by Joel Shover
Nestled on the banks of Lake Wailes Park, in beautiful old Florida city of Lake Wales, sits a hidden little secret that started over 8 years ago with a little barbeque smoke off, that has now turned into a must-see Music Festival for all ages!
Appropriately named The Orange Blossom Revue as it sits smack dab within the heart of Florida’s citrus groves with beautiful live oak trees with an abundance of Spanish moss hanging from the trees along a large lake, which made the setting that much more inviting! This two-day festival that offered camping as well, featured an assortment of food trucks that had something for everyone’s diets. There were plenty of drinks to go around as well, even a special Orange Blossom Beer for the occasion.
For the guests that chose the VIP option were not disappointed in the least. The VIP area featured its own fully staffed bar and professionally catered southern style food that was good enough to rival some Cajun spots I’ve had in Louisiana over the years. You didn’t have to wait in long lines a restroom because there were plenty of them and clean overall. There was plenty of easy access for all ADA fans in attendance as well. Staff and security were pleasant and informative throughout the weekend with any questions and needs.
The lineup for this year’s Orange Blossom Revue kicked off with Katie Pruitt as she showcased her elegant voice and guitar playing during her hour long set that included songs like “White Lies”, “My Mind’s a Ship (That’s Going Down), and “Merry Christmas Mary Jane”. Katie is based out of Nashville, TN and has been on the scene since 2020 with her debut album “Expectations” You can see Katie perform at her next scheduled date Feb 2nd 2023 at the Lincoln Theater in Raleigh, NC.
Neal Francis, a singer-songwriter-pianist, that was once dubbed “The reincarnation of Allen Toussaint” by Craig Charles, BBC Radio 6. Neal played a groovy 8 song set in over an hour that included “Changes (Parts 1 & 2)”, “Can’t Stop the Rain”, and “Sentimental Garbage”. Neal for sure got the crowd dancing and groovy with his 70’s smooth jazzy style! Treat yourself to a fun New Year’s Eve and check out Neal Francis at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver, CO.
Langhorne Slim a singer-songwriter from Pennsylvania really got into the crowd himself with his fantastic set. Promoting his 7th studio album titled “Strawberry Mansion”, an album that came to fruition through the pandemic. A true performer, Langhorne Slim really knew how to work the crowd by actually taking a stroll through the crowd while singing along and taking photo ops with fans screaming “I Love You”. New England fans and friends have 2 chances to check him out before the new year. December 29th 2022 at House of Blues, Boston, MA or December 30th 2022 at the State Theatre in Portland, ME.
Margo Price was the first night closer, and boy did she bring the heat! Margo has it all, Beauty, Sass, and Talent and she showed every one of those features during her curfew testing set, which was almost 2 hours long! I’m no politician but one thing sticks out that Margo said that night, it was “Country music radio won’t play me”. Well Margo that seems like it’s their loss and the rest of the world’s gain! Keep rocking out those songs and just call it great music! Hope to see you back next year for sure!
Laney Jones kicked off Saturday’s festivities with her sweet Mount Dora, Florida voice. Laney showed her multi-instrumental talents during what felt like the hottest part of the day! She pushed through the heat and brought even more with her folk like outlaw country “schwang”. Be sure to give her a listen there is a reason she has played EVERY Orange Blossom Revue to date! There are no upcoming tour dates for Laney at this time but keep checking as great things are in the works. @Laney-jones.com
Cat Ridgeway blessed the crowd with her local Orlando-style, sultry-soulful vocals while showcasing her multi-instrumental talents. Her 2020 release “Nice to Meet You” marked her debut as a fully independent artist to commercial radio. Cat is no stranger to the Florida music scene while playing notable gigs at The House of Blues Orlando, and the Okeechobee Music Fest as well here at the Orange Blossom Revue. Lookout Barry Manilow Cat Ridgeway is also very sought after to make commercial jingles. You never know where you’ll hear great music, do you? Check Cat Ridgeway out on Jan 6th 2023 @Stardust Video & Coffee in Orlando, FL.
John R. Miller added his West Virginian, pickin’-style songwriting to this beautiful festival as the crowd swayed and sang along. The sweet sounds of the fiddle from his band made the moment even more special. John’s influences in his style of music are J.J. Cale mixed with the swampy sounds of Bobby Charles crossed with a mix of Texas Gods like, Townes Van Zandt, Billy Joe Shaver, and Guy Clark. You can see John perform in Missouri, January 20th in St Louis and January 21st in Columbia.
Son Little performed a set that rocked the neighborhood for sure! The bass that the 3-man ensemble provided for the heated crowd at Orange Blossom Revue screamed through the Telefunken Microphones out the Marshall Stacks and into the Oaks and Bones of everything in sight! (I’m sure they felt it in Philadelphia too!!) This was the set that got everyone pumping! Old and young alike were dancing on the beautiful banks of Lake Wailes! Go check Son Little out right now!! Or buy your ticket for the Peach Fest in Scranton, PA June 29th -July 2nd, 2023 and see Son tear up “The Peach!” @SonLittle.com
Allison Russell The Canadian- Singer-songwriter/activist has 3 Grammy nominations and all the beauty and pizazz to go along with it! Her amazing vocals could be heard with each and every song performed with such passion amidst feeling. Allison has achieved so much success in addition to the 3 Grammy nominations, she has performed on stage @Farm Aid 2021 in Hartford, CT, Jimmy Kimmel Live, CBS This Morning Saturday, and The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. Beatles fans check Allison out in New York as she performs hits from Paul McCartney at Carnegie Hall on March 15th 2023 @Allisonrussellmusic.com
The Wood Brothers took the stage for the second time in as many years to Headline the Festival and gave the eager crowd EXACTLY what they came for. Chris and Oliver took their groovy style to some next level jams while dancing among the instruments, while performing hits like” Luckyest Man” and “Postcards from Hell” truly a sight for your ears and eyes as well. The trio with multi-instrumentalist, Jano Rix had the crowd dancing and rocking Check out the wood brothers New Years eve @Belly Up in Solana Beach, CA @Thewoodbros.com and be sure to buy you ticket now for next years Orange Blossom Revue here on December 1st,2nd, and 3rd, 2023 here:
Till The Next Show….Joel
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