Chris Cain plays Big Cities Oct. 20

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11599952798978.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘Bluesman Chris Cain has 10 albums under his belt.’);

International blues singer Chris Cain is returning to Rockford for a Friday, Oct. 20, performance at Big Cities Lounge in downtown Rockford.

Since the 1980s, Cain has been known as a master bluesman. His 1987 debut, Late Night City Blues (Blue Rock’it Records) earned him four W.C. Handy Award nominations, including Guitar Player of the Year.

After his debut, music critics quickly took notice of Cain, who comes from Greek and African-American heritage. According to Guitar Player magazine, “…An impressive debut album from a top-notch guitar player.”

Cain, a professional musician since age 15, boasts a jazz-tinged, blues-soaked guitar style, which he credits to his childhood, growing up listening to his father tell stories about his musical upbringing in Memphis, Tenn.

Cain said: “I remember when I was a kid, Dad would be mowing the lawn with the stereo blasting Muddy Waters. When I look back, that was pretty cool! There was always music playing at our house, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Freddie King, Albert King—all the greats.”

At the age of 8, Cain taught himself the guitar and began his professional career by 15 before studying music at San Jose College, where he also taught jazz improvisation. Over the next 20 years, he mastered the piano, bass guitar, clarinet and saxophone. Aside from his guitar playing, Cain is also known as a prolific songwriter and vocalist, his voice often compared to that of B.B. King’s.

Nino Gardona, owner of Big Cities Lounge, said Cain always draws a sizable crowd, and is one of the best players on the scene.

Gardona, in his 23rd year of bringing blues to Rockford, said: “Chris knows how to play the blues, and he does it well. He’s a master at the guitar, but he has a great voice. I suggest people get their tickets early.”

Cain, who has 10 albums under his belt, has been busy touring to support his latest effort, Hall of Shame. Other Chris Cain CDs include Cuttin’ Loose and Can’t Buy a Break.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $13 at the door. Show starts at 9:30 p.m. Advanced tickets can be purchased at The Rock River Times or at Big Cities Lounge. The club is at 905 E. State St. in Rockford and can be reached at 965-6026 or on the Web at Information about Chris Cain can also be found on the Web at

From the Oct. 4-10, 2006, issue

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