Jason Ricci, Here by Grace

Jason Ricci, Here by Grace

Jason Ricci, Here by Grace

Suncoast Blues Society presents an interview with Jason Ricci. The interview and story were written by Tom Bassano, and Suncoast sincerely thanks Tom for offering for publication this interview, and insights into Jason Ricci.

Jason Ricci’s talents are undeniable. Neither is his openness to his past, his troubles, and his exploration into all that life offers. Some of what follows will be an honest discussion, and some might find the material edgy. But much like Jason this piece is entertaining with little held back. Anyone who has seen Jason perform knows that he leaves it all on the stage; he does so here as well.

Jason Ricci, Here by Grace

Interview and story written by Tom Bassano

Jason Ricci, hailed as one of the greatest harmonica players ever, opens the curtains of his turbulent rise and fall from fame and rebirth as a living legend of Blues Harmonica.

At first glance, Jason’s appearance is everything but blues, with wild hair and eccentric clothing that can only be described as punk rock/hippie. But when his raspy voice hits the microphone it’s as if the mood of the entire world had just changed, and you suddenly relax into the rhythm of southern blues. Then Ricci pulls from the mic and buries his face in his hands.

As the first note pierces the air, you can see everyone perk up in their chairs, and as Jason dives into his first harmonica solo, even the band seems to be a part of the audience as they watch him with respect and admiration. Ricci hits note after note, sounding as if there are 5 harmonicas playing at once, even beat boxing, creating his own percussion accompaniment without missing a note. Everyone starts to yell and whistle, encouraging him to keep going. The crowd sounds like a revival sermon, with even some “amen”s being shouted. People are breaking into applause before he has even finished, multiple times

Ricci is like a maniac, feeding off the energy of the crowd, playing faster and more complex the louder they cheer. We can see the level of effort growing and you imagine he must be exhausted. You are wondering, “How long can he do this- will he fall off the stage?” He has got to pass out, but he shows no sign of deprivation as he designs a roller coaster of music and your jaw drops open as you watch like a child at a magic show wondering,  “How did he do that?” This is what it is like to watch Jason Ricci

I am Tom Bassano. I first saw Jason Ricci play at Terra Blue in New York City. Now, three years later, I am bringing him to Tampa Bay. I have never interviewed anyone before. I had originally thought to give the task of interviewing to someone who was accomplished in the field of writing, but I chose to do it myself because I wanted to dive deeper into Jason’s past and try to understand who he really is. I said, “Jason, I decided to interview and write the story myself.” Jason said “That’s cool, now just relax and we’ll talk and then you can take what you want from it. Ask me anything, nothing’s off the table – jail, addiction, homosexuality; I am an open book.”

TB: Well, let’s start off with the soft pitches and we will dive deeper as we go.

JR: Sounds good.

TB: You grew up in Maine, but somehow you ended up in the south being mentored by, and even living with, legends of the blues in your late teens and early 20s, like Pat Ramsey and David Jr. Kimbrough. How did a New England punk rocker find his way into the blues?

JR: It was the harmonica, the instrument itself. It was played in America by mostly black blues players and some white country singers, bluegrass, and folk. But if you are truly interested in the harmonica, you are going to be interested in the blues because of what those guys do with it. So, at first, I was attracted to the music. But then I listened to the lyrics and in what at first sounded old-timey in comparison to punk, I heard a similarity, and that similarity is sincerity.

There is a sincerity in both punk and blues that I could relate to. When I saw this, my mother brought me to acts such as James Cotton and Buckwheat Zydeco at a young age. Blues and punk are written more towards the arts and not so much for entertainment, unlike a lot of pop music. Today, I don’t try to play the blues. I just play music (he laughs) I play Jason Ricci. As a rule, I don’t think categorizing music is very creative and I don’t believe its marketable that way.

TB: What music were you listening to as a teenager and what has carried over to your playlist today?

JR: All of it – I didn’t grow out of any of it. For a while I did The Dead Kennedy’s, Pixies, Misfits, and 7 Seconds. Then at 17, 18, 19, I was blues and jazz in my 20s. I temporarily stopped listening to punk until I came out of the closet in my 30s. That’s when I went back to my roots and gave myself permission to be who I am. You see, I pretended to not like punk because it wasn’t in the culture. I wanted to be an authentic blues person so all I would listen to was Little Walter, B.B. King, Junior Wells, Sonny Boy Jr., and Freddy King.

