Sunday, February 10, 2013

Gettin' down with the blues on a Saturday afternoon

February 9, 2013
North Fort Myers, Florida
Seminole Campground

Another treasure we discovered in this area last year is the World Famous Buckingham Blues Bar. How’s that for the name of a funky looking back country bar. The owner, Tommy Lee Cook, a  blues musician himself, remodeled the place about ten years ago, and made it one of the best venues for blues music in Southwest Florida. He claims it is world famous as his patrons hail from countries all over the world.  Aside from blues jams and live music at least three nights a week, Tommy holds a monthly bluesfest on the two acres behind the bar which features two outdoor stages, a large fire pit, picnic tables, and a grassy knoll for blankets or lawn chairs.  Behind the stage area is a small fenced in area where Bucky the beer drinking mule resides.

We made plans to meet another RVing couple there whom we met last year in Bradenton. Jean and Dave arrived before us and managed to score a great seat under cover from the sun near the stage.  The weather was perfect for an outdoor event—about 75 degrees with occasional cloud cover and a gentle breeze which kept it from being too hot.  The entry fee for the show was $7.00 and parking is free in a grassy field next to the bar. They only serve beer and wine at the bar with a bottle of beer costing $3.00. They also had a grill going with burgers or hot dogs with beans and potato chips for $5.50. Pretty reasonable for the quality of the venue.

I never caught the name of the first band that played as a warm-up act to Tommy Lee Cook and the Boys of Buckingham.  It looked like they were the Boys of Buckingham, at least the lead singer played guitar in both shows.  He looked like quite a character himself—fit right in with the highly eclectic crowd ranging from bikers to upscale retirees.

Tommy Lee is kind of a renaissance man: a songwriter, musician, bar owner and restaurateur, young adult novelist, and international crossword competitor.  You could tell he really loves performing and seeing his audience have a great time. The show started at 1:00 and by about 3:00 there must have been close to 300 people enjoying Tommy’s big party.

I walked out back to pay Bucky the mule a visit and noticed what I thought were wood storks on the property behind the bar. Sure enough. It’s often surprising where special birds show up when you are least expecting them. It looks like the two on the left may be nearly grown babies of the stork on the right.

The second act, JP Soars and The Red Hots, started about 4:30, and the lead guitarist, JP Soars, was amazing. I learned he was a 2012 Blues Music Nominee and has quite a following in this area and Europe as well. Most of what we heard him play were original songs he wrote. He also plays a slide guitar but, sadly, we left before we had the chance to hear this part of his performance. 

It’s clear that the local blues lovers really appreciate what Tommy Lee Cook has brought to this country town of Buckingham—population 3742. Cook has also recently re-opened what used to be a landmark restaurant in this area called The Hut.  I heard Tuesday is Ladies Night and Karaoke there with ladies getting two free drinks of anything including call liquors. Sounds dangerous but fun! 

We enjoyed reconnecting with Dave and Jean, doing some people watching, and appreciating the talent on stage. What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Thanks Tommy!

The end. . . .

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you got spammed ;-(

    Sounds like you had a fun time at the blues bar ... with the bonus of seeing some wood stork. I came across some in the wild for the first time when we were staying at NS Mayport in December ... a nice surprise encounter.


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