The Blu-Tones: Passion for music drew Naples band together

The Blu-Tones: Ben Baker, from left, Shannon Parks Denton, Craig Davis, and Rick Davidson.

The Blu-Tones: Ben Baker, from left, Shannon Parks Denton, Craig Davis, and Rick Davidson.

Without Shannon Parks Denton’s adolescent dreams to be singing on stage, there may never have been the Blu-Tones, a seasoned foursome Naples band playing tunes of Patsy Cline, Peggy Lee, Tammy Wynette, Ray Charles and Elvis.

The blend of instruments, untamed yet synchronized vocals and front gal Denton’s eye-catching outfits and body moves all make for showy, boot-scootin’ boogie around town. However, the origin behind these four rocking baby boomers was more than Denton’s musical performance passion.

Video from YouTube

As well as Denton’s dreams, the band ironically goes back to the results of a heartbreak for keyboardist Craig Davis: his wife’s progressing dementia. After she had to be placed in Barrington Terrace in 2010, Davis, now 72, was playing piano for his wife one day when he found other seniors there had become an audience and were dancing to his music.

Davis enjoyed this time, both performing and being with his wife, so much that he invited his friend, Ben Baker, 51, to pick up his guitar again and join him. The two men then expanded to other assisted living centers in Naples, including Lely Palms, Tuscany, Arbor Glen and The Windsor.

That same year, Parks Denton, 49, was in New Mexico considering a return to her girlhood dreams of performing. She began writing music and singing in clubs around New Mexico. Her husband, back in Naples, is Tennessean Bobby Denton, former manager of the No. 1 country music radio station in Tennessee, as well as a performer in such venues as “The Dick Clark Show.” Denton also happened to play poker with Davis.

He encouraged Davis to audition his wife to sing. After three years in New Mexico finding her music in more ways than one, Parks Denton returned to Naples and a match was made, which by this time included founding band member and bass guitarist Rick “Ricky D” Davidson, 66. Davidson still plays with the band on occasion.

The Blu-Tones perform at Fred’s Food, Fun & Spirits. Bass guitarist Woody Forrest, from left, lead vocalist and percussionist Shannon Parks Denton, lead guitarist and vocalist Ben Baker and Craig Davis, keyboard player, make up the group.

Photo by Chris Thow

The Blu-Tones perform at Fred’s Food, Fun & Spirits. Bass guitarist Woody Forrest, from left, lead vocalist and percussionist Shannon Parks Denton, lead guitarist and vocalist Ben Baker and Craig Davis, keyboard player, make up the group.

The band now consists of Shannon Parks Denton, Craig Davis, Ben Baker and bassist Woody Forrest, with occasional appearances from Ricky D, “It’s a melting pot with so many elements of each of our emotions, journey and musical talent. There have been ups and downs, but we have never lost that drive to perform,” Davis said. And perform, they do.

“Three years ago, we could never have imagined we’d be living out the dream of being back on stage entertaining, making people feel good, and everyone having a great time doing it,” said lead guitarist/vocals Baker.

It’s a unique foursome with a story — and with chops that include bebop, ’50s rock and honky tonk band. They’re now familiar as performers in Naples at such places as Fred’s Food, Fun & Spirits, Chrissy’s Courthouse Tavern, Fifth Avenue South, and Third Street South as well as private parties.

IF YOU GO

The Blu-Tones

When:

■ July 20 and Aug. 10: 7 p.m., Fred’s Food, Fun & Spirits, 2700 Immokalee Road, North Naples. 239-431-7928

■ Aug. 3 and 17: 7 p.m., Chrissy’s Courthouse Tavern & Bstro, 3340 U.S. 41 E., East Naples. 239-775-0101

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