South Lake Tahoe will sound like Music City, USA, at Thursday’s Live at Lakeview concert.
Headliner Jack Berry and opener Erick Baker are a pair of American roots originals who live in Nashville, and that’s where On Course Event’s Leslie Schultz found them.
A Tahoe native, Schultz works in wintertime in Nashville. She discovered Berry tending bar and wearing a Lake Tahoe T-shirt.
As it turns out, Berry has spent plenty of time at Lake Tahoe. He grew up in Reno and is the oldest son of Jelly Bread’s Dave Berry.
“My dad did everything he could to stop me from going into music, but I am one of those people who, if you tell me I can’t so something, there is nothing you can do to stop me,” Berry told Tahoe Onstage.
The younger Berry was a football star at Spanish Springs High School and he received a football scholarship at the University of Hawaii, where played strong safety for defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville and head coach June Jones. A literature and creative writing student, Berry moved to Los Angeles after two years in college to study screenwriting. As part of a project, he recorded an album and opted to pursue a career in music.
He decided to move to either Austin or Nashville.
“I found out I had a second cousin who lived in Nashville and she said I could hang out there for a while,” Berry said. He slept on her couch for three months, got a bartending job and recorded an album in 2016, “Mean Machine,” which was named one of the best of the year by Blues Rock Review.
A music writer called Berry’s music “barbed-wire blues.” Another wrote that he has “a voice that could scare the venom out of a rattlesnake.” That’s how things are described in Tennessee.
“Rock and roll and funk and soul has a very solidified scene here,” he said. “I play ’60s and ’90s rock and roll and ’70s funk and whatever else that might come in there,” he said.
Father Dave Berry and drummer Cliff Porter are the founders of Reno’s Jelly Bread, which is on a national tour.
Baker, who grew up in Tennessee, will be making his California debut. The Daily Times of Blount County, Tennessee, wrote that he “has built a career out of peeling back the skin and bones that surround his beating heart.”
Lake Tahoe has been filled to its rim for more than a year, changing the landscape at Lakeview Commons. There’s no beach to dance upon and the stage is now on the edge of the granite. The artists’ green room is good for swimming. A benefit is that people who are seated can be at eye level with the band members, and the people contained in the beer garden are much closer.
“Before, there was too much distance from the crowd,” said guitarist Dan Green. “This makes it feel more like an amphitheater.”
Green was among the guest artists who joined headliner Mescalito June 21for the opening show of summer, a South Shore revue. Molly Taylor sang the iconic New Orleans song “Iko, Iko” and Jay Seals of Blue Turtle Seduction played some guitar. The South Shore Horns – Seth Hall and Andy Voelkel – joined the local rock band for several numbers.
Lake Tahoe Commons was packed and the majority of folks were locals. Thursday’s party will be a hoot again.
“This week is extra special because I get to bring a side of Nashville’s music scene that not many people get to experience.” Schultz said. “Beyond the honky-tonks and Country Music Nashville is famous for, there’s an alt/blues rock scene that’s on fire. Jack Berry is right on top of that indie scene and we’re so lucky to have him join us.”
Live at Lakeview is presented from 4:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursdays through Aug. 30. Parking is limited but there is a free bike valet. An easy parking option is the South Lake Tahoe Recreation Center, 1601 Rufus Allen Blvd. After-party bands play down Harrison Avenue at Rojo’s Tavern.