5 Reasons We're Excited About Blues Blast on Saturday

Rick Estrin and the Nightcats

First, Rick Estrin and the Nightcats have been around the blues for many years, but they remain popular and recently released a new CD, You Asked for It: Live. This CD is their first live CD. This band is worth seeing. The Nightcats are professionals and know how to get the audience going.

Estrin writes most of the band's songs and many of the songs are off of past CDs.

"These songs are popular with crowds and people continually ask for them," he said.

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Estrin mixes jazz, funk and Americana with the blues. He found an interest in the blues as a kid. It moved him more than other music because he could relate to the blues. His major influences on the harmonica are Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson and James Cotton. His songwriting influences include Percy Mayfield. Estrin's first influence was Jimmy Reed because his sister had Reed's albums.

Estrin and the Nightcats have been playing since 2008. Before that he was with Little Charlie and the Nightcats.

Estrin said he was glad that the Nightcats made the live album because no matter how happy they are in the studio there's always a different element when music is recorded live.

"This was a special exciting live performance and we captured it," he said.

R.D. Olson

The second reason is R.D. Olson's Band, which won the Arizona Blues Showdown and represented Arizona at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, in January. There is good reason why this band won the Arizona title. Olson can play the harmonica like a bad dog, and his group provides fun dance music.

If that's not enough, this may be the best dressed blues band in Arizona. Olson wants to make sure that everything his band does is professional so they show up early, dress like professionals and put on a heck of a show. Olson's band will come out with a CD in the next year, and you'll be hearing about this band for years.

The Plateros

The third reason is The Plateros. There aren't many Native American blues bands, but the Plateros fit this bill. They have won blues awards in New Mexico and Native American Music Awards as well.

This family trio is known for its rockin' blues, so get ready to watch the grass shake when the Plateros come on.

The Beer

The important stuff. Four Peaks will provide the beer. No, it isn't free, but their well-known brews will keep everybody in the blues spirit.

The Family

Those who attend the blues sessions throughout the valley have become friends over the years and its become the second family for many. It's a welcoming and fun loving group. So if you go to this Blues Blast make sure you turn to somebody, smile and say: "How about those blues?"

Most in the blues family will welcome those they don't know and ask them to join in the fun.

Blues Blast takes place at Margaret T. Hance Park on Saturday, March 7.

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

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Stan Bindell