FAIRFIELD — Rick Estrin has a rich blues history.
When he was 20, the harmonica player shared the stage with Muddy Waters in Chicago. Waters showered Estrin with praise.
Estrin, who was born in San Francisco, got his first harmonica when he was 15. Within three years, he was sitting in at clubs in the city. Eventually, he moved to Chicago, where he worked with artists such as Johnny Young, Eddie Taylor and Sam Lay.
He returned to the Bay Area and formed Little Charlie & The Nightcats. The band traveled the globe playing rocking blues.
The Charlie in the band’s moniker, Charlie Baty, retired. Estrin, along with the Nightcats’ longtime rhythm section, hired a new member and changed the name to Rick Estrin & The Nightcats.
The group makes the trek Friday to the Palms Playhouse to celebrate the release of a new CD, “One Wrong Turn.” The band will perform some favorites, as well as introducing some new tunes.
The CD features 12 new songs, most written by Estrin. Titles include “(I Met Her on the) Blues Cruise” and “Broke and Lonesome.”
Estrin won the 1993 Blues Music Award for writing “My Next Ex-Wife.” Three of his songs have been featured on Grammy-nominated albums, including “I’m Just Lucky That Way” on Robert Cray’s “Shame + Sin.”
He’s also known for his quick wit and signature look – coiffed hair, pencil-thin mustache and sharply pressed, custom-made suits.
“People don’t go out to see people who look like themselves,” Estrin writes in press materials. “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.”
The Nightcats are drummer J. Hansen, bassist Lorenzo Farrell and guitarist Chris “Kid” Anderson.
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