Archive for » 2011 «

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

There were many highlights for the Parrot Island Band and I am sure I will miss some, but here goes…

Parrot Ialand Band at Atlanta Buffett tailgate 2011

  • Played at Beaches A1A Parrot Head Club’s Beach Bash event
  • Traveled to Key West and played at several events/venues while there
  • Played for Atlanta Parrot Head Club’s Anniversary Party
  • Played for Atlanta Parrot Head Club’s Jimmy Buffett Tailgate Party
  • Played for City of Cartersville’s  4th of July event
  • Numerous community parties – Brookstone Community was one of best (350+ in attendance), also really enjoyed our gig at a local Marina
  • Parrot Head Night at Heroes Grille in Jacksonville, Alabama (great turnout and finally got to hang out a bit with Derek Raulerson… took us almost a year to find a time and place for this event)
  • Parrot Island Band was nominated (for the third year in a row) as Duo/Trio of the Year at the Trop Rock Music Awards (sponsored by the Trop Rock Music Association)
  • House concert with Rob Mehl (really enjoyed Rob’s visit; great musician and even nicer guy)
  • There were many other events (country clubs, retirement parties, wedding parties, etc.) that we greatly enjoyed and appreciate the opportunity to be a part of

Personal highlights… (Bry)

Picture of Picture being taken of Bry Harris

Here is a picture of Bry playing at Hog’s Breath (notice others are taking pictures also ;-))

  • The young boy who gave us his weekly allowance for a tip
  • Playing for Mike Hansell who was in his last weeks of a long struggle with ALS (also played at Mike’s memorial service… what an honor)

A special day with the Hansells

A special day with Mike and Barbara Hansell… Sail on Mike and thanks for your inspiration.

Thanks to all our friends who came out and listened to us during this past year.  Also, thanks to everyone who hired us to play birthday parties, special events, restaurant openings, holiday gatherings, etc.  We are thankful for opportunities that come our way and the friends we make in the process. We want to wish everyone a happy New Year and hope that we get to be together again in 2012… Until then-

Beaches and blessings…

Did I Tell You I Went To Key West?

Did I Tell You I Went to Key West?

Wow! I can’t believe it has been over a month since I went to Key West.  It was on my Beach Bucket List and I haven’t even written about it!  Linda and I made our (Parrot Island Band) Key West debut at Green World Gallery and I found several other places to play (6 in all).

Parrot Island Band goes to Key West

The weather was beautiful.  Listening to the music of so many great Trop Rock musicians was a blast. I also enjoyed meeting some of the musicians that I had made contact with over the Internet in the last couple of years (and also meeting several Facebook friends in person for the first time).  I was able to be a part of a wedding on a catamaran…congratulations to Jim and Leslie Mills!

We were able to attend the Trop Rock Music Awards event and even though we didn’t win, it was a great feeling to be nominated for Trop Rock Duo/Trio of the Year for the third year in a row.  While we market ourselves as a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band, we also play a number of original songs and it was nice to be recognized as a Trop Rock songwriter.

A special thanks to Terry Riecken for making our trip to Key West possible. Thanks also to Koz for fitting us into the Green World Gallery lineup and DJ Jeff (and the Beachfront Radio family) making room for us at Sloppy Joe’s.

Parrot Island Bry, Linda,  Koz and Pam at Green World Gallery

There is much more that I could write about our trip.  Random thoughts include… “What’s with all the chickens running around?”, “Wow! Look at the beautiful view of the water (driving across the bridges to Key West)”, “Hey, someone knows who I am (when someone recognized me while walking along)”, “Oh well… (When someone I’ve met three times still has no clue who I am)”, “Where in the world do you park in Key West ??” (Thanks to my parking angels who let us park in their unused spot.)

The only thing missing in Key West was our conga player, Kevin Garrelts and his wife, Wendy.  I can’t tell you how many times I thought, “I sure wish Kevin and Wendy were here to see this”.  Hopefully we can make it back to Key West with the Garrelts… keep your congas warmed up, Kevin.

Well, that’s all for now. I was really on a roll with my blogging but couldn’t keep up the pace. Maybe a few shorter posts to get me back into the groove… until next time… beaches and blessings…. (Oh yeah, some guy named Jimmy Buffett showed up and caused a ruckus… the things people will do for attention 😉

Parrotheads Like… John Denver??

 

Parrotheads Like… John Denver??

