2021 Suncoast Blues Challenge

2021 Suncoast Blues Challenge

2021 Suncoast Blues Challenge

Hello Suncoast Blues Society Members & Supporters
Just in case you haven’t yet heard (lol), this Sunday, July 25th, your Suncoast Blues Society will hold their regional Suncoast Blues Challenge to determine what band to send to Memphis for the 37th International Blues Challenge in January.

The event will take place at 10th Street Live, 1330 US Hwy 301, Palmetto.
There is also a restaurant, El Sombrero, so food and drinks (full bar) will be available.

We are excited to announce the 4 bands that will be performing:

  • JSanti & Gamblin’ Shame
  • Memphis Lightning
  • Memphis Rub Band
  • Randy Stephens & The Groove Makers

Performance slots will be drawn on the day of the competition so plan to arrive early and get a good seat, or you may bring your own chair. Show starts at 2pm – doors open at noon.

Advance ticket sales are still available for $10 at suncoastblues.org/shop or $15 at the door.
There will also be a raffle and silent auction so bring your cash and/or credit cards!
Income from the show goes to support the winning band’s travel expenses to Memphis.

We have 5 highly qualified judges:

Mark Thompson – Former President of Suncoast Blues Society and writer/reviewer for several blues publications.

Jose Ramirez – Delmark Recording artist, Blues Music Award Nominee in 2021, and 2nd place IBC winner in 2020.

Mark Goodman – photographer; received 2008 Grammy for “City That Care Forgot”-Dr. John & The Lower Nine. Been judging in Memphis since 2007.

Rick Lewis – a long time blues lover since seeing Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Fabulous Thunderbirds in 1983, as well as a professional concert photographer specializing in the Blues Music Genre. This is his 3rd time being a judge for the Suncoast Blues Society IBC.

Velma Glover – 2017 IBC Winner, Velma “Spice” Glover, is a home grown, born into the Blues, singer/songwriter/producer, and performer. Spice is the daughter of the late local Blues Chanteuse, Loretta Glover, and without a doubt carries a bloodline of the Blues within her veins.
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You are going to want to stay till the end – whenever that might be – for an after-competition show by Josh Rowand and The Pitbull of Blues Band, including surprise guests, while the judges score sheets are tallied.

Josh is no stranger to the IBC. Having placed third in the 2020 competition, the band successfully made it to the final stage at The Orpheum Theatre in Memphis. They know what it takes to make it “All The Way TO Memphis”.

So come on out and join us for a fun and unique day of blues music – we guarantee you will more than get your money’s worth!

Thank you again for supporting live music!
Madame Pres – Terri

And now, let’s meet our contestants!


JSanti & The Gamblin’ Shame

Having been displaced from NYC due to the Covid-19 pandemic, JSanti (John Santiago) moved to Sarasota, FL. Upon doing so, he was invited to a jam session at the “Experimental Farm Road Compound” where music and humans of a like-mind communicated and connected. Upon this meeting, J met Andrew LeachMiranda Becker, Sabrina McClenithanZeena Brown and Sean Adam Walsh.  Soon after, he would meet Marcus James, also displaced from NYC.

After having played some music with Experimental Farm Road, he was introduced to Clint Justesen, of Wild Horses. The magnetic and resonant energy between these people led them to enter the 2021 Suncoast Blues Challenge, where they will perform their very first show, showcasing JSanti’s original music, with much more to come from the group’s diverse gathering of songwriters

Memphis Lightning 


Known for our Explosive Stage Show, and High Energy Roots, Blues and Rock n Roll! Memphis Lightning was born out of tradition with a pedigree second to none. Having the chance to learn from some of the best, Memphis Lightning are the real deal. Their energetic performances will bring you back to the days when the Juke Joints were rockin’ and the Blues was King. Featuring Lightnin’ on Guitar, he is backed by his father Big Red and Lil’ Stevie!So bring a friend and get struck by Lightning!!!

Memphis Rub Band

Memphis Rub is a 4-piece blues-rock band from the Sarasota/Bradenton area of Florida, performing a blend of blues, rock, funk and R&B.

The band features “Hurricane” Gary Drouin (guitar), Scott Matzke (bass/vocals), “Barefoot” Dan Ryan (keyboards), and David Wells (drums). In 2016 Gary and Scott decided to form a band and name it after the city that calls itself the “Home of the Blues”, the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll” and the “Cradle of American Music”. Dan was next to join the band and David came on board in 2019. The Memphis Rub Band performs at a variety of venues and festivals up and down the Suncoast, putting their spin on tunes by musicians such as Delbert McClinton, Tommy Castro, Ace Moreland, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and others. The band also writes and performs original music. In 2018 Memphis Rub released their first album, “Taste”, and songs from the album have been played on area radio stations including WMNF and WSLR.

Randy Stephens & the Groove Makers

Performing in Sarasota County for 10 years now RSGM plays regularly in and around the southwest area. Randy’s Groove Makers have had the pleasure opening for many acts over the years to include Albert Castiglia, Pat Travers, Larry McCray, and Biscuit MIller & the MIx.

Randy Stephens has a new original album coming out with ‘Devil in the Details’ on Sony Records to be released September 2021. The Groove Makers have evolved from a Power Trio into a mighty quartet with award winning guitarist Randy Stephens at the helm, guitar/vocals, “Detroit” Mike Michael Hepner on piano/keys for the late Brian Lee, Jessie Stephens on bass guitar, and Mark Richards on drums.

