Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Andres Colin at The Hub Baja Grill on Siesta Key in Sarasota

My previous post only touched on the vocal, stylistic and instrumental versatility of Andres Colin, who plays regularly for the tourist crowd enjoying dinner at The Hub Baja Grill on Siesta Key. Tonight's performance featured an astounding musical arrangement of Andrea Bocelli's "Partido", courtesy of Colin's complex looper capabilities and orchestral imagination. His vocals were truly operatic, dancing melodically through the emotional eddies of that beautiful composition. One could only be transported from earthly reality into another sphere, and wonder how this multilingual, multi-instrumental, and warmly engaging performer has landed in our midst.

Later in the evening, Colin demonstrated that, contrary to popular opinion, men can multi-task, too. On "Blanco Y Negro," an original composition from his eponymous CD, "Andres Colin: Universal Universe", he simultaneously sang densely packed Spanish lyrics while busily tapping his feet among various buttons and pedals to pull forward and drop out the various instrumental parts he'd entered into the looper at the beginning of the song. 

Lots of local solo performers use loopers these days -- a necessary device to create a sound larger than the restaurants want to pay for. But Colin's fluidity with programming, playing, singing, and audience-antics is prodigious.

You can find Andres Colin's CD online at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/andrescolin2

Better yet, find him playing in person. No matter what your mood when you get there, he'll have you smiling, tapping, and enjoying yourself in the space of a few songs.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Live Music on Siesta Key, in Sarasota

The skies were threatening, but I needed a beach walk, so I headed over to Siesta Key. Walking through the Village on my way to Siesta Beach, I heard the unmistakeable, fast-moving guitar leads of Frankie Lombardi, who was serenading the outdoor tables at Blase Cafe. Deciding against the beach walk, since the wind was picking up and clouds moving in, I sat for awhile listening to Lombardi sing and riff. He extends and gives depth to familiar songs, adding stylistic licks that make them his own. Lucky Siesta Village would have a double-bill of Lombardi tonight, since he was slated to play drums with Kettle of Fish later in the evening at the Beach Club on Ocean Boulevard.

Walking back through the Village, I remembered that singer-songwriter Tommy D (Doerr) has a dinnertime Tuesday evening gig at Blu Que Island Grill on Avenida de Messina. So I stopped by there in time to enjoy a triple-bill of some of my fave original songs from his CDs, including "Funky Time", "Every Day is Friday", and "Bud Light Bob." Tommy D's smooth vocals and interesting guitar rhythms draw me in every time I see him play.

Seeing Lombardi and Doerr had more than made up for my missed beach walk, and I was happily headed towards my car, when I heard yet another familiar voice and guitar. It was Andres Colin, singing a beautiful, complex Spanish tune in his mellifluous, almost-operatic style. Truly, he has the sweetest voice, in whatever language he slides into, and draws from one of the most versatile songbooks around. Colin has a winning performance personality full of smiles and happiness that he transmits generously to the dinner crowd in front of him.

Would love to have listened longer, but the wind picked up, swirling sand and palm fronds, so I counted myself lucky for the treat of seeing three wonderful performers on one visit to Siesta Key, and headed home just as the raindrops fell.

Friday, October 10, 2014

John Howard at JR's Old Packinghouse Cafe in Sarasota

Prolific songwriter and Sarasota live music scene performer John Howard was joined by Johnny LaLa on lead guitar and vocals for a night of covers and featured songs from Howard's newly-released CD, "Sunlight", which they debuted last night at JR's Old Packinghouse Cafe in Sarasota.

The new CD contains several memorable and danceable numbers, such as "She's Gone" and "Bridges are Burning". "Julianne" and "If I Could Stay Asleep" are sweet, dreamy romantic reveries. "Sunlight (Cindy's Song)" brings Howard's memories of his late sister, Cynthia, into present-focus as he notices all the natural beauty of everyday life that he wishes he could still share with her.

At last night's show, Johnny LaLa's acoustic guitar leads were impressive for their smooth progress up and down the frets. Other players tend to create a more labored, staccato sound as they bend the strings to their purposes, admittedly always more challenging on an acoustic instrument. But LaLa's style was more fluid, enhancing the overall sound of  John Howard's arrangements, rather than punching out to the foreground.

