Doug Deming is doing yard work around the pool on a recent weekday afternoon at the Bradenton home he shares with wife Claudia. It’s hot outside. Hot for anyone, but especially hot for this Detroit native who has only been in Florida since 2010. But the grounds need upkeep and it’s rare for Deming to have much time for anything but traveling and performing these days.
“We’ve been really, really busy,” he says, slightly out of breath, “ever since June, right through August.”
The singer, guitarist, songwriter and bandleader of the jump blues group Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones estimates he spent 75 days on the road this summer “in just about every state east of the Mississippi River, and a few to the west.” Deming’s band specializes in a joyous, highly danceable style of the blues that flourished in the 1940s and became fashionable for a short while in the 1990s during the swing revival.
Deming will bring his jump blues back to some of the area’s top roots music venues starting today with a gig at Ocean Blues in Sarasota. On Friday, it’s The Ale & The Witch in St. Petersburg followed by The Blue Rooster in Sarasota on Saturday. Deming’s weekend will conclude with a Sunday show at Flounders Restaurant and Tiki Bar.
Bassist Andrew Gohman, drummer Devin Neel and harmonica player Madison Slim are Deming’s backing unit. On the road, harmonica player and VizzTone label mate Dennis Gruenling joins the Jewel Tones. They form a mighty force on stage, easily heating up small clubs and also thrilling seas of people at festivals.
“I formed my first group at age 21 and did my absolute best to try and do what I do now – the vision hasn’t changed,” Deming says, with a laugh. “It’s the same band with new guys and me trying to do the same darn thing.”
The demand for Deming’s band skyrocketed following the release of his Vizztone Label debut “What’s it Gonna Take.” The CD, which features Deming originals and a pair of relatively obscure covers, came out last October and spent two months in the Top 10 of Living Blues Magazine’s radio chart. Each song sounds like it would fit perfect on the soundtrack for a film set in the states just after World War II.
“With most everything I do, I go for that early, raw thing which stems from my love of traditional American music,” Deming says. “I just like writing in the style that really turned me on from the get go.”
Home to numerous high-profile blues artists, VizzTone was cofounded by guitarist, songwriter and singer Bob Margolin, who also serves as chief of A&R. A sideman for blues legend Muddy Waters from 1973 to 1980, Margolin has been releasing acclaimed solo albums pretty much ever since.
“It’s a great honor to be part of the VizzTone label group and work with Bob; I never met him until this situation, just never had the opportunity,” says the 43-year-old Deming. “He’s been so supportive and complimentary.”
The “Blues Bar Buzz” series, which promotes the Bradenton Blues Festival taking place Dec. 7 at Riverwalk and features acts on the lineup, starts with Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones’ show Saturday at the Blue Rooster in Sarasota. Festival tickets will be available for a $5 discount and festival hats, t-shirts and limited-edition posters will be for sale. In addition, raffles will take place between sets for general admission tickets and hats and t-shirts. A signed, limited-edition 2012 festival poster by Mary GrandPré will also be raffled off.
Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones
8 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 12); Ocean Blues, 1936 Hillview St., Sarasota; 366-3010; oceanblues.net.
9 p.m. Friday; The Ale & The Witch, 111 2nd Ave. NE, St. Petersburg; (727) 821-2533; thealeandthewitch.com
8:30 p.m. Saturday; The Blue Rooster, 1525 4th St., Sarasota; 388-7539; blueroostersrq.com
6 p.m. Sunday; Flounders Restaurant and Tiki Bar, 1975 Beach Road, Englewood; 460-8280; floundersonthebeach.com