TB: If I were to describe your performance to someone, I would say you were a mix of Janice Joplin, Steven Tyler, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

JR: Thank you, Janice is one of my biggest influences. My mom would put on videos of her when I was 13, 14 years old and I would say to this day that I have never seen a better performance. The way she ran the band and her vulnerability, the audience would be wondering if she was even capable of finishing the performance. She would miss notes and she was trying too hard to get them that it was better than had she hit them.

TB: Who would you say influenced you?

JR: Janice was one of my biggest influences. I can tell you that Sean Costello’s live performance changed my life and watching Derek Trucks concentrate on a single note is like watching Buddha meditate.

TB: When you allowed yourself to listen to punk again, did that influence your music?

JR: That moment that I said, “You know what? I’m going to sleep with men.” That decision influenced everything that was repressed in me to come out. I’m just going to be me, and I don’t care how I’m perceived. As far as punk influence, you only need to go to my album, Done with the Devil, and you can hear my blues cover of “I Turned into a Martian”, a Misfits song. That’s some homework for you. (Jason laughs)

TB: When did you recognize your homosexuality?

JR: I recognized it on the school bus to kindergarten. I have always been attracted to men. I don’t have a choice of who I am attracted to, but I do have a choice of who I sleep with. It was easy for me in my teens, especially since I am a romantic and influenced by the heterosexual community. It was easy to have girlfriends. I didn’t have many, I had a girlfriend in high school and maybe slept with 11 girls my whole life, and for a musician that is not a lot. (Jason laughs) It’s low – I was obsessed with music, there was not much time for sex until I reached my 30s. I charged the first man I ever slept with, so I felt that exonerated me (Jason laughs again). That was a Lou Reed song:

“Little Joe never once gave it away/

Everyone had to pay and pay/

A hustle here and a hustle there/

New York City’s the place”

Later I fell in love with a guy – he moved away and broke my heart. I thought I was gay because the gay community said my attraction to women was just brainwashing from the conventional heterosexual society. I met a guy named Brady that I was going to be with for the rest of my life, and probably could have. I would have married him if it was legal at the time. He refused to acknowledge any bisexual thing that was going on, if I said a woman was sexy, he would say “You just want to be her”.

So, it took me a while to accept that I am attracted to both genders. I wasn’t going to say that I was attracted to both genders while I was in a long-term relationship. When I finally did, he said it was just me trying to hold onto some level of conventional American normalcy. I have slept with hundreds of men (Jason busts out laughing), maybe not hundreds, let’s take that out. I was with a lot of guys, like every night a different guy for like… (Jason pauses) wait a minute that is hundreds of guys (laughing hysterically). I can’t even come close to counting, I see people all over New Orleans that I have slept with. It’s a good thing I don’t go to Nashville very often anymore. I don’t regret it. Coming out as bisexual was the loneliest. If you’re straight, it’s great, everyone digs you and being gay you have the gay community and all the clubs. But when you come out as bi, chicks are like, “What do you mean you sleep with men?” And the gay community is like “Jason’s just trying to make more money.” Being bisexual is not as cool as being gay and it’s not as easy. I am attracted to women; I communicate better with men. I don’t know, I guess gender for me is irrelevant. I never considered Brady’s gender and I never considered Kate’s gender- my wife. Both were great.

TB: Okay Jason, I need to back you up a bit – you just glossed over prostitution like it was nothing!

JR: Oh, it didn’t last very long. I answered an ad in the paper that said, “Male sculpture models wanted” and I met a guy that was nice. It wasn’t like I was walking the streets; I wasn’t River Phoenix style – my own personal Basketball Diaries.

TB: Were you going through your addictions at the time?

JR: No, I was smoking a little weed… (Laughs) I was smoking a lot of weed.

TB: When did the drugs start to take over?

JR: Well, I went to treatment in 1997. I was 23. I left treatment after a few months and got a year and a day in a boot camp jail situation. I got out and went into a work release program and then probation. I stayed sober from 1998 to 2010. I was dealing with a lot of things when my band, The New Blood, broke up and my mental health was not good. I was placing my career, and material objects, and my physical appearance above my spiritual wellbeing. I had everything. A career, money, and I was in great shape; abs, the whole nine yards. But I wanted more, I wasn’t happy with it. Plus, I did not recognize severe bipolar syndrome. For about 4 years, I was staying up 2 or 3 days at a time. I became obsessed with the occult books. I was a member of O.T.O., a secret society – and I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, there are plenty of people in O.T.O – but it’s classic bipolar behavior. I was dealing with forces I still till this day believe were demonic. You can chalk that up to bipolar or real life, I don’t care.

