Blues in the Library is back

Blues in the Library is back

Blues in the Library is back

Suncoast Blues Society
Community Outreach Program

 

Blues in the Library is back! As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the drive-in gathering concept has new life.

We are collaborating with Pasco County Library Association for an outdoor Blues in The Lot concert at the Hudson Library branch (8012 Library Rd, Hudson) on Friday, December 4th.

This FREE event will feature solo/duo performer Shaun Hopper and the Sarasota Slim Band.

Mark your calendar now as attendance will be limited, and reservations will be required. More info to follow next week….

Suncoast Blues Society (SBS) has also reached out to Hillsborough, Manatee, and Sarasota County Library Systems suggesting they consider implementing an outdoor Blues on The Lawn performance.

Sarasota County Library System was the first to accept our offer. So far, we have two outdoor performances scheduled at the Fruitville branch (100 Apex Road, Sarasota):

  • November 17th from 2pm – 3:30pm featuring Steve Arvey
  • December 8th from 2pm – 3:30pm featuring Brian Leneschmidt

To kick start these events, SBS will be underwriting a total of 10 events. Keep watching our website at Suncoastblues.org and your Suncoast Blues News for additional information on forthcoming shows featuring Suncoast Blues Society member musicians.

 

 

 

Your Suncoast Blues Society is proud to present Hector Anchondo!

Your Suncoast Blues Society is proud to present Hector Anchondo!

Your Suncoast Blues Society is proud to present Hector Anchondo!

Your Suncoast Blues Society is proud to present the 2020 International Blues Challenge Solo/Duo winner Hector Anchondo!

Hector will be performing one night only in the intimate setting at St. Petersburg’s the Hideaway Café.

This SBS sponsored event will follow CDC COVID-19 safety protocols,  therefore the Hideaway Café is limiting sales to 45 tickets and face coverings are required.

Hector has assembled a powerhouse local band. Backing Hector on drums is Hideaway Café’s favorite Sam Farmer, with Florida legend and Damon Fowler band member Chuck Riley on bass.

Show time for the Tuesday November 17th show is 7:30 PM.  Doors open at 6PM.

Tickets are $15.00 and can be purchased at the Hideaway Café website, or at the door.  Tickets will go fast, so do not delay!

You will not want to miss this unique performance at St. Petersburg’s Original Listening Room.

“Rise Up”- Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters CD Review

“Rise Up”- Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters CD Review

“Rise Up”- Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters CD Review

Rise Up 
Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters 

Rise Up, the 27th album in Ronnie Earl’s career, takes the listener through a journey that while bluesy, would at times be comfortable in a jazz club. Part studio, part live performances, this 15-song recording is a must for any Ronnie Earl fan.

Expertly mixed and featuring The Broadcasters along with Ronnie’s signature Stratocaster tone, Rise Up enjoyably begins with a melodic acoustic adaptation of I Shall not be Moved.  A version which left me with a good feeling from what I just heard and anticipating good things to come.

Featured prominently on this recording are the vocals of Diane Blue. On the second track, Higher Love, Ronnie, and keyboardist Dave Limina set up a nice introduction for Diane’s vocals within this Ronnie Earl written song.

Rise Up contains a few tribute songs; some that pay respect to social consciousness, and many others honor fellow musicians. Diane Blue highlights a live version of Fenton Robinson’s You Don’t Know What Love Is. The longest song on the recording is a Ronnie Earl original titled Blues for Lucky Peterson. This instrumental is Ronnie through and through.

Perhaps the most compelling tribute is a version of Magic Sam’s All Your Love. Again, Diane Blue’s vocals shine. Magic Sam licks never sounded so good as coming out of Ronnie’s Stratocaster. Dave Limina mixes in a nice keyboard between Ronnie solos.

The gospel inspired version of Bob Dylan’s Lord Protect My Child is another opportunity for Diane to showcase her talentsRonnie’s playing is superb on his original entitled Talking to Mr. Bromberg – a song that is unmistakably Ronnie from start-to-finish.

Mess Around is an up-tempo instrumental that features Dave Limina and bassist Paul KochanskiThe Broadcaster’s swing it on a live jazzy version of Jimmy Smith’s instrumental Blues for J.  The recording wraps up featuring Ronnie on an original co-written with Pete Ward called Navajo Blues

When speaking about Ronnie, B.B. King said it best:

“…he is one of the most serious blues guitarists you can find today. He makes me proud!” 

Rise Up is yet another class recording from one of the classiest and nicest performers in the business.  Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters fans will not be surprised by the quality of the recording.  For future Ronnie Earl fans, this would be an excellent way to begin your journey into magic sounds crafted from Ronnie’s creativity and smooth guitar playing.  B.B. would be applauding this effort.

Links
Ronnie Earl Website
Higher Love – Live at Daryl’s House
Ronnie Earl Albums
Blues Therapy

A note about Blues TherapyThis book, written by Anita Schlank, Ph. D., and blues fan, contains a series of interviews with blues artists. The goal of the book is to show how blues music helps to heal, including some artist who suffer from mental health issues and addictions. Within, Ronnie Earl is quite open about his past struggles. The book is fine reading and provides insights into the personal life of many we as blues fans revere for their musical talents. Proceeds from the book benefit the HART Fund.