You can find John Howard's new CD, "Sunlight", online at I-Tunes, Amazon, Spotify and other outlets:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Taylor Opie with Dan Dembicki Trio TONIGHT at Ziti

The nights are starting to get a little cooler, which is a reminder that high season will soon return to Sarasota. All the more reason to savor an evening out at Ziti restaurant at Southgate Plaza, to hear Taylor Opie sing with the Dan Dembicki Trio. Tonight, Tuesday, September 9, 2014, from 6 - 10PM.

This is a rare opportunity to see a young singer whose range of material and vocal inflection spans generations of musical genres. And you don't have to make your way through a noisy club scene to see her perform. Ziti is an upscale, relaxed fusion restaurant that brings nightlife (finally!) to a mall that's quiet at night. Translation: Lots of easy, free parking, an interesting menu, attentive service, and a musical program that will move you and make you rock and smile.

I don't want to say, "I told you so", when Taylor Opie advances beyond the confines of the Sarasota live music scene, and you find yourself scratching your head and wondering why you didn't go out to hear her tonight!

UPDATE: A special night of music got even richer when Taylor Opie was joined onstage by Dmitri Theodorides on lead guitar, and later by her sister, Sarasota actor and musical songstress Alana Opie on harmony vocals. A real cabaret event.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Taylor Opie with Dan Dembicki Band at Ziti in Sarasota

Making up somewhat for the surprise news of the sudden closing of Ocean Blues last week is the good news that Taylor Opie and the Dan Dembicki Trio will be playing every Tuesday night from 6 - 9PM at Ziti restaurant, in the food court (near Talbot's entrance on Siesta Drive) at the Southgate Mall, Tamiami Trail at Siesta Drive, in Sarasota.

Ziti, which replaced the previous popular Cosimo's restaurant, has received good reviews for its fusion Italian, American, Asian food and service. Great to see that owner Dustin Guimond recognizes how important excellent live music is to the Sarasota dining experience, even in a mall.
Here's a sample of Taylor Opie's moving vocals from tonight's gig. Backing her up were Dan Dembicki on keyboard and Michael Dempsey on bass.

In addition seeing her at Ziti on Tuesday nights, you can also catch Taylor Opie with the Collaboration Band at venues such as Cortez Clam Factory, and Swordfish Grill, in Bradenton; and Englewoods on Dearborn and Lock 'n Key in Englewood.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Brenda Kay Benefit Bash #2 - Friday, July 11, 2014, at The Boatyard Waterfront Bar & Grill in Sarasota

Clear your Friday afternoon and evening calendar for the second Brenda Kay Benefit Bash. This one will be held this Friday, July 11th (in 2 days!), 4PM - 10PM,  at The Boatyard Waterfront Bar & Grill, 1500 Stickney Pt Rd, Sarasota FL 34231.

The music promises to be outstanding once again. Here's a partial lineup of the amazing local talent donating their chops to help Brenda Kay through her medical challenges:

Chris Otto, Mike Tozier, Zach Yoder, Callie Chappell-Nicholas, Martha Smith, and more. You've just got to show up for the inevitable surprise guest appearances.

A few more details: 

1. Silent auction closes at 8:45 pm.
2. There will also be a live auction.
3. Must be present to win on Chinese auction items.
4. Expansive buffet available - compliments of The Boatyard
5. $5 Donation for entry / $15 entry fee if eating

As more information becomes available - we will continue update here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Taylor Opie & Dan Dembicki Trio at Ocean Blues

Move over, Bonnie, because tonight I stumbled upon a young soulful blues singer named Taylor Opie who will give you a run for your money! Well, of course, no one can top Ms. Raitt, but keep your eyes and ears open for sightings of Taylor Opie in the Venice - Sarasota - Bradenton live music scene.

Where do I begin? Husky undertones with sweet overlayerings, and she's just got her own deeply flavored and movingly delivered way of bringing the best out of songs we thought we'd heard done best by their original cover artists.

The Dan Dembicki Trio -- drums, bass, and keyboards - provided well-punctuated instrumental backup for Opie's lead vocals. Look for Opie and her band, Dreadnot, playing in the Bradenton area, and hopefully soon a lot more in Sarasota.

Taylor Opie joins the Dan Dembicki Trio every Tuesday in July, 7:30 - 10:30PM at Ocean Blues, on Hillview Street in Sarasota. Let's catch her while she's still local!

