And we have a winner!!!

And we have a winner!!!

And we have a winner!!!

And we have a winner!!!

Your Suncoast Blues Society is proud to announce the winner of their 2021 regional blues challenge…

Memphis Lightning Band consisting of Lightning Thiboutot, Red Thiboutot Sr. and Stephen Jeremia. “Lightning” will now represent the Suncoast in the 37th edition of The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge! This event will be held January 18 through the 22nd, 2022 along Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee.

What an exciting day it was – even though we got off to a late start (some of which we had no control over), the 4 bands that participated put on a great show and the audience appeared to be having a wonderful time.

After drawing for the performance order for the 25-minute sets, Randy Stephens & The Groove Makers started the show, and set the tone with a fine set of original blues music. It is always tough to go first during these competitions. But Randy and the band delivered the goods and set a high bar for the rest of the afternoon.

Following was the eventual winner, Memphis Lighting Band. To say this set was high energy is an understatement. The band presented a set of original material, punctuated with storytelling and a performance that kept the crowd engaged and enthused. The band left the stage receiving much applause.

Veterans of this competition, Memphis Rub Band put on a fine performance of original material. Including songs previously not heard by the many MRB fans in attendance. Arguably this band was never better than they were on July 25th and on another day might have won the competition with their score.

Finally, JSanti & The Gamblin’ Shame took the stage with the largest group of musicians of the day. The ensemble included a group of singers who contributed memorable vocal harmonies. While falling short in the scoring this band showed promise for future competitions.

Approximately 300 faithful blues lovers attended and showed their support. On veteran IBC Challenge performer commented this might have been the largest IBC challenge crowd they had seen. And thanks to the attendees, we were able to raise funds to provide financial assistance to our winning band for their trip to Memphis in January.

Believe it or not, putting on an event like that is a huge amount of work! Your Board has been working on this for the past 7 months, especially our Treasurer and Suncoast Blues News editor, Scott Morris!

Many other people to thank…

Our 5 judges: Mark Thompson, Mark Goodman, Rick Lewis, Velma Glover and Jose Ramirez.

Nicole Wanvig for single-handedly putting together the Silent Auction. Steve Wanvig for being the event timekeeper.

Bill Hubbard, who was not able to attend, but put in many hours on our planning committee.

And to my fellow Suncoast Blues Society Board members: Cheryl Spradling for along with myself work hard at the door taking care of the large walk-up crowd; and Jesse and Pat Smoot who took care merchandise and memberships.

Special thank you to Josh Rowand and his ‘Pitbulls’ (Deny Rowand and Richie Corricelli) who worked their butts off setting up the stage and then tearing it all down afterwards. The sound in the room was awesome!  And put on a show of their own while the Board tabulated the judges scores.

Josh Rowand and The Pitbull of Blues Band hosted a great jam. This band knows how to host a jam party! Including in the “musical mayhem” were 2021 Suncoast Blues Society IBC Youth Showcase representative Trey Wanvig, whose wonderful gold-top Gibson was the envy of some musicians; his playing the same for others! “Detroit” Michael Hepner added keyboards to the “Pitbulls” and was joined onstage by “Lightning”. The guitar work between the area’s “young guns” of Lightning and Trey – this might have been the first time they played together. Let us hope it is not the last! Wow!

Steve Arvey joined the jam and our “singing judge” Velma Glover came onstage and showed why with Sugar and Spice she made the final stage at an earlier IBC in Memphis. A surprise guest, former NFL great, 3-time Super Bowl winner with the Oakland Raiders and now a Bluesman Henry Lawrence joined Velma in a smoking version of Steppin’ Out.

And of course, thanks to all of you – the best Blues fans in Florida! – for your continued support through your membership, buying our merchandise, and attending our events!

Next up… Suncoast Blues Society Annual Beach Bash on August 29th at the Sunset Beach Lions Club.

See you there – Terri

 

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.

GOOD NEWS!

GOOD NEWS!

GOOD NEWS!


GOOD NEWS!
– the 37th International Blues Challenge (IBC) is back and scheduled to take place January 18- 22, 2022 in Memphis, Tennessee along historic Beale Street!

For those of you not familiar with the IBC, it represents the worldwide search for blues bands and solo/duo blues performers. The IBC is judged by blues professionals from across the world who have years of experience in listening to, producing, and creating blues music. The Blues Foundation has established a set of criteria by which all competing musicians are evaluated throughout the five days of the IBC.

Each local blues society affiliated with The Blues Foundation (we are!) can stage a live, regional IBC competition using local folks as judges. The winners of that event – 1 band and 1 solo/duo act – will go on to represent their organization in Memphis. Your membership fees help to cover the lodging and travel expenses of our representatives.