For more information on the Handy Artist Relief Trust please visit HART Fund

 

Welcome Blues Fans to Fall 2020 – Nothing like it before!!

Welcome Blues Fans to Fall 2020 – Nothing like it before!!

Welcome Blues Fans to Fall 2020 – Nothing like it before!!

Welcome Blues Fans to Fall 2020 – Nothing like it before!!

We want to start by expressing how pleased we are to have Jose Ramirez back in our community. We predict great success for Jose in the future.  We know that our eager blues fans will welcome Jose and his great band into our blues family.  We’re happy you are back.

We are trying to get back into the swing of things.  “Camping with The Blues” returns for their 7th annual show October 16th – 18th 2020. Sertoma Youth Ranch in Brooksville hosts the weekend-long event.  Fans will follow CDC Guidelines, and your Suncoast Blues Society will be present.  We plan to limit our booth access to about 2 hours a day.  It will be great to see all of you!  The lineup looks great, maybe some cool nights for camping; can’t wait.

At the end of October   Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson returns to the Hideaway Café in St Pete for a combination show and recording session. Here is an opportunity to hear a legendary bluesman and Muddy Waters Band guitarist still going strong at 81 years of age.  His recently released an all- acoustic CD entitled “Won’t Be Back No More”—Say it isn’t so, Luther. SBS Logo

 

Moving into November, International Blues Challenge Solo/Duo winner Hector Anchondo starts an extended tour through Florida. If you haven’t heard this talented young artist yet, put it on your list!  His tour starts in Sanford Florida at “The Alley” on November 4th then on to “The Blue Rooster” in Sarasota on the 13th.  Your Suncoast Blues Society is working on securing a date in early November at the Hideaway Café  for Hector to perform. We will keep you informed.

Hooray to Realize Bradenton for figuring out a new way to present The Bradenton Blues Festival.  We are all excited to see how their new venue at LECOM Park will play out.  Creativity wins again. Additional information is available on the events page of the Suncoast Blues website.

Lafayette Reid
President
Suncoast Blues Society 

 

 

New Membership Benefit! The Phoenix Radio

New Membership Benefit! The Phoenix Radio

Your Suncoast Blues Society proudly announces a members-only benefit from The Phoenix Radio internet radio.

The Phoenix Radio shows provide a 15% discount to Suncoast Blues Society members!

Log onto https://the-phoenix-radio-broadcasting.ticketleap.com/ and enter code SBS at checkout.

Be sure to bring your membership card to the show to guarantee the discount.

The Phoenix Radio live stream broadcast can be heard at http://188.165.240.90:8442/stream

Big Al and the Heavyweights Interview

Big Al and the Heavyweights Interview

Big Al and the Heavyweights Interview

Big Al and the Heavyweights
By Blues Stalker

Blues Artist Al Lauro

Al Lauro was born and grew up in the Crescent City and as a percussionist. Al’s musical influences include the rhythms and grooves that only a city like New Orleans can produce. Al spend his early years touring in Europe and the United States as the drummer for David Allan Coe where he shared the stage with many of the greats in the outlaw country music scene.

In 1993 he fortuitously met guitarist Warren Haynes and discovered their mutual love of blues and Southern rock. In 1996 they formed the Unknown Blues Band with Rick Gergen and opened for many stellar acts in Nashville as well as performing at festivals throughout the U.S. Warren went on to play with the Allman Brothers Band and Gov’t Mule and Al founded Big Al and the Heavyweights.

The recently toured Florida hitting all the major venues promoting their 7th CD entitled World Full of Trouble featuring guitarists Bob Margolin and John Lisi, and harmonica ace and former Heavyweight band member Jason Ricci. Their set list includes a mixture of zydeco, blues, funk, rock, with something to please everyone. Gumbo Heads should be ready to party another quarter century with these guys once the virus clears.  Get ready to boogie!

David Allan Coe

BS:  Al, what was it like to tour back in the 80’s with David Allan Coe?

AL: It was a BLAST! A rolling circus full of drugs, sex, and Outlaw Country!  I could write a great book. I appeared on Austin City Limits, The Grand Old Opry and numerous TV shows with him. We toured all over Europe in 1983. David was then based in Big Key, FL. This is near Key West which was then still full of hippies and smugglers (not so many t-shirt shops). David did a free street concert there and we backed up his special guests Greg Allman and Bertie Higgins. David is one of the most underrated true country artist and songwriters. Hopefully one day he will be in the Country Music Hall of Fame

 

Warren Haynes

BS: How did you meet Warren Haynes and discover your mutual musical tastes?

AL: We met in Baton Rouge. David’s then girlfriend Meme Broussard’s family was from Gonzales, LA. She and David were there to spend Christmas with her family. David had shows scheduled on Christmas Eve and Christmas night. Wendel Atkins band was from Texas and they were David’s backing band. They wanted to be home during Christmas, so they left in the middle of the night before the shows. David had to put a band together.

