Welcome back to Lake Tahoe, Maxx Cabello Jr.
The San Jose artist has had a steady career for well over a decade, but until this year hadn’t performed at the lake since the mid-2000s when Bill’s Casino presented music at William’s Back Door Blues Club. With Stateline’s recent additions of Harrah’s Tuesday Night Blues and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe, Cabello has returned to the Lake Tahoe live concerts’ scene.
He will be the featured guest artist Tuesday, May 5 – Cinco de Mayo – at Harrah’s with Buddy Emmer’s Blues Band and will return to the same venue on the casino floor Saturday, May 9 with his trio.
“I am so excited to be coming back to, and be playing, Tahoe,” Cabello told Tahoe Onstage. “It’s like a breath of fresh air after all those years.”
Cabello is best known as a blues player, but like most artists doesn’t like to be labeled, other than as a “full-time professional musician.”
“I am still trying to wear that label,” he joked. “It is something you can put no price tag on. Sometimes people take it for granted. It’s a beautiful thing.”
Cabello has released a video from an album he expects to release by July, “Love and War.” The featured song, “My Love,” is more soul than it is blues.
“It’s more like rock and soul because I like rock and roll and I love soul music,” he said. “It’s not about being a rock star. It’s more about sharing my gift of music hoping that they get the vibe.
“Before I had even gotten into the performing aspect of playing, I was listening to a lot of different music, like old-school rock and roll like Chuck Berry … and the Animals. I got a taste of everything. And then my neighbor, he actually put the blues in my head. He said you’ve got to check out Freddie King.
An accomplished guitarist, Cabello mentioned as influences the serious six-string gunslingers Jimi Hendrix and Johnny Winter as well as soul greats Donny Hathaway and Curtis Mayfield.
Music fans on the south shore of Lake Tahoe this week likely will hear both sides of Cabello at Harrah’s. The Tuesday night shows with Emmer consistently deliver straight-ahead blues. On Saturday, Cabello will be onstage with his trio, so expect a good dose of rock and soul.
Emmer rotates more than a half-dozen regional blues guitarists with his band. The second of three sets on Tuesdays will be songs by the featured artist. The Cinco de Mayo show will be Cabello’s second appearance with Emmer.
“The first one went over really well,” he said. “It was surprising because they learned all of my stuff. I got up there and was really comfortable and confident and the people loved it.”
Cabello also has played three times at Hard Rock’s largest music venue, Vinyl. He will return in August for three nights at Hard Rock’s Fire Break, the indoor-outdoor restaurant at the casino’s entrance behind the 25-foot-tall guitar sculpture made out of farm and automobile parts.
“(The Hard Rock shows were) really fun,” Cabello said. “The sound was awesome and the soundman was amazing. Everything is coming together.”
Cabello and Emmer will each play at June’s Great Eldorado BBQ, Brews & Blues Festival in Reno, which oddly will be headlined by rock bands Smash Mouth and Toad the Wet Sprocket.
“Smash Mouth is from San Jose too and it’s pretty cool what they’ve done,” Cabello said. “I love a mix of music. Obviously there are people who love the blues and people who love rock and love pop and all the styles of music and I think the more we come together the more cool the festivals will be, and it will keep them going. I’ve done a lot of festivals that have not done so well, so you don’t see them anymore. But I love the blues. Blues will always be my No. 1 style of music.”
Maxx Cabello Jr.
May 5 – Harrah’s Tuesday Night Spring Blues with the Buddy Emmer Blues Band, 8 p.m.-midnight
May 9 – Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Center Stage, 9 p.m. – 1 a.m.
June 20 – The Great Eldorado BBQ, Brews & Blues Festival, Reno, 5 p.m.
Aug. 6, 7 and 8 – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe, Fire Break, 6 p.m. on Aug 6, 7 p.m. Aug. 7-8