The founder of the eponymous Betty Fox Band fills the stage with smoky notes and a sultry presence, energizing crowds with smooth, powerful vocals. Born into a musical family, the Tampa native discovered her passion at an early age. Fox’s grandparents traveled around to churches with their kids, singing gospel hymns. Later, the family gathered around the piano every Sunday to sing harmonies, a tradition they continue now on holidays. The group hits the Watkins Lawn for the fourth time at SummerJazz on the Gulf August 20 at The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club.
NI: What’s cool about playing at SummerJazz?
Fox: For one, the view is incredible. It’s also neat the way they have it set up. Most of the crowd sits in lawn chairs, but by the end of the night they crowd up around the stage in a circular fashion, so you have to dance around in circles to sing to everybody.
What’s coming up for the band?
This year is crazy for us. We’re playing in Alabama, Germany, and a tour up the Eastern Seaboard. We’re playing the Big Blues Bender in September in Las Vegas. We are also writing songs for a new album.
What song are you most proud of?
The title track of our current album, “Slow Burn.” It was sort of an organic evolution. A year after I started the band, my father was diagnosed with ALS. I watched him slowly fade, then pass. I came up with the chorus for “Slow Burn” while driving. I was singing to myself, because there is something about the way the music reverberates in my chest that comforts me. Music is very therapeutic.
What’s your style, offstage and on?
I think I was born in the wrong decade. Most of the things I wear are bell-bottoms, something with fringe, or flowy. Onstage, I like shiny things that make me feel good, like anybody else—just with more sequins. I have more sequins than a drag queen’s closet.