Mariners to host Southwest Music Festival this weekend
By MARIANNE PATON
For an afternoon and evening of great food, music and shopping opportunities, islanders and visitors will want to mark their calendars for Saturday, Nov. 15, as the Matlacha Mariners present the ninth annual Southwest Florida Music Festival.
The gates will open at noon at the Pine island RV Resort, formerly the KOA on Stringfellow Road in St. James City, and early birds can get their fill of island cuisine before settling in for the nine-hour concert.
Serving up some of its specialities will be the Waterfront Restaurant in St. James City. The Waterfront will offer conch fritters, tuna ceviche, seafood gumbo and a surprise entree.
Moretti’s Seafood in Matlacha will provide crab cakes, shrimp, fish fingers and soup, and Big Papa’ will offer chicken tenders, coconut shrimp, steak on a stick and cheesy fries.
From Gulf Seafood, feast on fish/shrimp baskets, seafood gumbo, clams and smoked fish.
The Iron Horse Grill will feature meatball subs, sausage subs, burgers, hot dogs and red beans and rice, and Shamrock Johnson will be on hand with cooling Italian ice favorites.
While munching, attendees to the event can stroll around the arts and crafts vender area to find African butterfly hair clips, and items from Cigars for Soldiers, Creative Crafts-n-more, First Note Music, Island Decor and More, Karen’s Kreations, Century 21, Bay Area Remodelers, North Trail RV, Pine Island Community Church, Potent Herbs, United First Financial, Linda Koogler, Mystic Oak and Paradise Gardens, all of which offer a variety of goods and services.
Even with all of the craft and food vendors, the big draw, of course, will be the music.
Headling the show is the internationally known performer Julie Black. No stranger to Pine Island, Black has performed at both Bert’s Bar and Grill in Matlacha and the Tarpon Lodge in Pineland. An extremely talented performer, Black has been called the most exciting new female performer in the blues and jazz genres.
Doubling as a songwriter, Black incorporates the flavors of other musical genres in her songs to produce a unique sound of her own. Her first CD, “Angel for the Blues,” has received accolades from George Willett of Twelve Bar Rage/Suncoast Blues Society, Dave Nemeth of NBC Daytime and Blues Review Magazine, which wrote, “The players and arrangements are excellent and Black is a confident, expressive singer. Angel is beautiful.”
From New Orleans comes Bryan Lee, a three-time nominee for this year’s Best Male Artist, Best Blues Band and Best Contemporary Blues Album of the year for his CD, “Katrina Was Her Name.” He is known as one of the best blues men and is predicted to become a living legend.
From Alligator Recording will be Janiva Magness, the winner of the 2006-07 Blues Music Awards for Best Contemporary Female Artist of the Year. Magness also is a nominee for the 2008 Blues Music Award, B.B. King Entertainer of the Year. Hitting every note, she is said to give perfect performances every time she takes the stage.
Also performing will be Damon Fowler, who was recently signed on by Blind Pig Records which has labeled him at “a young guitar phenomenon.” He has shared the stage with many of today’s greats, including B.B. King, Barnard Allison, Bo Diddley, Bob Margolin, Buddy Guy, Chris Duarte, Coco Montoya, Edgar Winter, Greg Allman and many others. Compared to Johnny Winter and Jeff Beck, his slide guitar work has a hint of the late Duane Allman, playing fiery runs which makes him stand out among guitar players.
Those attending the Music Festival will want to stick around for the performance by Dean Chambers. Among his many accomplishments, in 1998, Chambers was asked to fill in as Hubert Sulin’s guitarist at the Bluesstock Festival in Memphis, Tenn. Hitting it off, Chambers and Sulin teamed up for the next four years. Still in his early 30s, Chambers is well on his way to stardom and a bright future in the music industry.
On the local front, taking the stage at the Southwest Music Festival again this year will be the ever popular Deb and the Dynamics. According to lead vocalist, Deb Salyer, “The blues finds you, you don’t find it. It’s like falling in love.”
Audiences have fallen in love with this band over the last several years because of the full bodied sound produced by its musicians and the powerful vocals of Salyer. It has been said of Salyer, that if you close your eyes you would swear you were listening to such legendary singers at Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin.
Deb and the Dynamic are often found on Thursday evenings at Bert’s Bar and Grill in Matlacha as well as many charitable events, most recently at the Pine Island Elementary Fishing Tournament and Derby.
Another local favorite to perform at the festival is the group Dogfish. Band founder TJ Brown is the heart and soul of the group and describes himself as the oldest 30-year-old on Pine Island. Playing not only cover songs but original blues compositions, Dogfish is among the island’s top acts and is considered to be one of the best upcoming bands in the area.
Tickets for the event will be $15 at the gate and kids 11 and under will be admitted for free with a paid adult. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Pine Island Elementary School music program and other island charities. Advanced tickets will remain on sale through Nov. 14 and are available at Bert’s Bar and Grill in Matlacha, Traders Hitching Post, the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce and Pine Bay Gallery and Gifts also in Matlacha, Island Cow Trading Company in St. James City, Rainbow Records in Cape Coral, Pine Island RV Resort in St. James CIty, Pioneer Village RV Resort on Fort Myers Beach, Gulf Air RV Resort also on Fort Myers Beach and Gulf View RV Resort in Punta Gorda.
Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets, chairs and sunscreen, however no coolers, carry in beverages or pets will be allowed. For more information about the Southwest Florida Music Festival visit matlachamariners.org.