Perfect Bluesdays of summer, Chris Cain next

Perfect weather kisses The Village at Squaw Valley.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Tim Parsons

Chris Cain, the truest Bluesdays artist of them all, returns to the Tuesday show in The Village at Squaw Valley on July 27.

Cain has played at Bluesdays more than any other performer.

“That little gig at Squaw Valley has been one of the real joys of my playing days,” Cain told Tahoe Onstage. “I’ve never played anywhere where everybody’s so happy. My band is like a bunch of flowers and if you put water on them, they just bloom. Those folks there are just so receptive to stuff. My band just played their brains out when they’d go there.”

Chris Cain is the Bluesdays host.

During the lockdown, Cain signed with Alligator Records and his 15th album, “Raisin’ Cain” remains high on the blues charts. His touring band also is the studio band. It has keyboardist Greg Rahn, bassist Steve Evans and drummer Sky Garcia. Greaseland Studio’s Kid Andersen produced the record in San Jose.

“(Andersen) is a genius and he’s got a great bedside manner,” Cain said. “He’s got some psychological stuff that he can do to relax people. Most guys just have a template of how they record everybody and they do it the same way. He doesn’t do that.”

Save for drums and harmonica, Cain can play any instrument, and he plays keys on four of the album’s songs. His keen ears are the result of growing up in a happy musical household, which is described in the autobiographical “Born To Play.” He was 3 when he saw B.B. King for the first time.

“As a teenager, I was a nut,” Cain said. “Everybody else was getting laid and driving and stuff. And I was locked in a room totally destroying my records.”

Cain lives in Copperopolis in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Mark Hummel & the Blues Survivors played a rousing set of traditional blues on July 20.

A week before the show the bandleader was concerned about a forecast of high temperatures. Also, Squaw Valley is surrounded by the Dixie and Tamarack fires. But skies were clear and the temperature was a comfortable 78 degrees. And while the village was full, there was enough room for spectators to watch from lawn chairs.

  • Bluesdays
    The Village at Squaw Valley
    Tuesdays, 6-8:30 p.m
    .
    July 27: Chris Cain
    Aug. 3: Alastair Greene
    Aug. 10: J.C. Smith Band
    Aug. 17: Terry Hanck
    Aug. 24: Rick Estrin & The Nightcats
    Aug. 31: Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings
  • More events:
    Aug. 14-15: Brews Jazz & Funk Fest
    Sept. 3: Guitar Strings vs. Chicken Wings
    Sept. 18-19: Oktoberfest
    Oct. 9-10: Made in Tahoe
Mark Hummel & the Blues Survivors pause for a photo after soundcheck on Tuesday at Bluesdays in The Village at Squaw Valley. Joe Kyle Jr., left, Rusty Zinn, Mark Hummel, Bob Welch and Wes Starr.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Mark Hummel baths in natural spotlight as he breathes the blues.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Morro Bay’s The Rock radio disc jockey Wes Starr is back at his other job behind a drum kit.
Mark Hummel & the Blues Survivors warm up before the show.
Bob Welch plays keys, guitar and also with Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio.
Rusty Zinn dusts off his Bluesdays.

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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