Sunday, December 10, 2017
Features and More

Southern Hospitality brings informal air to Chasco Fiesta's Blues Masters Night

Last summer's Red, White and Blues Festival in Delray Beach was drawing to a close when Damon Fowler found himself jamming on stage with fiery South Florida guitarist J.P. Soars and raucous piano man Victor Wainwright. And there at Boston's on the Beach, amid the inviting guitar licks and pounding of the ivories, Southern Hospitality was born.

"When it came together, we were like, 'Man, this is really cool,' " said Fowler, the acclaimed blues slide guitarist, singer and songwriter from Brandon. Someone suggested the three bluesmen make a gig of it, and a few weeks later the trio played its first official show at the Heritage Music Blues Fest in West Virginia, one of the granddaddies of the blues circuit.

"We had never rehearsed," Fowler said. "We were going on right before Buddy Guy and Kenny Neal — it was huge. But it turned out great."

The accidental trio, which has performed more than a dozen times since then, takes the stage Thursday as the headliners of Chasco Fiesta's Blues Masters Night, which will be held in Sims Park in downtown New Port Richey. And, yes, Southern Hospitality is every bit the come-as-you-are, have-a-good-time musical bash the name suggests.

The group still doesn't practice: "Sometimes before the show we have a verbal rehearsal — we'll just say, 'Hey, why don't you extend this here,' or 'Maybe take this in a different direction,' " Fowler said. The last details are sorted out during the sound check.

The arrangement is equally informal off-stage, where all three performers continue to pursue their own musical projects and tour with their respective bands.

Still, Fowler said the trio expects to cut an album at some point and continue jamming as Southern Hospitality as long as the harmonies feel right.

"Luckily for us, all of us have been in a bunch of different situations, so there's not a lot of ego," Fowler said. "Victor plays a lot of boogie-woogie music that really lends itself greatly to what I do and what J.P. does. (J.P. is) like Michael Jordan on the guitar — he's an incredible guitar player. He does a lot of gypsy jazz sounding stuff."

And Fowler? "I just go up, I just pretend and smile."

Comments
Sting rocks the house with old and new hits in Florida Orchestra gala

Sting rocks the house with old and new hits in Florida Orchestra gala

ST. PETERSBURG — In some ways, the Florida Orchestra’s gala with Sting looked like other concerts of a mega-star. Most of the fans who packed the Mahaffey Theater bought their tickets the day they went on sale. They cheered and sang along at the open...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Dec. 11-17

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Dec. 11-17

Katy Perry: The Teenage Dream songstress roars into Tampa’s Amalie Arena on Friday ($45.75-$195.75). amaliearena.com. Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights begins Tuesday, bringing fun celebrations including Hanukkah in the City at the Sundial St. Petersb...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Top holiday events, parades, parties this weekend

Top holiday events, parades, parties this weekend

ParadesApollo Beach Lighted Boat ParadeThe Tampa Sailing Squadron hosts this event and the party afterward with a chili cook off. Good viewing available from the clubhouse and docks. Free. Tampa Sailing Squadron, 1250 Apollo Beach Blvd., Ruskin. (813...
Published: 12/08/17
Fun and profound Hanukkah celebrations around the Tampa Bay area

Fun and profound Hanukkah celebrations around the Tampa Bay area

It’s time to observe the Festival of Lights, starting at sunset Tuesday and ending Dec. 20. Many congregations seem to be having a great time, because Hanukkah celebrations this year are hilarious. There’s a menorah made of fidget spinne...
Published: 12/08/17
From Hogwarts Castle to your home, digital projectors give a real light show

From Hogwarts Castle to your home, digital projectors give a real light show

At night, Hogwarts Castle is suddenly dusted with snow in steamy Florida. It’s not really snow, but light causing this trick of the eye. Projectors and sophisticated software then send ghosts across the castle towers. A turret spins and turns i...
Published: 12/08/17
Time to shine: Embrace this holiday season’s beauty trends

Time to shine: Embrace this holiday season’s beauty trends

The holiday season has officially arrived, bringing all the glitz and shine of twinkling lights and tinsel. It’s also bringing festive get-togethers, and whether they’re office parties or fancy soirees, the instinct is to look as shiny and bright as ...
Published: 12/08/17
Starbucks’ Christmas Tree Frappuccino tastes like broken promises and Thin Mints

Starbucks’ Christmas Tree Frappuccino tastes like broken promises and Thin Mints

You thought Starbucks was waging a war on Christmas when, in 2011, the company’s holiday cups featured nutcrackers that bore a coincidental resemblance to the Guy Fawkes mask, at the time a symbol of Occupy Wall Street. You thought Starbucks was taki...
Published: 12/08/17
Lightened Shepherd’s Pie comforting, quick

Lightened Shepherd’s Pie comforting, quick

When the weather gets cooler, we want to tuck into comfort food in our home. Doing a recipe makeover on a tasty-but-less-than-healthy dish is one of my favorite challenges. Today, I’m taking on a wintertime classic with my Lightened Shepherd’s Pie. T...
Published: 12/08/17
Green Salad With Pumpkin Vinaigrette celebrates holiday season

Green Salad With Pumpkin Vinaigrette celebrates holiday season

By MELISSA D’ARABIANSummer may officially be the season of green salads, but wintertime versions have advantages that make them worth exploring. The cooler weather seasonable greens are hearty and darker green, which makes them nutrient-rich. And, th...
Published: 12/08/17
Review: Amazon wants a key to your house. I did it. I regretted it.

Review: Amazon wants a key to your house. I did it. I regretted it.

I gave Amazon.com a key to go into my house and drop off packages when I’m not around. After two weeks, it turns out letting strangers in has been the least-troubling part of the experience.Once Amazon owned my door, I was the one locked into an all-...
Published: 12/08/17