Honk if you love Hanck: Famed sax player hits Bluesdays

Terry Hanck steps on Palisades Tahoe’s new stage for the first time on Tuesday, July 12.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

An all-time Bluedays favorite, saxophonist Terry Hanck makes his first Village at Palisades Tahoe appearance in four years on Tuesday, July 12.

Hanck lives in Florida but performs mostly in California in the summer. His West Coast band has Johnny “Cat” Soubrand on Telecaster guitar, Tim Wagar on bass and Butch Cousins on drums.

Hanck’s blues-based sound is flavored with early rock and roll — when the saxophone, and not guitar, was the featured instrument. A Chicago native, Hanck was inspired by the blues at a 1962 B.B. King concert.

His blues has an early rock and roll sound, and for good reason. He was around when the music began.

“The first rock and roll I heard was Fats Domino and Little Richard,” Hanck said. “Fats Domino never called it rock and roll. He called it rhythm and blues.

“Early rock and roll is what influenced me. Jazz, soul, blues, I really don’t separate it. Great tenor players from the bebop era could all really get down and play blues. I don’t think they thought, ‘Now I am playing blues and now I am playing jazz.’ They are interrelated.”

Hanck has won three Blues Music Awards and 2019 album, “I Still Get Excited,” spent 10 months in the top 12 of the Classic Blues Roots Music Charts. It was Hanck’s fifth record was produced by Kid Andersen at Greaseland Studios.

Hanck built a California fan base from 1977-87 when he was in Elvin Bishop’s band during its heyday of hit songs. Before he accepted Bishop’s third offer to become a member of his touring band, he performed on sessions for “Struttin’ My Stuff,” which included Bishop’s greatest hit, “Fooled Around and Fell in Love.”

While Bishop ended up helping Thomas get a big break, Hanck gets credit for bringing Chris “Kid” Andersen from Norway to Northern California.

Hanck, whose wife is from Norway, often plays shows during his visits there. Andersen played guitar in the house band for a venue that featured headlining blues players from the United States.

“I was looking for a guitar player and all (Andersen’s) heroes were from California, guys like Junior Watson,” Hanck said. “I said, ‘If you are serious, let’s do it.’ He is such a talent, it (moving to the U.S.) was going to happen sooner or later. The guy is a force of nature.”

When he joined Hanck’s band, Andersen replaced Truckee’s Mighty Mike Schermer, who joined Maria Muldaur’s band.

Hanck hits Palisades Tahoe after a more-than three-week run at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton. He also did some session work at Andersen’s Greaseland Studios for Tracy Nelson. He will appear at Buddy Emmer’s Tuesday Night Blues at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe on Aug. 16. Hanck has more Northern California shows through Aug. 20. For details, visit www.terryhanck.net

Tim Parsons

Terry Hanck
Johnny “Cat” Soubrand, Butch Cousins and Terry Hanck at Bluesdays in 2015. Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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