Hall of Fame-bound Santana hits Harrah’s first

Tahoe Onstage

Buddy Emmer and Andy Santana jam at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe on Tuesday, Sept. 18.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Andy Santana went to the Night Tripper with the ultimate questions.

What is the meaning of life? How come it’s always stormy Monday? Why are we here?

Dr. John answered: “To make people dance.”

“That was wisdom, in one sentence or less,” Santana recollected as he set out for Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, where he will be the featured artist Sept. 18 at Tuesday Night Blues.

The weekly show features the fastest-learning and most improvisational group since B.B. King ruled the same stage, The Buddy Emmer Blues Band – Buddy Emmer (guitar, harmonica, vocals) Kim Emmer (vocals), Dave Clark (bass), Bryan Jenkins, (drums) and Mark Ishakawa (keyboards).

The house band’s ambitious task of learning material of each week’s featured artist was made easier by Santana, who has kept the set list loose in his five previous appearances .

“I am used to sitting in with people so I am never intimidated by that type of situation,” Santana said. “That’s half the fun. As you mature musically, you can make something good out of just about anything. I love Buddy’s energy and his guitar playing. He loves performing and it shows. That’s what makes it easy.”

On Sept. 30, Santana will be inducted into the Sacramento Blues Society Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. at Harlow’s. Santana will enter the Hall of Fame along with A.J. Joyce, R.W. Grigsby and Jimmy Morello. Frankie Lee will be posthumously inducted. A showcase concert will be from 6 to 8 p.m. and hosted by the Daniel Castro Band. Castro will perform at Harrah’s on Sept. 30.

Santana comes out the blues side of the Bay Area, San Jose, along with players such as Daniel Castro, Chris Cain, Mighty Mike Schermer, Tommy Castro and that Johnny-come-lately Norwegian, Kid Andersen, who produced Santana’s most recent album, “Watch Your Step.”

Anson Funderburgh, the tasteful guitar legend, said, “Andy Santana plays exactly like I like. He has a clean, precise tone that is very melodic. It is simple and to the point, never losing sight of the melody, just like his wonderful vocals.”

Santana, 66, is a singer, guitarist, and harmonica player who has performed with a litany of greats, including Chicago bluesmen Carey Bell, Luther Tucker, Jimmy Rogers and Billy Boy Arnold.

His primary band is Andy Santana and the West Coast Playboys, which will play March 25 at Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco. The band is undergoing a metamorphosis with the addition of guitarist Greg Roberts, who Santana says plays like Lightnin Hopkins.

– Tim Parsons

  • Harrah’s Tuesday Night Blues
    Hosted weekly by the Buddy Emmer Blues Band
    8-11:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Harrah’s Center Stage, free

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Share This