Bluesy rockers Southern Hospitality having a ball 

click to enlarge From left, Damon Fowler, Victor Wainwright and JP  Soars make up Southern Hospitality.
  • From left, Damon Fowler, Victor Wainwright and JP Soars make up Southern Hospitality.

For guitarists Damon Fowler and JP Soars and keyboardist Victor Wainwright, their blues-roots band Southern Hospitality came easy.

"I don't think we've ever had a rehearsal," says Florida-based Fowler, who, along with his bandmates, is a veteran musician with a thriving solo career.

Fowler says he's looking forward to the group's first appearance in The City this week, a stop on their tour promoting the 2013 CD "Easy Livin'" on the San Francisco-based Blind Pig Records label.

The guys, good friends now, first got together during an impromptu jam after each of their bands played at a 2011 Fourth of July blues festival in Del Ray Beach, Fla.

"We were hanging out and partying and jamming and the chemistry worked really well," says Fowler, 34.

It worked so well that they were asked to play a private event, and from that came a spot opening for Buddy Guy at the Heritage Music Blues Festival in Wheeling, W.Va.

Fowler, who has been playing gigs since he was 14 and began a professional career when Rick Derringer produced his first record when he was 18, enjoys the camaraderie and travel that come with the band.

He admits it also has made him a little lazy: "With two other frontmen, I only have to do one-third of the work," jokes Fowler, who plays six-string, lap-steel, dobro and slide guitars and has released two solo Blind Pig albums, "Sugar Shack" and "Devil Got His Way."

But Fowler also has been influenced by Soars — "JP is such a great guitar player. I feel myself woodshedding more" — and Wainwright, whose effect on each other can be heard on "Easy Livin'," produced by his old friend and award-winning blues great, Tab Benoit.

It's a timeless mix of tunes that pleases what Fowler calls a "broad range" of listeners — not just "older cats," but those who like blues, piano blues, roots and rock.

Though he's come a long way since he picked up a guitar at 10 and his uncle showed him some chords, and he took lessons from Eddie Wright ("just one of those guys you don't realize how good he is"), Fowler doesn't take his success making music for granted.

After a 2005 car accident in which he "lost" part of his arm and skull took him out of the business for a while, he says he has come back a better player.

As for his participation in Southern Hospitality, he says, "We hold this close to our heart. We have no future plans of not doing it. We're all friends. We all like doing it."

IF YOU GO

Southern Hospitality

Where: Biscuits and Blues, 401 Mason St., S.F.

When: 8 and 10 p.m. Wednesday

Tickets: $20

Contact: (415) 292-2583, www.biscuitsandblues.com

About The Author

Leslie Katz

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