Parrotheads like… John Denver??  While there weren’t many Hawaiian shirts at Tom Becker’s “John Denver Tribute Show” last night, I’m guessing there were several Parrotheads in the audience.

Parrotheads like John Denver Tribute Show

Linda and I went out for a date last night to the “other side” of Atlanta and the Covington, Georgia area. We found the downtown area to be a wonderful area with shops, restaurants and a quaint town square area where the band was set up and ready to give a memorable concert.

Tom Becker and wife, Michelle, are also known for their “trop rock” music as the group Latitude. Having seen them perform their beach, dance and tropical music several years ago, I was interested to see them in this setting. As we set our chairs up to enjoy the concert, we were surrounded by a large crowd of people, all waiting to be transported to some “Rocky Mountain High” venue (and Tom did not disappoint).

Tom played many of John Denver’s hits as well as some of his lesser known songs. I liked the way Tom gave some background stories to the songs and life of John Denver. Tom’s voice is extremely well suited to Denver’s music, so much so that if you closed your eyes, you might think you were actually listening to John Denver himself.

I grew up listening to a number of singer/song writer/musicians like John Denver, Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, Dan Fogelberg (to name a few). What a fun night to revisit a great musician and story teller who left us much too soon. I could tell that Tom really resonates with John Denver’s music and that he really was “paying tribute” to someone who had impacted him personally.

I enjoyed hearing Tom and Michelle play a different genre of music. Michelle’s musical and vocal abilities were a great compliment to John Denver… um, I mean Tom Becker. As my wife Linda and I also perform together (as part of the Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band), it was nice to see another couple joining their musical talents together to entertain others.

While Parrotheads are usually associated with Jimmy Buffett and his music… the truth is good music is good music. I am sure there are many Parrotheads who would enjoy an evening with Tom Becker and his tribute to John Denver. If you hear that Tom and Michelle are in your area with this John Denver tribute show, I would highly recommend you heading out and listening.

I also hope to catch Tom and Michelle in Key West in November, playing their Trop Rock music for the annual Parrothead gathering, “Meeting of the Minds”. Their group, Latitude has won Duo of the Year for the Trop Rock Music Awards for the last three years (and likely to win again this year). The Parrot Island Band is nominated for the third year in a row in this category and look forward to seeing some of you at the awards ceremony.

If you can’t catch Tom and Michelle and live anywhere in the Atlanta, Georgia area… maybe you can look us up (www.parrotislandband.com).  The Parrot Island Band plays Jimmy Buffett music (with some Zac Brown and Kenny Chesney) and Trop Rock originals with congas, steel pan and acoustic guitar. Let us take you on a musical vacation to a tropical destination… (not the Rocky Mountains, I think Tom can handle that for you :)).

Until next time… beaches and blessings!

I Filled In For Jimmy Buffett

 

I filled in for Jimmy Buffett

I filled in for Jimmy Buffett today. OK, to be fair… he wasn’t asked to play for this gig but I’m sure he would have loved to be there. Last night I received a Facebook message from a friend (who had a friend… with me so far?) who was looking for someone who played Jimmy Buffett songs. This friend of a friend (who is now my friend, Patti Johnson ;-)) was trying to find someone who would visit Mike Hansell. Mike has struggled with Lou Gehrig’s disease for seven years.

Parrot Island Band highlight

Mike Hansell is a BIG Jimmy Buffett fan. He loves to sail. He loves his family. He has Hawaiian shirts all over his walls and filling his closet. Mike is my kind of guy. I wish I had known him before he contracted this terrible disease (I would love to have had the chance to talk with him). Mike can only communicate by using a computer program that follows his eye movements to type out (and verbalize) his thoughts.

Best applause ever for Parrot Island Band

(Mike gives applause by way of computer. He is able to reflect light off of his eyes in order to type on a special computer screen.)

Although Mike has been growing weaker physically in recent weeks, the last couple of days he has rallied a bit. Today Mike’s eyes were open and as I came in with my bright Hawaiian shirt and guitar, Mike smiled and seemed ready to listen to his favorite Buffett tunes.  I played for close to an hour, with family and friends gathered around… it was a wonderful time for me and hopefully for Mike and family as well.

With Mike’s grandchildren sitting on the bed, Barbara, his lovely wife, told me that the grandkids thought their grandfather’s voice was the voice of Jimmy Buffett (because Mike always played Jimmy’s songs for them and they had never heard his voice). I told them that was interesting because I thought I sounded like Jimmy Buffett :).  Everyone seemed happy that I had cleaned up the lyrics a little (no offense Jimmy, but Patti says some of my re-writes are even better than your original lyrics…).

