Bluesdays finale moves indoors for Mark Hummel’s band

Tahoe Onstage
Mark Hummel will return to Squaw Valley’s Bluesdays this summer for the sixth-straight year.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Labor Day weekend is winding down, but we’re not quite ready for a pray-for-snow party. Instead, there will be “gut-bucket blues” played outside at the foot of a spectacular mountainscape.

Mark Hummel’s Golden State Lone Star Revue will wrap up the ninth season of Bluesdays in The Village at Squaw Valley on Tuesday. It will be the sixth-straight season Hummel has brought a band to the concert series.

It’s been an eventful year for the group, including a personnel change. Little Charlie Baty left the band last December to pursue other projects. He has been replaced by Mike Keller, whose resume include stints with The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Marcia Ball, Doyle Bramhall Sr., and, notably, as the guitarist who played with Double Trouble after Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash.

Tahoe Onstage
R.W. Grigsby of the Golden State Lone Star Revue.
Photo by Clare Foster

With the Golden State Lone Star Revue, Keller joins fellow Texan Anson Funderburgh, giving the band a dual guitar attack. Hummel plays harmonica, while the rhythm section of bassist R.W. Grigsby and drummer Wes Starr have performed together since they were in high school in Rome, Georgia. Starr also played with Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets since the early 1980s.

Hummel, who has presented a “Harmonic Blowout” for decades, has a penchant for putting together great talent. He called Grigsby and Starr the best rhythm section in blues, and he has plenty of praise for Funderburgh and Keller.

“Anson is somebody who really relies on economy and depth,” Hummel told Tahoe Onstage. “He does not play extraneous stuff. To me, that’s what makes him so special and the other guy like that is Jimmy Vaughan (Stevie’s brother). There’s a certain thing Texas guys have about taking their time and playing things that cut deep. A fan once told me, ‘Man the thing about Anson is when he plays he can cut you and you don’t even know it till you feel the blood dripping down your neck.’

“But my point is Mike’s a really great player as well and he really takes his time and when they play together nobody plays too busy. It’s a nice groove that we’ve got with this group.”

Hummel and Grigsby are the two Californians in the band, which collectively received four Blues Music Award nominations. Grigsby was up for best bass player, but neither he nor the band made it to the podium in Memphis.

“The blues scene it’s so different from when, say, me and R. W., Anson or Wes all started playing blues,” Hummel said. “It really is kind of a different age. What we do is really more gut-bucket blues It’s not guitar histrionics, it’s not playing super fast. It’s just really kind of taking your time and getting in the groove.”

  • Bluesdays finale
    Who:
    Mark Hummel’s Golden State Lone Star Revue featuring Anson Funderburg
    When: 6 to 8:30 p.m.
    Where: The Village at Squaw Valley

ABOUT Tim Parsons

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.

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