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Your weekend arts forecast: Grace Potter, Randall Bramblett

Bill DeYoung

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Grace Potter is at Jannus Live tonight (Thursday, Jan. 9). Photo: Fantasy Records.

“I love not having a genre to point at,” Grace Potter told me during an interview a couple of years ago. “I love not being one thing or another.”

Potter, who’s onstage tonight (Thursday, Jan. 9) at Jannus Live, is the sort of performer who can’t be pigeonholed – she’s a singer/songwriter, she’s a blues singer, she’s a country singer (just ask Kenny Chesney, whose duets with Potter were major hits), she’s a pop songstress and a gritty rock ‘n’ roll heartbreaker. And she’s really, really good at all of them.

After four albums out front of Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, the Vermont native took a solo turn in 2015 and hasn’t looked back.

In that 2012 interview, she described how Bonnie Raitt was her personal trailblazer. “She was the guideline for me and for a lot of young women coming up in the music industry,” Potter told me.

“I wanted to be Robert Plant. Or Mick Jagger. I didn’t think about the female side of it. I wasn’t really led by many females; I wasn’t attracted to as many females as I was attracted to males. I would watch footage of Mick Jagger humping the big inflatable penis and I was like, ‘OK, how do I make that my job? How can I be that guy?’ So I’m happy to have made it even a tenth as far as I expected to.”

From her earliest days, she explained, “I always had a death wish to be a star. When I was 4 years old I was singing The Little Mermaid and dreaming of the day when I could be in the spotlight. So there was always that ball of energy inside me, waiting to pop off and tell the world what I had to say.”

Tickets are here.

Rockin’ Randall

Randall Bramblett. Photo: New West Records.

Randall Bramblett, who brings his band to the Palladium Saturday, was a longtime member of Sea Level, the band that introduced a funky, jazzy swing to the otherwise guitar-based southern rock music of the 1970s (the band’s founder, pianist Chuck Leavell, was in the Brothers and Sisters-era Allman Brothers Band). Bramblett, in fact, was in Gregg Allman’s legendary Laid Back solo band.

Bramblett is a multi-instrumentalist – piano, guitar, sax and other stuff – and a soulful blues singer. In one capacity or another, he’s gigged or recorded with everyone from Widespread Panic and Gov’t Mule to Deep Purple, to Steve Winwood (he was the alto saxman in Winwood’s touring band for a breath-holding 16 years).

In the late ’80s, during a career-stall, he earned a Master’s degree in social work from for Georgia State University.

Does that ever come in handy, I asked him once, like when the drummer and the bass player are trying to kill each other?

“No, I don’t do therapy!” Bramblett laughed. “But it helps me to be able to talk sometimes, and listen sometimes, in a more healthy way. I think it’s helped us be a healthier group. I mean, they’re all great people and they’re easy to get along with. But sometimes just being able to talk about things, in a way that is not the regular ol’ arguing kind of thing, it’s very helpful.

“I didn’t do it (counseling) that long, because I ended up going out on the Winwood tour, but I got a lot of compassion for the human condition, I tell you. And I think a lot of my songs came out of that.”

Tickets for the Palladium show are here.

And now, this

St. Petersburg Opera Company artistic director Mark Sforzini and cast members from his upcoming production of Rigoletto introduce the Verdi classic with two talk-and-listen events: Today at 6 p.m., it’s Cocktails With the Maestro, downstairs at the Iberian Rooster; at 11 a.m. Friday, your Rigoletto primer is Mornings With the Maestro, in the Museum of Fine Arts’ Marley music room.

The small but dedicated staff of the Dunedin International Film Festival are doing it again. The second annual event dedicated to Florida-made films. kicked off Wednesday and continues through Jan. 14 downtown. There are screenings of shorts, music videos, documentaries and features on five screens: Soggy Bottom Brewing Co., BLUR Nightclub, Sea Sea Riders, Hob Brewing Company and Caledonia Brewing Co. Go here to see the schedule of screenings, panels, workshops and special events.

Yes, it’s Second Saturday ArtWalk weekend again. Visit approximately 40 St. Pete artist studios and galleries from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, including Florida CraftArt, where eight Tibetan monks are in residence through Sunday, constructing a colorful sand mandala (we wrote about it Thursday). The sponsoring St. Petersburg Arts Alliance runs a free trolley between the artist locations every Second Saturday; here’s the map and schedule.

The Florida Orchestra salutes the musical majesty of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, with jazz trumpeter and vocalist Byron Stripling as your guide. Lush Life is presented Friday night at the Straz Center, and at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater. Tickets and info here.

At 3 p.m. Sunday, the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum gives us a chamber music concert from five members of the TFO woodwinds section. Music by William Grant Still, Valerie Coleman, Astor Piazzolla and more. Admission is pay-what-you-can, with all proceeds going to the museum. Seating is limited.

Surely you’ve heard by now that Jim “Spiders & Snakes” Stafford is appearing at the Central Park Performing Arts Center in Largo Saturday. No? Read here.

Tampa’s Innovocative Theatre returns this weekend with the acclaimed post-Holocaust drama A Shayna Maidel, at Stageworks We’ll have more on the show, and the company, Friday in the Catalyst.

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