Mick Kolassa & Mark Telesca release
an acoustic Beatles blues album

What do you get when two blues musicians get together to celebrate their mutual love of some of the most classic songs of the 20th Century? A great new album! Mick Kolassa and Mark Telesca Have teamed up to bring two mutual loves together: the Blues and the Beatles. This album is the kind of thing that happens when two musicians get together and decide to make some magic. They called the album You Can’t Do That, which refers to a great song that has the blues all over it as well as what many people told them when they said we were going to do the record: you can’t to that! For many, including Mick and Mark, this music is nearly sacred, but as blues artists they find and feel the blues in everything they hear, and the blues flows through the music of the Beatles more so than it does through other forms of popular music, so uncovering it was not too difficult – but oh so pleasurable!

Jeff Jensen joined the team to produce the album and together with Mark and Mick put together some pretty fancy guitar work, and with a little help from their friends the guys got this project off the ground – way off the ground! Reworking these classic tunes into blues arrangements was a joy for the artists, who brought the Beatles into many different styles of blues – but always with acoustic arrangements, no amplifiers or pedals were used in the production of this album! Instead you’ll find resonator and multiple acoustic guitars, harmonica, trumpets, flugelhorns and even a fiddle and mandolin.

Never forget, all you need is blues!



Midwest Record Reviews – You Can’t Do That!

I’ve heard hypothesis that if Beatles jumped in the van, ala Police, and toured America, they would have been a great roots band by the time they covered the country. Well….., a lot of people say a lot of things. Mick & Mark must have heard this saying and had a light bulb moment. They love blues and Beatles so they did the only thing that made sense to them—make a back porch version of Beatles songs sticking to what’s appropriate to the form rather than taking the soft landing of forcing the hits into the mold, ala gift shop music. There’s been plenty of jazz Beatles over the years but acoustic blues? Mick & Mark must have had this in the back of their minds for quite a while because the results are stunningly original and well thought out. Just the thing to drive Beatles fans that think they’ve heard everything nuts, it’s almost unthinkable to think someone could make this stuff their own but this duo does it in fine style. Hot stuff no matter how the fire burns with consistent low heat.

Midwest Record


New Taylor Made Blues Band Videos

Three new Taylor Made Blues Band videos recorded at the Rum Boogie fuBar during IBC week 2017. Produced by Skyshot Films of Memphis.




Taylor Made Blues Band at Ground Zero

A few photos from the Taylor Made Blues Band’s recent performance at Ground Zero, September 9, 2016. Photos by Megan Kolassa.



Reflections in Blue Blog Reviews “Taylor Made Blues”

Kolassa-TaylorMade-coverEvery time I get another recording to review I find myself questioning…just what is the blues and, what makes one tune a blues song while the next falls short? Then I have the newest release from Mick Kolassa come through my mail slot. Mick is on the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation. That and $10 will buy him a cup of coffee in a dive. What I do find of interest is the fact that he has had a love affair with the blues that has lasted 50 years. Add to that the fact that he is a lifelong musician and things start to fall into place. A very good guitarist at the very least, Kolassa, is very well-versed in the history and traditions of the blues, has a voice made for the genre and is a superb songwriter as well. Aside from the Temptations hit, “Can’t Get Next To You”, Graham Nash’s “Prison Song”, “Lungs” by Townes Van Zandt, and the classic poem “Keep A Goin”, which he reworked into a gospel number, everything on the album was written by Mick. He is a master wordsmith, who writes from personal experiences, often with a comedic twist, but always with a definite point in mind. Taylor Made Blues has him accompanied by a host of the best performers the business has to offer including Jeff Jensen on electric & acoustic guitars, Bill Ruffino on bass, James Cunningham on drums & percussion, Chris Stephenson on piano & organ, Colin John on Lap Steel, Resonator, Baby Sitar and Baritone guitars, Deb Landolt on vocal solo & backing vocals, Eric Hughes on harmonica, Reba Russell on backing vocals, Victor Wainwright on piano, Castro Coleman on guitar and Tullie Brae on backing vocals. All top-notch professionals, this band pulls off an album that is worthy of taking a spot among the works of past masters. Everyone does his or her job without need of showing off or letting egos get in the way. The music comes first and foremost. The result is an album that is sure to stand strong for the long haul. True blues is much more than a simple musical form…it is a way of life, something that cannot be seperated from the lifestyle of the artists. Bluesmen of old told their stories in a very straight-forward fashion, without whimpering or complaining…this is just the way it was. Like modern counselors, blues performers presented their stories in a way that told the listener “This is what happened to me and I made it through just fine. You can do so as well.” In either case, whether happy or sad, they managed to touch the heart of the listener. Mick Kolassa, a superb storyteller in his own right manages to evoke an emotional response as well…in his case, often quite funny. Blues, from the works of Charley Patton to Muddy Waters, Magic Slim and countless others, always touched the heart. The same can be said for Mick Kolassa. Add the fact that all proceeds from the sale of his albums go to the Hart Foundation (Handy Artists Relief Trust), which helps blues artists and their families with the financial burdens that come as a result of health concerns and related issues or Generation Blues, which gives young artists the opportunity to study their instrument of choice in reputable places, taught by many of the best in their own particular field of study, and you see an even clearer picture. Here is a man who believes wholeheartedly in what he is doing and is willing to put his money where his mouth is. This is more than a job. If that is not reason enough to buy the album, it is truly one of the finest pieces of work I have heard so far this year. If you are a fan of blues, this is a perfect opportunity to add a great album to your collection and to help further the cause as well. As for the question “What is a bluesman?”…I present Mick Kolassa.

Bill Wilson
Reflections in Blue

Mick on the porch of the Taylor Grocery – photo by Key to Life Photography