2006 has started with a bang! This is a milestone year for us. January marks the 10th anniversary of our move to Florida from Ohio; we had toured here every year since 1988, but our Florida tours got longer every year until we finally made the move to St. Pete in 1996. It’s been a fantastic ten years!
Another milestone occurs this month when we play at GULFPORT ON THE ROCKS (Gulfport, FL) on March 17th. Liz played her first gig at this venue on March 17th, 1976, so this show will mark her 30th year in the music business.
Also, February 14th is the 20th Anniversary of our record label, UPRIGHT RECORDS. We released “Bluesy Atmosphere” August 1st, 1986, and have gone the full gamut from vinyl LP’s to cassettes to compact discs over the past 20 years.
Some of you may have seen us on Channel 14’s coverage of our BLUES IN THE SCHOOLS performance (November, 2005), which has aired a number of times since then. This was also featured in the ST. PETE TIMES. Further, we received a very good album review of our LIVE FROM ST. PETE CD in the February BAYSIDE NEWS.
Liz & I had a fine time performing at the 1st Annual Zephyrhills Chalk Art Festival on February 4th, despite the heavy rains earlier in the day. They’ve already booked us for next year’s festival on February 10th, 2007, so mark your calendars!
The St. Petersburg Museum of History is now hosting the FLORIDA BLUES EXHIBIT featuring DIAMOND TEETH MARY. The exhibit features a wide variety of photos, music samples, clothing and memorabilia from many of Florida’s blues artists, including Tampa Red, Mary McClain, Rock Bottom, T.C. Carr, Ray Charles, and many others. Liz & I performed at the exhibit’s VIP Grand Opening on February 2nd and may do another concert there soon.
Thanks to all of you who have been so supportive at all of our new gigs this year. Because of great crowds, our two weekly house gigs at the FRIENDLY FISHERMAN (Madeira Beach) on Sundays and at DAVE’S AQUALOUNGE (Gandy Blvd.) on Thursdays have been extended through the spring. Please check out our DATES page for our full schedule – hope to see you soon!
Happy holidays! Thanks so much to all of you who came to our shows, and to the venues that booked us in 2005.
Due to some computer glitches this summer, our website’s Email Subscriber List didn’t function, so if you signed up and haven’t heard from us, please subscribe again for the mailing list on our HOME page. Thanks.
We were recently featured on the “Florida Folk Festival Jubilee,” a two-hour film aired on PBS. Our Main Stage performance of “Swanee River” was shown right before ARLO GUTHRIE. If you missed it, they might be airing it again on your local PBS station.
We had a blast at BERT’S BAR in Matlacha (near Fort Myers) on November 5th when SAFFIRE: THE UPPITY BLUES WOMEN (who were performing at a nearby blues festival) came to our gig after their show. GAYE, ANN, and ANDRA FAYE each sat in with us for some hot blues. Great to see them again.
We were deeply saddened to hear that MR. DOWNCHILD’S wife MARILYN passed away September 1st. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Cleveland-based bluesman MR. DOWNCHILD (STEVE BRAZIER)- we will sorely miss her.
Hope your holidays are cheerful as 2005 draws to a close. Please check our DATES page for venues and performance dates, and come on out to see us when you can. We’d love to see ya!
It’s great to be home from the road. Our almost-five-week Summer Tour went well- wonderful to see friends and familiar faces up north in Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, and Kentucky. The Cincy Blues Festival was a high point for us, sharing the Arches Piano Stage with Ann Rabson, Henry Butler, Ricky Nye, Rudy Blue Shoes, Big Joe Duskin, Todd Hepburn, Craig Brenner, Bob Seeley, Mr. B., Henry Gray and others. The Atwood Yacht Club said they had the best crowd ever. We were totally surprised when Barry Mellitz, our fan from Connecticut, walked into our show at the Parkersburg Moose Lodge in West Virginia. Check out our GALLERY page for new tour photos.
We are heartbroken by the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and Mississippi, the birthplace of jazz and blues. We will be a part of a Benefit Concert at the Ringside Cafe in St. Pete on Tuesday, September 13th. Many of Tampa Bay’s best musicians will also be performing at this benefit.
Regrettably, after a successful public reading on May 16th, the theatrical production on the life of Diamond Teeth Mary has been halted due to the dissolving of the Live Arts Peninsula, who had planned to produce the play. However, New York playwright Levy Lee Simon and many of us here are hopeful that his play will be produced by another venue.
