Sauce Boss Plays the Blues, Makes Gumbo

Bill Wharton's music performances are smokin' -- from his swampy Florida blues to the gumbo he cooks onstage.

For 17 years, Wharton (better known as "Sauce Boss") has fed his fans gumbo that he specially prepares during each show.

The Tallahassee, FL-based musician is now set to jam with his band at Blues City Cafe from July 18 to 21 and at Memphis Union Mission July 22.

At his upcoming Memphis performances, Sauce Boss doesn't plan on letting anyone go hungry, especially when it comes to those in need. "We’re all about the food," he says.

Four years ago, Wharton founded Planet Gumbo, a non-profit organization that aims to provide hope and sustenance. Since then, he has performed for and fed homeless shelters nationwide. Wharton explains, "We try to give a message of hope -- and a big pot of gumbo. Food breaks down all barriers and brings people into the kitchen. We bring the kitchen to people, no matter where they are."

Playing blues and cooking gumbo are "one and the same," and only Wharton's special Liquid Summer Hot Sauce rivals his energetic music in spiciness. But for Sauce Boss, "giving back to the communities where we play" is most important.

"I thought I had it really good before I starting doing this. But now that I have a life with service, it's opened up so many avenues," he says. "It's amazing, totally amazing. You’ve got to give to receive, and you receive an awful lot when you give."

--Rachel Stinson

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