2023 Beach Bash…

2023 Beach Bash…

2023 Beach Bash…

2023 Beach Bash…

It’s that time of year again so dig out your swimsuit, sunglasses, and sun hat because your Suncoast Blues Society will be celebrating YOU, our loyal members, with our Annual Beach Bash on Sunday, August 27th from 1- 6:00 pm at the St Petersburg Lions Club Beach House.

Al Razz and the Rocking Blues Review will kick things off at 2pm, followed by our annual jam session. 

Bring your favorite dish to share. We will have some beverages available or BYOB if you prefer.  We are looking for donations of beer and wine – if you have a connection, please reach out to them or send us the info and we will gladly contact them.

You can renew your membership and receive 3 free CD’s – may as well bring a friend to join also.  We will be drawing the name of one lucky Blues fan that day for a guitar signed by many of your favorite Blues artists.

Looking forward to seeing everyone and definitely bring your dancin’ shoes!

P.S.  This is an Adults only event.







Davy Knowles Review Cottonmouth, July 1, 2023

Davy Knowles Review Cottonmouth, July 1, 2023

Davy Knowles Review Cottonmouth, July 1, 2023

Davy Knowles Review
Cottonmouth, July 1, 2023

Sometimes, it all comes together, and such as the case at Cottonmouth southern Soul Kitchen when Davy Knowles and his band came to town. And gave those in attendance a night to remember. This was one of the best shows I’ve seen!

Touring with Tod Bowles on bass, and Mark Hansen on drums, the band hit the stage at 8PM and performed a non-stop 2-hour set that left the audience standing and asking for more.

But before we get to the review of Davy’s show, Steve Arvey opened for Davy, and in typical Steve fashion, had the audience entertained with his wit, songs, and guitar playing. First starting with a cigar box guitar instrumental, Steve switched to his signature acoustic guitar for most of the one-hour set.  Deftly using a stomp-box, Steve performed classic blues, and brought Deacon Gibson to the stage for harmonica playing. Steve entertained the audience, and solicited many laughs, with tales from his storied blues career. Make no mistake about it, while Steve is an entertainer, he is a serious musician with significant skills. These skills will be revisited later, as Steve ends his set playing a red Stratocaster that will be a central part of the show later in the evening.


Playing from many of his recordings, Davy and the band took the stage and set a high-energy tone with Ain’t Much of Nothin’ from his 2016 recording “Three Miles From Avalon”. Davy’s blistering guitar work was spot on and engaged the audience from the downbeat. Next up was Riverbed, first heard during Davy’s days with Back Door Slam. Completing a frenetic first three songs the band launched into Catch The Moon from 2015’s “The Outsider”. If any newcomers to a Davy Knowles show did not know his guitar talents, they understood after the first three songs.

The band, and the audience, needed to catch their breath, and next up was Devil and the Deep Blue Sea from the latest release, “What Happens Next”. To be sure, this song shows a different side of the band and is a well-crafted entertaining piece of music. Equally, entertaining if not downright spectacular was the bands treatment of Cream’s Outside Women Blues. This song featured a tight jam with the band complete with some amazing technical guitar work by Davy.


Changing guitars, Davy brought out the slide and demonstrated his significant skills with the slide while performing Ain’t No Grave, once again from “The Outsider”. Hell To Pay, from “What Happens Next” was a particular highlight, with Davy using dynamics to build and release emotions from the audience. Masterful.


Steve Arvey was brought to the stage and traded licks with Davy on Garbage Man, and following this song Steve took the vocal lead on a nice version of Ain’t Nobody’s Business.  The band then surprised with a smoking version of the funky classic Fire On the Bayou, with Davy providing some of the hottest licks of the evening. But this surprise paled to what came next. For the first time in the evening, Davy showed his equally entertaining side of a storyteller. As expressed in my last article about Davy, he has a gift for storytelling and this art is part of the charm of a Davy Knowles performance.

Davy picked up Steve’s red Stratocaster, and proceeded to say that he just could not resist this opportunity.  And then explained that when he started playing guitar he wanted to be like Mark Knopfler. And there it was: the band launched their version of the Dire Straits classic Sultans of Swing. As someone who has attended many shows at Cottonmouth, the ovation at the end of this song was among the loudest and most sustained I’ve witnessed in Bradenton’s Village of the Arts. The song was a tour de force from start to finish.

The audience was unrelenting with their applause and the band provided an encore of Wake Me Up When The Nightmare is Over. Sort of ironic because this evening of music provided joy and sweet dreams for the attendees, who witnessed a special night of music in Bradenton. This band, if they should so choose, is ready to take the next step to larger venues. They are that good.


