Tas Cru’s Blues Alive @ Music Compound, Sarasota

Tas Cru’s Blues Alive @ Music Compound, Sarasota

Tas Cru’s Blues Alive @ Music Compound, Sarasota

Tas Cru’s Blues Alive

Music Compound, Sarasota

February 3, 2022, 1:00 – 2:30pm

Join Suncoast Blues Society and Music Compound as we present an afternoon of blues entertainment and education at Music Compound. This free of charge all-ages event will entertain and inform. Tas will perform, discuss blues history, entertain you, and answer your questions in this 90-minute program.

Tas Cru is an international touring blues professional who is enthusiastic about blues education. Tas states:

“To me, there is nothing more important that I do as a blues performer than blues education! Blues is a uniquely American music that along with gospel and jazz is one of America’s most precious gifts to the world. Blues is the musical foundation for all forms of pop music with its influence spanning seven generations.

I am blessed to have had so many opportunities to work with young and old across the country as we educate each other about what it is that makes us love the blues.”

About The event

This is a free limited capacity event. The facility has limited  parking during the day, and carpooling is recommended. We will cap ticket requests when the number of spaces has reached capacity, so make your reservations early! Reservations are available at Tas Cru Blues Alive Reservations

About Tas Cru

Tas Cru is truly a blues eclectic who refuses to let his music be bound to just one blues style. With a repertoire of over ninety original songs from multiple albums and dozens of crowd-pleasing classics, this seasoned performer gives folks what they want. Tas has been called one of the most unique of bluesmen plying his trade today. His songs testify to his reputation as a bluesman who is accomplished in, and comfortable with most every style of blues. As a writer Tas wants each song to determine what style is the better fit  and that’s why fans love his stuff and critics sing his praises.

Review: Johnny Sansone at the Cottonmouth Southern Soul Kitchen – Bradenton

Review: Johnny Sansone at the Cottonmouth Southern Soul Kitchen – Bradenton

Review: Johnny Sansone at the Cottonmouth Southern Soul Kitchen – Bradenton

Review: Johnny Sansone

Cottonmouth southern soul Kitchen, Bradenton

On January 15, 2022, Suncoast Blues Society and Cottonmouth southern soul Kitchen brought New Orleans blues artist Johnny Sansone to Bradenton’s Village of the Arts.

Performing under a full moon on a comfortable evening, Johnny performed solo in the courtyard at Cottonmouth. As much a storyteller as musician, Johnny treated a sold-out crowd to songs from his vast collection of tunes, many that impart Johnny’s unique perspective on life’s twists and turns.

The show started with Johnny’s version of Ted Hawkins’ “Sweet Baby” from the recording Crescent City Moon, and Johnny continued with guitar and harmonica as he performed “You Got Me” from Poor Man’s Paradise.

Given the pirate heritage here in Tampa Bay it’s appropriate that Johnny performed the “Sinking Ship”, a song that provides the truthful wisdom that “you don’t have to walk the plank on a sinking ship”.

Johnny’s legendary storytelling was prominent in the preamble to “The Night the Factory Burnt Down.’  The song contains thoughtful writing where the misfortune of a fire at a famous New Orleans pie factory coincides with fire being extinguished in a relationship. This song weaves together comments about the pie factory fire and the relationship and contains the marvelous line “all good intentions have been put to rest.”  A wonderful song and on this evening performed in the most enjoyable fashion.

The recording Watermelon Patch contributed “Civilized City” to this show. The song is typical of the way Johnny can craft cynical lyrics about society into a solid blues song.

Johnny brought out the accordion to perform his song “Poor Man’s Paradise,” from the Anders Osborne produced recording of the same name. This song speaks about some of the post hurricane Katrina challenges experienced by the citizens of New Orleans.

