Botanical Roots Concert Series


Foellinger Freimann Botanical Conservatory

News release from Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation:

Botanical Roots Concert Series
Botanical Conservatory, Fridays, now through August 30th

(July 12, 2013) – Botanical Roots, the eclectic downtown concert series featuring music from a wide diversity of regional heritages and cultural backgrounds.


August 16th – Morry Sochat & the Special 20’s w/ Trackless

Morry Sochat (pronounced Socket) and The Special 20’s are bringing a fresh sound to the Chicago Blues scene. They mix classic Chicago Blues with Swing and Rock N’ Roll from the 1950’s. The band is influenced by the best in blues history. Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Louis Jordan, Junior Wells, and all of the Chicago greats.

Originally hailing from Texas, Sochat played with The Shakes and Tongue & Groove before starting The Special 20s in 2005. Their first, self-titled release, recorded in 2006, was received with great reviews, taking the 20s from playing one or two nights a month to constant bookings all over the city. Morry has been playing around the city learning from the greats in Chicago, playing with Dave Specter, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Billy Flynn and Barrelhouse Chuck.

In 2008, they returned to the studio to record a new CD, Swingin’ Shufflin’ Smokin’ produced by Nick Moss. The CD was met with rave reviews and opened the doors for touring across the United States. The third CD, Eatin’ Dirt, was released in 2010. It was produced by Jimmy Sutton and features 10 original songs. The band has grown in both skill level and size, adding a horn section on a lot of the songs. The current line up features Marty Binder, Doug Corcoran, Jim St. Marie, Shoji Naito, Chris Neal, and Ted Beranis. Other musicians who play regularly with the 20s are Jimmy Sutton, Beau Sample, Mark Fornick, Ariyo, Brother John Kattke, Chris Bernhardt, and Kenny Smith.


Morry Sochat & the Special 20’s  w/ Trackless


August 23rd – CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band w/ Scratch ‘n Sniff

The son of late zydeco music pioneer Clifton Chenier, C.J. Chenier has been dubbed “the crown prince of zydeco.” Since inheriting leadership of his father’s group, the Red Hot Louisiana Band, Chenier has continued to pay tribute to his father’s sound and to expand the zydeco tradition. Chenier’s interests in zydeco were sparked in his early twenties. Although he studied piano in the third grade, switched to the saxophone a year later, and received a scholarship to study music at Texas Southern University, he was drawn to the funky sounds of R&B and modern jazz. Chenier played saxophone, keyboards, flute, and sang backup vocals in a Top 40 cover band, Hot Ice.

In 1978, Chenier was invited to replace saxophonist “Blind” John Hart in his father’s band. Although he had little experience with zydeco music, he accepted the invitation. Over the next decade, he apprenticed with his father, assuming his role as accordion player and bandleader following his father’s death in 1987. Chenier has remained active in a variety of outside projects. In addition to playing on Paul Simon’s Rhythm of the Saints, he participated in Simon’s Born at the Right Time tour. Chenier was a guest performer on Gin Blossoms’ New Miserable Experience.

In 1997, Chenier was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award. Chenier’s own albums include 1988’s My Baby Don’t Wear No Shoes from Arhoolie Records, 1990’s Hot Rod. and 1992’s I Ain’t No Playboy, both from Slash Records, and 1995’s Too Much Fun, 1996’s Big Squeeze, and 2001’s Step It Up from Alligator Records. The more meditative The Desperate Kingdom of Love, recorded a month or so after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region, was released in 2006 on World Village Records. Recorded live in a single session at Rock Romano’s Red Shack Studio in Houston, Texas, the high-energy Can’t Sit Down appeared in 2011, also from World Village.


CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band


August 30th – Deals Gone Bad w/ Unlikely Alibi

What do you get when you mix the chugging rhythms of Jamaica, the energy and emotion of American Motown, and the over the-top pub/rock of the Pogues? Now in their 14th year, Deal’s Gone Bad is touring extensively with its strongest and most consistent line-up in its history. With elements of ska, rocksteady, reggae, and American soul, DGB is sure to please on the dancefloor as well as on their fourth release to date, “The Ramblers” on Megalith and Jump Up! Records (March, 2007). Although the band draws its influences from classic Jamaican (Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, Ken Boothe) and American (Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, The Temptations) artists, the sound is a uniquely modern combination, unlike anything else on the scene today.

Deal’s Gone Bad will appeal to fans of both soul and Jamaican music, as well as anyone looking for a turn on the floor or a song in their hearts. It is in live performance where lead singer Todd Hembrook and the boys truly shine. Deal’s Gone Bad shows are a combination of soul rave-up and island dance party, with the force and energy of any punk band worth their salt. Lace up your dancing shoes and slip into your sharpest suit or pencil skirt, Deal’s Gone Bad is coming to your town so get ready!


Deals Gone Bad


The Botanical Conservatory invites the community to grab a lawn chair, settle in, and enjoy music that’s fun and funky, creative, and upbeat. Bands are selected from regional and national touring acts with an emphasis on uniqueness, quality, and representation of a specific musical style.

Shows are Friday nights through August 30. Local bands will warm up the scene; food and beverage is available and youth ages 12 and under are admitted free with a parent or guardian. Admission is $6 at the gate. Gates open at 7:30 p.m.; shows start at 8:30 and the events take place outdoors, rain or shine. The Conservatory is located in downtown Fort Wayne at 1100 S. Calhoun Street.

Botanical Roots is sponsored by The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department, Rock 104, The Home of Rock and Roll, Whatzup, PBS39, Fort Wayne Metals Research, Holiday Inn and the Downtown Improvement District and the Botanical Conservatory.

For more information phone 260/427-6446 or go to

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