Chris Cain

Interview to CHRIS CAIN



Monte Adkison, aka “the Blues Stalker,” has been listening to the blues since her teenager days. Along with many other young people who grew up in the southern United States in the early 60’s, she listened to powerful Nashville, Tennessee WLAC radio deejay “John R’s” popular blues radio show after midnight every night.

As a high school social science teacher in Florida during thirty years, Monte was the recipient of a scholarship in 1995 from the Florida Humanities Council to study blues music at the University of Tampa where she met the late Tampa Bay harmonica, Rock Bottom, and the late “Diamond Teeth” Mary McClain. Amazed that “Diamond Teeth” Mary had been written up in European blues magazines but not in American, she vowed to change that.

Taking a summer pilgrimage to the Delta to study at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, she spent time researching Mary in the Blues Archives and met David Nelson, then editor of Living Blues which is based there on the Ole Miss campus. She asked David if he knew Mary and he said he had seen her perform at the W.C. Handy Awards in Memphis in ’92. When asked if indeed his magazine was true “Living Blues”, if she wrote about Mary performing on her 95th birthday, would he publish it? The answer was yes and Living Blues did and then went on to write an article on Monte’s Blues in the Schools program in a ’97 issue.

Monte began writing a regular column for the Suncoast Blues Society newsletter, the Twelve Bar Rag under the moniker “The Blues Stalker.” She is still writing about talented blues artists who are under appreciated and often ignored by the mainstream press. She also covers other aspects of the blues music industry besides the musicians themselves. Her photographs can be viewed on the Suncoast Blues Society website as well as photographs of the popular annual Tampa Bay Blues Festival.

Monte’s commitment to keeping the blues alive is evident in her articles and photos, and was present in her classroom in Ocala, Florida where every inch of her walls were covered with snapshots and autographed posters of blues musicians that she has met. As she puts it, “It’s my way of sneaking the heritage in -when you’re bored with the lessons and look up on the walls and see Kenny Neal, Eddie Kirkland, or Sista Monica- you might just give a listen later in live and fall in love with the music just like I have. It is another small way of keeping the blues alive”. You can visit her personal website site too.

I am really satisfied and proud to have at “La Hora del Blues” staff, directly from USA, the valuable support, help and collaboration of this great blues expert and lover, known as “The Blues Stalker”. I am sure you will enjoy this page with all her interesting and juicy interviews and photographs, so I can only encourage you to visit it regularly.

Welcome aboard! Monte….

Vicente Zúmel

Post ‘Cane Cain or Soothing the Hurricane Blues
by Monte Adkison aka “The Blues Stalker”

Chris Cain
Members of the Villages Blues Society in North Central Florida were presented with a badly needed post Hurricane Ian treat recently. Co-founders, Mark and Marcia Adams, booked the Chris Cain Band for a performance on their way back from performing at the Rawa Blues Festival in Katowice, Poland. Drummer Sky Garcia, bassist Cody Wright, and keyboardist Greg Rahm on keyboards with Chris Cain on guitar did not disappoint!

Chris Cain
My first time hearing Chris Cain live was 20 years ago in Sarasota. A friend took me to a house party given by a Bay area blues fan named “Housecat” and I was immediately blown away by his talent. Born in California, his father had lived in Memphis and was a huge blues fan and shared his love of the music with his son.

He attended his first B.B. King concert at age 3 and started playing the guitar at age 8. Chris shared with me:

“My dad had a guitar that he would play around with on Sundays. He told me that I could play it anytime that I wanted so I just started listening to his albums and I would start picking”.

He started playing guitar professionally at age 18 and taught a class in jazz improvisation while attending San Jose’ City College. His debut album in 1987 received 4 W.C. Handy nominations and fourteen albums later, his 2021 Alligator Records release “Raising Cain” also received 4 Blues Music Awards nominations. In addition to playing guitar, and songwriting he also plays piano, bass guitar, clarinet and alto and tenor saxophone.

I had the opportunity to ask Mark Adams (Villages Blues Society) how he and wife Marcia met Chris and he recalled:

“We met him at the Chenango Blues Festival in New York. One of my friends was in the bar-b-que competition so I asked him if he wanted to go eat some BBQ. We were living in Indiana and I saw where he was playing at the Slippery Noodle and saw him there and became big fans and then we went to Chicago and saw him play at Buddy Guy’s “Legends” the same weekend as the Chicago Blues Festival”.

Chris and his band are jetting all over the world these days following the recent success of his Alligator Records release of “Raising Cain” in April of 2021. In 2022, he began the year in February with a tour of South America and then in June and July the Netherlands, Spain and France. Back to Poland in September and then will leave in November for a two-week tour of Germany, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark and Belgium. They play the Freiburg Blues Festival in Breisgau, Germany. 

Chris is busy writing songs for his next release for Alligator Records. Florida blues fans will get a chance to hear some of his new material when he plays the Tampa Bay Blues Festival on April 15, 2023.

Chris Cain

Chris’ style is unique and his love of his instrument is quite evident. On this trip he introduced me to his #2 lady, Melba, a Gibson 335. His favorite axe, Hortense, also a Gibson 335, was resting back in California on this trip. Chris uses no pedal. As he puts it, “I just want to make the sounds with my guitar” and uses the volume knob to control the effects. He also plays piano and when I asked him what music he was currently listening to and what he keeps in his player, he replied “Ray Charles, B.B. King, Charlie Parker and Charles Brown”.

On a personal note, he shared that he recently lost his dog, his beloved Josephine who had died in his arms and he really had the blues about it. On one of his songs, I could feel the emotion of his loss and having suffered a recent great loss myself, his music had a healing effect on me.

Thank you, Mark and Marcia Adams of the Villages Blues Society for continuing to help support so many talented artists traveling through Florida. With the pandemic and the recent devastating hurricane, many venues are damaged or closed permanently, so many artists are struggling and losing gigs and they have continued to be a shining light to the music industry through their support. They also provide scholarships to young musicians as well as send a representative to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.


If you are not familiar with Chris Cain, do yourself a favor and give a listen and be on the lookout for he and his band if they are playing anywhere near you. I am sure you will be hooked like I am. I cannot wait to hear his new material.