Double Door Inn
218 E Independence Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28204
9:00 p.m. Thursday, May 16, 2013
$10 in Advance/
$10 @ the Door/
$2 Underage Fee/
Doors @ 8PM/
Show @ 9PM The South has long been known for its hospitality and down home music. Recently the region has seen the emergence of a musical group of young musicians who are masters of their craft and embody the soul and spirit of Dixie. Or as Blues Revue said, "There's a new entity in the blues world, a diverse, powerful group with enormous potential."
The Band creating all the buzz, called Southern Hospitality, is comprised of lap steel guitar master Damon Fowler, guitarist extraordinaire JP Soars, and keyboard wizard Victor Wainwright.
Their debut release on Blind Pig Records, Easy Livin’, promises to be one of the most exciting CDs of 2013. The album was produced by Tab Benoit, winner of three Blues Music Awards this past year (including the prestigious "B.B. King Entertainer of the Year"), who said, “Damon, Victor, and JP are the future of roots music."
The three artists are musician's musicians, each bringing a unique style and fresh translation of the great Southern soul, blues, and rock music that came before them. Together, their mutual chemistry, high energy and musical talents create a cohesive vision, with echoes of Muscle Shoals and Macon, that organically flows together into an entirely original and dynamic form of Americana and Southern soul roots music with a modern sensibility.
DAMON FOWLER is a master of the six string, slide guitar, lap steel and Dobro who's been compared to Johnny Winter and Jeff Beck, while his slide guitar has a hint of the late Duane Allman. With an uncanny ability to make all the flavors of American roots music uniquely his own, combined with his remarkable songwriting skills and vocal expressiveness, he has crafted a compelling hybrid style of roots rock, blues, and lap steel.
Born and raised in Brandon, Florida, Damon Fowler first picked up the guitar at the age of twelve, quickly developing an affinity for the instrument. A natural, in the ensuing years he became a master of the six string guitar, while developing a powerful command of the lap-steel, dobro, and slide guitars as well. He also fell in love with the blues, and he was soon gigging regularly in small clubs in the Tampa Bay area.
In 1999 he recorded his first album, produced by Rick Derringer. He subsequently self-released two other albums, with all three earning accolades from blues critics. In 2008's "Best of Tampa" poll, Creative Loafing magazine named him "Best Guitarist... And Slide Guitarist... and Lap Steel Player... And Dobro Player."
In 2009 he released his Blind Pig debut, Sugar Shack, prompting the Chicago Sun-Times to proclaim, "Make way for the next big-time guitar slinger,” while Billboard observed, “He's a formidable slide guitar player.”
On his next Blind Pig release, 2011’s Devil Got His Way, Damon fulfilled the tremendous potential that his acclaimed debut promised. Guitar Player called him, "One of the swampiest guitar pickers to emerge from the humid Southeast since Lightnin' Slim and Tony Joe White.” Hittin’ the Note said, "Damon Fowler has become one soul-oozin', rock 'n' rollin', swamp stalkin' blue monster of a talent," while Living Blues summed it up simply, “He is a roots guitar guru in the making."
JP SOARS and his band won the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge in 2009 and he won the Albert King award as the best guitarist in the competition. A singer/songwriter and guitarist best known for his distinctive gypsy-swing jazz playing with plenty of rock potency, he was nominated last year for a Blues Music Award as the best "Contemporary Blues Male Artist."
Soars grew up in Arkansas and moved to South Florida in his teens. He met B.B. King at age 18, which sparked an interest in blues music. However, by the age of 20 he began performing in several extreme metal bands, one of which, Divine Empire, recorded four albums and toured Europe. His death metal period lasted for six years, during which time he never stopped enjoying and exploring the blues, much to the consternation of his bandmates.
He is a prolific songwriter, penning a number of tunes in his repertoire himself. His first CD, Back of My Mind, released in 2008, garnered rave reviews and received a considerable amount of airplay on XM Radio and other blues stations around the world. Soars' 2011 release, More Bees With Honey, was voted 2nd “coolest CD of the year” by Little Steven and his Underground Garage satellite radio show and was in the top 5 for weeks on BB King’s Bluesville XM radio show. Living Blues magazine called the album “a potent mixture of mostly original tunes by the multi-talented Soars…Soars’ talent is evident and his influences pure.” The U.K. publication Blues Matters! said, “Soars displays extraordinary maturity both in his song writing and guitar playing...a lot of promise for the future.” In 2012 he released As Live As It Gets, a duo album with much heralded guitarist Jimmy Thackery that was recorded on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise.
