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

Damon Fowler, from left, Victor Wainwright and J.P. Soars continue to pursue their own musical projects and tour with their respective bands.

Southern Hospitality

Damon Fowler, from left, Victor Wainwright and J.P. Soars continue to pursue their own musical projects and tour with their respective bands.

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."

Chasco concert schedule

All Chasco Fiesta concerts will be at the Sims Park amphitheater in downtown New Port Richey.

This year's lineup:

Contemporary Christian Family Music Night: 6 to 10:30 p.m. today, featuring Dove Award-winning singer-songwriter Mark Schultz. Free.

Rock 'N' Roll Tribute in the Park: 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday, with Eagles tribute band 7 Bridges, Roadhouse Band, Circle Sky, and Franc Robert and the Boxcar Tourists. Free.

Classic Rock: 1 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday, with Doobie Brothers tribute band China Grove, plus the Sunset Rebels, Thee Guilty Pleasure Band and Time Bandits. Free.

Youth Music Showcase: 5 to 9 p.m. Monday, featuring performances by students from local schools. Free.

Bluegrass Music in the Park: 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday. Backwater with West Coast Bluegrass Boys. Free.

A Grateful Nation: 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday. Singer-songwriter Julie Black opens for Journey tribute band Odyssey Road in this free concert honoring the military, first responders and their families.

Blues Masters: 5:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday. Featuring Southern Hospitality, Steve Arvey and the Shawn Paige Blues Band. $5.

True Oldies Night: 6 to 11 p.m. March 30, with Jonathan Cortez, the Crests featuring Tommy Mara and special guest Joey Dee. $5.

Chasco Fiesta Country Concert: 5:45 p.m., March 31, with Little Texas, the LoCash Cowboys and the Desert Rain Band. Tickets at the gate are $15 general seating, $25 for Golden Square. Advance tickets are $10 general seating, $20 Golden Square. Purchase advance tickets at the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce, 5443 Main St., New Port Richey; at Synovus Bank locations; or at chascofiesta.com.

Southern Hospitality brings informal air to Chasco Fiesta's Blues Masters Night 03/22/12 [Last modified: Thursday, March 22, 2012 6:06pm]

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