Sticking with the accordion Johnny spoke about his days with the Voice of the Wetlands Allstars (VOTWA) and presented a wonderfully funny story of how Johnny woke up an asleep Dr. John. As Johnny tells: “we thought Mac’s mike was not working but there was no sound because he was asleep.” Then “Jumpin’ Johnny” performed “Crescent City Moon” from the recording of the same name, and shortly thereafter wrapped up the first set.

Playing songs from Poor Man’s Paradise, Johnny started the second set with “Happiness, Love & Lies” and “44”. The storytelling became more pronounced in this set as Johnny first described his life touring the world as, in his words, “an international blues hobo.

And then told a funny story on how his song “Johnny Sandsong” came about from a misunderstanding over his name and how Sansone turned into Sadsong. Wonderfully creative.

“You Know Who” was followed by a highlight of the night for me, the lovely ballad “The Bridge” from Watermelon Patch. Many of Johnny’s songs bring back memories and images of times spent in New Orleans. This song does that well.

Johnny performed the equally lovely “In My Dream” from Once it Gets Started.

Winding up the show, Johnny presented a story about fellow VOTWA performer Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and the time someone tried to buy Monk’s house and land. And the cultural destruction that can happen in the name of “progress.” Johnny then concluded the set with “Lady on The Levee” and thanked the audience who responded with a standing ovation.

Appreciating the response, Johnny returned to the stage for an encore. Setting aside guitar and accordion, Johnny brought out a chromatic harmonica and sang “The Lord is Waiting, and the Devil is Too.” The audience joined in with clapping and singing to the song that won Johnny the 2012 Blues Music Award for Song of The Year. A wonderful way to complete a memorable night of music at David Shiplett’s Cottonmouth southern soul Kitchen.

Scott Morris

Treasurer, Suncoast Blues Society

 (Photo’s courtesy of Jim Hartzell)

Afternoon of Blues Music with Doug MacLeod

Afternoon of Blues Music with Doug MacLeod

Afternoon of Blues Music with Doug MacLeod

Afternoon of Blues Music with Doug MacLeod

Suncoast Blues Society and Music Compound are pleased to announce an Afternoon of Blues Music featuring six-time Blues Music Award winner Doug MacLeod in an intimate setting. 

This event will be held at 3pm on Sunday, December 5, 2021, and will be held in the Studio 32 at Music Compound.

General admission tickets are $15 and are now on sale at the SBS Website.


About Doug MacLeod


Doug MacLeod is known for his superb songwriting, guitar wizardry, warm soulful vocals, wit, and unforgettable live performances. At the heart of a Doug MacLeod performance is his knack for storytelling, bringing characters-from the faceless to the legendary-to strikingly real life.

Doug is a multiple Blues Music Award winner, including the 2020 Blues Music Award for Acoustic Artist of The Year and the 2018 Blues Music Award for Acoustic Album of The Year ‘Break the Chain’

Like the old masters who taught him, MacLeod’s music expresses life and times through an intangible, elusive quality that may simply be a keen sense of what matters most. Doug’s music, stories, and philosophy provide a healing that has helped others overcome the hardships of their lives. Doug says the most important lessons he learned as a young musician came from Ernest Banks a one-eyed country bluesman from Toano, VA.

“Never play a note you don’t believe” and “Never write or sing about what you don’t know about.”

About Music Compound

The Music Compound provides an environment to inspire, collaborate and educate children and adults in pursuit of their love of music.

Members of the Music Compound have access to a wide array of learning opportunities intended to not only build music skills, but also enhance confidence, communication, and social interaction abilities.

Music Compound is located at 1751 Cattlemen Rd Sarasota, FL. A virtual tour of the facility is available on their website.

About This Event

This is the second collaboration between our two organizations. Previously, Suncoast Blues Society provided cigar box guitars and education to children from Sarasota and Manatee counties and Music Compound donated the event space.

Suncoast Blues Society is pleased to provide a limited number of complementary tickets for this event for under-18 students of Music Compound.

Your society will have snacks, beer, and wine available for a donation – similar to the Beach Bash.