 

 

 

50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music Alligator Records – Disk 2

50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music Alligator Records – Disk 2

50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music Alligator Records – Disk 2

50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music

Alligator Records – Disk 2

The energy at the end of disk one continues with the first recording of this 21-track disk. The late Michael Burks and “Love Disease” is followed by the marvelous Kenny Neal with “I’m a Blues Man”.  Arguably underrated, The Holmes Brothers please with their foot tapping beat and creative lyrics on “Run Myself Out of Town”. A classic from a classic blues band that will probably have you singing along.

“Jump Start” reminds us how wonderful a guitar player “Little Charlie” Baty was, performing here with The Nightcats. And an Alligator recording would not be complete without Katie Webster, featured on “I’m Still Leaving You”. A duo whose career ended much too early, Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King, rock and slide their way through “Don’t Lose My Number”

Downshifting a bit, Carey Bell brings some old-time, smokey-bar Chicago blues with “I Got a Rich Man’s Woman”, the one that is “living on a poor man’s pay”.  C. J. Chenier turns up the heat, and probably your volume, with Zydeco in “Au Contraire, Mon Frere”. Mavis Staples impresses with “There’s A Devil On The Loose”.

“That’s Not What You Said Last Night” has Bob Margolin rocking out; old-time blues returns with Billy Boy Arnold and “Man of Considerable Taste”. Piedmont blues appears with Cephas & Wiggins who “Ain’t Seen My Baby”. Nice harmonica work on this one, and they are followed with a slow blues number from Long John Hunter called “Marfa Lights”, one that had me picturing couples dancing, closely.

Joe Louis Walker has a different opinion, and searing guitar work, with “I Won’t Do That”. Janiva Magness funks it up with “That’s What Love Will Make You Do”, leaving the listener to consider if love will make Joe Louis do what he sang he would not do.

The second volume wraps up with a country blues song “Going Back To Alabama” by The Siegel-Schwall Band, and a gospel number from Corey Harris & Henry Butler called “Why Don’t You Live So That God Can Use You”.

You can read the review from disk one of this recording at Suncoast Blues Society

We wrap up next week with the third disk on this wonderful retrospective from Alligator Records.

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

  • Scott Morris
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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
2021 Blues Challenge

2021 Blues Challenge

2021 Blues Challenge

2021 Blues Challenge

If you showed up for the Suncoast Blues challenge in 2019 you know it was a heck of a good time and we are gearing up to do it again at 10th Street Live in Palmetto.

We’ve got another great crop of competitors and we will have five impartial parties, well-versed in Blues to judge the event. Deadline for competitors to register is July 1st.

It’s going to be a blast and you’ll get to hear some great music topped off by a special performance from Josh Rowand & The Pitbull of Blues Band so wear your dancing shoes!

Doors will open at 1 PM and music starts at 2 PM.

Tickets are on sale now

Admission is $10 in advance and $15 at the door, which goes toward the winners’ trip to Memphis.

Be sure read Suncoast Blues News as each week we will be telling you more about our competitors.

 

 

Music Compound to host Cigar Box Guitar workshop

Music Compound to host Cigar Box Guitar workshop

Music Compound to host Cigar Box Guitar workshop

Music Compound to host Cigar Box Guitar workshop

Funding from the Suncoast Blues Society to sponsor fun-filled workshop for up to 10 students ages 8-18

SARASOTA, FL – Families seeking fun and creative options for their students this summer will enjoy this opportunity: On Saturday, July 10, Music Compound, and the Suncoast Blues Society are partnering to present a Cigar Box Guitar Workshop, led by noted local blues musician Steve Arvey. Ages 8-18 are invited to participate in the fun-filled morning, with each child/teen building their own cigar box guitar.

The workshop takes place from 10 a.m.-noon at Music Compound’s Cattlemen location (1751 Cattlemen Rd., Sarasota). Reclaimed woods and recycled materials are used to build the handcrafted cigar box guitars; the workshop includes all materials, a history lesson, and a jam session. The event is free – thanks to the sponsorship of the Suncoast Blues Society – but attendance is limited to the first 10 registrants.

The Suncoast Blues Society is dedicated to celebrating and promoting the musical genre known as the blues, preserving its history and traditions, supporting blues musicians, and sharing blues music with current and future generations in the Tampa Bay area. The Society’s mission statement for “Keeping the Blues Alive” is seen through its support of live blues music as well as through its community outreach programs, such as this workshop.

“The Suncoast Blues Society is thrilled to be able to offer programs like this, for all ages, throughout the region,” said Terri O’Brien, Society president. “The blues is a genre to which many younger people may not have enjoyed extensive exposure; through workshops like this one, they can enjoy a creative activity while learning about the history of and getting an opportunity to play the blues.”

“We are so excited to host this workshop and bring awareness and enjoyment of this activity and the music to area children,” added Jenny Townsend, owner of the Music Compound. “Cigar box guitars have a rich history and we’re confident the participants will enjoy learning about as well as playing them!”

Workshop facilitator Steve Arvey began his career playing the Chicago blues circuit during the 1970s. During that period, he shared the stage with many of the legendary blues masters from the Windy City. Now living in Florida, Arvey is a fixture at major festivals and nightclubs throughout the South, Europe, and the Caribbean. He is also considered by many to be one of the top cigar box guitar players in the world today.

To reserve your student’s spot for the workshop, call 941-379-9100 or visit musiccompound.com/blues.

Noted local blues artist Steve Arvey will lead the Cigar Box Guitar workshop at Music Compound on July 10

About Music Compound
The Music Compound provides an environment to inspire, collaborate and educate children and adults in pursuit of their love of music.  The goal is to transform dreams into reality by providing a contemporary and influential environment for musicians of all ages. For more information, visit www.musiccompound.com.

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