It wasn’t too long ago that Bradenton, and teenage girls across the country, were gripped by Woolf Mania. Sam Woolf, an ineffably likeable teenager from Bradenton, reached the finals of the 13th season of “American Idol” in 2014. All of Bradenton cheered him on with weekly “Idol”-watching parties and through social media. His followers dubbed themselves the Woolfpack and Woolf became America’s teen heartthrob du jour.
In the two years and change since he finished fifth on “American Idol,” Woolf has released an EP and a single, attended Berklee College of Music in Boston and (according to Del Couch of the Del Couch Music Education Foundation, where Woolf studied) dropped out after a year and played some concerts with fellow “Idol” alum Phillip Phillips. Woolf has also performed, since his “American Idol” days, with the Doobie Brothers, We the Kings, Alex Preston (his buddy from “Idol” who outlasted Woolf by two weeks) and the Como Brothers Band.
On Wednesday, Woolf, who’s now 20 years old, will be back in the Bradenton area, playing a solo show at the Blue Rooster in Sarasota.
Woolf’s debut EP, “Pretend,” came out two years ago this month and reached No. 9 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, which is devoted to new or emerging artists. He’s also released several singles, including “Stop Thinking About It,” which came out in September with an accompanying video. He has new music scheduled for release in 2017.