Meanwhile, Meme and I had a mutual friend Harold Mator who drove one of David’s semi-trucks. Mator called me and said David needed a drummer and would I be interested so I auditioned and joined up. I was wondering who the guitar player was going to be and they said he is flying in from Asheville, NC and that was Warren Haynes!

Most important, through spending countless hours on the bus together listening to music, Warren and I discovered a mutual love for roots music especially blues, southern rock, and soul. We had both moved to Nashville so we formed a band the Unknown Blues Band and we performed when David would take some time off from the road.

Big Al and The Heavyweights

BS: Who currently makes up the Heavyweights when touring?

AL: Currently, Wayne Lohr who has been with me for 10 plus years and is in the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame plays keys.  Mark Parsons on Bass guitar, and Marcel Anton on guitar. Sometimes my long-time friend and harmonica player, “Roguie” Ray Lamontagne (Ray Lamontagne’s Dad) joins us on the road. It is hard to make money as a 5-piece band so unfortunately; I do not always have a harp player.

BS: Not too many bands have a drummer as a band leader. You perform with many exceptionally talented guitar and harp players who are front and center in talent and ego and command a lot of attention. Is that ever a problem for you as a bandleader?

AL:Not really. I am blunt and make sure everyone understands their role. We are a band FIRST!

Above all, we are not about one guy and his ego so one guy does not make or break Big Al & the Heavyweights. I have has blessed to play with some incredible harp players.  Roguie Ray who I mentioned before who is in his seventies and he will still play with me. Harmonica Red who also played with David Allan Coe and is freaking amazingly talented. He is on several of my CDs including Nothin’ But Good Lovin which Bruce Iglauer, president of Alligator Records, produced for me.

Presently, Red now lives in Kentucky. William Howse from Nashville one of my favorites. Of course, my long-time friend and a guy who has been in the band twice the incredible Jason Ricci. I am so proud of him.

Blues Touring Florida

BS:  You recently toured Florida before the music scene shut down due to the corona virus. I was fortunate enough to see you perform at Skipper’s. Care to share your thoughts and memories of that last touring adventure? Let us pray that those venues that have been loyal supporters of live music for years can survive this economic fiasco.

AL: Well I have been playing Skipper’s for over 10 years. The late great Rock Bottom got me in there. Tom White the owner of Skipper’s has been a supporter of the band and a forever friend. We just played there with Unknown Hinson.

It was a great Florida tour, as always. We played the Villages for the first time. Marcia and Mark are great hosts and it is an incredible gig. We also played The Barrel House in Ft Myers for the first time and for my great friend Vince at the Double Roads in Jupiter. We had a tour coming that way the 2nd week of May, but that did not happen. I have never been home this long, and I am so ready to get back on the road. That is what we LOVE and what we DO. I do not get how they can just shut it all down.

World Full of Trouble

BS:The title of your latest release, World Full of Trouble now seems very prophetic. Your home, New Orleans, is a city that thrives on its music and entertainment as well as its culinary reputation and eating establishments. What is it like now living there and how are artists such as yourself coping and surviving?

AL:It is like a ghost town. Like Florida, all the restaurants and bars shut down and lots of people are out of work. I keep hearing about this virus all over ‘Nola but it’s actually confined to a certain very unfortunate segment of the population. It is obviously very contagious especially to the elderly and those with preexisting health conditions. I live 60 miles North of ‘Nola in Hammond, LA. I work on the side for a storage container company and have now for many years. Consequently, old guys like me must have health insurance plus I am a single parent with a 16 yr. old son. I am not coping well at all. I am very restless, but I farm and raise chickens, so it keeps me occupied.

Keeping the Blues Alive

BS:  When this pandemic is all over, life as well as the music scene will certainly change. Any thoughts of what may emerge as a result?

AL: Jesus, hopefully people will not be scared to get out and there will be some venues left. I mean how long can these places hang on. I think people will realize and hopefully appreciate life much more because you can see how quick they can take it all away from us. Pretty freaking scary to me. Do not even get me going.

BS:  How can we as fans best help keep alive the music we love?

AL: Come to live music shows, support the venues, bands, buy a CD, T-shirt, put something in the tip bucket, tip the bartenders and waitresses. Do not complain about a 5-dollar cover. People spend 5 dollars eating at McDonalds or in a Walmart, but heaven forbid a venue is charging 5 dollars to see a band. Pay it and smile!

BS: In isolation, can you tell us what you have been working on? Have you taken this opportunity to write new material?

AL: Yes. Specifically, we have been working on songs for a new CD that Luther Dickinson from the North Mississippi Allstars will be producing for us. Always something to look forward to in the Heavyweight World!

Thanks, Al, for touring in Florida and sharing your talents with us. Wishing you and your band the best and hope to see you back on the road soon.

Links

For more information on artists and venues mentioned within this interview please click the link

Big Al and The Heavyweights

Video: Big Al – Key to The Highway

David Allan Coe

Warren Haynes

Jason Ricci

Skipper’s Smokehouse