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:
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
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
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
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.
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