‘Make em dance!’ Santana plays Tuesday blues comeback

Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Buddy Emmer, left, Andy Santana and Bryan Jenkins play Tuesday Night Blues at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe on June 29.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Guitarist-harmonica player Andy Santana is the guest star at the 2021 debut of Buddy Emmer’s Tuesday Night Blues at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.

For those who have been living under a rock, or perhaps just staying at home during a pandemic, here’s the lowdown, dirty blues details: The Buddy Emmer Blues Band opens the free Center Stage show at 8 p.m. Kim Emmer is the featured singer who wears stylish shoes. The guest and his original music play during the second set. Finally, there is an improvised jam session that goes until around 11:30 p.m.

“I’ll describe the tempo and the beat to the drummer,” Santana said. “There’s about five different shuffles and different ways to approach it. The swing, the cha-cha, the flat-tire feel, and the real slow Jimmy Reed feel. I want to throw in as much mishmash as I can.”

Santana is a true artist. The Sacramento Blues Society Hall of Fame member is a playwright, photographer and he has a new endeavor that he took up during the lockdown: “Poetry reminiscent to Hafez.”

Hafez was a 14th century Persian Sufi, an Islamic mystic. While people go to the writings of Hafez to find their way in life, Santana went to the “Night Tripper” to learn the meaning of music.

“What’s the most important thing you can do as a musician?” Santana asked.

Dr. John answered: “Make ‘em dance. If people are moving their asses, you did your job. And they will remember you more for that than just about anything.”

Santana also received guitar advice from the great Junior Watson.

“He said, ‘Learn your B.B. King, if that’s what you want to do, but what will really define you is if you learn another (lesser-known) guy’s technique. You’ll sound more original because no one’s really hep to those guys and you will shine more.”

Santana studied guitarists such as Tiny Grimes, Smiley Lewis, Pete “Guitar” Lewis and Jimmy Nolen.

Santana lost two loved ones in recent months, but his 92-year-old father survived Covid-19.

“He said, ‘I lived through two wars and three wives. This thing isn’t killing me.’ ”

Santana shows his appreciation for life and nature through his social media.

“All you are going to see is fuzzy, furry things, flowers, sunsets, waterfalls. That’s all I give you,” he said.

Santana is sure to offer a fun performance on Tuesday.

“Buddy is a great guy,” Santana said. “He’s full of love and goodness.”

  • Harrah’s Tuesday Night Blues
    Buddy Emmer Blues Band

    8-11:30 p.m. Tuesdays
    Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Center Stage
    Featured artists”
  • June 29: Andy Santana
  • July 6: Kyle Rowland
  • July 13: Jeff Watson
  • July 20: Mighty Mike Schermer
  • July 27: Chuck Dunn

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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