Friday, July 4, 2014

SoulRCoaster at Ocean Blues in Sarasota FL

Last night turned out to be double-fun with cover bands around town in Sarasota FL. A sudden downpour that soaked the edges of the dance floor at Marina Jack, at the Sarasota Bayfront, didn't deter couples and families from stepping to the enthusiastic sounds of Lisa Ridings & Vertigo, now a staple dance band in the Marina Jack weekly lineup. A surprise guest appearance by an energetic sax player added interesting visual energy and reed dynamics to the performance.

The night was young,  the dark sky clear and sparkling with pre-4th of July spirit, so I headed over to Ocean Blues, on Hillview Street, to check out SoulRCoaster, another cover band -- new to me, and to the Sarasota live music scene -- this one led by powerful vocalist Sheri Nadelman, backed up by competent lead and bass guitar, drums, keyboards, and harmony vocals by several members of the group. Sheri had definitely gotten the word out to her fans, because the room was pulsing with happy dancers.

SoulRCoaster fit a lot of equipment on that little stage, so the sound was huge and complex. Perhaps a bit overproduced, but it was fun to hear, and dance to, a set list that contained more of a disco-pop mix than we hear locally. For instance, the "Happy" song made internationally legendary by Pharrell Williams. Coincidentally, SoulRCoaster also welcomed a guest sax player onto the stage for a few songs.

Will look forward to more local appearances by SoulRCoaster, now that I know they can dependably deliver a memorable few hours of high-energy fun.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Billy Seward Band at Mattison's City Grille in Sarasota

I just couldn't leave. Usually, I can enjoy a few tunes and then continue on my way. And it's not like I haven't seen most of these guys play in various band formations around the Sarasota live music scene. And it was blues, in a blues town. Yawn, right? Wrong, so wrong. Tonight's lineup at Mattison's City Grille in downtown Sarasota, playing as the Billy Seward Band, just had me mesmerized -- body, mind, and spirit. One song flowed into the next, and I had to stay and sway and marvel and smile. 

Tonight at Mattison's, on a slow Tuesday evening no less, I happily stumbled upon a lush, intoxicating wall of sounds that felt like one sound. One stellar rendition that stays in my head was Seward's version of "Let's Straighten it Out", written by Clarence Carter.  Oh, my, my, it took me outta there.

Billy Seward is relatively new to the Sarasota live music scene. He injects a refreshing collection of variously punchy, smooth, and dynamic Chicago blues and Memphis soul sounds into a town that seemingly already provides every musical flavor one could imagine. 

With rhythm in capable hands like those of Burt Engelsman on bass and Steve Camileri on drums, every song was firmly grounded. Sidney Wingfield added bright keyboards and supercharged vocals, and the ever-steady and innovative Richy Kicklighter contributed his dazzling yet seemingly effortless lead and rhythm guitar stylings.  I haven't heard Seward play elsewhere, so I can't compare, but he's cherry-picked some of the best sidemen Sarasota has to offer, and they profoundly enhance what he brings to the table. 

Clearly, there are no limits to where music can take you in Sarasota. There are surprises around every corner here, even when you're not looking for them.

Live Music on Siesta Key

Monday is usually a slow night for live music in Sarasota. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful evening for a long walk on Siesta Beach, so I headed to Siesta Village, knowing I'd at least pass by some music along the way. As usual, the Sarasota live music scene did not disappoint!

First, I heard the clear and sweet tones of Andres Colin, smilingly engaging with the dinner crowd of vacationing families at The Hub Baja Grille. Had to stay for his renditions of No Woman, No Cry and O' Sole Mio (sung in Italian -- Andres is multi-lingual). Colin exudes fun and happiness, serving it up with rich musical talent and flair. I cannot watch him play without a big grin on my face, which is also true of the multi-generational audience he entertains.

On the way back from my beach walk (nothing like walking barefoot in the supersoft sands of Siesta Beach at sunset!), Zach Yoder's deep and plaintive voice caught my attention. He was set up at Siesta Key Oyster Bar (S.K.O.B.). I've seen him play guitar with Berry Oakley's Skylab and other local bands, so it was interesting to hear him perform in a duo. When he sings, out comes the voice of a man way beyond his youthful age, and when he plays, he goes into a fast, head-swaying trance, long locks obscuring his face. His guitar work is prodigious and deeply felt, and his vocal stylings really interesting and resonant of the 60s'.

Finally, to top off an already-top-notch night of walk-by live music, I joined the crowd gathered around The Garbage Men, a trio of high-school-age guys playing 60s rock 'n roll classics on instruments made from old cereal boxes, plastic jugs and cardboard tubes. Ya gotta hear 'em to believe it, but they really nail the sounds and feel of songs like The Doors' Hello, I Love You.

