Kurt E. Johnson, Tahoe Onstage, May 8, 2014

Photographer’s notebook: Jeff Watson was truly outstanding at his performance at Harrah’s Tuesday Night Spring Blues. There wasn’t an empty table and Jeff got people up dancing and clapping. Jeff had commented how lucky he was to be playing with the Buddy Emmer Blues Band “and” that he was getting paid to do it! But the really lucky ones were everyone who got to watch his performance --- for free

Sacramento hasn’t produced a whole lot of rock guitarists, but it has two who go by the name Jeff Watson.

The better-known Jeff Watson is a founding member of the band Night Ranger.

“If I had a quarter for every time I’ve been mistaken for that Jeff Watson, I’d be a rich man” said the Jeff Watson, who was the guest artist May 6 for Tuesday Night Spring Blues at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.

Watson, who started an auto body business 30 years ago “in case I didn’t make it as a rock star” has learned his own image was inadvertently posted on the other Jeff Watson’s Facebook page. He’s even had people ask him to autograph the other Jeff Watson’s photo.

“We’re from the same area and are about the same age, but he has lots of hair and I don’t” the Tahoe-bound Watson joked.

Watson was referred to Buddy Emmer, the leader of the Tuesday Night Spring Blues house band, by Matty “T” Taynton, who has appeared here three times with Emmer.

“Jeff is very professional and a very good guitar player” Taynton said. “Super solid. Very under control. You get a sense that he’s a really a practiced musician. I’ve never seen him hit a bad note.”

Watson says he is blues influenced but plays more of a contemporary rock style. He became infatuated with electric guitar when as a 10 year old he attended his step-father’s rehearsal with a country western group. He started playing on a $15 Montgomery Wards Airliner guitar. “Then I moved up to a Sears model” he said.

A lifelong Sacramento resident, Watson played with a southern rock band, Merlin Sights, then a rock band, Power Glide.

But the boy who grew up in rock’s heyday of the 1960s and early 70s, became a disenchanted man in 1984. He didn’t touch a guitar for 15 years.

“I was burned out with Duran Duran, Men at Work and ‘80s Spandex hair bands” he said.

But he got “bit by the bug” again at a local blues jam, where he played with a borrowed guitar. Now he has a roomful of guitars and amps. He plans to bring a Les Paul to Lake Tahoe.


Sacramento Blues Society Member Party

The party opened with our local hero, Jeff Watson and his band. With stalwart band mates Kevin Clark on drums, Warren Davis on keys and Jim Cobb on bass, they filled the dance floor in no time. Not content to leave the energy level on high, he invited Rene Solis on stage, and the two interacting sent the level over the top. What an opening!

Sacramento Blues Society Blues Notes, February 2008, by Valeriejeanne



Chicago Blues

As the end of 2007 approached, Big Mike Balma threw one last stellar blues party at the Horsemen's Club, Chicago-style, showcasing the talents of 3 mainstays of the windy city blues scene. The clubhouse and adjoining patio spilled over with enthusiasm and abundant good spirit as familiar faces and newcomers came out to enjoy a Sunday afternoon of Saturday night music.

Jeff Watson and his band kicked off the show, bypassing the usual audience warm-up and instead taking the energy level and room temperature to the top of the dial with an emphasis on material from their highly acclaimed album "A Really Nice Smile." This is a Sacramento band that deserves international recognition, as they demonstrated with precision and style that seems to get better every time they take the stage.

After their opening set, Jeff and company made room on the stage for hoochie funkmeister Lindsey Alexander, making his debut appearance in Sacramento . Lindsey is a relative newcomer to the blues scene in that he has only two self-released records under his belt, although both are outstanding and deserving of major label TLC. Yet at the same time, he has worked steadily at building his local reputation and establishing a presence on the highly competitive Chicago music scene, staking out a regular gig as house artist at the venerable North Halstead blues mecca, Kingston Mines.

Lindsey and the JW Band made a perfect combination after only a brief rehearsal earlier in the day, and treated the crowd to a generous sampling of material from Lindsey's two ought-to-be-classic albums. While he's no spring chicken, Lindsey performs with youthful abandon, frequently strolling through the aisles and mingling with the audience during an extended guitar solo. Before closing, Lindsey and Jeff tore through an impromptu and unrehearsed version of "Black Magic Woman" to the crowd's delight.

by Steve Cagle, KVMR




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