Carolyn Dolan and Mick Clarke perform on Stage. The two will be playing in Carson City as Carolyn Dolan & Big Red play the Flatbed Concert Series Saturday.
Carolyn Dolan & Big Red bring the blues to Carson City as part of the Brewery Art Center’s Flatbed Concert Series Saturday.
The members of the band are professional players playing locally for more than 30 years.
“Every person in the band has their own talent and their longevity in the music business,” said bandleader Carolyn Dolan.
“Everybody who I know who hears Big Red always wants to come back and see us again.”
The four-piece band labels itself as a group that devotes itself to playing raw, classic blues mixed with funk and R&B rhythms. Mick Clarke plays guitar, a “Big Red” Gibson 335, which symbolizes blues music.
“It’s a quintessential blues guitar,” Dolan said. “If you see that, you’ll know it’s a rockin’ blues band.”
Clarke comes from London and he’s from the English blues/rock scene of the late ’60s, Dolan said. He has played with Long John Baldrey and Chuck Berry.
Ron Savage plays keys, which Dolan says helps venture into the Steely Dan genre as well.
Tony Savage plays drums. He played drums for many years for Engelbert Humperdinck, who was a headliner at shows in Las Vegas and the Reno-Tahoe region.
Dolan sings and plays harmonica. She says she is versatile by crossing over from an old-school style of soulful R&B into a more modern version that also has more blues roots attached. She says her older style is similar to Etta James while her newer style is similar to Susan Tedeschi, of Tedeschi Trucks Band.
“I have my roots in roots music,” she said. “I’m Americana, I’m R&B; I play rock and I play folk.”
Dolan’s accolades include an induction into the Western Swing Hall of Fame on Oct. 24, 2015. She prides herself on her harmonica playing, which has been by her side for 30 years, out of her 35-year professional career. She was published in a book in 2019. “Master’s of the Harmonica,” written by Margie Goldsmith, features all sorts of harmonica players and includes something about Dolan.
While Dolan had a show at Harrah’s last weekend, she is happy to be able to be playing this Saturday with Big Red, she said.
“The nature of our current conditions is we don’t get to play as much as we like to,” she said. “We’re just happy that we can come out and play this Saturday and rock Carson City. It will be a rockin’ show.”
She thinks the Flatbed Series is a creative way to have live music and appreciates having the opportunity to play. It’s been possible through a donated flatbed truck by Miles Construction Company and through financial support from The Change Companies, the Nauman Foundation and Carson Tahoe Hospital.
“It also gives Carson City and the community a dose of live music as well without the restrictions,” she said. “We’re thankful for the idea of being able to do something and bring live music to town. I hope it continues and maybe come back again.”