BRADENTON BLUES FEST -
Bradenton is located on the west coast of Florida,
just 8 miles east of the white sandy beaches of Anna Maria Island
and Longboat Key, 10 miles north of the Sarasota-Bradenton
International Airport, 40 miles south of the Tampa International Airport,
115 miles southwest of Orlando, and 240 miles northwest of Miami.
Infusing funk, jazz and samba with blues soul and rock, Ari and the Alibis have created a memorable ear-catching sound. For having been together for just two years, this Sarasota, Florida fusion group, Ari and the Alibis, have already begun making serious waves in Florida’s vibrant music scene and carry the potential to spread their music far beyond state lines. They sport a sound often compared to Chicago, Tedeschi Trucks and Squirrel Nut Zippers.
Damon Fowler’s star is on the rise. As Wade Tatangelo put it in a feature piece in March, 2013, in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, “Damon Fowler’s big, dimple grin cuts through the darkness as he stands outside the historic cottage he calls home in Bradenton Beach. It’s the same endearing smile he’s flashed on stages across the country and, in recent years, abroad, for nearly two decades. But these days, his smile shines just a bit brighter. In the past year Fowler has married, become a father and witnessed his music career reach new heights thanks to the formation of the super group Southern Hospitality.” And to this list of accomplishments we can now add the release of a superb new recording, Sounds of Home.
Singer, songwriter and fiddler, Ilana dives deep into the blues with her old-time, Appalachian fiddling. Her unique style has taken her to the stage and to the studio with greats such as Blues Music Award (BMA) Winner Ronnie Earl, BMA nominee Barry Levenson (Canned Heat), NY Blues Hall of Famer Bobby Radcliff, multi-Grammy nominated Cedric Watson and Grammy nominee Chas Justus. In addition to her Blues and Appalachian music mainstays, she is a versatile, improvisational musician, as comfortable performing solo in large theaters as she is being featured in 14-piece rock bands or on Boston’s subway platforms (where you can find her most Fridays).
Slam Allen has been entertaining with his unique blend of soul and blues for more than 20 years. Playing the famous Chitlin’ Circuit and performing around the world, Allen’s music has been shared with thousands of people. For the past five years he has played an important role in the legendary James Cotton Band (Cotton was Muddy Waters’ band leader). “It’s one of the highlights and privileges of my life to play with Cotton” says Allen, “He is one of the last living legends, and there’s so much history there.” One could say music is in Allen’s blood — he got an early start from his father and uncles of The Allen Brothers Band. Slam carries on the family legacy and forms a familiar bond with the crowd. “When I play,” says Allen, “people who may have never heard of me leave the show with a feeling like we’re old friends or family.”
Blue Tones 12:15–1:15pm
Singer and harp man Sugar Ray Norcia’s career kicked into high gear in 1979 when he formed the original band with guitar-giant Ronnie Earl and they’ve been cruising at 90 m.p.h. ever since. Touring the world with the Bluetones, he’s creating acclaimed albums including his forth Severn release My Life, My Friends, My Music which earned Blues Music Award nominations for Album of the Year, Instrumentalist-Harmonica, Instrumentalist-Bass, and Song of the Year for Last Words of a Fool. This five-piece, Chicago-style blues band has a robust, frisky, yet sexy tone and Norcia’s voice is one of the most distinctive, well-defined and recognizable instruments in modern blues. His recording titled Evening was nominated for five 2012 Blues Music Awards including: Album of the Year, Band of the Year, Traditional Blues Album, Instrumentalist-Harmonica and Instrumentalist-Bass.
Arkansas-based and Michigan-bred Larry McCray is a singer, guitarist, songwriter and bandleader that takes blues soul and rocks it to new heights. “I’ve always loved blues from a feeling-state, but have been a rock and roll fan, so I write music that’s rock-friendly,” Larry says. He’s met and played with kings of blues influences B.B. King, Albert King and Freddie King and his 25-plus year career has led him across genre boundaries drawing attention worldwide with his own savage blues-rock guitar and warm, soulful vocals.
Hailing from Portland Maine, Jason Ricci began his international music career by moving to Memphis in 1995 to hone his spectacular harp talent with former Johnny Winter sideman Pat Ramsey. That same year, only 20-years-old, Ricci won the Sonny Boy Blues Society contest and played the King Biscuit Festival. Since then Ricci has won dozens of blues and harmonica contests, toured the world and amassed an impressive collection of awards, honors and accolades. In 2010 Ricci’s album Done With The Devil (Delta Groove) was nominated for a BMA Award. He won the BMA Award for Best Harmonica Player competing with and beating his childhood heroes Kim Wilson, Billy Branch, Mark Hummel and Rick Estrin.
the WildRoots 4–5pm
Composer, producer, vocalist, entertainer and award winning piano player, Victor Wainwright is a raucous, high-octane, dynamic performer and crowd pleaser with soul to spare. Among his claims to fame: 2016 Blues Music Award Nominee, BB King Entertainer of The Year, Band of The Year, Piano Player of The Year, 2015 Boom Town Billboard Top 10 #5, 2013 and 2014 Piano Player of The Year (BMA). With the release of Boom Town, their latest record, the band is certain to ignite blues-roots fans with a flame they can’t explain.
Lone Star Revue 5:15–6:30pm
This all-star band of musicians hails from California and Texas, delivering rockin’ western-bred blues true to their nature. A distinct subgenre of the blues, fans will delight to a heavier use of guitar licks as bridges and Southern-slide melodies combined with sweet harp for a swingin’ Texas-blues combo. Featured in the Revue are: Mark Hummel (harp-blower, vocalist, bandleader and Grammy nominee); Little Charlie Baty (ex-Nightcats bandleader and guitar hero); RW Grigsby (bassist); Texans Anson Funderburgh (guitarist and Rockets bandleader) and Wes Starr (famed Austin drummer who played with the Who’s Who of Texas music royalty).
Traditional blues, West Coast and Texas Swing, early rock, country and roots music; Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones runs the gamut and brings it all together while consistently delivering originality. Deming’s swinging jump blues style has earned him great respect in the blues world, where he has backed such notables as Chicago Pete, Johnnie Dyer and the legendary Lazy Lester. Deming is joined by award-winning blues harmonica player Dennis Gruenling, hailed as “one of the baddest, swingingest, most innovative harmonica blowers on the planet.” Deming is the recipient of the 2013 Blues Blast Music Awards Sean Costello Rising Star award.
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