“Meredith Axelrod sings and plays guitar as if she really returned to the pre-mic days. We’re not talking revisionist copy of so and so from way back when; we’re10441242_10152179813455017_577338904516657449_n talking as if we plucked an original out of the era and time-traveled…” – JL Stiles

 Meredith Axelrod is multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who envisions the limitless potential of early twentieth century music, whether it be Ragtime, Music Hall, Pop Standard, Boogie Woogie, Tin Pan Alley, String band, Jazz, Country, Blues or even Jug Band music, and embodies the spirit that brought the music into existence and drove it ahead.  Ms. Axelrod learned to sing and play by listening to how folks did it a century ago – through the medium of cylinders, 78-rpm records, and from sheet music.

image The dominant theme throughout her expansive repertoire, is that, whatever the genre, these are songs she learns from the original sources which were released  between the 1890s and the 1930s. Delightfully engaging and unassumingly comic, her performances draw on many of the tools of musical scholarship. Part of the allure of old time music, indeed any music throughout the history of recorded music, is hearing the original recordings as played and sung by the original performers in their heyday, loving what they’re doing and doing it because it means something to them in that moment, never because of nostalgia, and Meredith brings the same unbridled passion, earnest devotion and candid vitality to all of her music.  There’s nothing to dust off in her bag of reclaimed songs, as her resourceful arrangements and heartfelt renditions prove. In her care, the songs are unmistakably inspired, infectious and relevant.  Meredith Axelrod is an example to herald, someone who has found possibility and joy in  the treasures of cultural folklore.


Axelrod demonstratively loves the life she leads, thriving in varied musical and performance settings. She often partners with string virtuoso Craig Ventresco; they perform at venues and festivals that include the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, West Coast Ragtime Festival and Blind Boone Early Jazz Festival.  She appears in myriad cooperatives: with her own hot jazz band, her own string band, in partnership with string band solo act dynamo Frank Fairfield, and with the jug band legend, Jim Kweskin.  She has also performed with Dan Hicks, Maria Muldaur, Geoff Muldaur, Ramblin’ Jack Eliot, David Grisman, Cindy Cashdollar, Bill Keith, Terry Zwigoff, Sonny Leyland, Robert Crumb, and the Cheap Suit Serenaders at favorite venues: The Great American Music Hall, the Museum of Jurassic Technology, and Freight and Salvage. She has toured domestically and internationally.

Because of her distinctive vocal style and vintage rhythm playing, Meredith was featured on the weekly public radio series Voice Box with Chloe Veltman.  Last year, Ms. Axelrod was on staff and performed at Centrum Voice Works in Port Townsend and at the California Coast Music Camp. Most recently she has partnered with Jim Kweskin at the City Winery in Nashville, and they will be touring and releasing a CD together, “Come On In” recorded live at McCabes, Los Angeles.



“It takes more than passion to do what Meredith does. It takes guts; conviction. She is unflinchingly committed to authentic recreation of the tunes in her repertoire–swampy blues and early American roots music…  my instinct that she had faithfully reproduced the vocal qualities and string performances of this era was confirmed, and second, it compelled me to add to my library a whole new collection of rich, undeniably American, music.” – Gary Rametta

20 thoughts on “BIO

  1. You’re amazing! I heard you about a week ago at Cafe Divine and was in awe of your voice! Unfortunately I was in a hurry and there for take out, so I didn’t get to stay and enjoy. Tonight I randomly brought out of town friends to Cafe Divine for dinner and was telling them about the singer I’d heard with the haunting voice…and there you appeared! We thoroughly enjoyed the unexpected pleasure of your performance! Please start selling your CDs online — that won’t lessen your live audience, but it will help your fans spread the word!

  2. I saw you perform at the Freight and Salvage tonight. Your voice and smile are so honest and positive. I felt so uplifted after hearing you. Thank you for your performance.

  3. ..What a truly wonderful show you two put on last night at Boulevard Music in Culver City. You are my hero! I feel I’ve finally met the perfect woman,, and if you weren’t already in a relationship I would be stalking you as fast as an arthritic hip would allow.
    (..seriously there is nothing wrong with my hip.. it’s every thing else that could use replacing.)
    Please come back to Southern Cal soon.. although I know you residents of the bay area look upon us the way the residents of Beverly Hills look upon Tijuana. None the less a great many of us would be delighted to see you again, oh woman of my dreams..
    (’s a link to a song that would hardly fit your repertoire.. but might fancy your tickle… ..enjoy?)

  4. Saw you at the Freight and Salvage last night for the first time … what a treat … I’m still smiling this morning. Can’t wait to load your cd onto my ipod and hear more of your songs!

  5. Hi Meredith,
    We saw you last night at the Sweetwater and purchased a CD. So nice to see a performer with such purity. You are so genuine. We are still talking about that great trombone thing you do with your voice/mouth!! Keep on singing….

  6. Meredith, I discovered you and Craig, Dennis , Tom recently. I’ve played guitar, mandolin, mandocello, tenor banjo etc, etc. I love the REAL music you guys do. Do you have a website? I’m involved with the Millrace Folk Festival in Cambridge ON (Canada) We would love your kind of music. We regularly feature “Sheesham and Lotus and Son”,, and “The ever lovin Jug Band” you can find them on youtube.

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