Chris Cain

"Chris Cain is the most important blues player you need to hear. Marvelous and irresistible...Cain brings an indelible touch and resonance to the blues, combining down-home sentiment with uptown feel. He unleashes unadulterated fretboard genius." —Vintage Guitar

"A heady stew of rough-and-tumble electric blues...potent guitar work and rough, lived-in vocals are edge-of-your-seat stuff...Cain's exceptional original songs relentlessly reveal startling hooks and riffs amidst a wash of piercing, razor-sharp guitar." —Blues & Rhythm

"Chris Cain is one of the most brilliant and vital figures making music of any kind...He's near legendary on the blues extraordinarily talented, consummate musician delivering passionate, heartfelt vocals, potent, superb playing and marvelous songs." —Blues Music Magazine

"Chris Cain," the great B.B. King declared years ago, "now that boy can play the guitar." Today, blues musician, songwriter and vocalist Chris Cain is playing guitar better than he ever has. "I've stopped overthinking," he says, "and now just play and sing what I feel." With more than three decades of touring and fifteen previous albums under his belt, Cain, once known as "one of the greatest guitarists you've never heard," is now celebrated by fans and fellow musicians alike as being among the blues' most talented and exciting players. His original songs overflow with surprising hooks and feature razor-sharp lyrics that are moving and humorously insightful. With his powerful, soul man's voice and his inventive guitar work--inspired by Grant Green and Wes Montgomery as much as by B.B. King and Albert King--Cain's talents are unparalleled in the blues world. Cain's new album (and second for Alligator), Good Intentions Gone Bad, is another giant leap forward for the man Living Blues says is currently "turning out the best work of his career."

On Good Intentions Gone Bad, Cain delivers 13 lyrically fresh original songs, seven of which add a swinging horn section to the mix. Produced by Christoffer "Kid" Andersen (of Rick Estrin & The Nightcats) at his famous Greaseland USA studio in San Jose, California, Good Intentions Gone Bad is, Cain says, "the best album I've ever made, thanks to Kid." With Cain leading the charge on guitar, the band delivers top-shelf performances on every track. From the humorous, true-to-life title track to the epic, slow-burning Waiting For The Sun To Rise to the to the Memphis soul-inspired Thankful (featuring a shared vocal with Cain's labelmate, Tommy Castro), the new album finds Cain operating at the absolute peak of his powers, with Andersen pushing him to new heights every step of the way.

Another album highlight, the gentle, autobiographical and emotional Blues For My Dad, is a song Andersen discovered in one of Cain's notebooks and insisted he record. Cain was initially reluctant, feeling the song was too personal, but ultimately agreed. Upon the track's completion, Andersen, Cain and the entire band were in tears. Notable also is Still Drinking Straight Tequila, an hilarious up-to-the minute update of Cain's 1997 song, Drinkin' Straight Tequila. "I'm so proud of this record," says Cain. "Kid's ideas, the vibe he created...he makes you better while having a great time. This album is the logical next step after (his debut Alligator release) Raisin' Cain. I know I've never sung or played better. Everything I hoped for doubled."

Mega blues guitar hero Joe Bonamassa proclaims, "Hands down Chris Cain is my favorite blues player on the scene today. He's an absolute blinder of a guitarist, with the voice of B.B. King and the chops of Albert King." Guitar icon Robben Ford says, "Chris Cain is for real. He has the intensity that keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering what he's going to do next. Plus, he knows how to write songs you haven't heard before."

Chris Cain was born in San Jose, California in 1955. His parents were huge music fans and shared their love of blues, jazz and popular songs with Chris. His African American father and Greek mother had a huge, shared record collection, which fascinated Chris from an early age. Chris was three years old when his father first took him to see B.B. King. Says Cain, "We never missed another show after that." Thanks to his parents' musical passion, young Chris saw almost every blues, jazz and rock artist that came through town, many of them repeatedly: James Brown, Albert King, Johnny Winter, Jimi Hendrix, even The Beatles. His father gave him his first guitar at age eight and Chris learned lick after lick, song after song. He'd listen to his father's records over and over until the music had seeped into his soul.

Cain's rough-and-tumble East San Jose neighborhood 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. In 1976, local San Jose singer and harmonica player Gary Smith gave Cain his first professional job playing guitar in his band. During this time Cain studied jazz at San Jose City College, mastering keyboards and saxophone as well as guitar, and soon began teaching jazz improvisation there.

Cain formed his first band in 1986, and, in hopes of getting more gigs, released his first album, Late Night City Blues, on the locally-based Blue Rock'it label. Almost immediately, everything changed. Booking agents came calling and Chris began touring Europe. 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. The more Cain toured and recorded, the greater his reputation grew. Four more albums on Blue Rock'it and three for Blind Pig Records kept Cain busy on the road for years. Guitar Player raved, "Cain is an impressive, top-notch guitarist. His full-bodied tone and surprisingly big voice packs a punch."

With his 2021 Alligator Records debut album, Raisin' Cain, Cain's star began to rise even higher. Press, radio and the public all agreed Cain was, as Blues Rock Review stated, "a classic, sophisticated, soulful virtuoso...He seamlessly combines blues, jazz, funk, and soul." Cain received four 2022 Blues Music Award nominations, including for Album Of The Year and Best Guitarist.

On his recordings and on stage, Cain plays his beloved Gibson ES 335 guitar named Melba that he's had since 1990, and plugs it into his equally beloved Music Man RD 112 amp that he's had since 1987. Melba, well known among Cain's most ardent fans, is prominently featured in the new book, Gibson ES Believers, part of the Vic DuPra Believers Series.

Over the years, Cain has been invited to share stages with blues legends old and young. He's performed with Albert King, Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Johnny Copeland, Jimmy Witherspoon, Joe Bonamassa, Charlie Musselwhite, Elvin Bishop, and most recently, GRAMMY-winner Christone "Kingfish" Ingram.

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 (and often taught workshops) in Argentina, Uruguay, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Ukraine, and more.

Now, with Good Intentions Gone Bad, Cain will find his largest audience yet, as his good musical intentions continue to pay off. According to Kid Andersen, there's no better blues player working today. "Chris Cain is the rarity whose blues prowess is so undeniable that he has gained everyone's approval. Ask any of your favorite guitar players who they think are the greatest living masters of the instrument, chances are they will all have Chris Cain at the very top of their list."

1987 Late Night City Blues (Blue Rock'it)
1990 Cuttin' Loose (Blind Pig)
1992 Can't Buy A Break (Blind Pig)
1995 Somewhere Along The Way (Blind Pig)
1997 Unscheduled Flight (Crosscut/Blue Rock'it)
1998 Live At The Rep (CCM)
1999 Christmas Cain (CCM)
2001 Cain Does King (Blue Rock'it)
2003 Hall of Shame (Blue Rock'it)
2010 So Many Miles (Blue Rock'it)
2015 King Of The Blues with the Rodger Fox Big Band (T-Bones, New Zealand)
2015 Solo Por Mi, Nasta Super feat. Chris Cain (Epsa Music, Argentina)
2017 Chris Cain (Little Village)
2017 Romaphonic Session, Nasta Super & Chris Cain (Epsa Music, Argentina)
2020 Raisin' Cain (Alligator)
2024 Good Intentions Gone Bad (Alligator)