Herald Tribune about Venice Blues Festival 2016

Fourth annual event is again being held at Maxine Barritt Park


Music just sounds a bit sweeter when played on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, making the fourth annual Venice Blues Festival an attractive option even for more casual fans of the blues.

The event once again brings a solid lineup of national stars and local standouts to the beachfront Maxine Barritt Park, with blues legend Lazy Lester and Grammy-winning musician and actor Chris Thomas King co-headlining.

There will be a wide variety of food and beverage vendors at the festival, which is a rain or shine event and will be moved to the community center in the case of stormy weather.

Here’s a look at the lineup:

Mike Imbasciani
11 a.m.-12 p.m.

Locally-based blues rocker is a guitarist and singer often billed as Mike Imbasciani & his BluezRockerz.

Lisa Ridings Band
12:15-1:15 p.m.

A regular act on the downtown Sarasota live music scene, the five-piece Lisa Ridings Band is best known for keeping people dancing with a winning mix of rock, blues and soul covers.

Doug Deming and The Jewel Tones
1:30-2:30 p.m.

Based in Bradenton but a serious player on the international blues scene, singer-guitarist Deming and his Jewel Tones recently returned from a tour of Europe. In 2012, the band released the full-length “What’s It Gonna Take” on the Vizztone label and it spent several months on Living Blues Charts Top 10 list and earned Doug Deming a Blues Blast Magazine Sean Costello Rising Star Award. Expect an ebullient set of jump blues, a style of music style that gained mainstream popularity in the 1940s and became hip again in the 1990s and, when done right, by the likes of the Jewel Tones, remains a joyous experience.

Chris Thomas King
2:45-4 p.m.

A singer, guitarist and Grammy-winner for his contributions to the mega-selling “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack (he covers Skip James’ “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” on track 6 of the mega-selling CD), King also plays Tommy Johnson, the crossroads character the Coen brothers based on Robert Johnson, in the 2000 film. King makes an appearance in the 2004 biopic “Ray,” too, playing bluesman Lowell Fulson. In recent years, King can be seen in the outstanding documentary “Legend of Lead Belly” that aired on Smithsonian Channel. As a real-life musician, King is a New Orleans blues singer, songwriter and guitarist whose music incorporates modern touches including pop, rock and hip-hop.

Lazy Lester
4:15- 6 p.m.

Born Leslie Johnson 83 years ago, Lazy Lester is a legendary harmonic player and singer-songwriter best known for his single “I’m A Lover Not A Fighter” (later covered by The Kinks), “Talk To You By Hand” (covered by Anson Funderburgh) and “Sugar Coated Love” (covered by the Fabulous Thunderbirds). “Blues fans worldwide prize his early singles on the Excello label that were recorded in Lake Charles, Louisiana,” reads Lester’s bio at Alligator Records. “From town to town, his fans are always bringing up his old Excello albums, 45s, and on occasion, a 78 for him to sign. Lester’s high-pitched harmonica and ‘lazy’ vocals are blues archetypes.”

Venice Blues Festival
10 a.m. (gates) Saturday; Maxine Barritt Park, 1800 Harbor Drive, S., Venice; $25 (advance) $30 (gate); 941-405-8071; veniceblues.com





Lazy Lester- the Last of his Generation

Listen to Lazy Lester on I Hear You Knockin’ and Sugar Coated Love and I am a Lover, Not a Fighter

Lazy Lester Interview, Courtesy American Routes, Real Audio

Lazy LesterThe last surviving member of the first generation swamp blues fraternity that includes Slim Harpo, Lightnin’ Slim and Lonesome Sundown, Lazy Lester has always been one of the best. Whether he’s playing his own killer cuts such as “Ponderosa Stomp,” “Patrol Wagon Blues,” “Out Of The Goodness Of My Heart,” “You’re Gonna Ruin Me Baby,” “The Same Thing Could Happen To You,” (or “Sugar Coated Love” or“I Hear You Knockin'” for that matter) or wailing through his all time favorite song-Al Ferrier’s “Blues Stop Knockin’ At My Door,” Lester brings the spirit of Crowley, Louisiana-and the (please pardon the term) MUSICAL GUMBO, there, I said it, of J.D. Miller’s genre-jumping recording sessions to life when he hits the stage. Ponderosa StompPossessing a head of hair that resembles Albert Einstein at his finest moment, a voice as warm as they come and a harp style injected with pure country twang, Lester simply epitomizes everything that’s great about the state of Louisiana: Lightnin’ Slim, Nathan Abshire, Rocket Morgan, Warren Storm, Joe Barry all of whose records he’s played on. It might have been harmonica, guitar, drums, wood blocks, cardboard boxes, even a Shetland pony saddlebut Lester used it to the best and most tasteful effect, giving Miller’s records that rhythmic edge of weird creative vision that made them so memorable.

Though known as a blues performer, to hear Lester play country-always his first love-is to stand at the crossroads of the magic that birthed rock ‘n roll in the very first place.


Venice HS Music benefits

2013 Venice Blues Festival Raises Money to Repair Sousaphones For Venice High School.

On April 28,2014 Venice High School received two Sousaphones that were refurbished with funds from Tervis Tumbler
and the Venice Blues Festival-2013
venice HS_2013-01_200
Pictured L-R Kat Quast- Director of Venice MainStreet, Tim Graham -Vice President of Tervis Tumbler,  Bert Lynn,-Suncoast Blues Society, Tracy Ivey,-Vice President of Venice Main Street, Steve Arvey-Suncoast Blues Society, Jonathan Case- Director of bands, Venice High School, & Venice students,Ben Holmes, Kallyn O’Brien, Charlie Stone, Chris Galleone
The Venice Blues Festival led by Kat Quast and Steve Arvey teamed up with Tervis Tumbler and  Suncoast Blues Society to help Venice High School maintain and expand their music program..Last years focus was to help repair these very expensive Sousaphones…In 2014 we will continue to focus on the needs of the Venice areas music program(s).
One of the largest companies in the area Tervis Tumbler was so kind to lend support and help Venice High School repair these Sousaphones so students could continue to use these instruments in upcoming events.. 
The Suncoast Blues Society mission is to educate communities on the West Coast of Florida about Blues Music and help schools and learning centers expand.
“It is so important for students to learn about music theory and being a team player”, music has helped me so much in the corporate world and has helped me be a well rounded individual.. I applaud all the hard work that music director Jonathan Case has done at Venice High School… He has done a spectacular job with this program,,