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.

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.

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

Splish, Splash It’s the Beach Bash

Splish, Splash It’s the Beach Bash

Splish, Splash It’s the Beach Bash

That’s right—we have scheduled our annual Beach Bash on Sunday August 29th from 2—6 PM.  We will be celebrating at our usual haunt, the Lions Club Beach House located at 9300 W Gulf Blvd, Treasure Island.  Dooner’s band—Big D and the Dirty Deal will provide the opening entertainment followed by a jam session until 6 PM.

We won’t be doing our normal open buffet spread but we will be cooking “Blues Dogs” and offering chips. You are welcome to bring your own picnic baskets.

This is the first event the Suncoast Blues Society has planned in over a year. And we are optimistic that we can make this a safe event where we can get back to what we do best, celebrate the music with friends.

 

Damon Fowler- “Alafia Moon” CD Review

Damon Fowler- “Alafia Moon” CD Review

Damon Fowler- “Alafia Moon” CD Review

Damon Fowler – “Alafia Moon”
Landslide Records
Review by Lafayette Reid 


Damon Fowler’s
 latest CD release “Alafia Moon” should secure Damon’s position as Florida’s favorite native son Blues musician. Damon has been touring and opening for George Thorogood for the last few years and with new management by Brett Steele keeping his momentum going his notoriety has been expanding nationally and beyond.

The backbone of Damon’s band has been steady Chuck Riley on bass and the Justin Headley on drums. These three are tight, but throw in St Pete native TC Carr on Harmonica, Mike Kach on keys, Betty Fox helping on vocals and some additional percussion by Josh Nelms and real magic starts to happen. All songs were written by Damon except “The Guitar” by Guy Clark and Verlon Thomson“ Hip to Your Trip” a nice jumpy little number was co-authored by Damon and Jim Suhler from Texas who is George Thorogood’s lead guitarist when touring.

“Leave it Alone “ is an ominous tune about the perils of a touring artist and the temptations they face. This well written song features TC Carr who gets to show off his skills on the harmonica.

Hitting close to home “Alafia Moon” the title track speaks to our current situation. Damon writes about “walking around in circles” at home not knowing which way to go, just needing to get out and see some moonlight on a peaceful Florida river. Amen Brother! Heal your soul.

Damon’s fans know he can paint some pretty clear pictures with his catchy lyrics.  “Wanda” displays these skills. If by the end of this funky little tune you don’t have a clear picture of Wanda in your mind, then you haven’t been listening.

“Make the Best of Your Time” might get stuck in your head. Author’s intention??

There are lot of “ups and downs” in life, especially for touring artists. “I’ve Been Low” speaks of this and looks for some balance.

“Alafia Moon” was expertly recorded and engineered by George Harris at Creative World Recording in Largo Florida and mastered by Alex McCollough at True East Mastering.  A truly enjoyable piece of work.