VICTOR WAINWRIGHT is known for his high-octane boogie piano, big soul sounds, powerhouse blues, roots rock 'n' roll, and a voice that recalls Dr. John and Leon Russell. He’s a raucous high-octane dynamic performer and a crowd pleaser with soul to spare. After earning what he calls a "double major in Boogie, a Ph.D. in Swing and a master's in Rhythm," he’s been making a name for himself in a big way. Victor is a 2013 Blues Music Award nominee for the coveted "Pinetop Perkins Piano Player" award.
Born and raised in a musical family in Savannah, Georgia, Wainwright moved to Daytona Beach, Florida to attend college, studying air traffic management. There he met rock n' roll aficionado Stephen Dees, a bass player who had previously worked with Hall and Oates, Foghat, Pat Tavers and Todd Rundgren. Dees agreed to produce and co-write what would become Wainwright's 2005 release, Piana from Savannah.
In 2007 the FAA transferred Victor to Memphis, where he worked as an air traffic controller for three years, while collaborating long distance with Dees on further recordings. In 2009 he released his second album, Beale Street To The Bayou, as Victor Wainwright and the WildRoots. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called it, "a fine mix of rootsy rock, bluesy blues and a little bit of lots of other music -- some sensitive, some raucous, all lots of fun...a very good album full of tasty original music from some excellent musicians who clearly feel their Southern roots.” Blues In Britain added, “a vibrant, entertaining album that comfortably straddles blues, funk, rock and jazz. It will be a hard act to follow.”
In 2011 Victor and the band released Lit Up!, which cemented his reputation as a rising blues star. Living Blues magazine said, “Every track is brilliant, a riotous, intoxicating run through all kinds of exciting blues territory… a sophisticated album where songwriting, performance, production, and pure talent come together just right. Don't miss it!”
SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY originated when Fowler, Soars and Wainwright, who were performing with their respective bands at a festival in Florida in July of 2011, decided on an impromptu jam together at a post festival party. After witnessing the performance, the South Florida Blues Society approached the trio about playing for the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Pre-Cruise Party.
Fowler had already been thinking about doing a project with other musicians and contacted his pal JP Soars. "I thought it was great idea as soon as Damon called," Soars said from his home in Boca Raton. "I had jammed with him a few times on stage and was totally excited because there was a natural chemistry that seems to happen whenever we play together."
The two guitar-slingers with the singular singing voices immediately decided they wanted pianist-frontman Wainwright to round out their aggregation. Soars added, "I had played with Wainwright before, as well, and he has a lot of soul, and we just feed off each other."
Dubbing themselves Southern Hospitality, the three musicians added bassist Chuck Riley from Fowler's band and Soars' drummer Chris Peet to the lineup and made their official debut opening for Buddy Guy in August 2011 at the Heritage Music Blues Fest in Wheeling, West Virginia.
Each frontman sang a couple tunes and the Band jammed them to a thunderous conclusion. Fowler said, "It was cool to have two guitars and piano, it really added to the overall texture." By the time the performance ended the crowd exploded with cheers and applause.
"We were all ecstatic about the reaction," Soars said. "I knew it would be good but not that good. The response was overwhelming. Walking around, people kept coming up and telling us how great it was. It felt good." "It was a super magical experience and excellent response right from the first number," Wainwright said. "That was something I've only experienced a few times after many years of playing. The reaction was amazing."
BluesWax said of the show, "Southern Hospitality, after a single gig, has significant players in the blues world taking notice. Fowler, Wainwright and Soars share much love for the songs of the South. The hot jazz and funk of New Orleans, classic country, gospel, soul, and blues that became rock 'n' roll in Memphis and went global by way of a trucker named Elvis."
Since then Southern Hospitality has performed at a handful of select dates and been generating even more buzz and a growing fan base. Fowler sees the association as not unlike the Traveling Wilburys, where each member brings his owns songs to the table, and then everybody works on them together, creating a vibrant collaboration of original American roots music. "We are representing the South," he said of the project. "We wanted to put together a package of where we're from that represents the music we grew up listening to and that we're making our own today." more >>>