The 2017 series opens with a tribute to the music of American singer songwriter James Taylor on Friday, April 14. The concert features the Don Davis Trio, which includes Don David (guitars/vocals), Mike Boulware (guitars/vocals) and Dino Campbell (congas/vocals). Joining the trio are Ron Thomas (bass/vocals), Rob Rothschild (drums), Brad Bangstad (keyboards), Jon Alexander (pedal steel), Cathy Dewitt (backing vocals) and Carolina Boulware (backing vocals). Just for this special tribute concert, the band is calling themselves The Sectional, a reference to Taylor’s band The Section. Boulware, who organized the tribute, as well as David, Thomas, Rothschild and Bangstad are also members of the popular Beatles tribute band, The Impostors.
James Taylor, is a five-time Grammy award winner and inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has sold more than 100 million records, making him one of the bestselling recording artists of all time. Boulware says, “I was given James Taylor’s first record on my 18th birthday – 1970 – and have loved his music ever since. I’ve always been drawn to the solo singer/songwriter, because you can’t fake that. The Don David Trio was originally conceived as a way for us, me, Don, and Dino, as well as Kevin Wilson, to get away with playing James’ material. He also inspired and informed my efforts at songwriting.” The band plans to start with Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James” album and follow somewhat chronologically through his career.
According to “Free Fridays” Event Coordinator David Ballard, “We have a great mix of returning old favorites and bands that are new to the series. We always try to present a diverse selection of musical styles, and this season we have music genres that include rock, blues, jazz, soul, reggae, R&B, pop, folk, ska, funk, country, punk, Latin fusion and adult contemporary all culminating with the world music extravaganza presented by the University of Florida School of Music ensembles.”
A popular trend over the last several years at “Free Fridays” has been musicians who put together band tributes especially for the concert series. In addition to the James Taylor tribute, new tributes for 2017 include the Grateful Dead, Curtis Mayfield and an Eric Clapton and J.J. Cale tribute that was rained out last season.