May 09, 2007

Hope you all weathered the winter okay. Since our last newsletter, we’ve gotten through hurricane season here with NO HURRICANES! A major relief.

It’s now May, a typically busy month of gigs for us, with several noteworthy shows. On Saturday, May 12th, Liz & I will be performing at the COTEE RIVER BLUES FESTIVAL in New Port Richey, along with such notable bands as Lazy Boy & The Rockers, Angel For Blues, Corey Harris, and the Back Alley Blues Band. Also, we’ll be playing at the venerable FLORIDA FOLK FESTIVAL in Live Oak, Florida on May 25th-27th, our ninth year at this 55-year-old event. And last but not least, we’ll be celebrating Liz’s 50th Birthday at DAVE’S AQUALOUNGE in St. Pete on May 29th! So, if you can, come on out to Dave’s to celebrate Liz’s big day.

My son DREW SHAMBARGER weathered a major three-month health battle this winter when it was found that he had four brain lesions (due to an infection) which seriously impaired his vision. I’m thrilled to report that after three brain surgeries within a month and major I.V. antibiotics, Drew’s vision is back and he returned to work in mid-March.

Liz & I were very pleased with the half-page color feature in the November/December issue of TAMPA BAY MAGAZINE. Also, thanks to PETE GALLAGHER & KELLY GREEN for having us as their featured artists on their “Florida Folk” radio show on WMNF 88.5FM (Tampa) on November 9th.

Liz and I had several good visits with our friend ROY BOOK BINDER and his wife NANCY during his winter months off the road in St. Pete, and we thoroughly enjoyed Roy’s show at FOGARTYVILLE CAFE (Bradenton, FL) with PAUL GEREMIA in March. We also got to see two living legends this Spring, who happen to be two of our piano favorites: LITTLE RICHARD did a fantastic show at the Strawberry Festival (Plant City, FL) in March, and JERRY LEE LEWIS was in fine form at the Tampa Bay Blues Festival (St. Pete) on May 6th. “Lest we never forget our roots….”

On a sadder note, we were so sorry to hear that piano bluesman BIG JOE DUSKIN passed away last weekend. Big Joe was legendary on the Cincinnati blues scene and around the world, and we’ll really miss him.

Liz & I are gearing up for our next CD release, with plans to record it within the next year. We’ve been searching for a good studio with a good acoustic piano. The roster of songs (mostly original) for this studio album is pretty much together, and I’ve recently finished a new gospel song, “Throw Me A Line”, to add to the lineup. Liz & I are excited about it and anxious to get back into the studio.

Well, our stash of hotel soap is almost gone, which means we’re getting ready for our 2007 SUMMER TOUR. This year’s tour, beginning in early August, will take us to Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia, and will include, among others, the CINCY BLUES FESTIVAL (Cincinnati, OH), SAVANNAH BAR & GRILL (Cleveland, OH), and THE SLIPPERY NOODLE (Indianapolis, IN). We’re still adding dates to the tour, but you can check out the schedule on our DATES page for venues in your area. Also, if you know of any gigs which we should check out, please let us know by Email. I recently purchased a DEAN “PALOMINO” guitar, which I love and will be taking on the road with me this tour.

Well, that’s all for now. Liz & I hope to see you at a gig near you soon. Please keep supporting LIVE MUSIC whenever and wherever you can!

September 11, 2006

Our 2006 Summer Tour has come to a close as we returned home to St. Pete on Labor Day weekend. We started off our tour at the CINCY BLUES FEST (Cincinnati, OH) on July 29th, our 12th year there and always one of our favorite events of the year. Liz and I were thrilled to hang out with 93-year-old PINETOP PERKINS (Muddy Waters’ piano player), who received an Award, and also played on the Arches Piano Stage (see GALLERY photos). Also, our friend, BARRY MELLITZ, pleasantly surprised us when he showed up at the festival after driving all the way from Connecticut. Further, Liz’s nephew DAVID PENNOCK and his three young children whom we’d never met from Pensacola, Florida also surprised us there. After the Blues Fest, we went with a number of the piano players to ARNOLD’S, Cincy’s oldest bar, where Liz played an old trombone that was hanging on the wall with ROB RIO and RICKY NYE on an old upright piano.

