Singing the blues: Blu Fusion hosts Sunday night jam

Blu Fusion's the gig and cool blues the aim as Ronnie and the Rock Bottom Blues Band, from left, guitarist Jerry honegger, Ron Setters, guitar and vocals, Dennis Portelo, fender basss and drummer Tiny Kahn begin their first set at Blu Fusion's Blues Jam.

Jenine C. Ouillette/Special to the Eagle

Blu Fusion's the gig and cool blues the aim as Ronnie and the Rock Bottom Blues Band, from left, guitarist Jerry honegger, Ron Setters, guitar and vocals, Dennis Portelo, fender basss and drummer Tiny Kahn begin their first set at Blu Fusion's Blues Jam.

The Islander Restaurant

1093 N. Collier Blvd., Marco

Did y’all hear that Marco Island was renamed N’awlins to boost its off-season economy? Nah, but the Blu Fusion Restaurant did bring “ da blues” to Marco on Sunday, when general manager Don Lewis invited the Everglades Blues Society to host its second Blues Jam on Marco in the restaurant. Ronnie and the Rock Bottom Blues Band was the featured host band with special guest Big Buck, lead singer for the Biscuit Boys and “Mississippi Sax” player extraordinaire brought blues fans — who were packing the bar and half of the dining room — to their feet when the band was belting out bygone blues songs.

“Welcome everybody to the House of Blues,” said Ronnie Setters, welcoming all fans and sundry musicians. “We love you and hope you love us back — so let’s get started with the mellow, groovy stuff.”

Did they ever! Ronnie Setters, on guitar and vocals, belted out that classic blues “Stormy Monday.” Accompanied by Jerry Honegger on guitar, Dennis Portelo on Fender bass and Tiny Kahn keeping pace on drums, Ron soulfully ended the song with “that’s why I got those Monday blues.”

That’s not all. For Blues fans and those who missed Sunday’s jam there’s good news.

“Right now, they’ll be back next Sunday at 8 p.m. and every other Sunday,” said Blu Fusion General Manager Don Lewis, when we spoke with him Monday. “We’ll see if it generates a lot of interest — if it does, I plan to turn it into a Bayou Blues Night with a special Cajun menu created by our Chef Robert Lord – but right now we’re in the planning stage.”

You should’a been there: when Buck asked “How ya doin momma?” Then segued into a soulful singing of “Seventh Son” and searing harmonica solos. Did I mention musicians call harmonicas blues harps and Mississippi sax? Your blues fan Eagle reporter thought it was more than awesome — especially into the second set when Ron Setters invited visiting players — like Todd Bartelstein (blues harp) and T-Bone Jones (Fender bass) to sit in.

Faithful fan Laura Spell, who was sharing our table with Joyce Brown, Todd and T-Bone, explained, “Nice thing about Ronnie’s gigs is that everybody gets a chance to play — professionals and even people in the audience if they have any kind of talent. Ronnie often has friends come play — it’s just magical!”

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Comments » 1

extra234 (Inactive) writes:

The blues band was great this past Sunday (5/24) but the waitress service was AWFUL. I'll just chalk it up to a bad night and will try Blu Fusion again but I know several other tables who were not with us will not be coming back.

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