2021 Blues Challenge

2021 Blues Challenge

2021 Blues Challenge

2021 Blues Challenge

If you showed up for the Suncoast Blues challenge in 2019 you know it was a heck of a good time and we are gearing up to do it again at 10th Street Live in Palmetto.

We’ve got another great crop of competitors and we will have five impartial parties, well-versed in Blues to judge the event. Deadline for competitors to register is July 1st.

It’s going to be a blast and you’ll get to hear some great music topped off by a special performance from Josh Rowand & The Pitbull of Blues Band so wear your dancing shoes!

Doors will open at 1 PM and music starts at 2 PM.

Tickets are on sale now

Admission is $10 in advance and $15 at the door, which goes toward the winners’ trip to Memphis.

Be sure read Suncoast Blues News as each week we will be telling you more about our competitors.

 

 

Suncoast Blues Society’s 24th Anniversary

Suncoast Blues Society’s 24th Anniversary

Suncoast Blues Society’s 24th Anniversary

Well folks it all started 24 years ago when Ken Torvik from Minneapolis and Larry Lisk of Detroit decided to put something together in the Tampa Bay area so they could hear their favorite music and see their favorite musicians without having to drive all over Florida resulting in the birth of the Suncoast Blues Society (SBS)!!

Usually, SBS puts on a special Anniversary Show for our members to celebrate. However, as we all know, COVID wreaked havoc on our lives and our community which has greatly impacted musicians, local businesses, and venues.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is growing brighter every day so it is time to get back out there and enjoy our Blues music and start dancing again. This did not happen in time for SBS to plan an Anniversary Party for this year but we have been able to pull together some smaller events.

The first one, coming up next month, will be at Gill Dawg in Port Richey. If you have not been there yet you are missing out – great outdoor venue with a covered area and plenty of room for dancing. They are also pet friendly!
So come on out on the 4th and help us celebrate our 24th with the Tom Craig Band.

We will commemorate Suncoast Blues Society’s 24th Anniversary with gifts and prizes. There will be drawings throughout the day for great SBS merchandise.

Show us your membership card and you will receive a gift. If you’re not a member, this will be a perfect opportunity to sign-up.

Already a member, go ahead and renew! Either way, you will receive 2 CDs plus a gift.

Stay tuned – we will be sending out additional information in our weekly Suncoast Blues News.

Splish, Splash It’s the Beach Bash

Splish, Splash It’s the Beach Bash

Splish, Splash It’s the Beach Bash

That’s right—we have scheduled our annual Beach Bash on Sunday August 29th from 2—6 PM.  We will be celebrating at our usual haunt, the Lions Club Beach House located at 9300 W Gulf Blvd, Treasure Island.  Dooner’s band—Big D and the Dirty Deal will provide the opening entertainment followed by a jam session until 6 PM.

We won’t be doing our normal open buffet spread but we will be cooking “Blues Dogs” and offering chips. You are welcome to bring your own picnic baskets.

This is the first event the Suncoast Blues Society has planned in over a year. And we are optimistic that we can make this a safe event where we can get back to what we do best, celebrate the music with friends.

 

Damon Fowler- “Alafia Moon” CD Review

Damon Fowler- “Alafia Moon” CD Review

Damon Fowler- “Alafia Moon” CD Review

Damon Fowler – “Alafia Moon”
Landslide Records
Review by Lafayette Reid 


Damon Fowler’s
 latest CD release “Alafia Moon” should secure Damon’s position as Florida’s favorite native son Blues musician. Damon has been touring and opening for George Thorogood for the last few years and with new management by Brett Steele keeping his momentum going his notoriety has been expanding nationally and beyond.

The backbone of Damon’s band has been steady Chuck Riley on bass and the Justin Headley on drums. These three are tight, but throw in St Pete native TC Carr on Harmonica, Mike Kach on keys, Betty Fox helping on vocals and some additional percussion by Josh Nelms and real magic starts to happen. All songs were written by Damon except “The Guitar” by Guy Clark and Verlon Thomson“ Hip to Your Trip” a nice jumpy little number was co-authored by Damon and Jim Suhler from Texas who is George Thorogood’s lead guitarist when touring.

