Wildly fun, musically fearless and bursting with bravado, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats have created one of the blues’ most instantly recognizable sounds and no-holds-barred styles. Featuring the world-class talents of harmonica master, songwriter and vocalist Rick Estrin, guitar wunderkind Chris “Kid” Andersen, keyboard wizard Lorenzo Farrell and dynamic drummer Alex Pettersen, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats serve up sharp and incisive original blues and gritty roadhouse rock ‘n’ roll. With his wily and unforgettable original songs and his hipster, street-smart vocals, no one on the blues scene writes or sings like Rick Estrin. No one looks like him either, as Estrin is always dressed to the nines, sporting his trademark pencil-line mustache and pompadour haircut. DownBeat says, “Rick Estrin sings and writes songs like the brightest wiseguy in all of bluesland and blows harmonica as if he learned at the knee of Little Walter.” Live, the band is simply unbeatable. They deliver a high-energy show capable of bringing any audience to its feet. According to Living Blues magazine, they play “captivating, powerful blues and roots rock with a wickedly cool and otherworldly twist on tradition...intelligently conceived and executed...hugely entertaining.”
"Powerful, rollicking and magical…virtuoso harp, wildly eccentric guitar, sly, streetwise vocals and great songs" —Blues & Rhythm
"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." —Chicago Sun-Times
Rick Estrin, who holds the 2013 Blues Music Award for Best Instrumentalist–Harmonica, is, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, “an amazing harmonica player, a soulful lead vocalist and a brilliant songwriter.” He ranks among the very best harp players, singers and songwriters in the blues world. His work on the reeds is deep in the tradition of harmonica masters Sonny Boy Williamson II and Little Walter Jacobs, while at the same time pushing that tradition forward with his unforgettable original songs. And his hipster, street-smart vocals are the perfect vehicle for driving those songs home. Blues Revue says, “Estrin has created some of the finest blues songs of any artist on the planet. His carefully wrought lyrics penetrate human weakness with the precision of a boxer, though more often than not, he chooses to leave you laughing after the blow’s been struck.”
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats— jaw-dropping guitarist Chris “Kid” Andersen, singing drummer (who plays standing up) J. Hansen and dynamic multi-instrumentalist Lorenzo Farrell (electric and acoustic bass, organ and Moog synthesizer)—serve up fresh and modern original blues injected with a solid dose of gritty roadhouse rock ‘n’ roll and Estrin’s trademark philosophical wiseguy humor. Since the 2009 release of their celebrated Alligator Records debut Twisted and the 2012 follow up One Wrong Turn, the band has toured non-stop, sharpening their musical telepathy to a razor’s edge.
Estrin won the 1994 Blues Music Award for Song Of The Year for his composition “My Next Ex-Wife” and has written songs for a growing legion of other musicians. Three of his songs found their way onto Grammy-nominated albums: “Don’t Put Your Hands On Me” (on Koko Taylor’s Force Of Nature), “I’m Just Lucky That Way” (on Robert Cray’s Shame + A Sin), and “Homely Girl” (on John Hammond’s Trouble No More). Estrin cites Sonny Boy Williamson II, Percy Mayfield and Detroit bluesman Baby Boy Warren as his major songwriting influences. Besides Estrin’s streetwise songwriting and musical skills, he is among the most entertaining and colorful showmen around. His quick wit (as heard to great effect during the introductions to “My Next Ex-Wife” and “That’s Big”) and his signature look—coifed hair, pencil-thin mustache and sharply pressed, custom made suits—add even more color to his performances. “People don’t go out to see people who look like themselves,” says Estrin. “They want to see something special. I was schooled in this business to be a showman, and that’s what you get when you come to see me perform.”
For more than 30 years and nine albums, Rick fronted the Nightcats, featuring Charlie Baty’s one-of-a-kind guitar acrobatics. The band won international acclaim and toured the world repeatedly. They were nominated four times for the prestigious Blues Music Award for Band Of The Year. With Charlie’s retirement from touring in 2008, Rick rededicated himself to his craft. Hansen and Farrell wanted to keep the band going. Estrin knew the only way to replace Baty’s crazed and unique guitar style was to find someone with an equally insane and individual approach, and he knew that would be a tall order to fill. As luck would have it, Kid Andersen, who had been working with another harp legend, Charlie Musselwhite, became available. “Kid’s a fearless nut on the guitar,” says Estrin. “He’s really the only guy who could fit in with us.” With an unpredictable, no-holds-barred style that perfectly meshed with Estrin’s wildly imaginative original songs, the new band charged out of the gate with Twisted in 2009 and One Wrong Turn in 2012. Blues Revue raved, “Rick Estrin & The Nightcats are one of modern blues’ most versatile and original bands.”
Estrin is an amazing harmonica player, a soulful lead vocalist and a brilliant original songwriter. Estrin’s harmonica sings alongside blues tunes that entertain audiences like no other in the genre.”
– San Francisco Chronicle
Rick Estrin sings and writes songs like the brightest wiseguy in all bluesland and blows harmonica as if he learned at the knee of Little Walter.
These are serious musicians out to have a hotter than hot good time. It’s tough to stay in your seat when Estrin and his musical cohorts get cooking.”
– Chicago Sun-Times
Rollicking and raucous, super-cool and hip…saritical, sharp lyrics and killer solos. It just doesn’t get any better than this.
– Blues Revue
Recently, when guitarist Little Charlie Baty retired from touring, Estrin recruited six-string whiz Kid Andersen. With this hot new combination, Rick has kept on creating and playing the smartest, hippest blues and roots music around, and taking it on the road to happy audiences everywhere.
– Blues Webzine, Finland
Nominated for 4 Blues Music Association awards in 2015, winner BMA Best Harmonica Player 2013, multiple awards and nominations.
Rick Estrin is an amazing harmonica player, a soulful lead vocalist and a brilliant songwriter. The award-winning musician, along with The Nightcats – jaw-dropping guitarist Chris “Kid” Andersen (formerly Charlie Musselwhite’s guitarist), singing drummer (who plays standing up) J. Hansen and dynamic multi-instrumentalist Lorenzo Farrell (electric and acoustic bass, organ and piano)-Rick Estrin serves up fresh and modern original blues injected with a solid dose of gritty roadhouse rock ‘n’ roll.
Rick and the band are “very grateful and happy as hell to once again be honored with multiple BMA nominations. The band is up for Band Of The Year, Kid Andersen is nominated in the Best Guitarist category (Big shock,right? He’s only been Heavyweight Champion of the Guitar for the past 8 years!!!) and Rick Estrin is up for B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, Best Instrumentalist – Harmonica AND Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year! Groovin’ In Greaseland is nominated for Album of The Year AND Traditional Blues Album of the Year!! “The Blues Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” is up for Song Of The Year
The historic Sutter Creek Theatre is an intimate 215 seat former silent film theatre with superb sound. Beer and wine at the venue. Tickets and video at the web site www.suttercreektheatre.com