Famed blues musician Bobby Rush.

Image: Bill Steber

Many of us have reason to sing the blues these days, but come December, we can leave it to the professionals when the Bradenton Blues Festival once again presents the annual blues jam—its 10th.

Organizers announced the dates and lineups for the 2021 festival recently, along with its location—a repeat of the 2020 venue of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ spring training home, LECOM Park. That became the destination this past December (a switch from Bradenton’s Riverwalk area) in order to allow for social distancing due to Covid-19. Returning to LECOM guarantees the fest can operate as safely as possible, given its bigger capacity and room for spacing patrons.

Headlining the Dec. 4 all-day fest will be Grammy winner Bobby Rush, whose latest records include Rawer Than Raw and Porcupine Meat. He was featured in Martin Scorsese’s The Blues series in 2003 and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2006.

He’ll be preceded onstage at the festival by Montreal singer Dawn Tyler Watson, soul-blues singer Terrie Odabi, saxophonist/songwriter Jimmie Carpenter, and fellow musicians Bernard Allison and James Armstrong.

Singer Dawn Tyler Watson.

As per tradition, there will also be blues in the air on Dec. 3, coming from Cece Teneal and Soul Kamotion, Johnny Rawls and Doug MacLeod, along with a Blues Brunch set for Sunday, Dec. 5, featuring Sarasota musician Ariella.

Saxophonist Jimmy Carpenter.

Tickets go on sale May 1, and they tend to sell fast. So check it out at bradentonbluesfestival.org. The festival weekend is produced by Realize Bradenton.

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