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  Little Charlie and the Nightcats at the Grand Emporium

Little Charlie
Springtime!!! 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.

Rick EstrinMr. 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 be!

For more info on this top-notch band visit thier website here

*Mentionable quote and odd sense of humor:

Stlblues.net: So why do people call you "Little Charlie"?
Mr. Baty: 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 not!!

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