Shocking turn of events at Carson Valley Inn

Tahoe Onstage

On Saturday, Aug. 5, after a thunderstom had threatened to cancel the show, Alastair Greene, left, and Dave Clark take an unexpected turn for better blues at the Carson Valley Inn’s Blues, Brews & BBQs.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Tim Parsons

A half-hour after the show was scheduled to start Saturday, Buddy Emmer cried the blues.

“This was going to be the greatest night of the year,” he said as rain pummeled TJ’s Corral, the outdoor arena at the Carson Valley Inn. Putting things in perspective, he described a close, frightening lightning bolt followed immediately by stage-shaking thunder. That was close.

The Carson Valley Inn’s 33rd anniversary bash promoted $2 beers, dollar hot dogs and the Buddy Emmer Blues Band, which would perform solo and back San Jose guitar star Maxx Cabello Jr. and the Northern Nevada debut of Greene, a phenomenal player just off seven years with the Alan Parsons Project.

Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Maxx Cabello Jr.

“Maxx has another gig on the other side of the mountains and he has to leave in 10 minutes,” Emmer said, trying to smile through his blues.

The rain turned into a drizzle with ominous clouds still threatening lightening but suddenly the band was given the OK to start the show. Cabello told the small crowd he didn’t have much time to play, so he wouldn’t spend it by talking. He proceeded to shred and, seemingly like magic, droves of people filled into the arena.

“We truly appreciate everyone’s cooperation and understanding as safety became the driving force until the lightening trended farther from TJ’s on the radar,” the CVI’s Bill Henderson said. “And what an incredible tribute to the artists and the event that the crowd came back in such numbers after the delay!”

Generously, Cabello offered his CDs for free before briskly unplugging and darting off stage.

A suddenly enthused Buddy Emmer Blues Band played a rocking set that included two Led Zeppelin covers and a passionate Janis Jopin song, “Piece of my Heart,” by vocalist Kim Emmer. Buddy Emmer played a song that was taught to him by Billy Gibbons, “Just Got Paid.”

By the time Greene stepped onstage, the sky was clear and a full moon beamed over the bucolic Carson Valley. There was enough room for kids to run around, but the size of the crowd was impressive considering most people figured the show would be canceled.

Earlier this year, Greene said he’d fulfilled his “inner teenage dream” by playing stadiums all across the globe with light shows and a historic British prog rock band. “(But now) it’s time for me to spread my wings and do my thing,” he said.

His clothes — jeans and a brand new flannel shirt — indicate his transformation from rock star to bluesman.

Onstage for the first time with Emmer, Greene unleashed a few of his originals, but offered up mostly modern blues standards. A dexterous guitarist, he played the upper and lower strings with his thumb and fingers and also manipulated a guitar pick.

Greene played Albert Collins and Freddie King licks, Rory Gallagher’s “Bullfrog Blues,” and finished with a slowed down, powerful rendition of Tinsley Ellis’ “Cut You Loose.”

It’s impressive how Emmer and his bandmates can meld with guest artists so well with no rehearsals. The band has a nearly four-year residency on Tuesday nights at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, which this month will feature nationally acclaimed Terry Hanck, Kid Andersen and, on Tuesday, Aug. 8, Greene.

Emmer said he’d like to someday present a monthly blues show in TJ’s Corral – a great idea. Blues is all about feeling, and the CVI’s 33rd anniversary show had practically every emotion imaginable.

-Tim Parsons

Tahoe Onstage

The blues pour down into TJ’s Corral at the start of the show.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage

Maxx Cabello Jr. says goodbye after two rocking tunes.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage

Brian Jenkins and Alastair Greene face the blues.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Tahoe Onstage

Onstage together for the first time: Buddy Emmer and Alastair Greene.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage


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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