Big fun with Elvin Bishop and friends at Mont Blues Ball

Tahoe Onstage

Kenny Neal and Elvin Bishop strike it up during the Mont Blues Ball at Lake Tahoe on Saturday.
Conrad Buedel / Tahoe Onstage photos

Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio truly lives up to the name.

The third annual Mont Blues Ball delivered powerful blues music to an enthusiastic crowd. Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers opened with a tight set of classic blues featuring Piazza’s sizzling harmonica and his wife Honey on keyboards. The couple has been together since 1977 and you can just tell they’re still very much in love. They are great together in every way, especially their music.

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Elvin Bishop charmed the crowd along with special guest Kenny Neal. Bishop, guitarist/pianist Bob Welsh and percussionist/vocalist Willy Jordan  are the Big Fun Trio. They played a nice mix of old and new songs. The trio opened with “Keep on Rollin’ ” and played fun songs such as “Old School” and “What the Hell is Going On,” along with the classic “Fooled Around and Fell in Love.” Bishop’s casual, front-porch style was refreshing. Jordan is able to get amazing full drum sounds out of the cajon, a South American percussion instrument that’s basically a square box that you sit on. Welsh is equally talented on both guitar and piano.

“There is a 95 percent chance you will like this song,” Bishop quipped as he engaged the crowd. “For this next song, I am more of a music appreciator than a musician.” Chris Hansen joined the trio and played guitar on a couple of songs before Bishop introduced his special guest, Louisiana blues guitarist and harp player, Kenny Neal.

Neal filled the stage with his charisma, crisp guitar licks and smooth voice. He talked about his family as the eldest of 10 children who all became musicians. Neal’s father Raful always admired Guitar Slim so Kenny played a stirring and heartfelt tribute. Even though Bishop admitted that he and Neil had not rehearsed, their guitars meshed perfectly.

— Conrad Buedel

Tahoe Onstage

Honey plays sweetly on the keyboard with Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers.

Tahoe Onstage

Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio: Bob Welsh, left, Bishop, Willy Jordan.

Conrad Buedel / Tahoe Onstage

Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers.

Tahoe Onstage

Willy Jordan notices he’s on camera.

About Conrad Buedel

Conrad Buedel was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He moved to Nevada in 1987. Conrad is a professional writer and photographer in the Lake Tahoe area.

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