“Keep Tahoe Blue” has been the mantra for ecology advocates around these parts for years. “Keep Blues in Tahoe” has been around for an unexpectedly long time, too.
A weekly blues show in Harrah’s Lake Tahoe with the Buddy Emmer Blues Band began on Tuesday nights in January 2014. The initial plan was to present the show for a few weeks and, if the turnout was good, to possibly extend it into the winter. The show was renewed for spring, then summer, and next month it will move into its third year — with its biggest names yet to appear.
Each Tuesday night, nearly four hours of blues are presented free on the casino floor. The Buddy Emmer Band plays for about an hour starting at 8 p.m. A guest artists performs their own songs with the band during a second set, followed by a jam session that will last as long as people are dancing.
The top blues players in the region, usually guitarists, are regularly featured, such as Sacramento’s Jeff Watson, Vacaville’s Matty T., San Jose’s Maxx Cabello Jr., North Tahoe’s Chuck Dunn, and past Reno Blues Society International Blues Challenge representatives Rick Hammond and Jason King. Last Tuesday, Rich Maloon from one of the area’s most enduring bands, Blue Haven, was featured on a sizzling night of blues (see images).
Harrah’s casino recently upped the ante by booking nationally known artists. Making their Tuesday night debuts this year will be guitarists Chris Cain (Feb. 23) and Mighty Mike Schermer (March 15), who plays with the Marcia Ball Band. Schermer, who recently released a solo album, “Blues in Good Hands,” formerly played with Elvin Bishop. Terry Hanck had a medical setback and postponed his Jan. 19 appearance. He told Tahoe Onstage he expects to resume performing in March. Steve Freund will play this Tuesday.
“The reputation is built and Buddy does a solid job,” said Brian Chandler, Harrah’s entertainment manager. “I don’t see this ending anytime soon.”
Another special show was Dec. 29 with Maxx Cabello Jr.
“Maxx is like a magnet, he just pulls you in,” Chandler said.
Emmer also is open to giving new, young gunslingers a shot. Santa Cruz guitarist Jake Nielsen, who has had two strong performances in recent months at Whiskey Dick’s Saloon in South Lake Tahoe, gets his opportunity at Harrah’s on Jan. 26.
“I am going to try to keep the love flying,” Emmer told Tahoe Onstage, coining yet another phrase.
Related story: Terry Hanck on the mend, starts comeback in Tahoe.LINK
Here’s a look ahead at Harrah’s Tuesday Night Winter Blues:Jan. 26: Jake Nielsen
Feb.2: Rick Hammond
Feb 9: Chuck Dunn
Feb 16: Jason King
Feb 23: Chris Cain
March 15: Mighty Mike Schermer
ABOUT Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.