Monday, November 7, 2011

REVIEW/PHOTOS: Sarasota Blues Fest

Ryan Shaw at Blues Fest. Photo by Caroline Sansone.
Thousands attended the Sarasota Blues Fest Saturday for a beautiful day of diverse, movingly performed roots music.

Los Lobos closed the evening with a set that ranged from Mexican-flavored originals off their latest great record "Tin Can Trust" to a terrific Allman Brothers Band-style rendition of "On Way Out."

Ryan Shaw, who performed just before Los Lobos, proved my personal favorite. He's a 30-year-old with two Garmmy nomination to his credit who  brilliantly updates vintage soul. His set opened with a stirring rendition of Jimmy Cliff's reggae classic "Many Rivers to Cross" and never lost momentum.

Shaw completely reworked The Beatles' "Yesterday" into R&B gold and honored Michael Jackson with an emotive rendition of "Man in the Mirror." The most special moment of the night, though, came when Shaw performed the soul standard "Try a Little Tenderness" famously recorded by Otis Redding with backing by Booker T. & the MG's featuring the legendary Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass.

Donal "Duck" Dunn with Ryan Shaw. Photo by Wade Tatangelo.

Dunn, who lives in Sarasota, and Shaw met backstage prior to the performance. Shaw gave a warm dedication to Dunn before bringing chills by channeling the spirit of Redding without aping him. Dunn grinned in approval.

Former Little Feat singer and longtime member of Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet band Shaun Murphy also elated the crowd with her powerhouse vocals when she performed around 4 p.m.

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