TB: In your mind?

JR: No, external. I full heartedly believe in GOD and the devil.

TB: Have you been able to escape?

JR: Yes, through GOD – but I don’t push it on people. So, after 2010, I started smoking crack and doing heroin. I had a French girlfriend, and we were sleeping with men together, then I was arrested and went to jail in Indiana for some big boy charges: assault on a police officer and burglary. (Jason pauses) I never touched him. I did a year and a day and never touched him. I did a plea bargain to avoid 12 years.

TB: What about the burglary?

JR: I robbed a woman’s house and stole guitars. A pretty shitty crime for a musician. I didn’t really know her. I met her once and knew she wouldn’t be home and robbed her to get crack and heroin. When I got out, I met my wife. Her mother worked in the jail – she introduced us.

TB: (Choking) What?! You have got to be kidding me. (Laughing in disbelief)

JR: Well, you don’t know my wife’s mother (Jason laughs, as if remembering a sweet moment). She is AMAZING. She’s a prison advocate. She was hired by Amnesty International to go into the Bloomington, Indiana Jail to police the guards  who were stun gunning their prisoners to death. That job evolved throughout the years for her to advocate for prisoners to get their GED’s, glasses, and medications, simple things that they need. She started an organization called “New Leaf New Life” that takes long-term prisoners who have lost their homes, wives, loved ones and felon’s incapable of being employed in many places. She puts them in a position to be repositioned. She doesn’t judge people by their past actions. She’s not Christian but that’s a very Christian thing to do. Because we are not broken, but circumstances may cause people to behave in ways that are outside of their true nature. She saw that I had this life before jail. When I got out, she had dinner with me a few times, as a friend of course. She told me about her daughter, who at the time was trying to get harmonica lessons for a friend of hers who had been in a car accident and could no longer play her original instrument.

TB: That is bizarre, I would never imagine a relationship developing that way.

JR: It gets weirder, my mother-in-law is a descendant of the Karnoffskys, who gave Louis Armstrong the money for his first cornet. Louis may have never become the legend if not for that cornet, as he had an incident that led him into a juvenile detention center for a year, where he homed in on his skills. Louis spoke fluent Yiddish and wore the star of David on his neck till his death in honor of the Karnoffsky’s.

Editor’s note: In a bit of irony, on August 30, 2021, while this interview was being prepared Hurricane Ida destroyed Karnoffsky’s – what was a registered historical landmark

 

I have survived and am actively healing through GOD’s grace. I don’t mean my career because I worked hard for that, but for my life. I’m talking about the fact that I shot more dope than Sean Costello, and I don’t know why I’m still here. I don’t think I’m favored, that’s part of grace. Grace basically means through no doing of our own, we are still here. All my hard work and my career in the long run, where will it really get me? My goal is, can I remain stoic in the face of adversity? In other words, how stable can I be regardless of my circumstances? Can I not let my circumstances dictate my behavior and how I have a natural tendency, like most anybody else, to turn to food, sex, drugs, and alcohol, even too much TV. But that’s something I try not to do.

TB: So, you have an addictive personality beyond just drugs?

JR: Yeah, a lot of that stems from trauma. I had a traumatic upbringing. It’s not too hard to dig and find that my father Joseph Ricci was all over 60 Minutes, Geraldo Rivera, mafia websites. My mother did multiple stents in hospitals, a couple of them long term more than a couple months. I was raised by the neighbors, people thought I had money because of my father, and they thought I got that money because my father killed people. I did not have access to that money because my mother was not present. She was bipolar and dealing with her own demons. Her parents were horrific. So, working too much is just a classic symptom of trauma as well as it is reinforced heavily by American culture. The harder you work, the better you are – workaholic. Don’t get me wrong though, I am a huge fan of America, I love living here.

TB: The addiction is a large part of how you became who you are. Without the work addiction you may not have become Jason Ricci, one of the greatest harmonica players.

