Sacramento, California is a city with a rich musical history. From country music to jazz, the city has produced some of the most influential musicians in the world. In the blues genre, Sacramento has been home to some of the most influential producers, including Little Charlie Baty, Anson Funderburgh, Wes Starr, Mike Keller, Rusty Zinn, Mark Hummel and RW Grigsby. Grigsby has recently been nominated for the SAMMIES Hall of Fame.
Bakersfield is known for its bare-knuckled country music artists such as Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, as well as Wynn Stewart. Fresno is home to Ross Bagdasarian, also known as David Seville from The Chipmunks, and Kevin Federline. San Diego has produced Jewel, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Beat Farmers and Mojo Nixon. Vallejo is known for Sly and the Family Stone and Confunkshun.
The East Bay has seen Johnny Otis, Lowell Fulson and Rodger Collins, as well as Creedence Clearwater Revival from El Cerrito. Stockton has given us Pavement, Chris Isaak and Grant-Lee Phillips, in addition to jazz stars Dave Brubeck and Gil Evans. Sacramento has also been home to some of the most influential blues producers in the world. Mike Keller volunteered for the Sacramento Blues Festival in the early 1980s and eventually became president of the Sacramento Blues Society in 1992. He was also responsible for designing most of the posters and t-shirts for the festival.
Derek began a parallel career as a radio host in 1988 with a strong emphasis on blues programming. Ray ran a Tower Re-Records store in Sacramento and played occasionally at the Sacramento Blues Festival and some local establishments. Nate Shiner returned to his blues roots with his group The Straight Ahead Blues Trio with drummer Tony Montanino and bassist Nick Doud. Lew was nominated for the Sammie for Best Blues Guitarist and The Luminators won for Best Blues Band.
Kenny Marchese began playing blues in Sacramento 27 years ago after seeing Little Charlie and the Night Cats at a Shasta County Blues Society show. After moving to Oakland in 1995, he met Johnny Heartsman (a member of the HOF) and began playing the blues. Charlie is known for his acrobatic skill at biting his fingers and for his mastery of many musical styles.
Marcel Smithis a native of Sacramento who has remained a constant influence on the California music scene for more than 30 years.
He is considered one of the best blues guitarists of the modern era and has been the namesake of the band that made Sacramento famous in the world of blues.