Charlie and the Nightcats at the Grand Emporium
What that means to me is traveling and finally
getting out from the inches of ice and snow
to go hear some blues.
I guess if I HAVE to pick a favorite touring
"blues" band out there, it would
be Little Charlie and the Nightcats. I have
been thinking of one word to describe them
and I guess "captivating" sums it
up. With Little Charlie working his magic
on guitar and Rick Estrin dancing and playing
that harp, along with the tremendous back
up rhythm section-it's the perfect combination
for blues heaven!
Estrin was quoted as saying "You will
never meet a more unique guitar stylist".
He feels that they are the perfect compliment
for each other. Baty and Estrin have a sort
of charismatic energy within their music that
intrigues the fans and draws them into the
power of their compositions. Although, as
I was informed, blues isn't really what the
band does. I had the honor of sitting down
for lunch while in Kansas City with Charlie
Baty. He describes the band as a mixture of
jump, swing, jazz, be-bop, and blues.
You can only image how nervous and excited
I was to be sitting at the same diner with
one of my all-time favorite guitar players.
I had never really said much to Mr. Baty before,
but when I mentioned that I would like to
do a brief interview for STLblues, he was
more than happy to oblige. He answered all
the questions I had (probably ones that he
always answers), and couldn't have been a
more pleasant individual. He described that
to the common fan he may seem distant or unsociable
at times, but that is not at all the case
from what I've seen. He explained that usually
there are just so many people trying to get
your attention and talk to you that there
simply isn't enough time to get to everyone.
Baty also stated that he and the band appreciate
each and every fan that comes to their gigs-it's
what keeps them going! Little Charlie is also
the main businessman for the band. He is the
one to see for shirts, cds, and other miscellaneous
items they have for sale. This was most apparent
this weekend at the famous Grand Emporium
blues club in Kansas City, MO. When the band
took a break, it was a surge of frenzied blues
fanatics rushing the stage for all types of
band merchandise. I was completely in awe
of the loyalty this gang possesses with their
fan foundation. Charlie said that he and Rick
Estrin have been touring together since 1987.
So that explains the massive fan support-LONGEVITY.
It's pretty simple--the band is unique and
they do a tremendous job of entertaining.
My only complaint is that they don't play
St. Louis often enough. All in all, I had
an exceptional time.
The Grand Emporium was a bona fide dark and
bluesy room with artifacts from blues past
pressed on its walls. Go check this place
out sometime; you will want to return soon!
It was also refreshing to see what a "regular
guy" Charlie Baty was. He even taught
me a thing or two about how to order a decent
cup of cappuccino and where to find the hippest
record store in Kansas City! Don't miss a
chance to see these Cats wherever they may
For more info on this top-notch band visit
thier website here
*Mentionable quote and
odd sense of humor:
So why do people call you "Little Charlie"?
I started playing the harmonica as my first
instrument when I was really young. Little
Walter was the thing then so that's how the
name came about. I quit playing the harp and
switched to guitar so the dog would stop howling!"
I still don't know if he was teasing me or