LITTLE CHARLIE & THE NIGHTCATS
For the last 30 years, Little Charlie and the Nightcats have been dazzling audiences with their creative mixture of West Coast jump and Chicago blues. The team of guitarist Charlie Baty and harmonicist / vocalist / songwriter Rick Estrin combine technical brilliance with loads of fun. A Nightcats performance has the audience racing to the dance floor, laughing at the lyrics (with songs like “Money must think I’m dead”), and reveling in the band’s famous theatrics.
Little Charlie and the Nightcats was formed in Sacramento in the 1980s. They quickly came to the attention of Alligator Records, which has produced six studio albums, a live album, and a greatest hits CD. Their recent release (“That’s Big!”, 2002) continues their tradition of tongue-in-cheek storytelling in original songs that range from roots-oriented blues to jazz-flavored jump. “Rick Estrin sings and writes songs like the brightest wise guy in all bluesland and blows harmonica as if he learned at the knee of Little Walter,” raves Down Beat. Guitar World declares, “Baty’s straight blues playing is eye-popping…he stretches solos to the breaking point, skittering on the edge, where one wrong note will bring the whole thing crashing down.” Rounding out the Nightcats are Bay area veterans drummer Jay Hansen and bassist Lorenzo Farrell.
“Rollicking, super-cool, jazzy and hip…satirical, sharp lyrics and killer guitar and harp solos. It just doesn’t get any better then this.” – Blues Revue.
“Powerful…outrageous…wonderful….Baty’s immediately recognizable guitar style and Estrin’s uniquely twisted and humorous lyrical vision [make] Little Charlie and the Nightcats one of the most successful proponents of the blues/swing /rock/jazz synthesis so popular today.” – Living Blues.
LIFE AT THE TOP
Life at the Top is a five-piece band comprised of long time Central Coast performers, with musical influences ranging from the legendary Albert Collins to contemporary blues artists such as Debbie Davies and Tommy Castro, as well as crossover performers such as Jimi Hendrix and the Allman Brothers. The band includes Karen Wilkins on vocals and keyboard, Guitar Slim on guitar and vocals, Dudley Dean on guitar and vocals, Dan McPherson on bass and vocals, and Ralph Liddle on drums. Their high-energy performance was a hit at the blues show last year, so dancers are urged to be prompt.