Last night's stroll proves, once again, that it's always worth it to "Get off the couch!" and go out to find live music in Sarasota!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Brenda Kay Benefit Bash on Siesta Key - TODAY

I don't know whether to be happy or sad . . . I guess I have to feel both right now:

Happy for all the people who are showing up this afternoon at the Brenda Kay Benefit Bash  (1-7PM) at The Beach Club in Siesta Key Village to show Brenda Kay how much they love her. Showing up so she can see them, hear them, hug and be hugged by them. Showing up to serenade her with incredible music.

Sad for the situation that brought out this crowd today. No one deserves to receive an unappealable sentence. No one should have to face the relentless predation of cancer. No one should have to say goodbye in the middle of a healthy, vital, love-filled life.

I'll close on a happy note: The music at the Brenda Kay Benefit Bash this afternoon (Sunday, June 1st) is fabulous. Sarasota musicians know how to show the love better than anyone out there. 

There are still 3 more hours to go, filled with the best live music that Sarasota has to offer. So, please, head out to the Key, and show up. Even if you don't know Brenda. No one judges where love comes from, just that it shows up.

I don't know Brenda, but I'm glad I've had a glimpse of how much she is loved. I wish you life and peace and as much joy as you can fit into each day. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Seamus McCarthy Band at JR's Old Packinghouse Cafe

The Seamus McCarthy Band is a three-piece combo that features strong and melodic lead vocals and rhythm guitar by Seamus McCarthy, whose voice ranges from the tenor highs of Don McLean to the sonorous low notes of country singers like George Strait. Nicely layered into the mix is a peppy and solid bass line and backup vocals by Jimmy McCarthy, with sweetly haunting fiddle-playing and vocal harmonies by Dave Buescher.

Interestingly, there's no lead guitar here. That role is supplied by the fiddle, which serves as the "Greek chorus" or other-storyteller counterpoint to Seamus's rich narrative vocal lines.

The set lists incorporate traditional country favorites from legends like Johnny Cash, to foot stomping Irish tunes, and songs popular with Millenials. "Down with the Shine", penned by the Avett Brothers, was a particular stunner at the Seamus McCarthy Band gig last night at JR's Old Packinghouse Cafe.

There's an upbeat energy to this band, particularly on display when they line up for three-part harmonies. Worth checking out the next time you see them scheduled to play in the Sarasota live music scene.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Buddy Gibson & Richard Hombre Price at JR's Old Packinghouse Cafe

Can't say the house was full -- it surely wasn't. Just a laid-back, off-season evening at JR's Old Packinghouse Cafe in Sarasota. But the music was outstanding and deserved a bigger audience. Buddy Gibson offered up one after another of songs worked up in his idiosyncratic, high-energy, complex singing and playing styles. There were a lot of covers that he personalized so completely, you had to listen closely in the beginning to realize it was a classic he'd run through his very interesting "wash cycle".

As if that weren't enough -- and it would have been -- sitting low on the curb of the stage was Richard Hombre Price, contributing a deep and well-integrated bass line to the performance. Pardon me . . . I didn't know who he was at first, just that he looked familiar. But I found out soon enough when I chatted with him during the break, and Price filled me in on his legendary involvement with the roots and life of Southern Rock.

Lucky Buddy to have Price to play with that night. Lucky us to be there for a really special concert.

That's the Sarasota live music scene: You never know who's going to show up playing with whom, and there's so much historic talent strumming and drumming away here, proud of where they've been and yet also often eager and willing to jam with the up-and-coming future legends.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Brenda Kay Benefit June 1st at The Beach Club, Siesta Key

When life is unfair, sometimes all we can do is show up. That actually goes a long way. Please take time this weekend to stop in at the Benefit for Brenda Kay, Sunday, June 1, 2014,from 1PM to 7PM at The Beach Club on Siesta Key in Sarasota. Money raised will enable Brenda to spend her remaining months at a condo on the beach.

The live music lineup promises to be really special, with performances by Twinkle, Berry Oakley, Mike Tozier, Dually Noted, Soundwall Jackson, and more. 

From Brenda Kay's Benefit Bash Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/events/1426112324317293/):

For those that do not know, our great friend and one of the island's most beautiful ladies in mind, body and spirit has been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of pancreatic cancer. The prognosis is one in which we choose not to believe, but in reality already know the eventual outcome.

