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Camera captures Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe

Tahoe Onstage

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe gets funky in the Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room on July 7.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Kurt E. Johnson

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe is infinitely large. A concertgoer might see him anywhere, including the Crystal Bay Casino last Friday, July 7.

It was somewhat surprising to notice him standing onstage in the shadows, playing in the Slightly Stoopid horn section at a 2014 show in Tahoe Vista. And a couple of years later, there he was again on the biggest stage in rock ‘n’ roll, performing shoulder to shoulder with Keith Richards and Mick Jagger.

“I tell people all the time, they ask me ‘What’s it like playing with the Rolling Stones?’ I say ‘It’s the fucking Rolling Stones.’ The biggest band on earth,” Denson told Tahoe onstage recently. “I will say when I’m with Slightly Stoopid, I look at the girls in the audience when I’m onstage, and when I’m with the Rolling Stones, I look at the Rolling Stones.”

Earlier this month, Denson fronted The Greyboy Allstars, the first of his bands to gain national recognition, at the High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy.

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David Veith and Seth Freeman.

The KDTU touring lineup is comprised of Richmond guitarist DJ Williams, Crush Effects’ keyboardist David Veith, Seattle trumpeter Chris Littlefield and the newest member is lap steel guitarist Seth Freeman.

“I found (Freeman), he’s from Arkansas,” Denson said. “He’s been working on his own for years. I met him in Alaska a year and a half ago. I just ran into him through one of the promoters up there — we were playing a festival.”

The new instrument has spurred a renewed sense of momentum for the band, both onstage and in studio.

“I think we’re having a really good time right now,” Denson said. “The addition of the second guitar player, finally actually getting a solid member, has started to create some more energy as far as us going forward. We’re writing tunes together, we’re feeling like a band.”

One result of this revitalization is an upcoming album, due for release soon, currently with the working title of “Smart Boy.”

The July 7 show was the second Crown Room appearance this year for Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, which also played there on Jan. 28

Tahoe Onstage

Karl Denson delivers muscle-bound funk.

Tahoe Onstage

Karl Denson and Chris Littlefield at the Crystal Bay Casino.

Tahoe Onstage

DJ Williams on guitar.

Click here to see all of Kurt E. Johnson’s photos from July 7 show at Crystal Bay.

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.

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