Sometimes musicians don’t need a clever genre description to get fans interested. Sometimes just offering purebred, hard-driving American rock ’n’ roll is enough.
That’s a lesson the Warm Charlie Band members have learned since the summer of 2018, when their brand of sizzling electric sounds became a mainstay at Amador County bars and community events. The group’s lineup includes guitar-grinder Charlie Rice, veteran bassist Wayne Chittenden, vocalist Rachel Andrews and the city of Plymouth’s own cowboy councilman, Keith White, stationed behind the drum kit. Together, their gutsy, sometimes grungy style of playing is the attraction for a performance on Aug. 2.
In a way, the Warm Charlie Band was a longtime coming. Rice strummed six strings for almost 18 years before he founded the group. Chittenden spent the better part of four decades mastering classic rock basslines. White had put the creative beats behind the popular surf world beat group Awara in the early 2000s. After that, he brought some brooding bounce to Amador’s Fully Funky Gorilla. White started playing with Rice and Chittenden around the same moment that Andrews stepped in as the vocalist. The Warm Charlie Band is Andrews’ first time onstage as a lead singer, though she has quickly shown audiences just how strong her voice is.
White says the diversity of musical backgrounds in his bandmates has made for a balance that fans seem to enjoy.
“The personalities work out great and we all get along with each other,” he said. “In terms of the music, I guess you just mix up what we each play in a blender and our sound is what you get.”
It turned out that that kind of crunchy, quick-tempo rock was in high demand around the Mother Lode. The Warm Charlie Band typically plays about half original songs and half cover tunes in its sets, with more familiar hits touching on the works of the Cranberries, Alice in Chains and AC/DC. Whether showcasing their own work or performing hits from the ’90s, the group is 100% about high-octane entertainment. The players have become regulars at B.G.’s Bar in Jackson, Tilly’s Club in Ione and Gold Country Lanes in Sutter Creek. Lately, the Warm Charlie Band is also a go-to group for benefit dinners, including fundraisers for Amador County Ag Boosters and FFA, as well as the annual Second Generation Dinner. Those deep foothills roots made the act an ideal choice for the arts council’s summer music series.
AmadorArts has the Warm Charlie Band lighting up the stage at Mollie Joyce Park in Pioneer at 6 p.m. Aug. 2, the highest-elevation setting of the entire TGIF Summer Music Series. It will be an evening with grooving beats and guitar growls echoing through Pioneer’s towering pines.
White said that even though the band is slated to play the Amador County Fair and California State Fair this summer, being featured in in the local concert series is a special honor.
“It just makes us feel like we’re part of the community,” he said. “It’s been a county tradition for years and it’s really nice to be included.”