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Florida's capital city gets the blues

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- When the folks in Tallahassee go blue, they go deep blue.

Latimore, Millie Jackson and Mel Waiters are among the blues greats who will appear at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center here Feb. 25 in the first Tallahassee Blues Festival.

Other scheduled performers include Sir Charles Jones, Theodis Ealey and Karen Wolfe.

Jackson became a blues staple in the 1970s with such hits as "Ask Me What You Want," "It Hurts so Good" and "A Child of God (It's Hard to Believe)." She also recorded three gold albums. Waiters, meanwhile, has recorded such classics as "Hit It and Quit It," "Hole in the Wall," "Show You How to Love Again" and "The Smaller the Club."

The deep-voiced Latimore has more than 45 years invested in his career, which includes hits such as the No. 1 R&B hit "Let's Straighten It Out" and classic covers of T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday" and Gladys Knight's "If You Were My Woman." Ealey's guitar stylings made him a blues legend, and his reach has expanded to include hip-hop ("On Da Grind" by Ghetto Mafia), movies ("Miss Evers' Boys") and R&B ("Stand Up In It").

Wolfe, a relative newcomer to the blues circuit, released her first album in 2006. Her second LP, 2008's "A Woman Needs a Strong Man," includes the chart-topping single "Man Enough."

Tickets for the show can be purchased at the Civic Center Box Office, at Ticketmaster outlets or at ticketmaster.com. Tickets may be charged by phone at (850) 222-0400 or (800) 322-3602.

Civic Center officials also offered a stirring announcement that fans have known for some time now: The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is not just for Christmas anymore.

The wildly popular ensemble, which played its annual Christmas show at TLCCC in November, will return for "Beethoven's Last Night" April 22. Reserved-seat tickets, which range in price from $38 to $48, are on sale now at usual outlets.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra creator/writer/producer Paul O'Neill explains the band's new showcase.

"I was always fascinated by Beethoven," he said. "Beethoven did not come from a rich family ... but by the time he was 21 he was recognized as one of the greatest piano players in the world by the likes of Mozart. By the time he was 25, he realized he was going completely deaf, and if he had just crawled into a corner and given up nobody would have judged him harshly.

"But instead he went on to write some of the greatest music that has ever been created, music that would bring joy, happiness and peace to billions of people, but that he himself would never hear."

For information about TSO or the Tallahassee show, visit www.trans-siberian.com or www.livenation.com online.