Rick Estrin is now two albums into fronting the Nightcats, having taken over from Little Charlie Baty. It hasn't been that great a change -- "I always wrote the songs and was the front person," Estrin notes -- but he still feels a certain pressure from the group's past.
"I didn't want the band to seem like a diminished version of Little Charlie & the Nightcats," the 62-year-old singer and harmonica player explains. "So I wanted to have it just be some different things and let everybody bring what they had to the mix.
"And I think it's worked out well. I thought it worked out well on the first record after Charlie left (2009's 'Twisted'). It was like sort of an embryonic deal that last time, and this time it's a more fully realized representation of what this band is."
Estrin feels the just-released "One Wrong Turn" benefits from the time the Nightcats spent touring to promote "Twisted," which allowed the other members -- and particularly new guitarist Chris "Kid" Anderson -- to take greater ownership over the sound than they might have felt they could before.
"The songs I'd write before were more or less tailored to the things I know Charlie liked," Estrin says, "and these guys are a generation younger than I am. Everybody is well versed in the blues and older style,s but we have a larger period of time to draw from. A song like 'Desperation Perspiration' is, like funk.
"I think this (album) just really feels like us. We all really felt proud of it and part of it and more like a group than it ever has before."
Rick Estrin & the Nightcats perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 25, at Callahan's Music Hall, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills. Tickets are $20 and $15. Call 248-858-9509 or visit www.atcallahans.com.