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Published:April 21st, 2006 03:20 EST
Southern Music in SEBASTIAN, FL

Southern Music in SEBASTIAN, FL

By Judyth Piazza CEO (Editor)

SEBASTIAN, FL - Ernie Southern, 57 and his wife of 5 year, Franni, 55 moved to Sebastian from Ft. Lauderdale in October of 2003.  The couple said, We decided to move to Sebastian to get away from the hectic environment that comes with living in a big city. " 

I just can`t believe how crazy the traffic is, Sebastian is so quite and peaceful, we love it here, " Southern said.

Southern is a singer, song writer and slide guitarist. He began his career as a New York street performer singing and recording with the well known do-wop accapella group Nick and the Knacks.  He said, At the age of 15 I was sneaking out of my bedroom window to do what I love the most in the world, sing.  Southern said he saved up his money that he made on the streets and purchased his first instrument at the age of 17, a guitar and at that point his career took on a life of its own.

He quickly developed his strong, charismatic stage performance while appearing at clubs such as the Black Cat as well as the Golden Slipper.  The Nick  and the Knacks soon became a favorite on the Lou Dean`s Bayshore Rock and Roll Shows in addition to having a spot on New York`s Zacharly " TV show that earned them an audition with Chess Records, which than offered the group a recording contract.

However as a result of the Vietnam War, the group decided to disband so all of them could serve their country.  Southern said that during his four years of working as a SPOK as a member of Naval Intelligence, aboard the carrier U.S.S. Enterprise.  According to, the U.S.S. Enterprise of World War II "The Fighting Gray Lady, as it was called, served in such well-known battles as the raid on Tokyo and the Battle of Midway.
He said he continued to study the blues, centering his focus on old masters such as Blind Lemon Jefferson and Lightning Hopkins, teaching himself to play the guitar, Delta style, incorporating a serious slide.

After mastering the guitar, Southern began playing bass in Jazz-Rock Fusion Bands in Berkeley, California.  Meanwhile, studying with the much respected Elvo Damante, and student of famous classical composer Darious Meaux, he then collaborated with multi instrumentalist Bill Hennessey and produced the single Sailing Thru, a regional hit with wide air play in the Northeast.

Southern moved to Ft. Lauderdale in 1979 and began working with a variety of bands in various styles, he co-wrote Like a Kid at Christmas " with 5 Bouroughs band leader, Frank Iovino.  This song has received International attention as a perennial Christmas favorite.

By 1992, after 3 years of performing as a bass player for the ever touring, retro rock band Risk, he once again opted to pick up his steel string National and returned to his first love, the Delta Blues. It just felt right, " Southern said. 

The past decade has seen a return to playing, writing and performing the Blues ", opening for such well-known acts as John Mooney, John Hammond, Catfish Keith and Jeremy Lyons & the Deltability Boys.

Southern said he met his wife six years ago at the Franni Palooza Blues Bash, which is a very popular annual event in Ft. Lauderdale.  The Franni Palooza Blues Bash was founded by his wife 10 years ago in her back yard.  Today, the event has grown stronger and larger and strives to raise money for different charities. 
When Ernie started playing his guitar, I knew it was love at first sight, " Franni said.

While living in Ft. Lauderdale, Southern either performed a solo act or with the trio, Ernie Southern and the Deltaholics.  However, since moving to Sebastian, he is currently looking to form a trio locally.

The Fort Lauderdale City Link noted that Southern throws his head back and howls in a devil-bedamned manner, stomping his feet and truly evoking the spirit of the old masters.

Most of the blues artists that I have look up to have passed on, but there music still lives.  My favorite artist is Robert Johnson, " Southern said.

Southern debuted his Living Blue " CD in 2003.  He said, The CD is a compilation of my favorite songs that I have performed over the last 4 years. "

His proudest moment ever, he said, was when he finished as one of the top contenders in the world at the Southern Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee in February, 2004.  The event featured more than 90 different acts traveling from as far away as Australia and Israel.

Southern said with more dreams to come, he will be touring the United States, Canada and Europe with his passionate and entertaining performances, channeling his experiences through the Blues: Delta Style.

For more information about Ernie Southern