life, and for that I am extremely grateful.”

I was obviously stunned and didn’t know what to say. I thanked him profusely.

Sometimes our perception of reality isn’t congruent with actual reality. Sometimes it feels like we give our all and, from our perspective, it seems like nobody cares.. but don’t let your mind fool you. Every time you act, every time you give, every time you put yourself out there, it has an impact. Keep it up! This doesn’t only apply to music, either. Believe and know that what you do is important.. it matters! You matter!

The latest HOBAJ Poster


The nightlife in Shanghai is about to get a high energy infusion as the Greg Luttrell band returns to the House of Blues and Jazz this October.  Known for bringing roots style Blues, Soul, Rock and Reggae, this amazing band has been turning shows into house parties for years.  Adding extra punch, the GLB will feature the versatile and talented Mike Null on guitar and vocals.  Already loaded with talent, including the return of Phillip Young on keys and sax, Steve Belleville on bass and the one and only Tony Hall on drums and vocals, the band is ready to deliver another season of good times in Shanghai.

Mike’s talents have already brought him acclaim in many parts of the world and he brings a deep understanding of blues and soul music.  Early on in the night you’ll hear Greg on harmonica and Mike on acoustic guitar doing passionate versions of blues classics.  Later in the night, they’ll be revving the crowd with funky grooves laced with Phil’s soaring sax solos.  Pulling from so many styles and genres, you really never know what they’ll play next but with Greg, Mike and Tony being dynamic front men this show is going to be hot!  We can’t wait to hear what this collaboration will sound like!