Three-headed hootenanny tonight at Crystal Bay Casino

Tony Contini / Tahoe Onstage

Willy Tea Taylor bats cleanup at the Winter Hoedown Saturday at the Crystal Bay.
Tony Contini / Tahoe Onstage

Buff your boots and shine your spurs, the Crown Room at Crystal Bay Club Casino is being transformed into a Winter Snowdown on Saturday night.

Willy Tea Taylor, Marty O’Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra, and The Sam Chase will lead the old-time gathering starting at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 on the day of the show (Saturday, Feb. 16).

“You’re going to the show, Willy.” Those are words every kid who has put on a baseball uniform dreams of hearing. Going to the show means getting called up to play in the big leagues.

Willy Tea Taylor was never called up to the show in baseball, but he sure was in music.

An often poignant storyteller and singer-songwriter, Taylor first raised some dust at his hometown musical sandlot called the Strawberry Music Festival near Oakdale, California. Taylor often writes songs about baseball, or uses the game’s expressions as metaphors.

“I am dreaming every day. Hell, I dreamed my life away.
Like when I was a boy, I’d grow up catching for Detroit.
My brother was a Yankee, my buddy Whitey was a Met.
We’d all win the pennant with a game-winning hit.
Now Whitey’s digging ditches, and I’m unemployed.
Grounded out on wishes, far from little boys.
We never thought life would get so real.
Because we all thought life’s a baseball field.”

— From Willy Tea Taylor’s song “Brand New Game”

Tahoe Onstage

Sam Chase expresses himself onstage.
Tony Contini / Tahoe Onstage

In a sense, The Sam Chase is like an L.A. freeway. When SoCal folks reference their interstates, they always include  “The” as part of the discussion. “The 5 is clogged. … The 15 is on fire,” and so forth. Sam Chase is the same.

The Sam Chase (he always includes “The” before his name) is a songwriter, a bandleader, a comedian, and an insightful voice in these crazy times. His songs are penned with humor and honesty, and he sings them with passion and a voice that sounds like it has been soaked in whiskey for a season.  The Sam Chase has performed at High Sierra Music Festival, Outside Lands, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Kate Wolf Music Festival and many other West Coast gatherings. He has been voted “Best Songwriter” in the SF Bay Guardian.

Tahoe Onstage music critic Garrett Bethmann confesses: “I can’t listen to Marty O’Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra without experiencing an out-of-body experience.”

“Where my soul goes, I cannot be sure, but it no longer remains in the realm of the physical and definite,” Bethmann writes. “Instead, it drifts into the ether and finds solace in the nebulous, creative world of Marty O’Reilly (guitar and vocals) and bandmates Chris Lynch (violin and keyboards), Ben Berry (upright bass) and Matt Goff (drums and percussion).

“It is for this transcendental place that O’Reilly and The OSO have been searching. Over its first two albums the band wandered through meadows of old-timey blues and folk that popped with contemporary color, though whose roots were set in familiar and hallowed soil. On the band’s new album “Stereoscope,” the songs bloom with true creativity and whose influences range from Howlin’ Wolf to Charles Mingus to Radiohead. The new batch of material couldn’t be mistaken for anyone but O’Reilly and The OSO, which is exactly what the band wanted this album to be: a showcase sounding like no one else but themselves.”

So get off your hay bale and make your way to the Crown Room for the Winter Snowdown on Saturday. These singer-songwriters have stories to tell and music to play.

  • Winter Snowdown
    Featuring Willy Tea Taylor, The Sam Chase and Marty O’Reilly and the Old Soul Orchestra
    When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16
    Where: Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room
    Tickets: $15 in advance or $20 on the day of the show
    Red Room after-party: The Inapropriators

    Marty O'Reilly

    Marty O’Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra.

About Randy Hashagen

Tahoe Onstage copy chief Randy Hashagen, a former Bay Area journalist, walked away from his career to become a crazy cab driver. He's still barnstorming, but his wing-walking days are over. Lately, he has been watching the world flow through Lake Tahoe since 2012.

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