Your Suncoast Blues Society (SBS) is pleased to announce we have a date and a venue:

Sunday, July 25th from 2 – 6
at 10th Street Live in Palmetto
 

Calling all Bands, Solo or Duo (Blues) acts

If you’re ready to take it to the next level and launch your career as a touring Blues musician and want the world to know you’re out there, you should take the first step and compete in our Suncoast Blues Society regional challenge. Musicians must decide whether you want to compete as either a solo/duo or as a band. You can only choose one category.

  • There is a $25 registration fee that will go towards paying expenses for that day
  • At least one member must be a current SBS member so now is a great time to join or renew.
  • Live within a 250-mile radius of the Tampa Bay area

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER 

Your performance and instrumentation must be live. Absolutely no using tracks or drum machines or anything but real instruments.

A complete list of rules and regulations will be provided to you when you sign up.
Please email events@suncoastblues.org if you wish to compete ASAP.

 

 

Message from ‘Madame’ President…

Message from ‘Madame’ President…

Message from ‘Madame’ President…

Message from ‘Madame’ President…

Hello Blues lovers and Happy New Year, such that it is.

I am proud and excited (and a bit nervous) to introduce myself to you as the newly elected president of the Suncoast Blues Society (SBS).

So many greats have come before me. I know that I have huge footsteps to fill – pretty intimidating to say the least but I will try my best to do so.

A little bit about me…

I was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago – what more could you ask for! Music has always been an integral part of my life – started playing guitar when I was in seventh grade. We used to organize “hootenannies” and I actually sang with “Up With People” for a while. (Go ahead – Google it and get a good laugh!!)

By high school, friends were in bands (wasn’t everybody in a garage band back then) so by the time I was 16, it was a must to have a fake ID to get into clubs. (Still have it, it’s a work of art, lol.) Of course, my boyfriend(s) had to be in a band (duh) and was eventually playing clubs down on Rush Street so from an early age I had the opportunity to be backstage and meet folks such as John Mayall and Paul Butterfield who would drop in to jam with the band. Yep, lots of great memories.

I moved to Florida after college, started a career, got married, raised two kids, got divorced and started over. 10 years ago, I met my favorite photographer (sorry Cap & Rick) Mark Goodman who introduced me to the SBS family and has supported and put up with me since then. (You can thank him if I do a good job or blame him if I don’t, lol.)

I had already been volunteering with SBS for a few years before that memorable day in February 2017 when Mark Thompson called me and said he heard I would be retiring soon and would I consider joining the Board as an alternate. Well, as many of you know, it is hard to say no to the Big Kahuna. Thus, I retired from my 27-year career at Sunrise Domestic & Sexual Violence Center in Dade City and stepped into a new world of great music and great friends. That same year, our beloved Conrad Sewer died suddenly so I stepped in to become a permanent member of our Board and became the Treasurer.

In addition to paying bills the past three years, I helped with organizing and working various festivals throughout the years, handled the advertising and took on some of George Willett’s responsibilities after he retired. (BTW – it took 3 people to replace him!) Now I have the honor and pleasure to work beside this great team of volunteers in my new position.

So I am asking for your patience and support as we continue to struggle through these challenging times. I am going to need your help, ideas and guidance and would love to hear from you. Stay safe 🙏🏻

Terri O’Brien
President@suncoastblues.org

 

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

Holiday Greetings Blues Fans

Holiday Greetings Blues Fans

Holiday Greetings Blues Fans

As 2020 rolls to a close we are looking forward to the start of the new year of change. We all hope for some normalcy in our future but there is still much uncertainty. The new vaccine to combat the COVID-19 virus is on the way. We must stay vigilant and patient, be cautious and safe, wear masks and continue to social distance – do not let your guard down. We are resilient, we adapt, and we will survive and be stronger for it.

We all want our live music back in our communities and we want the musicians to be successful as well. Music connects us and we want more. We had a successful ‘Drive In’ event at the Hudson Library recently. About 30 cars and 50 attended, some in their cars, some sat outside in front of their cars enjoying the live music event. We are working on other opportunities to find safe venues with the space to spread out comfortably. It is incredibly challenging to try to plan future events. The Board is working on some tentative arrangements for March 2021. We will keep you posted as we get closer.

In the meantime, please visit our web site, our Facebook page and read your weekly Blues News for CD reviews, Feature Articles, and event information.

If you have not renewed your membership, please check your card to see if it is time to renew. We know it has been a tough year but we do not want to lose our loyal members. We wish you a healthy and happy holiday and a New Year that holds peace and hope for unity from a year of conflict and division in our country. Cheers for a speedy recovery for our nation.

Your SBS Board