JR: Absolutely, I lean heavily on the manic side. I am the opposite of attention disorder. I can focus on one thing for a few days and be productive until I become agitated by sleep deprivation. I would say highly productive. But I don’t allow it to go there anymore. I take medication. It took 10 years to find the right medication. I take an antipsychotic and a sleep aid. That allows me to get manic in the daytime and then it cuts it off so I can sleep, and it takes longer for me to get manic, like 2 or 3 hours. I just exhibit an overly enthusiastic person for a few hours. I am still manic, but I accept it, I like being a little manic. Every bipolar person likes being manic. Everyone around me has the right to tell me when I’m manic. I don’t always like it, but I listen, or I must explain why I’m not. (Jason laughs hysterically).

TB: Does the blues bring you to those dark places? Is it hard to do that while recovering?

JR: No, I think the blues has always been my lily. It’s like I made a mistake and I hope I learn from this. That’s the theme. It doesn’t always provide a spiritual solution. (Jason laughs)

TB: Do you find it hard to play in clubs as a recovering addict?

JR: Never, never. Because I don’t use drugs and alcohol like people in clubs do. That includes cocaine. I am not doing a line in the bathroom. I barricade myself in a room with furniture and mattresses, I smoke crack and shoot dope while watching porn for 4 or 5 days straight. Watching people drink in public is not the way I would like to, so it’s just not tempting. If they were smoking crack or shooting cocaine after the gig is over and I had a bad day, I don’t feel connected to GOD and I have not done anything to feel connected to GOD, I am in danger.

TB: So, your addiction is self-medicating?

JR: Yeah, there is nothing fun about it, the way I use. I remember coming back from a run and numerous parties that I had saying “Did you have fun?”, and that’s just a stupid question. It was just business at that point, there was nothing fun about what I was doing.

TB: What would wake you up out of that?

JR: GOD.

TB: So, you are laying on the ground and GOD wakes you?

JR: Not in the beginning. Normally it was an ambulance and a cop car that would interrupt it, two years ago, not quite two years ago, I will be two years sober November 20th. The last two years have been wonderful, completely different from when I was sober for 12 years and the time for 4 years. This is a totally different world where I am full of gratitude, and I recognize all the things that have happened to me and the rotten things I have done are all nothing but tools for me to help other people who may feel they are beyond forgiveness that may have done the same things as me or even worse.

I can use going to jail, breaking into someone’s house, and stealing guitars, prostitution, I can use what I did or what has happened to me to hopefully help others. Before you called, I was on the phone with a lady from Massachusetts that was fighting alcoholism, trying to find her resources to get better. It’s the most important thing I can do trying to give back.

You can see Jason Ricci on October 2nd featuring JP Soars and the Red Hots in Safety Harbor on the Bassano Cheesecake stage on 507 Main Street during the Safety Harbor Autumn Music Festival.

 

 

50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music Alligator Records – Disk 1

50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music Alligator Records – Disk 1

50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music Alligator Records – Disk 1

50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music

Alligator Records – Disk 1

 

For many, this will be the soundtrack of your blues life. Bruce Iglauer founded Alligator Records 50 years ago in Chicago. And has crafted a 58-song 4-hour retrospective of some of the best blues produced during the past half century. 

Much has changed in these 50 years. And perhaps most of all is the distribution of music. Many, including this author will recall ordering early Alligator LPs via the mail. At that time there was no distribution into long gone record “emporiums” such as Sam Goody or Tower Records. Now, we’ve become accustom to taking music distribution digitally. Good for the listener, but maybe not so much for the recording companies and certainly not for the artist. For this one you may want to buy a “hard copy”. Alligator Records 50 Years of Genuine Houserockin Music contains not only great music but the liner notes written by Bruce are priceless. I learned so much, or recalled much forgotten, by reading Bruce’s heartfelt remembrances of his 50 years in providing joy to the blues music community. 

Now, onto the music, all remastered for this release. Fittingly, the “50 Years” collection begins with a pair of “Taylors” – Hound Dog Taylor and Koko Taylor. Hound Dog and, what else, “The House Rockers” kick of the party with “Give Me Back My Wig”, and Koko chimes in with “I’m a Woman”.  Professor Longhair takes us to New Orleans with “It’s My Fault Darling”, and the Lone Star State rocks it out with Johnny Winter’s rollicking “Lights Out”. The music slows down with “The Ice man” Albert Collins and “Blue Monday Hangover”.

