Rick Estrin & the Nightcats consisting of harmonica player and lead vocalist Rick Estrin, guitarist Kid Andersen, bassist Lorenzo Farrell and drummer J. Hansen brought the party to Ramona Mainstage. Though the crowd was sparse, they were rowdy and enjoyed every minute of the evening, often exchanging witty repartee with the very funny and extremely quick witted, Rick Estrin. It only took a few minutes into the first song before the audience was up and dancing and they continued dancing throughout the night with encouragement from Estrin. He at one point told them, “There is a great little bar in the back if you need a little, uh, encouragement.”
Blues Revue magazine said, “The ‘Cats are one of modern blues’ most versatile bands.” Living Blues said, “Estrin’s harp work is masterful” and their music is “intelligently conceived and executed and hugely entertaining.”
Rick Estrin won the 2013 Blues Music Award for Best Instrumentalist–Harmonica in 2013 and the 2014 Blues Music Award for Song Of The Year for his composition “My Next Ex-Wife”. In addition to his own band he has written songs for other musicians. Including; “Don’t Put Your Hands On Me” for Koko Taylor, “I’m Just Lucky That Way” for Robert Cray, and “Homely Girl” recorded by John Hammond. All three of these songs are on Grammy winning albums.
The Nightcat’s latest album, You Asked For It—Live!, was released on the Chicago-based independent blues record label Alligator Records in 2014. The album includes a few Estrin songs he wrote back when he was the lead singer, songwriter and harmonica player of Little Charlie & The Nightcats. Little Charlie and the Nightcats got its name from guitar player Charlie Baty. Rick Estrin was the lead singer of the band for over 30 years and when Baty announced his retirement in 2008, Kid Andersen took his place and along with Farrell and Hansen the band became known as Rick Estrin and the Nightcats.
Rick Estrin and the Nightcats have 3 albums out on Alligator records and have toured non-stop since forming in 2008. Rick is an amazing harpist, singer and storyteller. The rest of the band are all super talented as well, Kid Andersen was born in Norway and had four solo albums before joining another legendary harpist, Charlie Musselwhite’s band. J. Hansen is not only a talented drummer, he is also a singer/songwriter and shares those duties with Estrin. Last but not least is multi-instrumentalist Lorenzo Farrell, playing keyboards, upright bass, and electric bass.
Ramona Mainstage is quickly becoming known as one of the premiere places in north San Diego county to see legendary rock and blues musicians. Past shows have included, Coco Montoya, Eddie Money, Molly Hatchet, Eric Johnson, Albert Lee, Uriah Heep and Lita Ford to name a few. Upcoming shows include: Devon Allman, Poncho Sanchez, Artimus Pyle, (original drummer for Lynyrd Skynyrd) Dennis Jones and acoustic guitar maestros, Strunz and Farah.