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Rick Estrin | East Bay Express


Can’t cease the blues

Rick Estrin is the lead singer, harmonica participant and important songwriter of Rick Estrin and & the Nightcats. Estrin first made a reputation for himself as a member of Little Charlie & the Nightcats, a band he began with guitarist Charlie Baty in 1976. The band was primarily based in Sacramento and spent 10 years enjoying regionally earlier than changing into a nationwide act, because of a document take care of Alligator Information. They despatched a demo to the label, not likely anticipating a solution. 

“At that time, they have been signing Chicago blues artists,” Estrin stated, from his Sacramento residence. “The one white folks on the label have been semi-rock stars, like Roy Buchanan. We have been thrilled and shocked and completely shocked.” 

The Alligator deal gained the band a nationwide and worldwide following. They’ve been on the highway ever since. When Baty stopped touring with the band in 2008, Estrin enlisted Child Andersen because the band’s lead guitarist and stayed on the highway as Rick Estrin & the Nightcats. 

“Charlie had been saying, ‘I believe this’ll be my final yr’ for no less than 10 years. When he did stop, I began this model of the band with Child Andersen, Lorenzo Farrell and Derrick Martin, who was Little Richard’s drummer for 17 years,” stated Estrin. 

“J. Hansen, who had been the band’s drummer for years, stayed on with this incarnation of the band for the primary a number of post-Charlie years. We added Derrick, aka D’Mar, about 4 years in the past. I believe we have been at all times an lively band, however the addition of D’Mar has lifted the power to a different stage. Although my identify is on the band, it’s actually extra of a cooperative deal,” he continued.

Since they rebranded, the Nightcats have launched 5 extra albums on Alligator, together with their newest, Modern. The set breaks some new floor musically, including funk, rap and varied studio results into the combination, with Estrin’s acquainted tongue in cheek perspective.

“[The title track] was impressed by the latest Blues Music Awards [formerly the WC Handy Awards] we received. A couple of years again, I received Conventional Male Blues Artist of the 12 months. The next yr, I used to be nominated for Modern Blues Artist of the 12 months. That made me suppose, ‘They have to suppose I’m extra modern now,’ so I wrote Modern,” Estrin defined.

Modern was launched simply earlier than the COVID shutdown, so the band was unable to tour to assist it. As an alternative, they produced a collection of spectacular stay streaming occasions, together with a efficiency on the Can’t Cease the Blues web site that obtained over 20,000 hits. “Child’s wonderful and found out how one can do a stay stream, and have it’s in sync, with all of us somewhere else,” Estrin stated. “He created fascinating visuals to make entertaining on-line exhibits. I don’t suppose any of us suffered the best way lots of people did.”

The downtime additionally gave Estrin the time to put in writing songs for the band’s upcoming album, tentatively titled The Hits Maintain Comin. “I began writing the title monitor through the lockdown,” he stated. “I had a artistic burst a number of months in the past and knew it was time to enter the studio. We’ve a few songs we have to end, then we’ll ship it to Alligator. We hope to have it out within the fall.”

The brand new album exhibits off the band’s persevering with effort to develop their sound, with out forsaking the normal blues that present their basis. “Our evolution has been natural,” Estrin famous. “It’s not contrived just like the adjustments I discuss in Modern. There’s no advertising technique. It’s simply developed as a result of folks evolve, and totally different band members come and go. If it feels pure, we’ll do it, and I’m gonna preserve going till I can’t do it anymore or no person exhibits up.” 

Estrin stated he grew up in San Francisco and fell in love with the blues earlier than he was a youngster. “My older sister had Jimmy Reed albums,” he recalled. “After I began enjoying them, I dug the music. After I was 12, she gave me [the Ray Charles album] The Genius Sings the Blues. There was one thing about it—I used to be an odd child, I suppose—however the best way he delivered the songs made me suppose, ‘This man understands how I really feel.’ It could have been foolish, me being a child, however I at all times had a aspect of me that needed to really feel actually intense feelings. As soon as I obtained into the blues, I by no means went again to pop music.” 

Rick Estrin & the Nightcats, with particular visitor Anson Funderbergh, performs subsequent Wednesday, March 22, at 8pm, at Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland. Yoshis.com/occasions/calendar. 510-238-9200.


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