The Beat Goes On

SWFL’s live mu­sic scene from jazz to rock to coun­try to blues

Gulf & Main - - Special Edition - BY ANN MARIE O’PHEL AN Ann Marie O’Phelan is a South­west Florida res­i­dent and reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to TOTI Me­dia.

There’s noth­ing like jam­ming to rock ’n’ roll, kick­ing back with some blues, or toe-tap­ping with blue­grass. When it’s live, it’s even bet­ter. South­west Florida has a num­ber of live mu­sic venues that fit any­one’s musical tastes. Here’s a se­lec­tion.


The Al­liance for the Arts in Fort My­ers has sev­eral Sun­day af­ter­noon blue­grass con­certs on its sched­ule: De­cem­ber 16, Jan­uary 6 and Jan­uary 13. Mu­sic lovers can en­joy three hours, 2-5 p.m., of great live mu­sic by blue­grass bands, many from South­west Florida. The events are pre­sented in part­ner­ship with the Acous­tic Mu­sic So­ci­ety of SWFL (palm­ Tick­ets are avail­able on­line or via phone from the Al­liance for the Arts.


If you’re a blues lover, then you prob­a­bly al­ready know about Buck­ing­ham Blues Bar in Fort My­ers. The bar of­fers drinks, food and plenty of fun. “We have a num­ber of events, all of which can be found on our on­line cal­en­dar,” says Kent Turner of Buck­ing­ham Blues Bar. The bar will host the Back­yard Blues­fest on De­cem­ber 8, with a va­ri­ety of bands, in­clud­ing Tommy Lee Cook & The Hea­thens with Panache. (Cook is the founder of Buck­ing­ham Blues Bar.) The band is known for its South­ern-tinged Chicago blues sound. Want to check out other great places to hear live blues from mu­si­cians such as Mike Im­bas­ciani & his Bluez Rock­erz? Try Bert’s Bar & Grill in Mat­lacha, as well as Big Blue Brew­ing and the Tiki Hut Bar & Grill at the Dol­phin Key Re­sort—both in Cape Coral.


Out­side on the deck of Bert’s Bar & Grill in Mat­lacha, where pa­trons en­joy a mil­lion-dol­lar view of Mat­lacha Pass, Ca­lypso Magic plays the steel drum ev­ery af­ter­noon, ex­cept Mon­day. “Pa­trons love to sit back, lis­ten to the Caribbean mu­sic and en­joy their lunch and liq­uid re­fresh­ments while see­ing dol­phins, man­a­tees and beau­ti­ful birds,” says pro­pri­etor Bernard Johnson.


The lo­cal venues for coun­try mu­sic are mag­nets for fans who love to sing and dance along. At Cow­boy Up Saloon, lo­cated in down­town Fort My­ers, the at­mos­phere takes pa­trons back to days gone by and they al­ways have a good time. Red-

bone’s Bar & Grill and the Ranch Con­cert Hall & Saloon, both in Fort My­ers, are also popular spots for live coun­try mu­sic.


His­tory has it that jazz be­gan in New Or­leans in the late 1800s, when the times were joy­ous ones. While New Or­leans is the First City of Jazz, lovers of the genre don’t have to travel that far to en­joy the sound. A few great spots in the area in­vite you to kick back and lis­ten to the mu­sic. One is the Bar­rel Room at Twisted Vine Bistro in Fort My­ers—which also hosts a jazz brunch ev­ery Sun­day. Slate’s Side­door Jazz Club in Cape Coral presents jazz mu­si­cians through­out the week, and the Road­house Café in Fort My­ers pairs a fine din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with jazz.

Rock ’n’ Roll

Rock lovers head to the Bud­dha for some rous­ing mu­sic. The venue hosts events through­out the week, and its house band, A200, plays ev­ery Sun­day. An­other choice is Bubba’s Road­house & Saloon in Cape Coral. It presents bands such as the HipNau­ti­cals, playing 1950s-style rock.


For those who want to grab a mic and per­form, many lo­cal spots of­fer karaoke nights. Bubba’s Road­house & Saloon, An­thony’s on the BLVD in Cape Coral and Sharky’s Pizza Pub in Bonita Springs are all good places to try your luck with the crowd.

Bert’s Bar & Grill (two left pho­tos and far right) hosts live mu­sic ever y week, from ca­lypso to blues acts such as Mike Im­bas­cani; Buck­ing­ham Blues Bar fea­tures the Rex Bongo Band (sec­ond from right).

Blues artist Tommy Lee Cook is the owner of Buck­ing­ham Blues Bar.

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