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 (

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 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!