It’s not often that a legend comes to town, but thanks to Safety Harbor’s Todd Ramquist, Kiaralinda, and Heather Richardson of the Safety Harbor Art & Music Center, January and February are pulsing with incredible local and international talent, and yes, even a legend.
SHAMc is known for hosting incredible listening room concerts with big name artists. “We’re kind of Blues heavy this whole season,” says Ramquist who starts the concert lineup with Griffen House on January 11.
Griffin House’s (LEFT) new record Stories for a Rainy Day is a collection of 9 songs written during the pandemic and recorded in just 3 days. It’s being described as his most happy and upbeat yet. The opening track “The Mississippi Hippie” was originally written for a feature in Esquire magazine called “Somewhere in Mississippi” and was rediscovered and resurrected for this album, which was recorded by Tim Pannella using a stripped-down trio set up with Jersey based musicians Eric Novod on drums, Mark Masefield on keys, and House on guitars and vocals.
Griffin House in Concert Wednesday, January 11, 2023
There are plenty of other eclectic events at SHAMc, too, such as on the third Wednesday of the month, when Ed Derkevics hosts SHAMc Alive, an open mic where singers, songwriters, poets, comedians, dancers, magicians, and storytellers come to entertain.
SHAMc Alive Open Mic
January 18, February 15, 2023
Doors 6:30, mic 7:00 -9:00 p.m.
Free, donations appreciated
The next music event is Bobby Rush, the last living Blues legend. He won his first Grammy at 82,” Ramquist says.
After the release of his 22nd album Rush, Bobby Rush (LEFT) was awarded “Best Male Soul Blues Artist” at the Blues Music Awards. He also received “best acoustic artist” and “best acoustic album” for his album Raw. In 2006, Bobby Rush was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. He’s won numerous awards and recognition and he will perform to an intimate listening room audience at SHAMc on Thursday, January 26.
SHAMc favorite Selwin Birchwood will open for Rush. “He found out Bobby was playing and called to say he would love to open for him,” Ramquist says. “Selwin is 37 and Bobby just turned 89.”
Bobby Rush In Concert Doors 7:00, Show 7:30 p.m. Opening act: Selwyn Birchwood
On Friday, January 20, Alice Howe and Freebo (RIGHT) will bring more excitement to music lovers. Freebo is primarily known for his years performing with Bonnie Raitt. He has recorded five solo albums and has worked with legends such as Ringo Starr, Crosby Stills & Nash, John Hall, Aaron Neville, and many others. He is also the creative partner and producer for Alice Howe, who recently recorded a new album, Circumstance, at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
Alice Howe & Freebo in Concert Friday January 20, 2023 Doors 7:00, Show 7:30 p.m.
Prior to the concert, SHAMc is offering an incredible opportunity for singer songwriters and musicians through a workshop hosted by Freebo and Howe. Participants will gain specific tools and for songwriting, arranging, and performing, “all within the context of honoring your unique gifts and giving yourself permission to become the artist/musician you hope to become,” begins the workshop’s description.
It’s going to be small,” explains Ramquist. “The workshop is inexpensive and you also get a ticket for the concert for the price of the workshop.”
The highly popular Magic Giant (LEFT) returns to SHAMc for a rare acoustic performance on Saturday, January 21. “They’re going on the rock cruise out of Miami, so they’re doing this and then flying to Miami,” Ramquist says. “They recorded an acoustic album at Casa Loco right before Covid. That was the last time they played for us.”
On Sunday, January 22, a free literary event, Word Birds & Book Nerds will feature six Tampa Bay authors and two performance poets in a unique and entertaining setting from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Each author will read from their books and will be available for sales and signings. They will also each bring a unique raffle prize. Everyone who attends will receive a free raffle ticket and more will be available for sale with proceeds benefiting SHAMc’s ArtReach.
Then, that evening the incredible Dixon’s Violin (LEFT) will perform to an all-ages audience under the beautiful lights and oaks on SHAMc’s outdoor stage.
A former technology leader and symphony violinist, Dixon walked away from a distinguished career to follow his dream full-time, and invented a whole new music genre. Dixon now improvises on a 5-string electric violin with a looping system he developed to create an all-live one-man symphony, guided by his remarkable personal story of life transformation.”
Children 12 and under are free but please reserve seating by contacting [email protected]. Photo courtesy of Aaron Lighenfelter for editorial purposes only.
Dixon’s Violin in Concert Sunday January 22, 2023 Doors 6:00, Show 6:30 p.m.
But that’s not all! The Seth Walker Trio will visit SHAMc on Thursday, January 26. Walker is often cited as one of the most prolific contemporary Americana artists on the scene today. He’s a multi-dimensional talent who combines a gift for melody and lyric alongside a rich, Gospel-drenched, Southern-inflected voice with a true-blue knack for getting around on the guitar.
He is opening for the Mavericks at Ruth Eckert Hall and will play solo for us the following week,” says Ramquist.
Seth Walker Trio Thursday January 26, 2023 Doors 7:00, Show 7:30 p.m.
As January heads to a close, SHAMc will once again have the crowd up and out of their seats, jamming to Chicago based Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials who have been performing for over 30 years. Their big sound is fueled by Lil Ed’s deep Blues string bass and rollicking slide work topped with rich, soulful vocals.
Lil Ed and The Blues Imperials Friday January 27, 2023 Doors 7:00, Show 7:30 p.m.
The momentum continues in February with Walt Tales, a night of storytelling hosted by former Tampa Tribune columnist Walt Belcher. In this open mic-style monthly event, Walt and other seasoned storytellers will share true or tall tales and encourage audience members to tell a story if they are so inclined.
Storytelling Night with Walt Belcher
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Free, donations appreciated
If you’re looking for laughter, come to SHAMc’s first Comedy Night hosted by Robin Savage who will have you doubled over in your seat. You’ll continue laughing with Shenna Reagan, named Florida’s funniest female in 2018, and Clark Brooks, a regular at Side Splitters comedy clubs in Tampa and Wesley Chapel.
Come out on Sunday the 5th for a vocal harmony duo fifteen years in the making, Colorado based Moors & McCumber have done more than just endear themselves to fans, they’ve built a genuine community. Bridging the gap between classic folk rock and present-day Americana, they write heartfelt songs directly inspired by life’s experiences.
Moors and McCumber Sunday February 5, 2023 Doors 5:00, Show 5:30 p.m.
We’re pretty excited about Vanessa Collier. She’s coming on the 10th. She mainly plays big festivals,” Ramquist says. “So seeing her in Safety Harbor will be more of a personal experience.”
Vanessa Collier first picked up the saxophone at age 9. Today she spends much of her time on the road, performing at some of the most prestigious music festivals in the world. Her talents have taken her to the Blues Music Awards Show where, in the words of the Blues Foundation, Vanessa “blew the doors off the Blues Music Awards.”
We have some dynamic music and a busy couple of months,” says Ramquist. “And keep checking our calendar because we are always adding shows. We’re excited to share them.”
For more information on Safety Harbor Art & Music Center’s classes, children’s programs, community events, and concerts, head to the SHAMc website, Facebook, and Instagram.
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