At la-a-a-ast … Starting in January, Florida will find a new and improved way to get the blues, as the inaugural Sunshine Blues Festival kicks off with a whirlwind, three-day jaunt with stops in Fort Myers (Jan. 18), Boca Raton’s Mizner Park Amphitheater (the 19th) and St. Petersburg on the 20th.
Headlining all three shows is the Tedeschi Trucks Band, the Grammy-winning husband-and-wife team featuring longtime guitar faves Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks (who was raised in the legendary Allman Brothers family and is now ranked at No. 16 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All-Time list, which is pretty flabbergasting considering the competition). They’ll take the stage in support of their 2011 CD “Revelator” - which Rolling Stone called “a masterpiece,” and which won a Grammy for “Best Blues Album” – and also this year’s double-live disc, “Everybody’s Talkin’, ” which chronicles the band’s fall tour last year.
Of course, three days of the blues will naturally require many more acts, and the Sunshine Fest more than delivers. Also on the bill are contemporary guitar legend Walter Trout, who has worked with Percy Mayfield (“Hit the Road Jack”), John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Canned Heat and John Lee Hooker; Louisiana slide-guitar wizard Sonny Landreth, who has recorded and toured with Jimmy Buffett; Allman Brothers drummer Jaimoe, who toured with Otis Redding and Sam & Dave, and his Jasssz Band; The Wood Brothers, featuring Chris from jazzy jam band Medeski, Martin & Wood and his well-known singer-songwriter brother Oliver; young artist Matt Schofield, who was named one of the “Top Ten British Blues Guitarists of All Time” in 2007 by Guitar & Bass Magazine; and multiple Grammy and Blues Music Award-winner Joe Louis Walker, who has performed with Thelonious Monk, Muddy Waters and Jimi Hendrix. Ahem.
Oh, wait – there’s also the one and only, funky New Orleans blues legend Dr. John (“Right Place Wrong Time”), who has won five Grammys and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.
Are you starting to get the idea that this joyous musical gathering means serious business, and is likely to become an annual celebration of the blues for years to come? Thought so.
Get your tickets starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at LiveNation.com ($49.50 for each day, all general admission) – and why not plan a road trip to hit all three stops? It’d be good for the soul.