“Leave it Alone “ is an ominous tune about the perils of a touring artist and the temptations they face. This well written song features TC Carr who gets to show off his skills on the harmonica.

Hitting close to home “Alafia Moon” the title track speaks to our current situation. Damon writes about “walking around in circles” at home not knowing which way to go, just needing to get out and see some moonlight on a peaceful Florida river. Amen Brother! Heal your soul.

Damon’s fans know he can paint some pretty clear pictures with his catchy lyrics.  “Wanda” displays these skills. If by the end of this funky little tune you don’t have a clear picture of Wanda in your mind, then you haven’t been listening.

“Make the Best of Your Time” might get stuck in your head. Author’s intention??

There are lot of “ups and downs” in life, especially for touring artists. “I’ve Been Low” speaks of this and looks for some balance.

“Alafia Moon” was expertly recorded and engineered by George Harris at Creative World Recording in Largo Florida and mastered by Alex McCollough at True East Mastering.  A truly enjoyable piece of work.

 

Tom Craig – “Good Man Gone Bad” CD Review

Tom Craig – “Good Man Gone Bad” CD Review

Tom Craig – “Good Man Gone Bad” CD Review

Tom Craig
Good Man Gone Bad
By Scott Morris

’Good Man Gone Bad’ is just out and about to make a big splash in the blues world.” Tas Cru

 

Pennsylvania blues man Tom Craig hits the mark with his second recording “Good Man Gone Bad”.

Produced by harmonica ace Mikey Junior and mixed at Fat Rabbit Studios by Dave Gross, this set of tunes follows Tom’s first recording with Soul Patch. “Get Ready for Me “. Comparatively speaking “Good Man” documents Tom’s growth as a musician all while presenting an enjoyable collection of 13 songs that cover most blues styles. But it’s Tom’s writing, and co-writing with Mikey Junior, along with the soulful delivery that rang true for me.

Beginning with the first cut “I’m Working Too Hard” Tom sets a lyrical theme for the recording that hops from one side of a relationship to another. Accompanied by a driving beat Tom professes to be “I’m working too hard for your love”. Many probably have felt similar, but wisely, for the health of their specific relationship kept their own council. Tom’s words might have you saying to yourself “I feel you brother”!

I really enjoy the next track “What A Man’s Gotta Do”. The guitar work accentuates the beat and the harmonica by Mikey Junior lends a nice touch throughout the song, specifically as the song fades out. Performed live this song has people up and dancing.

The title track (You Made A) “Good Man Gone Bad” appears third on the recording and Tom’s soulful voice resonates in this song. This bluesy ballad bespeaks of making “the worst of a good situation”, leading the listener to speculate on the destructive nature of succumbing to temptation. Tom’s vocals are spot on and clearly Tom is at home base with these types of blues ballads.

Harmonica sets the tone on another ballad “It’s All My Fault”, another one of Tom’s fine ballads. The band lends just the right touch with a beat that fits the lyrics. Tom’s guitar solo is perfectly measured.

“Sheepdog”. Well truth be told on first listen I was not quite sure how I felt. But on repeated listens; yes, Tom has crafted a winner! This rocking blues song is a fan favorite during performance, especially memorable was the version performed during Blues Bash at the Ranch with Gabe Stillman lending a hand on slide guitar. This song grew on me. On a recording where my ear preferred the soulful ballads, this is more than an add-in change of pace. “Sheepdog” is a fine song and deserves presence within Tom’s performance set list.

Slowing down, Tom showcases his vocals on “When You Love A Bluesman”.  Perhaps this is when Tom is at his best. His soulful blues vocals and smart lyrics fronting a tight band, and in this song the harmonica rings true. Tom chips in with tasty blues licks on his guitar. The groove captured me right away. Most enjoyable.

