"PSL man suffers from bad case of the 'blues"
By Ike Crumpler - staff writer
September 29, 2002
Despite lyrics about hardship, heartache and having no home to hang one's hat, the blues don't depress Port St. Lucie resident Pete Lauro. In fact, they coax him into a catharsis that's as refreshing as rain on a sunny day.
"It's not sad music; it's not down music," says Lauro. "For me, it's up."
Lauro's devotion to the blues runs deep -- 35 years, to be exact. The 53-year-old jewelry salesman discovered the sound during an era of songs of love, war, and protest.
"I've liked the blues going back to my old days as a hippie," says Lauro, recently appointed president of The Treasure Coast Blues Society. "When everyone was listening to rock music and so-called psychedelic, I discovered the blues."
Today, Lauro, a former bread salesman and pizzeria owner, is known in blues circles as an authority on one of America's earliest forms of music.
Before moving to Port St. Lucie two years ago to escape the crowded conditions of Broward County, Lauro, who hails from Long Island, lived in Fort Lauderdale for 21 years.
Married to Rose Lauro for 19 years, the couple relished the blues scene there.
Well, not at first.
"I was mostly into jazz and country," Rose Lauro says.
That is, until Pete Lauro managed -- on the strength of a concert by B.B. King -- to convert her.
"I love the blues now," she says. "That was it for me."
Pete Lauro's opportunity to influence others about the blues blossomed as quickly as his wife's affinity for the music. It began when friends of his -- the owners of Fort Lauderdale blues club Alligator Alley -- offered Lauro a job working the door. The position's prime perk: full view of the stage.
"It was one of the greatest jobs in my life, 'cause it combined my two favorite things: I could see blues and meet people," he remembers. "I would come home from the club a little wound up, not able to sleep, and I would just go on-line. I went to several blues sites and started writing reviews of the shows."
Meet Mary Roby of Baltimore:
"I noticed that he kept coming back and writing reviews of bands," Roby says. "I was looking for someone for my Web site."
Roby runs a Web site to promote Indie musicians of all types.
"The Web site was much like a collection of links," she says. "When Pete's reviews were put on there, it kinda gave me more of a purpose."
"We've still never met," says Pete Lauro, "but I'm probably responsible for 50 percent of her Web site."
Fans weren't the only ones reading his concert reviews. Soon several blues musicians saw Lauro's stories and started sending him copies of their CD's to review. He met many blues bands from Europe, including Franco Limido, a blues musician out of Italy.
"We met through Mary's Web site and he had never been to the United States," he says. "He mentioned to me that one of his goals was to come to the United States and play on stage where the music was born."
Lauro used his connections at St. Lucie Blues in Port St. Lucie to make Limido's dream materialize.
Meanwhile, Lauro is living out his own dream.
He's attended the W.C. Handy Awards in Memphis, Tenn., the blues equivalent to the Grammy's; he's helped touring bands get gigs; and he's met many of his idols. His prized possession, the book "Encyclopedia if the Blues," bears the autographs of greats like James Cotton, Eddie Kirkland, Johnny Johnson and Koko Taylor. (The Lauro's named their two cats Koko and Taylor.)
Many musicians post Lauro's reviews on their Web sites. The name recognition landed him a regular gig writing for Big City Blues, a national magazine out of Detroit. His first story appeared in the August/September issue.
He could get blue about the amount of money his writing brings in -- if it bothered him.
"This is all for love; I have yet to make a nickle," says Lauro, who works at St. Lucie Jewelry in Port St. Lucie. "I'm not rich, but I don't need to do this for the money. I don't wanna get to the point where it's a deadline and I have to do it. I never wanna get to that point."
On the Net:
Read Lauro's reviews at:
Mary4music's Music Links and Reviews
America On-line users can read more of his reviews by accessing Blues Topics through the AOL music search.