Monday, September 23, 2013

From the Sarasota Suburbanite to The Delta Swamp Rats

Well, technically, I live in Bradenton, but I was thinking at one point of changing my "off the road" blog, "Millie's Girls" to Sarasota Suburbanite. I just liked the sound of it. We spend a LOT of time in Sarasota, and still do, even though we're off the road and living in Bradenton now....

Went to Ocean Blues a couple of nights ago...It was wonderful as always...They have a new chef, and the food is even more terrific than ever for bar food. We had "Meatball Lollipops" which isn't the greatest sounding name, but it was delicious! Delicious meatballs on buffalo mozzarella cheese with fresh basil on crostinis and shaved parmesan on top. Sorry for the blurry photo..need the new iPhone 5!

Steve Arvey, our favorite blues/jazz/ and miscellaneous anything and everything guitar player was there with Tony Smith, a fantastic harmonica player. The name of their group was the Delta Swamp Rats. Steve was playing a cigar box guitar. Cigar box guitars go back to the late 1880's. They were really made from cigar boxes and had fewer number of strings. Sort of the poor man's guitar back in the day. There's been a resurgence of cigar box guitars and a devoted following of musicians. Steve had a couple with him tonight.

Did you know you can call a harmonica player a harpist if you so choose? I did not know that. Tony was fantastic...He had FIFTEEN harmonicas on stage with him and they were all keyed to a certain note, so all he had to do was pick up the right one to play with Steve.

Together they made fantastic music, lots of Mississippi River/Delta blues or as Steve says...

a mixture of low down dirty blues of the 20's and 30's with modern Mississippi Delta Funk sounds. Cigar Box Screaming Slide Guitar with Big Tone Fat Sounding Harmonica mixed with a Heavy Drum Sound producing a unique sound that entrances people. 

Steve has a wonderful, chameleon like voice. His voice changes for the music that he plays. He's got some high ranges, man! He was the gravelly voiced blues singer this particular night....AWESOME! This duo is so great, they won a contest to represent the Suncoast Blues Society and are going to Memphis for the 2014 International Blues Challenge. We're excited for them!

We had a wonderful time chatting with musicians this evening, and getting to hear Steve and Tony at Ocean Blues was just icing on the cake.......


  1. What in the world is buffalo mozzarella cheese?

  2. We are looking forward to finally getting to Ocean Blues this winter! We did see Steve Harvey but the venue wasn't too great (smoky).

  3. Those meatball lolipops sure sound tasty.

  4. Looks like a good place to check out in Sarasota.

  5. You guys should be best friends by now ;) Those meatball lollipops sound good!

  6. my friends hubby makes those "Cigar Box Guitars". . .he stays pretty busy at it. . .would love to hear one played!