A weekend full of music

-A A +A
By Kirsten Laskey

Rick Estrin didn’t have a whole lot of interests as a child. School bored him, too. Music, however, snared his attention. “There was just something about it that spoke to me inside,” Estrin said.

Even though he didn’t know exactly what he was doing when he first started out as a musician and did a lot of guessing, Estrin said his music has evolved throughout the years.

Plus, Estrin said his distinctive personality has carried him through the years. “(I’m) sort of a peculiar person,” he said.

Peculiar, maybe, but it has certainly taken him far.

The San Francisco native dropped out of high school and began playing with musicians such as Lowell Fulson and Roger Collins.

Estrin traveled to Chicago, jammed with Muddy Waters and then returned to the West Coast.

Estrin joined Little Charlie Baty’s band in the mid-’70s and in 1987 Little Charlie and the Nightcats recorded their first record, “All the Way Crazy.”

For more than 20 years the blues band performed together until 2008, when Little Charlie decided to retire and the band changed to Rick Estrin and the Nightcats.

Today, the band includes Kid Andersen on guitar, J. Hansen on drums and Lorenzo Farrell on bass and keyboard.

“It’s the best band I’ve been involved with,” Estrin said.

There’s a synergy amongst his band mates, he explained.

“(I) play with first rate players,” Estrin said. “These are great players and there’s a spirit of cooperation.”

It also presents Estrin with a new experience of being a leader of a band. It’s not just about being the head of the band, this role also means taking on business responsibilities.

“It’s pretty difficult,” Estrin said. “It’s taking some getting use to.”

Still, the band has trekked a lot of miles since Estrin assumed the reins a year and a half ago. They have been throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia and Norway.

“It’s just exciting,” he said, “it’s like a fresh new start.”

Rick Estrin and the Nightcats will entertain Los Alamos at 7 p.m. Friday at Ashley Pond. The concert is part of the Los Alamos Summer Concert Series.

They are not the only act the series is bringing to Los Alamos.

During the Los Alamos County Fair and Rodeo, Julie Stewart and the TBA Band will take the stage at 11 a.m. at Ashley Pond, followed by the Los Alamos Big Band at 2 p.m. at the pond.

Rob Hieneman, the bass player in the TBA Band, said they are looking forward to performing.  

“Some of us are from Los Alamos and this band previously toured the U.S., and we haven’t been together that much this past year and as a favor to Russ (Gordon, the concert organizer) we put things together and we’re looking forward to playing for Los Alamos.”

Hieneman added they are eager to perform in the fair and rodeo, which is a special event for the community.

“I think it’s very import ant we support our community in community related activities and get people out and about talking to their neighbors,” he said. Fiddlin’ Doc Gonzales and the Orange Blossom Express will wrap up the music with a concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Posse Lodge.