Please join us for a special day celebrating her wonderful life. There will be lots of food from several Key restaurants, a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle, a live auction and many other activities.

If you are a local business and would like to support this event in kind or with a monetary donation or raffle/auction gift, please send an email to info@sunridepedicab.com listing your gift and we will contact you where you can send/drop-off the item. Thanks everyone for your understanding during this difficult time.

Our hearts go out to Brenda and Chris.  Let's show up to magnify the love.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lisa Ridings & Vertigo at Marina Jack's TONIGHT

Usually I write about bands after they play. But I don't want you to miss all the fun, so here's a heads-up: Lisa Ridings & Vertigo are debuting tonight (5:30-9:30PM) at the outdoor bar at Marina Jack's, at the end of Main Street in beautiful Bayfront Park in downtown Sarasota. Their set lists of blues, soul and rock 'n roll simply require smiles and dancing.

It was so much fun seeing this high-energy, uber-talented band at Mattison's City Grille on Tuesday night, that I already need another fix. Lisa Ridings leads off with powerful and nuanced vocals, Victor J shreds a screamingly versatile lead guitar, Kevin Voigt holds a steady and creative bass line with lead and harmony vocals, and Peter Bonagiano has a laughing good time rocking the drums.

It's off-season, it's hot outside, and there's no place like downtown Sarasota on a beautiful night. Catch the magnificent sunset and dance relentlessly! Bring a crowd, and a change of clothes, because you will not sit this one out.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Beautiful Sarasota!

Filmed in Sarasota by Ringling School of Design students. A really fun view of how beautiful this town is. Add to the mix music every night of the week, and 'nuff said!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Tommy Doerr at Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market

Sometimes it's the beat that draws me over. Sometimes it's the voice. Today it was both, as I ambled down State Street at the Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market and saw an unfamiliar musician singing and strumming to the passersby. When the sound got me swaying, I had to find out who it was. Philadelphia-area native, Englewood-Florida-based Tommy Doerr  is his name, and his flamenco-flavored bluesy rhythms and sandy-voiced smooth vocals were a pleasant surprise.

You can catch Tommy Doerr on Sunday and Monday evenings at Tommy Bahama's on St Armands Circle on Lido Key, Sarasota. Also on Tuesday evenings at Blue Que in Siesta Village on Siesta Key.

I'll probably have more to say after I've seen him play a few times. Meanwhile, check out Funky Time on Tommy D's Reverbnation page, and you'll see what got me moving at the market.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"Delinquent Duo": Chris Otto & Siesta Key Lei

Wanting to vary my weekly live music schedule, last Tuesday evening I headed over to Darwin's, on 4th Street, just east of Lemon Avenue in Sarasota to check out two musicians I'd seen play solo and with other bands. Recombining in this instance as the Delinquent Duo were Chris Otto and Siesta Key Lei (Lei Stanhope). I wouldn't have put them together in my imagination, but they've crafted a pleasing and idiosyncratic sound and song list.

Chris Otto can be seen regularly doing solo gigs at S.K.O.B. on Siesta Key and at Marina Jack's at Bayfront Park. Siesta Key Lei is the lead guitarist and backup vocalist for Shift Change and sits in with The Instigators on lead and support vocals. At Darwin's, they featured a two-guitar dance that interwove leads, rhythm, and vocal harmonies. I particularly enjoyed their rendition of "Cassidy", a Grateful Dead tune written by John Barlow and Bob Weir. Otto offered a few of his originals, too.

They're recording their performances in anticipation of an upcoming CD. To that point, the sound quality I heard had nice depth, resonance, and a warm, live tone.

Delinquent Duo is on the calendar for Tuesday nights at Darwin's, from 6:30 to 9:30PM. Get there early for some tasty deals from the happy hour menu.

Don Tapert: New CD Released Today

Native Detroit bluesman and singer/songwriter Don Tapert, currently living in New York, has just released his latest CD, a remastered collection of songs penned in New York and Nashville during a fertile period of tune-writing during the 1980s. Titled 2142 Acklen Avenue, after the address of his Nashville studio, the songs chronicle the ups and downs of romance.

Even the heartbreakers benefit from a solid back-beat and capable lead riffs. This disc is happily danceable and manifests the country-rock vibe that was just surfacing in Nashville in the late 1980s.

