Able Cain

Veteran bluesman Chris Cain says he has fun playing, but can still get emotional when thinking about songs and their impact.

The mid-’60s to mid-’70s were tough times for parents and children, marked by clashes over changing social mores, long hair and fashion. Veteran blues guitar shredder Chris Cain was one of the lucky ones.

“It was a weird time,” Cain says. “Most of my friends hated their parents, but both of mine were totally cool. I used to have to try to find a reason to be pissed off at them and there never was one.”

Cain’s dad was a deep blues buff, and he took his son to hear the era’s top blues artists – B.B. King, Ray Charles and James Brown, for example. He was fortunate enough to see some performers more than once, often going backstage.

“This was way before the internet and my dad always knew where everybody was playing,” Cain says. “I remember going to the Fillmore to see Albert and Freddie King and Mott The Hoople. We saw everybody together.”

It may come as no surprise that Cain’s guitar playing exudes classic Memphis blues. His gravelly blues baritone evokes images of King. And yet his writing displays a sense of humor often not seen in classic cryin’-in-your-beer blues tunes.

Cain admits to tearing up when he thinks about songs and their impact. “I never realized how much our music had influenced or helped people through rough times until recently,” he says. “I count my blessings I’ve been able to do this for so long and I feel very lucky.”

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Cain got his first guitar when he was 8: “My dad was literally teaching me to tie my shoes and he hands me a case with a guitar in it. He told me I could play it whenever I wanted, and away I went.”

Fan fave Chicago Bill and the Next Blues Band open this week’s Blues in the Park, a summer-long Sunday festival.

CHRIS CAIN at Blues in the Park, 1pm-4:30pm Sunday, Aug. 4. Laguna Grande Park, 1249 Canyon del Rey Blvd., Seaside. Free. 899-6800, ci.seaside.ca.us

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