‘Let’s Stay Together:’ Trey Stone benefit packs Hard Rock

Tahoe Onstage

Trey Stone in Tahoe onstage with 400 friends at his benefit at the Hard Rock Hotel on Nov. 14.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Conrad Buedel

Sometimes, concertgoers don’t want a show to end. This was especially true Wednesday night during the Trey Stone benefit at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Stone is battling Stage 5 kidney disease and requires 8.5 hours of dialysis every day. He needs a transplant. The Vinyl showroom was packed with more than 400 Lake Tahoe-area residents who have enjoyed his music for a quarter-century and with fellow musicians, many of whom performed before Stone took the stage during a five-hour show.

“I love you, you love me,” Stone told the audience at the end of the night. No words have been more obvious.

The blues band Mudd Bonz played a rousing rendition of the Led Zeppelin anthem, “Whole Lotta Love,” a clear message to Stone, an R&B and soul musician.

More than $10,000 in prizes was raffled by Marcia Schultz and friends.

During an intermission, Sonney Bruning of Sonney’s BBQ Shack Bar & Grill told the crowd, “This man has brought more good times to South Lake Tahoe than anyone else.”

A former Motown session and performing artist with groups such as Rose Royce, Tower of Power, George Clinton’s Parliament and The Undisputed Truth, Stone settled at South Shore for his home

South Lake Tahoe has grown up with Stone, who played in downtown-area venues built back in the 1960s and ‘70s. Redevelopment brought in a modern-day motif and a higher cost of living, forcing many locals to move off the hill. Stone remained and continued his musical presence at South Shore.

He suffered a stroke a decade ago. That’s when he learned about his very high blood pressure. Recently, he said, “It caught up with me.”

Stone slowly walked through the crowd during the Hard Rock show, speaking with, and hugging, friends. He’s lost weight but is hardly frail, and his eyes are clear and bright. He smiled a lot.

Onstage, Tahoe’s great guitarists paid homage to Stone — Wesley Orsolic, Mick Clarke, Buddy Emmer, Mick Valentino and John “Chili” Munroe.

Stone strapped on his guitar and joined the John Shipley band,  stepping to the microphone. With passion and soul, he formally addressed the crowd by singing Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On.” His voice is great, the pitch on the high notes especially moving. Then came a poignant Al Green ballad, “Let’s Stay Together.” – “I’ll be loving you whether times are good or bad, happy or sad.”

Finally, it was time for the Trey Stone Band with keyboardist Terry Ogg, bassist Artie Rodriguez and drummer Danny Barnes. Stone wore his customary cowboy hat and tore into old favorites, some funky, some rocking, like Jimi Hendrix: “I stand up next to a mountain and chop it down with the edge of my hand.”

For all his brash showmanship onstage, Stone is soft spoken. He didn’t talk much about his condition.

“There’s a hole in my stomach, and a whole lot of stuff like that,” he said to the supporters. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Back to the music, and there was a whole lot of rhythm goin’ down.

“We want the funk.” We will always want the funk.

Trey Stone’s Go Fund Me LINK.

— Tim Parsons

Tahoe Onstage

A whole lotta musicians share the stage with Trey Stone.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Conrad Buedel

Tahoe Onstage

Jackie Landrum

Mick Valentino

Kurt Johnson

Carolyn Dolan

Kim Emmer

Wesley Orsolic

Velvet Duo

Seth Hall

Mick Clarke and Dave Edwards

Naill McGuinnes

Buddy Emmer

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.


  1. Thank you Tim Parsons

  2. Never have seen such a show of luv… what an amazing nite…

  3. Once again you have written an absolutely beautiful piece. Thank you so much.

  4. What a great event! Trey has given us such a wonderful gift of his music, and he’s such a good and generous man. To those who put this event together, thank you! It was an unforgettable night, and to all those who attended, you show what a caring community we have.

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