James Cotton and “Little Car Blues” features James’s singing, and returned my mind to his collaborations with Johnny Winter and Muddy Waters. Albert Collins returns in combination with Johnny Copeland and Robert Cray with the wonderful song “The Dream”, originally found on their masterful recording “The Showdown”. Speaking of Muddy, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown contributes a version of “Mojo” that is, well, uniquely Gatemouth. Most enjoyable. 

Following Gatemouth was my first memory jogger. It was so good to once again hear Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women, and their whimsical “Sloppy Drunk. Disk 1 concludes with another “blast from the past” with The Paladins bringing their blues rockabilly on “Keep on Lovin’ Me Baby”. Kept hitting replay on this one, “woh yea!”. 

Suncoast Blues Society returns next week with a review of Part 2, the second disk of this recording. 

To purchase “50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music” or recordings from Alligator artists visit Alligator Records.

 

  • Scott Morris
Cottonmouth Southern Soul Kitchen Grand Opening

Cottonmouth Southern Soul Kitchen Grand Opening

Cottonmouth Southern Soul Kitchen Grand Opening

 

Cottonmouth Southern Soul Kitchen Grand Opening

Two SBS board members had the pleasure of attending the “Grand Opening” of Dave Shiplets’ new southern cuisine restaurant Cottonmouth Southern Soul Kitchen, located in the Village of the Arts in Bradenton.

For entertainment in the backyard listening room was none other than Biscuit Miller. Biscuit sounded terrific and was full of Biscuit energy clowning and dancing all night long. He was backed for the evening by members of Lauren Mitchell’s band—“Professor” Michael Hensley on B-3, Vincent Sims on lead guitar, and drummer James Varnado.

Bradenton’s new mayor the honorable Gene Brown was in attendance and heard Lauren Mitchell sing a few tunes with Biscuit.  It’s always good to have a mayor that’s a blues fan. Biscuit really got the sold-out crowd engaged and even had some ladies up on the stage to dance with him. Great fun

If you haven’t been to this new venue you need to check out the schedule and make plans to visit. Thanks to Dave Shiplet for what he has created, lets support his efforts. Thanks also to Annie Russini for having the vision of the Village of the Arts many years ago. Blues music was always a part of it.

 

 

Memphis Rub Band Review

Memphis Rub Band Review

Memphis Rub Band Review

 

The Memphis Rub Band

 


The Memphis Rub Band is a fun way to spend a night listening and dancing to a wide range of blues-based musical genres. Suncoast Blues Society presents a review of two recent shows, at Blue Rooster and Stottlemyer’s Smokehouse, both in Sarasota.

Long-time local club goer’s have likely had the pleasure of attending a Memphis Rub Band (MRB) show. With many new residents in the area Suncoast Blues Society believes the time is right to share highlights from recent shows.

The band consists of bassist Scott Matzke, guitarist “Hurricane” Gary Drouin, keyboardist Dan Ryan, and its newest member drummer David Wells. The band was formed in 2016 by Gary and Scott to perform blues, rock ‘n roll, and a healthy mix of funk, and rhythm and blues.

In many ways this band may be the perfect vehicle to introduce your friends who claim they do not like the blues, to the blues. There is something for everyone in the set list, most of the songs have blues roots and are performed where appropriate with a blues feel.

Vocals are mostly performed by Scott, and David adds vocal variety to the mix by singing from the backline. The MBR spin is throughout the set list and the show includes original songs from the 2018 release Taste.

From the deep blue’s catalog, the band performs a nice version of Magic Sam’s “Just a Little Bit”. Switching to soul/R&B, MRB set included Otis Reading’s hit “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember”, and the Rufus Thomas hit “Walking the Dog”.

The shows included MRB band originals “Packing Heat” and the song “Red Tide Blues” which received airplay on local stations. David Wells sings the J. Geil’s Band song “So Sharp” and at Stottlemyer’s kicked in with The Band’s “The Weight”.

I enjoyed songs from two personal favorites. The band pays homage to Coco Montoya with “Back in a Cadillac”. And multiple songs from Delbert McClinton. Both are unusual choices for a band that plays blues-based covers and it shows the depth of their musical knowledge and the talent to properly honor these artists.

Depending on the whim of the band one may hear Delbert’s “Giving it up for your Love”, and “Shaky Ground”, which while a Temptation’s song is now so much a part of Delbert’s shows that he “owns” it. Delbert’s classic “Old Weakness (Coming on Strong)” is a particular specialty of the band.

