In Louisiana, the word “lagniappe” connotes “a little something extra”, a small gift included with a purchase, or an added bonus.  At Gator By the Bay, we heartily embrace the lagniappe concept, and include lots of extra goodies in your enjoyment of the festival.  In addition to all the great music you’ll hear on our 5 stages, here are some “extras” that you don’t want to miss —all included in your ticket price ! Continue reading

Eating Your Way Through Gator By the Bay

If you think that Gator By the Bay is only about music and dancing, you’re missing out on one of the tastiest facets of the festival.  Gator By the Bay is also about fantastic food—and in particular the signature cuisine of Louisiana.

crawfish group Debra Bourgeois GBB 2012_IMG_3197

Everybody loves crawfish! credit: Debra Bourgeois

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Blue Largo: Swingin’ Blues (And a Special Guest!)

Guitarist Eric Lieberman and vocalist Alicia Aragon are the core of San Diego’s Blue Largo, specializing in hard swinging 1940’s / ’50’s jump blues in the vein of Louis Jordan, T-Bone Walker, Johnny Otis, Julia Lee, Ruth Brown, and Dinah Washington. They can also pay sincere tribute to the likes of Billie Holiday or The Nat King Cole Trio with equal conviction, .performing with an unshakeable passion that audiences immediately pick up on.

Joining Blue Largo will be a very special guest, (sorry, we can’t name him yet, but you’ll be as excited as we are!), a former San Diego Blues singer/songwriter icon whose original songs have been covered by such blues legends as Etta James, Solomon Burke, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Tom Jones. He has won four San Diego Music Awards and has released 14 albums. Figured it out yet?  Catch Blue Largo on Friday evening, and be prepared to be thrilled.

Bill Magee’s Got the Blues (and We Are Very Happy About It!)

Voted the “Best Blues Band in San Diego” by the San Diego Music Association, as well as by The Reader, The Bill Magee Blues Band is a perennial favorite of the San Diego blues scene.

Born in Mississippi, Magee, who was known then as “Willie” Magee was orphaned at 13 and went to live with his brother in Ithaca, NY, where, inspired by the likes of Muddy Waters, BB King and Elmore James, he bought his first guitar. Within a few years, he was nurturing his talents in the blues clubs of Harlem, where he met a budding guitarist who called himself Jimmy James.  The two formed a band, Jimmy James and the Flames, in 1963. By 1967, Jimmy James had changed his name to Jimi Hendrix and gone to England, and Magee took his new band, The Kansas City All-Stars on a tour of Europe.  After leading that band for almost 3 decades, performing with just about every living blues great, Bill Magee relocated to Southern California in the late 1980s and formed his current band in 1993.

Catch the Bill Magee Blues Band at Gator By the Bay on Sunday on the Festival Stage and see how good the blues can make you feel.



Carrying a Torch for Linnzi Zaorski

In New   Orleans, indie-jazz torch singer and songwriter Linnzi Zaorski has been an acclaimed presence on the neo-trad jazz scene of Frenchmen   Street since its very beginnings over a decade ago. Known for her cheeky lyrics, unique and refreshing phrasing, and retro style, she breathes new life classic depression-era swing tunes as well as rocking her original material.  It’s been said that Linnzi can transform a venue into a late night speak easy with her coy, after-hours charm.

Linnzi has released 5 albums since 2002 and in 2006 her music and career were featured on NPR’ s “ All Things Considered” in a story by Andrei Codrescu.

Here’s what others have said about Ms Zaorski:

“ Linnzi is the Ninth Ward’ s torchiest torch singer, evoking the lost,
romantic days when men were men and women were dames in seamed stockings
and stiletto heels.” —Offbeat Magazine

“ Most of the current female jazz vocalists sing with an airy-prettiness, but Zaorski sings
like the brassy, sassy broads of yesteryear.” —-ZeeGig San Diego

Gator By the Bay is most excited to bring Linnzi Zaorski to the Bourbon Street Supper Club on Friday Night and to the Bourbon Street Stage on Saturday afternoon.

Gator Gets Lucky with Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums

In case you haven’t noticed (been sleeping under a rock, have you?) there has been a huge revival in swing music in recent years, and Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums, featuring Miss Carmen Getit, have been at the forefront, performing jump blues, swing, jazz and rare gems inspired by the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s in their own inimitable style.

At their best before a live audience—especially a live dancing audience!—the band brings an intense energy and sheer personal magnetism to the stage, exercising wit in a continuous battle of the sexes played out by husband and wife Lucky and Getit.

Raised in the Detroit area, Steve Lucky started playing piano at age eight and was playing and singing professionally by the time he was thirteen. In the 80’s, while a student in Ann Arobr, Lucky founded his own blues/swing band, which enjoyed huge popularity on the Midwest college circuit, and after moving to NYC in 1987 to play keyboards for Grammy award-winning guitarist and vocalist Johnny Clyde Copeland he became very active in the Greenwich Village music scene, and performed with a diverse group of musicians such as Joan Osborne and Blues Traveller.

In 1993, Steve Lucky moved to San Francisco and started The Rhumba Bums, and the band really started taking off in ‘94 with the addition of Miss Carmen Getit on vocals and guitar.

Carmen’s powerful vocals call to mind the influences of her idols Ruth Brown, Etta James, and Dinah Washington.  She began plucking out melodies on the piano before she learned to read, and at age ten Carmen began singing and playing acoustic guitar with a group of girl guitarists at her local church. Over fifteen years later Steve Lucky bought her an electric guitar and turned her on to early blues and jazz. She has performed and recorded with Elvin Bishop, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, and piano blues legend Pinetop Perkinsand is featured in productions like “Queens of Boogie Woogie”, “Women In Blues” and “Divas of the Blues”.

Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums, featuring Miss Carmen Getit will play on the Bourbon Street Stage on Saturday afternoon, and Steve Lucky will join Sue Palmer and Deanna Bogart on Sunday in a Six-Hand Boogie Woogie Piano Extravaganza, while Carmen Getit will also appear with Sue Palmer’s Ladies Shoes Blues Review on Saturday afternoon on the Mardi Gras Stage.

For a taste of the exciting talent and energy that is Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums, featuring Miss Carmen Getit, check out this video!

“Johnny V” Vernazza—With a Little Help From His Friends

Multiple Gold recording artist Johnny Vernazza’s blues and slide guitar history is right out of the dynamic San Francisco Bay Area scene of the 1960s, a hotbed of fantastic music, especially the West Coast and Southern Blues genres.  Playing with such greats as Luther Tucker and Sunnyland Slim, Johnny V was asked by Elvin Bishop to join a new band he was putting together, and this association led to six albums, endless touring and the #3 song in the nation in 1974 : “Fooled Around and Fell in Love“. That record turned Gold as did an LP with The Marshall Tucker Band that featured Johnny and Elvin on slide guitar.

These days, San Diego is fortunate to call Johnny V one of our own, playing with his own band as well as appearing with numerous visiting greats.  He seems to know everyone worth knowing in the blues scene, and has put together some fantastic collaborations for Gator By the Bay in the past, appearing on our stages with Elvin Bishop, Maria Muldaur, Lazy Lester and others.  This year, The Johnny Vernazza Project, playing the Festival Stage on Saturday afternoon, will feature a one-time-only combination of  legendary “Southern Blues” talents from Johnny and his friends:  harmonica player Mark Hummel, slide guitarist Nick Gravenites, and saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist Deanna Bogart.  You can bet that Festival Stage will be rocking!!!!!

Deanna Bogart—One Saxxy Lady!!

Sometimes one instrument isn’t enough to do justice to the inherent talent of an outstanding musician.  Such is the case of pianist, saxophonist, vocalist and songwriter Deanna Bogart, an award-winning multi-instrumentalist and genre-defying musician. Among her many honors are three consecutive Blues Music Awards for Horn Instrumentalist of the Year— 2008, 2009, 2010— and Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year nominee in 2013.

Deanna combines the best of boogie-woogie, contemporary blues, country and jazz into a splendid blend she calls “blusion.”  Recognized for her dazzling keyboards, soulful saxophone, smoky vocals and cut-above songwriting, Deanna is a featured player in the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Revue, jamming with Tommy Castro, Magic Dick (founding member of the J. Geils Band), and other guitar slingers.

We’re thrilled that Deanna will be appearing at Gator By the Bay several times over the course of the weekend to adequately showcase her diverse talents. On Saturday, she’ll be playing the saxophone as a member of Sue Palmer’s Ladies Shoes Blues Review, after which she’ll be appearing alongside Mark Hummel, Nick Gravinitas and Johnny V with the Johnny Vernazza Project. On Sunday, Deanna will be getting into boogie woogie mode in a six hand piano extravaganza with Sue Palmer and Steve Lucky.  Three opportunities to check her out—and you won’t want to miss any of them!


Tab Benoit Comes to Gator By the Bay!

tab-benoit-2Now in it’s 13th year, Gator By the Bay continues to be the West Coast’s largest Cajun, Zydeco, and Blues music festival, delighting over 17,000 attendees on the 2nd weekend of May, every year.

This year, the good times of Gator By the Bay expand to 4 days, with the addition of a festival kick-off, Thursday Night Blues Extravaganza featuring Louisiana guitar legend Tab Benoit on May 8,  under the Festival Stage tent at 6:30 PM.

Benoit, who has chocked up three Grammy nominations, four Blues Music Award’s “Entertainer of the Year” titles, and has garnered five Contemporary Male Blues Music Awards, consistently plays to sold-out crowds. A founding member and driving force of Voice of the Wetlands, an organization of musicians, filmmakers and conservationists dedicated to preserving Louisiana’s endangered wetlands, Tab Benoit is the real deal— a masterful musician and a true son of the Louisiana bayou.

Seating is limited and this concert WILL sell out! Don’t wait—order tickets here:

Triple Blues

Whitney Shay Robin Henkel and Billy WatsonGator By The Bay is proud to announce a special trio performance for our 2013 attendees by Blues artists Whitney Shay, Robin Henkel and Billy Watson.  All three artists whom are well established in their own groups will come together on May 12, 2013 at 4:50 pm on the Bourbon Street Stage.  Blending their own special talents the trio will undoubtedly create a memorable show for Gator Lovers alike.

Vocalist Whitney Shay brings her spirited, sassy enthusiasm to the rich traditions of blues, jazz and R&B. Backed up by San Diego’s Robin Henkel Band with Billy Watson, it’s three band leaders all in the same group….some may even say a Music Trifecta.  Says Henkel, “Whitney and Billy are two of the most fun performers to play with. With his harmonica Billy brings a raw core sound to the rural blues and Whitney, shoot, when she hits the stage she delivers!  Don’t miss this for anything.”

For more updates on Gator By The Bay’s 2013 musical lineup as well as up-to-the-minute event news make sure to stay tuned to this channel.