Driving along S. Tamiami Trail with all my windows down the other day, I flipped on the radio, hit “seek” a few times (careful not to cross left of center), and stumbled onto 96.5, WSLR, a Sarasota Public Radio station.
A smoky female voice filled with the richness and gumption of the South almost made me miss a red light. Wow. At the end of the song, the D.J. described the voice as “a mix of lemon, molasses, gin, and gunpowder.” Another wow. And she was playing downtown at Fogartyville in a few days! Her name is Laney Jones.
After scoring seats for the show, my husband and I admired the Cuban art and photography in the modest venue that contains a fine sound system and a full bar.
When Jones took the stage with her band, Laney Jones and the Spirits, we were in awe of the talent. Although she credits Bob Dylan, Gillian Welch, and Wilco as her influences, her music is her own blend of Americana.
The Orlando Weekly described her voice as a “a thing that brims as much sweet innocence as it does rich craft.” To us it was hauntingly melodic and and strikingly current.
Jones grew up in rural Florida and plays banjo, ukulele, guitar, and harmonica. She and her bandmates belted out one original number after another — often about relationships, home life, and adventure on the road. As the packed house gave her a standing ovation, I was reminded of all the people I know who claim to have seen Jimi Hendrix or Patti Smith before they were “somebody.” I was thinking we have just done that! I can’t wait to see her again — although I suspect I will have to pay higher prices that those of Fogartyville.
The Sarasota Spectator
Our Sarasota Spectator is Betsy Miller, a retired high school teacher and college professor. Originally from Columbus, Betsy has fallen in love with the Gulf Coast of Florida, especially Sarasota. Blogging about the area has been a creative outlet for the writer, opening up an avenue of exploration. You may find the bon vivant enjoying happy hour at a tiki bar, shopping on historic Main Street, or seated at a concert or show at a local theater. Chances are you also might find her buried in a book on one of our beautiful beaches. Asked to give one word about her feelings for Sarasota, Betsy replied, “Smitten.”