The Peavine Taphouse Eats & Beats (PTEB) was packed Saturday night, May 8, for the first appearance of the Buddy Emmer Blues Band in 430 days, and it was magnificent. This was the first show for the full band in 15 months, and the day before the gig was the only rehearsal they had in that time. Everything just fell into place and they sounded great.
I sat down with Buddy and Kimberly before the show to learn a little bit about their background.
Buddy grew up in San Antonio, Texas. He first got interested in playing music after seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. His first desire was to be a drummer, so he got a practice pad and started working on the drummers’ rudiments.
His mother suggested guitar. “What if you want to leave a party with a girl to go get a soda pop? By the time you tear down your drums and put them away, she will have left with the guitarist.” Buddy saw the light and switched.
His first major influence was the album, Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton, a blues-rock collaboration between the legendary guitarist and perhaps equally legendary John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, known by many as “The Beano Album.”
“John Mayall and Eric Clapton were big influences on my life.” – Buddy Emmer
Buddy and Kimberly met in 1995. She was playing in a ‘50s-style show complete with beehive hairdos in the Harveys Showroom at Lake Tahoe, and Buddy was playing in a four-piece band on the stage where the Hard Rock Cafe is now. She came out after she show to sit down, have a beer and listen to the band. Being struck by how lovely she was, Buddy came over and sat with her. Two weeks later he asked her to join his band.
“I didn’t even know if she could sing,” Buddy said. “She looks good, but what if she sucks? He knew she had been working on the Pat Benatar/Roomful of Blues album, True Love, so he picked it up. When they were listening to it, he asked her if she could sing some of it. She did just that and sounded perfect. “Whew!”
A year later they were married.
When COVID-19 hit, they said there were a lot of tears. Like others, they thought the shutdown would only last for a couple weeks, but as we all know, it was so much worse than expected.
“We got a lot of stuff done around the house, but after that we just got more and more depressed,” Buddy said.
They did finally start getting some gigs with their duo show (which will be at PTEB on May 23), but nothing with the full band until this show.
The four-piece band had a regular gig up at Lake Tahoe—The Tuesday Night Blues at Harrah’s—prior to the shutdown that always included a special guest performer sitting in. They are in discussions with Harrah’s to start that back up, but are waiting for the green light from government and health officials.
Their show at Peavine Taphouse Eats & Beats was a long overdue evening of blues, country, and rock-and-roll. They started off with “Dark Horse” by K.T. Tunstall and continued though a list of great songs by The Doors, Eric Clapton, Johnny Cash, Stevie Ray Vaughan and many more too numerous to mention.
It’s all slowly coming back together. The Peavine Taphouse Eats & Beats is having regularly scheduled shows, The Cellar Stage in The Alturas is kicking off shows later this month, and Crystal Bay Casino on Tahoe’s north shore had the Greg Golden Band this past week.
More shows are scheduled, plus there is more happening out there every week. Hopefully we can start filling the showrooms instead of the hospitals. That sounds like a much better plan.
The Buddy Emmer Blues Band is:
- Buddy Emmer
- Kimberly Emmer
- Brian Jenkins
- Jerry Spikula
Nick McCabe is a Reno-based photojournalist and musician. He’s been shooting concerts in the Reno-Tahoe area since 2006 and writing articles and reviews since 2012, as well as doing interviews on occasion. His musical education and playing experience goes back to 1967. He is a founding member of the Reno Tahoe Forte’ Awards, and he still plays music locally for enjoyment. First concert: Jimi Hendrix. Last concert: we’ll see.