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BlueStar Band Back at the Packinghouse in Sarasota with Real Deal Blues on August 26 

| Beth Hammer |

In June, Bluestar Band played at JR’s Old Packinghouse Café to a standing room only crowd, with folks waiting for tables, quite a feat in Florida’s off season.  Since then, the Sarasota County Department of Public Works has made life difficult for the Old Packinghouse.  Road closed signs have appeared near Bahia Vista, even though the road is open to the venue.  Attendance has dwindled, with only the faithful appearing for lunch or dinner.  Inflation has taken its toll, and JR has held to his prices.

Johnny Guitar began playing the blues, singing the blues, at a very young age. His songs and lyrics cut to the heart of what blues is all about. And when he sits down his guitar and picks up the microphone, walking into the audience, singing from his soul, people understand that. Johnny sings some old favorite rhythm and blues, but he mostly loves singing his own songs. Most talk about love, and folks treating their loved ones wrong. You may find him down on his knees, singing to his audience, any night.  Bluestar Band doesn’t consider itself a cover band, or a dance band, even though folks always dance to Johnny’s music. 

Bluestar Band brings you real-deal blues, with a lineup of true blues professionals. Johnny Guitar lives the blues, from top to bottom. And he’ll arrive polished, dressed like a bluesman (never in cutoffs and jeans!) Johnny has been playing the blues for most of his life, in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and other cities on Florida’s west coast.

Oren “Doc” Plous has an exceptional career as a retinal surgeon, but “Doc” makes the keyboards sing when he plays with Bluestar. Usually seen between two keyboards (and sometimes one of his Hammond B3’s) his ability to add content to the band is truly amazing. It’s no wonder Oren is a favorite for Soul Bluesman Johnny Rawls, joining him to play for festivals around the country and abroad.

Kevin O’Connor was born to play the blues. When he lived in Chicago, he played with west side blues legend Jimmy Dawkins and his bass player Cornelius Boyson from the Howlin’ Wolf band of the ’60s and also Wolfs’ drummer Ray Scott. He played festivals as a hot shot young guitarist and jammed with the locals including Jumping Willie at Joetta’s New Look Bar on the west side, Lefty Diz, and Jimmy Smith up on the north side.

Beth the Velvet Hammer is a blues bass player who also hosts a blues music show on WSLR Radio in Sarasota. Bluestar can provide a night of entertainment, at a level that won’t hurt your ears. And if you love the blues, you just can’t get any closer than this! Our drummer and saxophone player are always the best! When Bluestar first appeared on the scene at The Meadows Village Pub in Sarasota, the house was suddenly packed with blues lovers from around the area.

Bluestar opened for Janiva Magness when she performed at The Blue Rooster. They played a long-standing gig at the Sarasota Ritz Carlton on Saturday nights and performed at the Capitol Theater in Clearwater for a power boat celebration.  Come and enjoy the blues with us!

Some of the venues where BlueStar has Performed:

  • Aces
  • Blue Rooster
  • Bradenton Art Walk Festival
  • Bradenton Riverwalk Concert Series
  • Clearwater Capitol Theater
  • Cortez Clam Factory
  • Cottonmouth Southern Soul Kitchen
  • Five O’Clock Club
  • Fogartyville
  • JR’s Old Packinghouse Cafe
  • Meadows Village Pub
  • Ocean Blues
  • Polo Lounge
  • Ritz Carlton Sarasota
  • Sarasota/Manatee Chamber of Commerce Blues Night In The Park at The Crosley Estate
  • Two Brothers
  • Venice Centennial Park

The Blues started quite a while ago. Some folks borrowed from it. Some folks copied the blues. Some folks changed it up and called it JAZZ.

Authentic Blues is what folks are really looking for.

You can’t just sing the blues.

You can’t just play the blues.

You gotta live the blues.  Join Bluestar at the Packinghouse on August 26!

Photo from Beth Hammer

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