Friday Fest - Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones

Originally published by Martin Clear at Bradenton Herald

Blues lovers all across the country pay good money to see Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones play in crowded clubs. On Friday evening, you can see them for free.

The surroundings should be a lot more pleasant than your average blues bar, too. Deming and his crew will be playing outside of Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, just a few yards off Sarasota Bay.

It’s the first Friday Fest of the season at Van Wezel. The Friday Fest series offers monthly free concerts by some of the best area bands and musicians on the shores of Sarasota Bay

Deming lives in Bradenton, and he plays around this area a lot when he’s not on the road. But he’s never played a Friday Fest before now.

“Never have,” he said. “This is my first time and I’m looking forward to it.”

Deming was the 2013 recipient of the Blues Blast Music Awards’ Sean Costello Rising Star Award, and he has toured or recorded with a lot of the biggest names in blues, including Kim Wilson, Gary Primich, Lazy Lester, Alberta Adams, A.C. Reed and Johnny “Yard Dog” Jones. Deming’s music combines traditional blues with West Coast and Texas swing, and early ’50s roots rock.

Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones have a new album ready for release this summer. The date hasn’t been set, Deming said, but the album’s title is “Complicated Mess.”

The Friday Fest audience is sure to hear some of the songs from the new album along with old favorites, Deming said.

The second Friday Fest of the season is scheduled for July 21 with Kettle of Fish, whose music blends blues, soul and funk with the energy of rock ‘n’ roll. Their repertoire includes everything from Hank Williams Jr. to Jimmy Hendrix, plus a lot of original songs.

On Aug. 25, the Jah Movement Reggae Band, widely regarded as one of the area’s best reggae outfits, plays Friday Fest. They’ll also be celebrating singer Shantel Norman’s birthday at the event. Jah Movement adds R&B soul and funk to their reggae, and the band is known for putting a new spin on familiar songs.

The last Friday Fest of 2017 features Reverend Barry & Funktastic Soul on Sept.15. The eight-piece funk and soul band with a four-piece horn section plays danceable hits from such artists as Earth Wind & Fire, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Kool & the Gang and James Brown.

The weather on summer evenings is likely to be either hot or rainy. On hot days, the bay breezes make the Friday Fest weather pleasant, especially as the sun starts to set. On rainy evenings, Friday Fest moves inside Van Wezel.

Details: 5 p.m. June 16, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Free. 941-953-3368,

Marty Clear: 941-708-7919, @martinclear

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