Also performed was the soulful Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions song “People Get Ready”. The Master of the Telecaster, Albert Collins, is featured with his “Love Me Like You Say” and most will recognize MRB’s version of The Rolling Stones funky hit “Miss You”. Dan took the lead on the Booker T. & the MG’s hit “Green Onions”.

Word is the band is working on a new recording. Scheduled shows for Memphis Rub Band include:

  • March 6: Englewoods on Dearborn, Englewood 7pm
  • March 13: Clancy’s Irish Sprots Pub & Grill, Bradenton 6pm
  • March 20: Snook Haven Riverside Eatery, Venice, 1pm
Exit Message from the President

Exit Message from the President

Exit Message from the President

Exit Message from the President 

On Inauguration Day your Suncoast Blues Society had a board meeting and held our annual election of officers.  We set a new and important milestone by selecting Terri O’Brien as the first female President of the Suncoast Blues Society.  No one deserves to hold this position more than her.  Most departing presidents leave the board, I have decided to stay and try to return some of the loyalty and support she showed me. She deserves your utmost respect.

James Randolph will be our Vice President and will still run our fundraising efforts and his successful Outreach programs.

Jesse Smoot will remain our very able and helpful Secretary.  Jesse and Pat Smoot have become two of our most valued board members.  It’s been great having them aboard. Cheryl Spradling remains on the board and we look forward to the great things to come from her new role as the Facebook administrator.

Finally, Scott Morris stepped up in a big way to accept Terri’s former position of Financial Officer.  I would like to state that without Scotts’ friendship, technical skills, and plain loyalty I would have failed miserably at my job.  I really can’t give this man enough credit.

I am going to still oversee Events and Membership duties, in addition to the Content Committee for Social Media.

Although all positions are filled, we now have no voluntary alternates, which have been a vital part of our board.  Almost all the members of our board started as alternates, including myself.  We are currently looking for at least two people who have skills in publishing, writing, printing, editing, promotions, technical and social media experience that can assist this hard-working board.  If interested, please submit a short bio  to bluesnews@suncoastblues.org telling us what skills you possess and how you might be able to assist.

I would like to thank some people who have offered the board assistance during my tenure.
To Mark Thompson this might be the last time I thank you, but seriously thanks.

I would like to give a big thanks to Tom (T-Bone) Hamilton and West Bay Media for the great job they did in designing and maintaining our new website  Tom is a true professional and has been a pleasure to work with.

Special thanks need to go to Franc Robert who has helped the SBS behind the scenes for many years. Franc now attends our weekly content committee meetings and cool graphics.  We are all happy to have Franc as a friend and valued associate.

Thanks again to Sheree E. and Go Tonight for all her assistance with our calendar. I really do miss Don’s smiling face.

For the first time in a while, we are planning to participate at some events.  As of right now the Tampa Bay Blues Festival is planned for April 9th, 10th, and 11th.  We rented a tent – come and find us at our usual TBBF spot!  We will also be attending with a booth the Pasco Blues Fest on February 6th.

One last exciting bit of news:  Jack Sullivan, my old boss at Blues Music Magazine, has graciously offered his support to SBS.  Soon, your Suncoast Blues Society will be posting blues material from Jack on our web site. Thank you, Jack!

I would like to thank everyone for the opportunity I was given to be your president.

Thanks!

Lafayette Reid

GREAT NIGHT AT THE PALLADIUM

GREAT NIGHT AT THE PALLADIUM

GREAT NIGHT AT THE PALLADIUM

Jose Ramirez’s CD release party at the Palladium Saturday night was a great success for everyone involved.  Jose and his special guests, Anson Funderburgh, and Shelly Bonet, performed flawlessly.

The Palladium and Paul Wilborn proved to be an extremely gracious host under difficult times.  We just knew our blues fans would follow the CDC guidelines and they did so with no complaints. Everyone attending was thrilled!

Your Suncoast Blues Society Board was there to help Jose with his CD sales and to provide an opportunity for our members to renew their membership in person.

Jose gave the Suncoast Blues Society one of the most favorable shout-outs from the stage that we have ever received from a performing artist and as a result we gained some new members into the SBS family!  Everyone attending was thrilled to be out of the house and finally hearing live music in a safe setting.

Jose and Anson signed the guitar that SBS will be raffling off later in the year – stay tuned for more info on this.