  • Scott Morris
  • Photo’s by Jim Hartzell



Davy Knowles & Steve Arvey  Back Together in Bradenton

Davy Knowles & Steve Arvey Back Together in Bradenton

Davy Knowles & Steve Arvey Back Together in Bradenton

Davy Knowles & Steve Arvey Back Together in Bradenton

The blues music community is one large family. You meet someone once, and you are acquaintances for life. Such is the case when a young(er) Steve Arvey took his talents to The Isle of Man for a 2001 blues festival.

Though the isle is a mere 30-miles long, the unique festival attracts a wide range of talent across multiple venues and stages. Past performers include Ana Popovic, Watermelon Slim, Guy Davis, Christine Collister, John Hammond, and of course, local heroes Back Door Slam – which featured the emerging talents of Davy Knowles.

Manx Blues Club on the isle has featured Catfish Keith, a pre-Monster Gentleman Jon Cleary, Louisiana Red, and St. Petersburg resident Roy Bookbinder. They take their blues seriously on the Isle of Man.

Steve described his 2001 visit:

I was booked on the Isle of man blues Festival, 2001. Gibson guitars had me doing acoustic guitar workshops and talking about blues around the world. At  the workshop, a 13-year-old young man by the name of Davy came. You can see him sitting there with his guitar.

I recall showing him how to play “Canned Heat” by Tommy Johnson. Davy followed me to my gigs, asking questions. And wanting to learn more about blues music. We stayed in touch on the Internet for a while after that and he became a great guitar player and musician.”

Davy Knowles, 13 years old, at Acoustic Workshop

Hosted by Steve Arvey Isle of Man 2001

During the trip, Steve received a guided tour of Davy’s Shabby Road Studios in the village of Port St Mary. Davy’s father, Tony, took Steve behind the scenes and onto the grounds where Davy grew up. Steve captured the visit and lovely views of Isle of Man’s countryside in this video. Much to Steve’s surprise this plaque hung on a wall in the studio

Fates collided in 2008. Far from the Isle of Man in Steve’s hometown of Chicago. Steve made a guest appearance with Davy and Back Door Slam at Buddy Guy’s Legends. Those who know Steve will not be surprised that he captured part of the appearance in a video.


Now, 13-years later Davy Knowles will reunite with Steve Arvey. Steve will open for Davy at Bradenton’s Cottonmouth Southern Soul Kitchen on July 1, 2023. Come on out and see why reviewer Martine Ehrenclou perfectly described Davy and his latest release, What Happens Next, as

“A revered guitarist, and acclaimed vocalist, songwriter, Chicago-based Davy Knowles released his new album, What Happens Next. The 12-song set features roots guitarist, singer, songwriter Davy Knowles’ take on vintage soul, folk, rock, and blues. With poetic songwriting, soulful, emotive vocals, and brawny guitar riffs, What Happens Next features Knowles’ understated guitar playing with an emphasis on quality and meaningful songwriting. Davy Knowles is truly a multi-faceted artist.”

For a glimpse into the understated genius of Davy Knowles, enjoy the video for “Hell To Pay” from What Happens Next.


There are a few times in my life where I recall exactly where I was when I first heard a song. My career put me into many rental cars and for a time BB King’s Bluesville was free in the car. While driving between Boston and Worcester, MA I was on the Mass Turnpike, near where the supermarket is on the overpass – and there it was:

“I got your letter today, said you’re gone for good”

“I would get you back, if only I could”

My introduction to Davy Knowles began this day through Back Door Slam’s “Come Home” – intro bass riff hooked me, and before the first chorus was over the volume was up significantly. This raucous song from the Isle of Man trio had me hooked.

Fast forward a few years to 2018, and I’m on Joe Bonamassa’s cruise, and somewhere between Miami and Jamaica Davy Knowles reintroduced himself to me. There was Davy and a solo acoustic show that showed the true talents of this young musician.

Playing from his releases The Outsider and Three Miles From Babylon – Davy’s acoustic playing, singing, and his storytelling made for a highly entertaining evening.

Time and distance leave my memory sparse for all the songs  – I do recall “Oxford, MS” and “Tear Down The Walls.”  But the story I retell often is Davy’s description of life on the Isle of Man. Davy discussed what life was like and transitioned into telling tales of an annual motorcycle race on the island. With superb delivery Davy word painted images that set up perfectly what came next.

Among my favorite singer storytellers is Richard Thompson. And yes, Davy transitioned expertly from the Isle of Man motorcycle rally story into 1952 Vincent Black Lightning. Pure bliss. Luckily, a fellow cruiser captured the performance, and you can find the link below.

