Damon Fowler tours nationally, records for the highly respected label Blind Pig and his 2009 release “Sugar Shack” reached No. 12 on Billboard’s Top Blues Albums chart.
Fowler also happens to live on Bradenton Beach.
Since relocating about a year ago to Anna Maria Island from Brandon, the singer/songwriter and guitar hero has returned from the road to regularly deliver powerful performances to a packed house at Ace’s.
Billed as “Bradenton’s live music venue,” it’s where Fowler will debut his ambitious new webcast series “Sugar Shack Mondays,” which features a nationally-touring guest each week. I’ve known Fowler for the past decade and have gladly agreed to co-host the interview segment of the show.
“Last summer we were playing in Kentucky and the promoter did a webcast of our performance,” Fowler said. “I saw that it was well viewed and how cool and easy it could be.”
Boca Raton-based JP Soars and the Red Hots, the 2009 International Blues Challenge winner, is the special guest for the Jan. 3 premiere of “Sugar Shack Mondays.” The trio recently released the album “Back of My Mind.” Singer/guitarist Soars excels at everything from blues and jazz to rock and metal. Like Fowler, he’s an ace slide player as well.
“JP is a friend of mine, he has a great new record out and I thought he’d make for a nice fit,” Fowler said. “And it’s his birthday at midnight.”
“Sugar Shack Mondays” will be available for live viewing, among other places, on my blog Buzz Worthy, which can be found at www.bradenton.com/blogs.
Here’s how “Sugar Shack Mondays” works:
Fowler and I introduce Soars, who then plays with his band for about an hour.
Following the performance, I interview Soars, throw a few questions at my pal Fowler, and plug the upcoming webisode.
That’s when the webcast ends.
But not the event, which, incidentally, is free.
After the cameras are turned off, the Damon Fowler Group performs a few songs and then jams with Soars and perhaps some other musicians who have been invited in advance.
Mike Kach, Hammond B-3 organ player and vocalist for Dickey Betts & Great Southern, will be the next special guest on “Sugar Shack Mondays.” Kach has also performed with Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes, Rick Derringer, Charlie Daniels and toured nationally with Molly Hatchet. Kach leads his own band as well.
I’ve seen Kach with Betts crush while singing and playing organ on the Allman Brother’s Band favorite “Statesboro Blues.” Years ago, Fowler used to unleash a searing rendition of the ABB epic classic “Whipping Post.” Could we hear some Allman Brothers songs Jan. 10?
“That’s up to (Kach), but I’d be up for it, for sure” Fowler said.
The third installment of “Sugar Shack Mondays” features superb blues harmonica player Nitro with singer/guitarist Sarasota Slim. The next day, Jan. 18, Blind Pig releases Fowler’s album “Devil Got His Way.”
His strongest studio release to date, it features Fowler in outstanding voice and playing an array of tasteful guitar licks on a diverse collection of melodic roots rock, blues and country selections. In addition to the impressive Fowler originals, he delivers a tender reading of the Chuck Prophet ballad “After the Rain” and an equally stirring rendition of Leon Russell’s ode to the perils of performing, “Tight Rope.” Fowler and I (along with later help by Ed Wright) co-wrote the album’s playful honky tonk closer “Happy Hour,” which first took form at a Siesta Key after-party following the 2008 Sarasota Blues Festival.
So, what’s going to happen with “Sugar Shack Mondays” when Fowler returns to the road to promote “Devil Got His Way”?
“My good friend Wade Tatangelo will still host,” Fowler said. “There will still be bands but instead of the jam it will be the same deal.”
We failed to discuss this at a recent rehearsal taping.
Damon Fowler’s “Sugar Shack Mondays” with special guest JP Soars, 8 p.m. Jan. 3, Ace’s, 4343 Palma Sola Blvd., Bradenton. Admission: Free. Information: (941) 795-3886 or http://4aceslounge.com.
Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7057 and follow him on twitter @accentbradenton. Visit his blog, Buzz Worthy, at bradenton.com/blogs.