Liz laid down a piano track at Zen Studio this week for Tom Scudiero’s new CD. It’s on Tom’s rocking original “She Took It All.”
Also, we continue to work on material for our next CD. Two of our brand new songs, “Etta Kitt” and “Taxi Driving Woman”, were well-received on the tour.
We were shocked and saddened when we got the news on the road that our friend Lovey Rochester passed away August 19th. We will surely miss her enthusiastic spirit at the gigs, and our deepest sympathy goes out to her twin sister Dovey and family.
Florida DOES get cold in the winter, especially when you’re playing outside gigs & the temp is below 40! Our fans were truly loyal as they bundled up & braved the chill for some blues! April & May have been unusually cool too, which is great- windows open & no A/C yet. Spring has found us playing a number of beach gigs, such at the KATIKI (Sunset Beach) every Sunday and SUNSET BAR & GRILL (St. Pete Beach) on many Saturdays. Great sunsets!
The DIAMOND TEETH MARY play is progressing nicely, and the New York playwright LEVY LEE SIMON is in town this weekend for a first public reading of the play. The reading is scheduled for Monday, May 16th, and we’ll be providing the music behind the singers. As the play takes form for the stage, it’s an exciting trip down “memory lane” for Liz and me after twelve years of performing with Mary. The play is scheduled for opening in either the fall or winter.
We’re also excited about a new CD release from ANDRA FAYE, one of the members of SAFFIRE: THE UPPITY BLUES WOMEN. Andra has recorded one of Liz’s songs, “TAKE IT SLOW,” on this new release, which is the first time one of Liz’s songs has been recorded by a national artist. For more information or to order this CD, check out ANDRA FAYE’S website on our LINKS page (www.andrafaye.com).
Liz & I will be traveling to Tallahassee on Saturday, July 2nd to perform at the FLORIDA BLUES CELEBRATION for the Florida Museum of History. Other blues notables who will be playing at the festival include SARASOTA SLIM and blues harpist T.C. CARR. This promises to be a memorable event.
Well, our supply of motel soap is dwindling, so it must be time to tour again. The Summer tour will begin the last week of July and will run through August 25th. Our DATES page lists the gigs booked so far, but check it for updates to see when we’ll be in your area. Come on out to a show or two- we’d love to see ya!
As always, much thanks to those of you who come out to the shows and buy CDs- you keep us going and inspired!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Another year is coming to a close, but this Autumn has been an exciting one for us. Liz & I flew to Ohio the week of Halloween to play for her niece’s wedding in Lebanon, Ohio. So good to see all the relatives, and Alicia’s & Elijah’s wedding was great; our good friend and blues photographer, LES GRUSECK, took the photos, and we had a chance to visit Les, his wife Lilia, and their daughter Maya in Florence, Kentucky for a few days. On Monday, November 1st, Liz & I performed for Blues In The Schools in Cincinnati; thanks to TODD HEPBURN and The Cincy Blues Society for putting this together. We then split a gig with Cincy piano master RICKY NYE at Chez Nora in Covington, Kentucky on November 3rd before returning home to Florida.
Thanksgiving found us flying to Belgium where we performed at the BRUSSELS BOOGIE WOOGIE PIANO SUMMIT on November 27th. Liz & I shared the bill with RENAUD PATIGNY (Belgium’s “King of Boogie Woogie”), CHRISTOPH ROIS (Vienna, Austria), and CAROLINE DAHL (San Francisco) at Theatre St. Michel, a gorgeous old theatre with two Yamaha grand pianos onstage. The enthusiastic audience of 1,300+ received us well, and we also did a couple songs with Brussels blues harpist GENEVIEVE DARTEVELLE. You can view photos from the festival on our PHOTOS page. Many thanks to Renaud Patigny for having us perform!
Liz and I had a chance to sightsee in downtown Brussels (at the Grand Place) on Sunday and sample the fine waffles, chocolate, beer, and other Belgian cuisine before leaving on Monday. Brussels is an absolutely beautiful city, and we truly hated to leave.
Our sympathies go to fellow musician TOMMY McCOY on the sudden loss of his girlfriend, BRENDA. We also mourn the loss of 2 dear fan/friends: MORGAN CUMMINGS of Crystal River and just got word that singer/songwriter MIKE LOREN passed last night. It’s hard to lose friends our age & we’ll miss seeing them in the audience. Life is short and as Morgan said, “Keep the faith and seek the light.” We so appreciate every one of you & hope to see you often in 2005. Happy New Year!