Later, Davy brought the Rory Gallagher “tribute band” Band of Friends to the Tampa Bay Blues Fest. Tribute band is a bit unfair – as this ensemble was a labor of love and featured ex-Rory Gallagher band mates Gerry McAvoy and Ted McKenna. The trio deliver a solid set of Rory tunes like Bad Penny, A Million Miles Away, Moonchild, and a neat version of Come Home. Sadly, we lost Ted McKenna shortly after this show.

On a subsequent Bonamassa cruise, I attended a Josh Smith show and noticed Davy paying close attention to Josh and his playing. Without question Josh is among a small group of elite guitar players who operate in the intersection of blues and jazz – including Robben Ford and Matt Schofield. Davy was going to school and his intent focus on what Josh was playing was noticeable. As Davy says on his website:

It’s your job to be the worst player in the room, and absorb like a sponge”

That is what makes Davy good – his willingness to learn, to stretch, to test musical boundaries. Improvising and imparting his unique style into his and songs from other artists. Best known is his treatment of CSN&Y’s Almost Cut My Hair. – As an aside intent viewers will note that Davy cut his hair between 2018 and 2021.


Tickets to Davy Knowles with Steve Arvey opening are available by contacting Cottonmouth Restaurant at 941-243-3735. The venue is in the vibrant community of Bradenton’s Village of the Arts at 1114 12th St West.

Interview Davy by Martine Ehrenclou

Forbes Magazine Interview

Come Home

1952 Vincent Black Lighting

Never Make Your Move Too Soon

Almost Cut My Hair

  • Written by Scott Morris






Youth Day at Tampa Bay Blues Festival

Youth Day at Tampa Bay Blues Festival

Youth Day at Tampa Bay Blues Festival

Youth Day at Tampa Bay Blues Festival
Sunday, April 16th, 2023

 The Tampa Bay Blues Festival (TBBF) is a 3-Day event held in beautiful
Vinoy Waterfront Park, St Petersburg, Florida  April 14-16, 2023.
Some of the world’s preeminent Blues Music artists will perform.

Blues is the foundation of American Music, from Gospel to Jazz, from
Rock-n-Roll to Hip Hop. Blues music is the springboard that launched it all.

Suncoast Blues Society and TBBF are committed to introducing youth to this historic form.
We are making a special offer to our next generation of Blues music lovers…

Youth up to age 18 and a chaperone can receive a
Free Complimentary Pass!!

  1. The TBBF promoter has also arranged for one of the performing artists to meet with our “young guests”.  He will announce it from the stage Sunday April 16th.
  2. To receive your Free Complimentary Pass for Sunday’s festival, everyone attending must supply their names to jamesrandolph@verizon.net by March 24th, 2023.
  3. Your Pass will be available at the ‘Will Call’ ticket booth under your names on Sunday, April 16th. School age youth and chaperone must present ID (school ID, drivers license, etc.) to claim “comp pass”. (No youth or adult info will be used for marketing or shared with any other organizations.)
  4. Neither TBBF nor SBS accepts any liability for youth and adults accepting this free offer (regular ticket price for this day is $50!) to attend Sunday’s festival event. Chaperones are responsible for youth behavior.
  5. If you have questions, you may contact Terri O’Brien at president@suncoastblues.org

Sunday’s lineup features:

JT Lauritsen & The Buckshot Hunters
Jimmy Carpenter
Vanessa Collier
Mr. Sipp
The Fabulous Thunderbirds

Avey Grouws Band Review

Avey Grouws Band Review

Avey Grouws Band Review

Avey Grouws Band Review

Birdrock Taco Shack, October 13, 2022

Put this band on your radar!

Based in Iowa, the Avey Grouws Band is on a limited tour of Florida and stopped into Bradenton to perform a wonderful show at Birdrock Taco Shack.

Unlike it’s sister restaurant, Cottonmouth southern soul Kitchen, Birdrock sustained limited damage from Hurricane Ian and is up and running  bringing the best of blues to Bradenton. In the comfortable and roomy courtyard at the “shack” Avey Grouws showed the audience why they are two-time International Blues Challenge semi-finalists.

Led by the powerful guitarist Chris Avey, and the equally strong vocalist Jeni Grouws, the band for this show included Nashville-based bassist Calvin Johnson (Tas Cru), keyboardist and vocalist Leo Albertoni (Toronzo Cannon), and drummer Bryan West. The tight and professional show contained mostly original songs from a series of albums, including the latest Tell Tale Heart, which debuted at #7 on Billboard’s Blues Album Chart.

