Rick Estrin & The Nightcats

Rick Estrin & The Nightcats

Estrin was schooled by some of the very best blues musicians. While still a teen, he was tutored by San Francisco’s famous musician (and pimp) Fillmore Slim. He was mentored by Oakland’s legendary Rodger Collins, and gigged with blues stars Lowell Fulson and Z.Z. Hill. Estrin moved to Chicago when he was 19 to work with Windy City bluesmen Johnny Young, Eddie Taylor, Sam Lay and John Littlejohn, and even jammed with Muddy Waters. He returned to California and continued to hone his craft. By the time he joined forces with guitarist Little Charlie Baty and formed Little Charlie & The Nightcats in 1976—a band he would front for the next 30 years—Estrin was a seasoned performer with plenty of talent and a newfound knack for writing killer original songs.

Upon Baty’s retirement from touring in 2008, Estrin recruited high-flying guitar wunderkind Christoffer “Kid” Andersen and formed Rick Estrin & The Nightcats. The band quickly became a worldwide favorite with blues fans as well as critics and radio programmers. “Kid’s a fearless nut on the guitar,” says Estrin. “He’s really the only guy who could fit in with us.” With an uninhibited style that perfectly meshed with Estrin’s wildly imaginative songs, the new band charged out of the gate. Billboard called them “fabulous, remarkable and original.”

Since the 2009 release of Rick Estrin & The Nightcats’ celebrated Alligator Records debut, Twisted, the 2012 follow-up One Wrong Turn, 2014’s crowd-pleasing You Asked For It…Live!, and 2017’s Groovin’ In Greaseland, the band has toured the world, earning high praise and standing ovations everywhere they go. The Chicago Sun-Times said, “These are serious musicians having a hotter than hot good time. It’s tough to stay in your seat when Estrin and his musical cohorts get cooking.” They’ve performed at festivals and concert stages from San Francisco to Chicago to New York, and everywhere in between, plus tours of the United Kingdom, Norway, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Poland, Australia, Israel and recently Estonia and Russia. The band’s worldwide popularity helped Estrin win five Blues Music Awards, including two nods for Song Of The Year (1994 and 2018), Best Instrumentalist—Harmonica (2013) and Traditional Blues Male Artist Of The Year (2018). The full band, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, won the highly coveted 2018 Blues Music Award for Band Of The Year.

According to Estrin, “Contemporary is the most fully realized expression of who Rick Estrin & The Nightcats really are and what we’re capable of as a band. With the group’s help, everything I envisioned for the songs got turned up a notch, with everyone getting more and more inspired.” This is modern blues at its most potent and powerful, with phenomenal musicianship and lyrics that cut with a wink and nod. According to the UK’s Blues & Rhythm, “Rick Estrin & The Nightcats have crafted an instantly identifiable sound. They serve up insightful, original blues combined with tough rock’n’ roll. This band is superb.”

2023-04-1421:45Ma Rayney’s Black Bottom
2023-04-1520:30Ray Charles Ballroom