A blues supergroup plays in the Village at Squaw Valley on Tuesday
The penultimate Bluesdays of summer features the Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue, a band with players from Texas and California fronted by harmonica player Mark Hummel and guitarists Little Charlie Baty and Anson Funderburgh. The rhythm section is drummer Wes Starr and bassist R.W. Grigsby.
The band has been together since 2012, but only this year released a self-titled album, which has 14 songs and was recorded at Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studio in San Jose. It’s Hummel’s 25th album.
If Funderburgh and Baty are not household names, it’s because they don’t sing. It takes a rare blues guitarist such as Derek Trucks or Ronnie Earl who can gain fame as solely an instrumentalist.
A Texan, Funderburg played with the Fabulous Thunderbirds in that band’s early days. His own band is Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets, which included harmonica player Sam Myers from 1985 until 2006, when he died. Local concertgoers will remember Funderburgh from his show with Eric Lindell at Moe’s Original BBQ.
Funderburgh was a 2014 Blues Music Award nominee for Best Instrumentalist – Guitar.” He produced Andy T. and Nick Nixon’s recent album “Drink Drank Drunk.”
Baty is best known for his longtime partnership with harp player Rick Estrin in Little Charlie and the Nightcats.
“(Baty) was an excellent harmonica player,” Mark Hummel told Tahoe Onstage. “He was really one of the top guys before he took up the guitar. That makes a big difference because a guy who’s played harmonica knows exactly what the harmonica backup is supposed to go like. It’s a big plus to have a guy who understands that.”
Hummel recently wrote the book “Big Road Blues: Twelve Bar on I-80,” which describes the harmonica player’s decades’ long career on the road. An upshot from the entertaining book is that it’s far easier to play a gig than to get paid for playing a gig.
This is the fifth straight year Hummel’s band has appeared at Bluesdays, the free summertime show held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.
Bluesdays concludes on Sept. 6 with Kenny Neal.