Right out of the gate we heard Jeni’s powerful and dynamic voice with “Hearts Playing Tricks,” and not to be outdone Chris and his impressive guitar skills showcased on a version of “Black Cat Bone.” Presenting their quirky and humorous side, the band performed the first of a few “drinking” songs – “Two Days Off (And A Little Bit of Liquor).” As Jeni described, this song’s lyrics, like many do, came from keeping ears open to what others are saying.

Rotating to their first EP Road To Memphis, Chris took vocal lead on “Hard Times.” Returning to the second recording The Devil May Care, “Let Me Sing The Blues” gave Leo time to shine on the keyboard. The lovely song “There For Me” showed the bands tight vocal harmonies and might have been my favorite moment of the evening.

Local guitarist Vincent Sims, who became familiar with the band while on tour with Lauren Mitchell, was in attendance and Jeni asked Vincent to the stage. Vincent sat in on while Jeni sang “Love Me Like A Man,” and then with Chris as they traded licks on “Early In The Morning.” Good stuff!

Peppering the shows with stories from the road, many which had the crowd laughing, the band ended the first set after crushing their “Dig What You Do,” again with some nice vocal harmonies – this time with Jeni and Chris.

“Dirty Little Secret,” well, you will have to attend a show to find out what this song is about! But the secret is in “the way you roll.” A version of Albert Collins’ “Honey Hush!” was most enjoyable. “Let’s Take it Slow’ brought the tempo down and that song was responded to by  “I’d Rather Be Drunk,” a fast-paced song reminiscent of “Mojo.”  The show concluded with a rocking version “Love Raining Down.”

This is a gem of a band. What a fun time at Birdrock Taco Shack with Avey Grouws Band!

There are two more opportunities for you to see the band:

10/22 – Buckingham Blues Bar (opening for Damon Fowler)

10/23 – Camping With The Blues


By Scott Morris, Treasurer, Suncoast Blues Society


Alex Lopez Band CD Release Party August 12, Sarasota FL

Alex Lopez Band CD Release Party August 12, Sarasota FL

Alex Lopez Band CD Release Party August 12, Sarasota FL

Alex Lopez Band CD Release Party
August 12, Sarasota FL

Tampa-based musician Alex Lopez brought his powerful band, The Xpress, to the Browne’s Lab Theatre at Florida Studio Theatre (FST) for a party to celebrate the release of Nasty Crime. And what a party it was as Alex and the band treated the large turnout to a non-stop energetic set of music that left the crowd standing in applause.

Taking the stage in the intimate, and quite lovely, room at FST, Alex and the band played primarily from the new release. “No Way” set the tone and got the band engaged early, as Alex wove crafty lyrics and licks around the up-tempo beat of this song. Flowing seamlessly from song to song “Just Wait” turned up the heat and highlighted the understated licks that he delivers.
Alex paused to introduce the concept behind his music writing philosophy and that properly set the scene for the title track, “Nasty Crime.” The Xpress (Kana Leimbach on drums, Steve Roberts on bass, Kenny Hoye on keys) kept up a driving beat, with Kenny tossing in some nice keyboard runs to counterpoint Alex and his guitar.

The slower bluesy “When The Sun Goes Down” followed. This song contains poignant lyrics that Alex crafted after reflection on life’s twists and turns. “Holy Woman” has a funky blues feel and is Alex’s tribute to the positive impact women make in the world. Scalding guitar licks accompanied this song.
Kana Leimbach drumming kicked off the next song, the current recording’s rocking first cut “World On Fire.” Alex showed his slide guitar skills, weaving slide rhythm with lead licks.
Concluding the formal sequence of Nasty Crimes songs, Alex played the recording’s final song, “That’s Alright.” Kenny on keys, and Alex, traded off during the lovely melody. Alex’s measured guitar response and solo gave this performance immense charm and kept me quite entertained, enough to call this my favorite moment of the evening.

Transitioning away from the current release, Alex performed the title to 2017’s Slowdown. Playing from 2021’s Rising Up, the band performed the title track, and “Paradise”. Yours Truly, Me (2019) contributed the bluest song of this evening, “Take Me Back Home”. A lovely song with an equally compelling slide guitar. Most enjoyable. On this evening, the same recording contributed “Tush,” a funky version of the ZZ Top classic.
Returning to Slowdown, the blues punctuated “Stolen,” and was followed by “Dangerous.” That wrapped the formal performance, and after a break of few seconds the encore kicked of with “Light It Up,” and the show concluded with “Even Up The Score.” One hour, forty-five minutes of non-stop fun!
Scott Morris, Treasurer, Suncoast Blues Society
(Photos by author)