The first week of August found us sharing a gig with Cincy piano great RICKY NYE at CHEZ NORA (Covington, KY). We then played at HOLDERBY’S LANDING in Huntington, WV on August 3rd- a beautiful stage and sound system on the Ohio River but sweltering heat. ALEX KENDALL, who played drums with us some in the 1990’s, came to the show- great to see him again.

Then on to Marietta, Ohio where we did two shows at MARIETTA BREWING COMPANY. Saw a lot of familiar faces there, and our old friend MICHAEL “MOON” MULLENS (Marietta’s mayor) stopped in. After our Marietta show on Saturday night, we met up with our friend and musician extraordinaire MIKE MORNINGSTAR at the Mountaineer Restaurant at 3am for a late-night breakfast and visit. You can check out Mike’s website on our LINKS page.

We did our annual show at the PARKERSBURG MOOSE LODGE on Wednesday, August 9th. This year, we were pleased and surprised to see our friend BOB PEARSON from St. Augustine, Florida. The last time we saw Bob was on the BLUES CRUISE to Cozumel, Mexico in 2001.

Liz and I then went to Lebanon, Ohio, where we did two shows at WILD BILL’S NEW AMERICAN GRILL (Aug. 11 & 12). A fun place with great food and a cool vibe. Liz’s sister MARY, husband PAT, & nieces all came out. Our friend and blues photographer LES GRUSECK, his wife LILYA, and daughter MAYA also came both nights at Wild Bill’s.

The following week, Liz & I played three gigs in the Columbus, Ohio area, all new to us. The first was at THE COPPER PENNY (Buckeye Lake) where we shared the stage with guitarist RIC BOALS and his band- a wild, fun place with lots of partying regulars. More surprise friends & fans at The Copper Penny: JUDY RADA & HARRIET from Florida with various family members; Liz’s relatives the GARRIS’ and sister TRISH & husband DON; and “MAMA BLUES” (Doc’s mom) and the NOBIS’ from New Philly, Ohio.

The following night, we played DONAHUE’S (Springfield, OH), a very cool blues club with appreciative owners and audience. T.C. BROWN, our old friend from Parkersburg, West Virginia surprised us here- we hadn’t seen him in years.

Saturday night found us at ROOP BROTHERS BAR in Delaware, Ohio. This nice club is owned by AL ROOP, a renowned drummer in the Columbus area with the WILLY POOCH BAND and others.

The final leg of the tour was in the Dover/New Philadelphia area of Ohio- my hometown. My son DREW and his wife MARY traveled from Maryland to visit with us and came to our shows at RASCAL’S (Dover, Ohio) and ATWOOD YACHT CLUB. This was our first appearance at Rascal’s, where our longtime friend ALAN STACY showed up. The AYC is our longest-running gig in the country!

We started heading home with our last tour date at SISTER’S COFFEE HOUSE (Princeton, West Virginia) on August 29th. DON BARKER showed up as usual and took us out to dinner after the show. A nice end to the road. Liz & I then holed up in a Motel 6 in Columbia, South Carolina to ride out Hurricane Ernesto until Friday, when we drove home under sunny skies to St. Pete.

Thanks so much to all the venues who booked us this tour, and special thanks to Dr. Leming & Dr. Cody and the Cincy Blues Society, and to Ric Boals & Ricky Nye for sharing their gigs with us; The Gruseck’s, Bookman’s, Benedik’s, and our moms for their hospitality and road accommodations. And special thanks to all of you who came out to the shows and bought albums. We hope that you all continue to support these fine venues and blues clubs so that we can return again next year.

March 08, 2006

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!

November 23, 2005

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!

September 05, 2005

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.