Annie Raines was born in 1969 in Boston and grew up in the suburb of Newton, Massachusetts. She picked up the blues harp at 17 and made her stage debut at the 1369 Jazz Club in Cambridge a few months before her high school graduation. Enthralled by the recordings of Muddy Waters, Little Walter Jacobs, Big Walter Horton and Sonny Boy Williamson, she became a fixture at Boston area blues jams. One of the few female blues harmonica players in the country, Annie played the New England club circuit with local bands, and traveled to Chicago where she met and played with many of her musical idols, Some of whom became Annie fans: Harmonica legend James Cotton calls her "James Cotton Junior" and Muddy Waters sideman Pinetop Perkins said "She plays so good it hurts!"
In 1992, Raines paired up with Country Blues master (and author of Truefire's Country Blues course, Dirt Road Blues by Paul Rishell. Touring internationally at festivals, clubs, and concert halls, and teaching workshops and seminars, Rishell & Raines have earned loyal fans around the globe. They won the W.C. Handy Award in 2000 for Acoustic Blues Album of the year for Moving to the Country. The duo have recorded 7 albums together and performed on diverse radio and TV shows including A Prairie Home Companion, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and PBS’s Arthur, and are featured in the new jug band music documentary, Chasin’ Gus’ Ghost. They have performed and recorded with Susan Tedeschi, John Sebastian, Pinetop Perkins, and Rory Block. For more about Paul and Annie, visit their website: www.paulandannie.com