South Lake Tahoe guitarist and R&B Hall of Famer Trey Stone hits Hard Rock
If you go
What: Trey Stone Band
When: 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15
Where: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe
A black man with an afro channeling the cosmos through a stack of Marshall speakers and an upside-down guitar forever changed the direction of Trey Stone’s life.
The South Shore musician pointed to seeing Jimi Hendrix perform in 1969, when Stone was a teenager going to his first show in Southern California, as the moment he knew the guitar, rather than the trombone, was for him.
“I wanted to write. I wanted to compose. I wanted to have a tight band,” Stone said of his musical ambitions after that first concert.
In the decades since, the multi-instrumentalist has put together a storied career, working with musical legends like Bootsy Collins and George Clinton, playing with long-running Oakland, California, soul act Tower of Power, performing on “Saturday Night Live” and making regular appearances with his own group in Northern California and Nevada. A pioneer in the 1970s soul and funk movement, Stone contributed to songs like Rose Royce’s “Car Wash” and, later, Deee-Lite’s “Groove is in the Heart.” He also earned a gold record for his work with Keith Washington on 1991’s “Kissing You.”
Another career highlight came more recently. In October, Stone was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame for his work with Motown recording act the Undisputed Truth, which counts “Smiling Faces Sometimes” among its notable creations. The honor put him in the company of luminaries like Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles, who were also inducted into the Detroit, Michigan, museum this year.
Stone said he has made a career in music by playing “whatever the party called for.” It’s a fitting job description, as it was a gig performing music in a 1994 production of “Little Shop of Horrors” at what was then Caesars Tahoe that first brought him to the area. He now considers Lake Tahoe home.
And Stone has never lost the love of playing music.
“I’m very passionate about it. It’s something I’ve done all my life,” Stone said.
Most recently, Stone was featured prominently on “Bring Me the Funk of James Brown” with the Reno Jazz Orchestra. The album was released in November and features a recording of a rainy 2014 performance at Sand Harbor State Park.
“The show came out great,” Stone said. “The recording is really something to listen to.”
Stone said he’s also been working on new music with members of the Undisputed Truth, and anyone looking to hear more from Stone will have the opportunity this Friday, when the Trey Stone Band plays a free show at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe.
The show will feature plenty of tasty blues riffs and maybe even some cuts from Hendrix, who helped inspire Stone way back when.
“I like to get them up dancing and listening,” Stone said.
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