Little Charlie Baty is an ideal guitarist to accompany a harmonica player because he used to be one.
“He was an excellent harmonica player,” Mark Hummel told Tahoe Onstage. “He was really one of the top guys before he took up the guitar. That makes a big different because a guy who’s played harmonica knows exactly what the harmonica backup is supposed to go like. It’s a big plus to have a guy who understands that.”
Mark Hummel with Little Charlie Baty return to the Village at Squaw Valley’s Bluesdays Tuesday, July 21, for the third time in as many years. The free weekly summertime shows are from 6-8:30 p.m.
Baty is best known for his long run with Rick Estrin, another harp player, in Little Charlie and the Nightcats. After his soft retirement, Baty began to play occasional gigs again with the Nightcats and with Hummel’s annual Harmonica Blowout.
“He’s a swing player that plays blues,” Hummel said. “I’m not saying he doesn’t have certain elements of rock and roll playing but think it comes way more from a swing and blues thing.”
The prolific Hummel has already made a follow-up album to “Remembering Little Walter,” which received one 2014 Grammy and two Blues Music Award nominations.
His 24th album (27th if counting vinyl releases), “The Hustle is Really On,” was released last year on Electro-Fi Records, his sixth with the label. The guitar players on the records are Baty, Anson Funderburgh and Kid Andersen.
His major endeavor this year is the Golden State-Lone Star Revue, which included Baty, Funderburgh, drummer Wes Starr and R.W. Grigsby, who plays bass on all of Hummel’s shows, including the one at Squaw Valley.
“It’s a meeting of the minds between Texas and California,” Hummel said.
Hummel also recently wrote the book “Big Road Blues: Twelve Bar on I-80,” which describes the harmonica player’s decades’ long career on the road. An upshot from the entertaining book is that it’s far easier to play a gig than to get paid for playing a gig.
The beautiful Sierra Nevada setting is a contrast from a typical blues venue.
“It’s a nice setting with nice accommodations,” said Hummel.
Village at Squaw Valley
6-8 p.m. Tuesdays; free
July 21: Mark Hummel Band featuring Little Charlie Baty
July 28: Hamish Anderson
Aug 4: Chris Cain
Aug. 11: Terry Hanck
Aug. 18: The Stone Foxes
Aug. 25: The Blues Monsters
Sept. 1: Carolyn Wonderland
Sept. 8: tba