Cain’s jazz-informed blues guitar playing is fiery, emotional and always unpredictable. His vocals—gruff, lived-in and powerful—add fuel to the fire. His indelible original songs keep one foot in the blues tradition and both eyes on the future. The pure joy Cain brings to his playing and singing is palpable, and draws fans even closer in.
Cain’s rough-and-tumble East San Jose upbringing was a melting pot of soul, rock, blues, jazz and Latin sounds, and he absorbed it all as his guitar playing improved. By the time he was in his teens, he was starting to get noticed. Cain formed his first band in 1986, and, in the hopes of getting more gigs, released his first album, Late Night City Blues, on the locally-based Blue Rock’It label. The album received four W.C. Handy Award nominations (now the Blues Music Awards) and the offers to perform kept rolling in. He even opened for his heroes Albert King and Albert Collins, who both asked Chris to jam on stage. Four more albums on Blue Rock’It and three for Blind Pig Records kept Cain busy on the road for the better part of every year.
For over three decades, Cain has toured all over North America and made repeated trips around the world. He’s performed at the Chicago Blues Festival, The Doheny Blues Festival, The Philadelphia Blues Festival, The Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, and many others. He’s played concerts and festivals in Argentina, Uruguay, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, the Ukraine, and more.
Chris was recently the recipient of our Jazz Aid Fund grant and appeared in New Works Fest 2021. You can view his entire New Works Fest performance at sanjosejazz.org/media/break-room-sessions