“Treat Your Daddy Nice” has a familiar blues beat, and the lyrics make this song work. Once again, this hard-working bluesman asks “baby” to “treat daddy nice” because after all,” I’m the one that makes you feel all right”.

“My Turn to Cry” finishes off the recording with a soulful, saxophone backed ballad. Once again demonstrating that Tom knows how to deliver a song that places “Soul in My Blues”.  Close your eyes and picture slow dances late at night. The symmetry on the recording of the hard-working hero from the first song now practicing patience on the last song is a subtlety that I enjoyed. And the delivery lets the listener speculate on the cause of the tears.

On a personal note, it’s been a pleasure to see Tom perform and grow musically over these past few months. Wintering in Florida Tom put together a tight band that delivered an enjoyable show experience. Secondly, Tom switched roles from front man to sideman while touring with Tas Cru, sometimes on the same day. Tom is putting in the work, to fine success. This is an up-and-coming bluesman to keep an eye on.

Tom has a clear vision of what he wants to achieve as a musician. I intend to “keep my eyes wide open” to see where Tom’s musical journey takes him; I suspect that after a few listens to “Good Man Gone Bad” you will choose to do the same.

“Good Man Gone Bad” is due to be released on April 20, 2021. The recording is presently available for pre-order. For more information visit Tom Craig Band’s website.

“Raisin Cain” by  Chris Cain

“Raisin Cain” by Chris Cain

“Raisin Cain” by Chris Cain

“Raisin Cain” Chris Cain
(Alligator Records 2021)
CD review by Scott Morris

Chris Cain returns with a superb recording. The lyrics are crisp, sometimes cynical, always witty, and will hit the mark for those who have been in a relationship for any length of time.

Blues Magazine quotes Chris as saying “These are the best pack of tunes I’ve ever written.” I wholeheartedly agree. I love this recording. The band is on fire, and Chris’s playing has never been better.

“Raisin’ Cain” was produced by Kid Andersen (Rick Estrin & The Nightcats) at Andersen’s Greaseland Studio in San Jose, California. Joining Chris is this touring band: Steve Evans on bass, Greg Rahn on the keys, and sharing drums are Chris’s touring drummer Sky Garcia and D’Mar Martin. Chris pitches in on keyboards on some of the recordings.

Raisin’ Cain” begins by rocking out on “Hush Money”. This toe-tapper of a song sets the tone for the lyrical quality that permeates the recording. The second tune contains my favorite lyric on the recording “If you think I’m the problem…” and then resolves with the title “You Won’t Have A Problem When I’m Gone”. The band is cranked up quite a few notches on this one.

Anyone familiar with Chris and his music understands his love and reverence for the man he respectfully calls, Mr. B.B. King“Too Many Problems” lyrically allows Chris to explode upon the landlord, and musically compares to the style of Chris’s mentor. Slowing down Chris spins a blues ballad about called “Down on the Ground”. Superb keyboards accompany a guitar solo by Chris that shows why Chris is a guitar player’s guitar player.

“Out of My Head” is far and away my favorite song on “Raisin’ Cain” Chris and the band perform at a level that brought favorable comparisons to Mr. B.B. King and his band. Chris’s solo is outstanding and the sound of the horns leads to a bigger band comparison. I could not get enough of this song and rank it among the best that Chris has ever recorded.

Chris shows off his lyrical creativity with the line “Laying around all-day, watching Dr. Phil, and drinking Tanqueray”; found within “I Believe I Got off Cheap”. This song relates the “benefits” of being kicked to the curb, in a relationship sense.

Concluding the recording is the sole instrumental, “Space Force”. This song will showcase the jazz elements in Chris’s music. It’s inventive and the most different song on this recording.

For me, “Raisin’ Cain” quickly became a “desert island disk”. “Raisin’ Cain” is one of the best recordings from one of the best guitar players in existence. Well done, Mr. Chris Cain. HIGHLY recommended.

Sources
Blues Magazine – Chris Cain
Chris Cain Alligator Records
Chris Cain Website

Click here to purchase your copy of “Raisin Cain”