Review: Memphis Lightning November 7th 2021 @Gill Dawg, Port Richey

Review: Memphis Lightning November 7th 2021 @Gill Dawg, Port Richey

Review: Memphis Lightning November 7th 2021 @Gill Dawg, Port Richey

Review: Memphis Lightning
November 7 @Gill Dawg, Port Richey

Darren “Lightnin’” Thiboutot, “Big Red” Thiboutot, and Stephen Jeremia, collectively known as Memphis Lightning, took a trip north to perform before an enthusiastic crowd at Gill Dawg in Port Richey.

As a part of the Blues on the Bayou series, Suncoast Blues Society (SBS) and GoTonight hosted this event. Performed under bright, sunny but a bit chilly skies the show was well attended. The cool, for Florida, weather did not impact the energy on stage nor in the appreciative crowd.

Memphis Lighting played two sets of high energy blues with the same competency that won them First Place in the SBS’s regional International Blues Challenge (IBC), and a sponsorship by your society in the 2022 IBC in the clubs along Beale Street in Memphis.

Playing mostly from their recent recording Borrowed Time the band showcased songs such as “Bullet Blues,” “6 String Slinger”, “A Blues for You”, and from their first release Trouble, “67 Cadillac” and “Let It Go”. The band performed the blues standard “Walking Blues” as an audience requested song.

Lightnin’ showed both why Jimmy Vaughan called him “one of the greatest guitar players around today,” and why the stage show is something to see. Always energetic and constantly on the move, Lightnin’ took advantage of the large “Wayne’s World Stage” at Gill Dawg and used every inch of the unique stage built inside of a sailboat turned on its side.

Lightnin’ also demonstrated that he is a musician. This show had Darren playing his guitars (on one he broke two strings at the same time!), on guitar and drums simultaneously, his dad “Big Red’s” bass, and finally a custom built Mainly Cigar Box Guitar. Darren showed us why the cigar box guitar community will shortly recognize him as among one of the best. Sitting on a sub-woofer in front of the stage, Darren performed a “playing on the porch” blues song that had many in the crowd coming over to the Suncoast merch table to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win one of the custom-built cigar box guitars.

Opening the show were Julie Black and Dave Eichenberger. The duo played a collection of blues, soul, and jazz to the appreciative audience.

Suncoast was proud to host this fundraiser for Memphis Lighting’s trip to Memphis. Thank you to Gill Dawg for providing the venue and GoTonight for partnering with SBS to put on this show, and especially to the fans that came out. Your generosity to Memphis Lightning, both in applause and tips are appreciated by the band and by Suncoast Blues Society. Thank you to the members who renewed or signed up for new SBS memberships. Your membership dollars help SBS put on events such as this.

Overall, a wonderful day under stunningly gorgeous weather conditions.

– Review and photos by Scott Morris

“Head East”  at Dunedin Blues Fest

“Head East” at Dunedin Blues Fest

“Head East” at Dunedin Blues Fest

“Head East”  at Dunedin Blues Fest

There’s “Never Been Any Reason” to miss Dunedin Wines the Blues. But the 2021 edition of this fest takes on added meaning for Suncoast Blues Society, its members, and supporters. This year your society is sponsoring the East stage at this festival!

And what a line up we have in store for you.

Opening the festivities at 2:00pm will be Trey Wanvig Band. You will want to arrive early to see this young guitarist, singer, song writer and his band perform a set of blues rock.

TBone Hamilton and The Blues All-Stars will hit the stage at 3:45PM. And we are pleased to announce that joining the band is the legendary Tampa Bay harmonica player TC Carr! With a blues resume going back to Rock Bottom I cannot think of a better way for this Society to celebrate on this stage the music we love.

The fun is just beginning because at 5:30pm Brian Leneschmidt Band takes the stage. Brian is one of the hardest working artists in this area and is sure to present a memorable set of music at this fest.