Lyrically, Tapert's narratives often hearken back to the simple male-female imagery of classic teenage hopes and dreams, fast cars, furtive adventures and explorations. Sweet, reflective songs like Lucky Man, I Can Feel the Hurtin' Too, and The Girl Who Fell in Love with Me bespeak a more mature appreciation for love's bittersweet situations.

In 2142 Acklen Avenue, Don Tapert serves up his own unique blend of Detroit blues and Nashville country-rock, well-seasoned by a lifetime of experience and enduring musical passion.

You can sample and download Tapert's CD on Noisetrade.com

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bain Beakley's Peanut Butter & Jelly Jam at Ocean Blues

Yesterday, my Internet was down, so I didn't know who'd be playing in Sarasota, it was raining, and I was in for the night . . . or so I thought. When I finally got back online, I saw on gotonight.com that Bain Beakley was at Ocean Blues. So I got myself out there, and, oh, my, my, was it worth it. A wall of loud and happy voices drew me into the dining room, where Bain Beakley and Twinkle were hurling harmonies at the mics in front of a table set with jars of peanut butter (smooth and crunchy) and jams. Get it? It was a "Peanut Butter & Jelly JAM".

What fun it was. A continuing swirl of rock and R&B classics interpreted with unbridled enthusiasm by local guitar and vocal heroes circling up to sing, clap, and riff. Notables included Steve Sipes on keyboard, James Albritton on guitar and vocals, Mark Serio on guitar, Tony LeClerc on bass, A.J. on vocals, anchored by Bain and Twinkle. The gig doubled as a CD release party for Twinkle's new disc.

I've seen Bain soldier through many solo gigs on quiet Tuesday nights, as well as early-Sunday-morning wake-up-calls at the Siesta Key Farmers Market -- and those are always rewarding. But last night was a pull-out-the-stops reminder that in Sarasota's live music scene, you never know what's in store, so you might as well put on your face and your dancing shoes and head out the door, if only for an hour or two. Thanks, Bain, for cheering up a drizzly Wednesday night. You really topped that peanut butter with a great JAM!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Live Music Venues in Sarasota

My northern friends know that one of the reasons I like living in Sarasota is because of its unusually high population of working, professional level musicians of all ages, and live music venues. I surprised even myself the other day when I counted how many live music clubs, bars and restaurants are located within five miles of Siesta Drive. Come along with me as I count them out, and forgive me if I forget one or two:

BAyfront Park
Marina Jack's

Downtown Sarasota
Mattison's City Grille
Sarasota Vineyard
The Gator Club
Pastry Art (occasionally)
Salute Sarasota
The Old School Bar & Grille
Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market (Saturdays)

Rosemary District
The Blue Rooster
WSLR Fogertyville

St Armands Circle
Cha Cha Coconuts
Dacquiri Deck

Southside Village (Hillview & Osprey)
5 O'Clock Club
Ocean Blues
Libby's (occasionally)

S.Tamiami Trail
Phillippi Farmhouse Market (Wednesdays)
Cabana Inn

Proctor Rd near Beneva
Central Sarasota Farmers Market (Saturdays)

Siesta Key Village
Blase Cafe
Blu Q
The Beach Club
The Hub Baha Bar & Grill
S.K.O.B. (Siesta Key Oyster Bar)
Siesta Key Farmers Market (Sundays)

McIntosh & Ashton
White Buffalo Saloon

Swift Road
Hot Diggety Dog

Gulf Gate
Pastimes Bar

Cattlemen Road/Packinghouse Road
Cock & Bull
JR's Old Packinghouse Cafe

To find out who's playing, and where, each day or night of the week, click on gotonight.com

Are we lucky to live here, or what?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Musical Collaboration in Sarasota: Sam Woolf and Kenny Crawley

One of the delights of live music in Sarasota is the collaboration of upcoming young talented musicians with seasoned pros. There's a strong and proud culture here of legendary tunesmiths championing the upstarts. A case in point is singer/songwriter Sam Woolf, the 17-year-old Bradenton competitor on American Idol who recently made the cut to be in the top 13 finalists. In addition to critiques from show judges Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick, Jr., and Keith Urban, word has it that Woolf's been getting home team production support from Del Couch's music foundation; and musical arrangements prepared by master drummer Kenny Crawley, who plays internationally with Dickey Betts & Great Southern, and locally with The Instigators, among other stellar groups.

