If you go
BLUEGRASS AT FRED'S
Where: Fred’s Food, Fun and Spirits, 2700 Immokalee Road, Naples
When: 7 to 10 p.m. Aug. 19, Bugtussle Ramblers; 7 to 10 p.m. Aug. 26, Bean Pickers
Information: (239) 287-2035
CAMBIER PARK BANDSHELL BLUEGRASS
Where: 698 Sixth Ave. S., Naples
When and how much: 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 24, Shannon and Heather Slaughter & County Clare, $12; Oct. 28, Parmley & Continental Divide, $15 Information: (239) 213-3049 Norris Center bluegrass concerts Where: 755 Eighth Ave. S., Naples When: 7 p.m. all shows; Dec. 17 Beachley/Scott Band; Jan. 7, Bluegrass Parlor; Jan.14, Third Annual Cluster Pluckin’ (10 groups); Feb. 25, Greg Cahill & Special C; March 24, Ron Thomason & Dry Branch Fire Squad
Information: (239) 213-3058
The number of Neapolitan bluegrass fans is growing as folks realize there’s something fresh and friendly in all thapickin’ and strummin’.
Local musician Russ Morrison is doing his part to bring awareness of this feel-good art to Southwest Floridians this coming season. Via his Bluewater music series, formed to deliver a steady stream of the best pickers and bluegrass vocalists to area venues, Morrison says his goal is to create a new fan base.
“People who’ve never really heard bluegrass music are wowed by the sound. A lot of folks don’t know what the music is all about, but when they hear it they like it,” he said. “It’s a whole different world from country music. Bluegrass is very family oriented — we have grandmothers and bitty babies at the concerts, all nice people enjoying a wholesome family atmosphere.”
Morrison explained the songs are reflective, looking back at the past and longing for home with the focus on families. Although working as a financial adviser, Morrison performs with his own 4-yearold band, Frontline Bluegrass, as guitarist and vocalist.
“We just added David Estes, formerly of Monroe Station, on lead guitar and harmony vocals. Along with our other four vocalists, we are stretching our wings,” he declared.
Counting as his favorites Lou Reid & Carolina, the Lonesome River Band and David Parmly, Morrison has filled his iPod with a mix of hotshot pickers and songwriters such as the Boxcars. A Naples resident for the past 33 years, Morrison hails from Louisville, Ky. He also organizes and books bluegrass bands at concerts statewide through his Florida Fish Hook Tour project. Some of those concerts are scheduled at Cambier Park, the Norris Community Center and the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts, where on March 6 Morrison is bringing the Kruger Brothers, who grew up on European folk and now play internationally.
David Parmley’s Continental Divide will perform Oct. 28 at Cambier Park and on Jan. 28 and 29 at Sugden Park, the Bayshore Festival of the Arts will host a variety of artists, including nationally known Neapolitan Casey Weston. Morrison also schedules different bluegrass bands on Friday nights at Fred’s Fun, Food and Spirits in north Naples.
His band, Frontline Bluegrass, Scott Ritter’s Bean Pickers and the Saw Grass Drifters usually rotate each month.
He says he schedules a regional or nationally known bluegrass, acoustic or Americana group to perform here once a month.
Morrison’s own most memorable gig was a festival in Alva, Florida, where Morrison said his group performed between dream blue acts like Seldom Scene and Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys.
To learn more about local blugrass see www.facebook.com/russ.frontline