Bring your dancing shoes! Dottie Kelly Band will close out the show with a powerful set of rhythm and blues, and a dash of soul. There show starts at 7:30pm and will close the stage at 9pm.

Make your plans to attend this full day of music in Dunedin. Come on out and support the Fest, the local merchants, and your Society and the stage full of member musicians. At this fest, every band on the SBS sponsored stage has one or more musician’s that are a member of your Society. If you are currently not a member, or your membership has lapsed, this will be the perfect time to sign up and receive your 2 free CD’s. While you are at it, pick up a new shirt – we will have several on sale.

Show Review – Mike Zito Big Band

Show Review – Mike Zito Big Band

Show Review – Mike Zito Big Band

Show Review – Mike Zito Big Band

Event Center, Port Charlotte – May 13, 2020


Lou Phoenix put together a special evening of music at Port Charlotte’s Event Center. Mike Zito, Alex Lopez, Albert Castiglia, and Johnny Jensen were the featured talent at what proved to be a memorable event. A show that attendees continued to discuss on social media days after the event.

Alex Lopez and The Xpress opened the show and set the tone for the evening with a high energy set. Alex with the XPress (Kenny Hoye on keyboards, Kana Leimbach on drums, and Steve Roberts on bass) featured tracks from the new release “Rising Up”. Young gun Johnny Jensen, himself “rising up” in notoriety, joined the band on stage.

Mike Zito’s Big Band (Matthew Johnson on drums, Doug Byrkit bass, Lewis Stephens on keyboards, Fernando Castillo on trumpet, and Eric Demmer on sax) brought a different sound and style to the stage for Mike. And a most enjoyable sound it is. Mike wears the role of a “big” band leader well.

The band was tight and performed many of the favorites that Mike brings to the stage in his shows. The set began with a song from the forthcoming release Resurrection called “I’ll Make Love To You”, which featured an extended solo from ex-Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown sax player Eric Demmer. The band quickly moved to “Don’t Let the World Get You Down” from Quarantine Blues.

After the award winning “Pearl River”, “I Never Knew a Hurricane”, and a few more from the new release – highlighted by “Don’t Bring me Down” – the band cranked out “Judgement Day” – a version so intense that Matt Johnson’s cymbal fell off the drum riser. And the intensity was just beginning!

Albert Castiglia joined the fun and Mike passed the lead over to Albert who rocked out with “Let The Big Dog Eat”. Mike reclaimed the lead as the band broke into a unique version of “Hey Joe”, which featured a tight solo by Lewis Stevens. Albert introduced Lewis as being a former member of Freddie King’s band and the band played for many what was the highlight of the night: an extended jam of Freddie’s “Boogie Funk” – where Albert torched the stage with his solo. After a keyboard solo by Lewis, Mike jumped in with a solo of his own, and the heat continued until the conclusion of this almost 9-minute version. Wow!

Slowing it down. Mike brought “Gone To Texas” into the set. Always a poignant song, the timing was just right after the intensity of “Boogie Funk”, as it let the crowd recharge before the final jam was to start.

Calling Alex Lopez and Johnny Jensen to the stage, Mike gave up the guitar and led the band through “Dying Day” This version featured solos by Johnny Jensen and Fernando Castillo, whose trumpet solo took the mind directly to New Orleans. Alex Lopez and Lewis added the final solos to this rollicking version that had the crowd up and moving.

Following up with “Wee Wee Hours of the Morning”, this version on this night had special meaning to many in attendance. Mike sang to Renee Bennett, well known to many as the owner of the late-great Bradenton club “Aces”.  Albert joined in honoring Renee with a solo from his knees aimed directly at Renee who was sitting in the front row. Johnny added a marvelous solo while Albert left the stage and Frank Bang took his place.

The collected ensemble concluded the show with “Johnny B Goode”. After 3:30 minutes of music the band and the crowd left with smiles on their faces. What a night of music in Port Charlotte!

Thanks to Jim Hartzell for documenting the event with his wonderful photos.

-Scott Morris