Other examples of cross-generational interplay include the David Smash Band, led by the 21-year-old blues and rock 'n roll phenom, with band members of 1970s vintage, and 12-year-old prodigy-drummer Kei Bland, who often gets asked up to the stage to slam the sticks with musicians old enough to be his grand-dads.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kraig Kenning at JR's Old Packinghouse Cafe

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, February 19, 2014, to experience the slide guitar wizardry of singer/songwriter Kraig Kenning, who'll be performing live at JR's Old Packinghouse Cafe, in Sarasota FL, from 7PM to 10PM. Intensely talented, intensely driven, intensely poetic, Kenning takes you on a journey through life's challenges, victories and wondrous moments.

During the break, check out his extensive collection of original CDs. One of the new ones is a great compilation of his most popular tunes. Personally, it's become my driving-around-town soundtrack. He sells them for too cheap, but then again you can afford to collect them all.

JR's has great comfort food, too, while you're stamping your feet to Kenning's energetic show.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Saturday Night Live Music in Sarasota

Well, tonight promises an embarrassment of riches, if you're hankering for live music in Sarasota. You can feel like the President, flitting from one gig to the next on Inauguration Day. Here are some of my picks, along with videos to give you a flavor of their sounds. Keep in mind that they are all much better seen and heard live. Feel free to improvise and add your own faves to the lineup:

Mumbo Jumbo plays righteous funk at J.R.'s Old Packinghouse Cafe (Old Packinghouse Road between Palmer Blvd & Bahia Vista Street), 7PM to 11PM.

TC & the Troublemakers keeps everyone -- hear that? everyone! - dancing at Mattison's City Grille in downtown Sarasota (Main Street and Lemon Avenue), 7:30PM to 12 midnight.

Lisa Ridings & Vertigo power up their R&B, soul, and rock machine at Ocean Blues (Hillview Street, between Osprey Ave and Tamiami Trail), 9PM to 11PM at least.

Put on your dancing shoes, because you will want to get out there and boogy. Just sayin' . . .

Monday, February 10, 2014

Beatles 50 Year Ed Sullivan Show TV Special

I usually write about the local Sarasota live music scene, but I have to diverge today in order to remark on the Beatles 50 Year Ed Sullivan Show TV Special that aired last night. Am I the only one who thought the best part of the show was when actual Beatles sang and played?

While I admire the talent and polish of all the previous acts and musicians on the show, both young and legendary, the production felt more like a Kennedy Center dirge-for-the-almost-dead than a celebration of the lighthearted, fun, happy, whimsical, adventurous, youthful characters that Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney still clearly are.

Clearly, there needs to be a sequel to last night's show, and here are my unsolicited suggestions:

1) Book the actual Ed Sullivan (now David Letterman) theater in New York. What does L.A. have to do with the Beatles in America?

2) If there are cover bands, select those with players who are young and just starting out, to convey the energy of the Beatles who actually played here in 1964. How about some mop-tops? There are plenty of those available even in this Millenial generation of musicians. For example, here in Sarasota we have the marvelous The Tracks:

3) Keep the production values simple. No visual dazzling required, either in the hair, makeup, glitter or stage sets we saw on the L.A. stage last night.

I'm glad we had the opportunity to watch the special last night. And, yes, it was great to see amazing musicians of Beatles vintage, such as Joe Walsh and Peter Frampton, reveling in their chops onstage. It just whetted my appetiite for another show, hopefully orchestrated next time by Paul and Ringo.

Friday, February 7, 2014

John Howard and "Captain" Matt at Matto Matto in Sarasota

Tonight's chilly night air did not dissuade a Friday night neighborhood crowd from dining outside at Matto Matto restaurant in Burns Square, serenaded by the smooth harmonies and well-blended instrumentalism of local singer/songwriter John Howard, accompanied by "Captain" Matt Baker, recently returned to the Sarasota live music scene after an 18-month sabbatical up north.

The duo was set up against the front of the relatively new bistro, playing to diners wrapped in matching red fleece throws provided by the restauranteur.  The setting had a European flavor, enhanced by the location of Matto Matto at the confluence of Pineapple and Orange Avenues in the charming old Burns Square neighborhood, a few blocks south of downtown Sarasota.

John Howard, on guitar, vocals, ukelele and harmonica, with Captain Matt on guitar, percussion and vocals, offered folk and rock covers, along with original tunes penned by Howard. The duo can be seen performing regularly around Sarasota at clubs and farmers markets.