Parrot Island Band

One of the unique parts of this story begins almost 3 years ago. I was visiting someone at the hospital and they had heard I was a musician and Buffett fan. They mentioned a friend of theirs (turns out to be Mike) who also loved Jimmy’s music and was struggling with Lou Gehrig’s disease. We talked about setting up a visit to see this friend but somehow time slipped by and we never got around to it. Fast forward to last night and another friend, Patti Johnson, (with God’s nudging, I believe) helped put together a very special afternoon (with fruit drinks, beach balls and beach umbrellas) .

When I graduated from high school (1978, where has the time gone?!), I was the one who would someday “open for Jimmy Buffett”. That would still be a pretty cool thing to have happen, but I don’t think it could ever top my time with Mike and Barbara (and their wonderful friends and family).  Today, I didn’t open for Jimmy, but in a way… I filled in for Jimmy Buffett (and giving one special family a day of beach songs and fun memories).  Of all the events Jimmy has played, none could have been more important than this one. One of Mike’s favorite songs that I played today was Lovely Cruise.  In light of Mike’s condition, I was a bit choked up as I sang this song but I was deeply touched by Mike’s faith and courage. While Mike and I are both big fans of Jimmy Buffett, today I became an even bigger fan of Mike and Barbara Hansell… thanks for the chance to be with you today… God bless.

 

Block Party

 

A View From the Mic. 

Parrot Island Band block party

This week we played for a block party in Marietta. As the neighbors gathered in the cul-de-sac, music was provided by the Parrot Island Band (a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band from Atlanta, Georgia), everyone spread out and entered into lively conversation.

As with all of our gigs, there are things in each event that stand out.  These are some of the things that I enjoyed from this evening:

  • Lots of little children playing and dancing to the music.
  • People lived in the neighborhood between 1 week and 42 years!
  • One couple had just been married for 3 weeks and we were able to dedicate a song to their new life together.

Parrot Island Band makes new fan

The most memorable event took place towards the end of the night when a young man came up and put something in the tip jar. His mom came up a few minutes later and told us that he enjoyed our music so much that he asked if he could give us the last of his allowance. Wow! The little boy was 8 years old and beginning to play guitar. We visited for a few minutes and I gave him one of our CDs. The little boy responded as if a real music star had given him something priceless (when in reality the little guy gave me a great gift).

People dancing. Kids laughing and playing. Neighbors visiting, some for the first time. Although there was not a large crowd, evenings like this are really fun for us as a band. If you live in a neighborhood (in the Atlanta area) that could use a little community building, give the Parrot Island Band a call (Bry – 770-855-3404 c) and let's see if we can’t turn your pool, cul-de-sac or even back yard into a tropical destination… wishing everyone beaches and blessings (even if they start out looking like a cul-de-sac).

Trop Rock Music Awards

 

Trop Rock Music Awards.

Parrot Island Band Nominated for trio of the year

Your help is needed. The Parrot Island Band was just nominated as the duo/trio of the year (third year in a row) for the Trop Rock Music awards to be held in Key West this November!  If you would like to help us please read further….

To vote for the Trop Rock Music Awards you have to be a member of the Margarita M.F.I.A. (Musicians Artists Fans In Alliance). You can join for $24 and receive a T-Shirt or for $15 without the shirt at the Trop Rock Music Association. They don’t make it very easy, you have to print out the membership form and then send in a check (then they will send you a ballot to vote for the music awards… and the Parrot Island Band).

If I haven’t lost you yet… why would winning this award be helpful to us? Primarily, it is our hope that winning this award would help us be invited to more of the wonderful Trop Rock events throughout the Trop Rock world. Also, winning this award would hopefully help us promote the Parrot Island Band here in the Atlanta area (and with our son just heading off to college, that would help a lot!) Finally, who doesn’t like winning awards and being recognized for your efforts?

I have to admit, to win this award would be a long shot. We are not as well known as some of the other nominees (we are considered a “regional” band while a couple of the others are “national” bands and are invited to bigger events… thus, more fans and more votes).  A vote for the Parrot Island Band is a vote for the underdog, but a lot of people pull for the little guys and I am hoping that maybe a few of you are one of them.

If you are still reading this, how about joining me in giving the favorite a run for their money? Also, if you know of anyone that might be the least bit interested in supporting us in this, please pass this on…I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for all of you who encourage and support us.. beaches and blessings to you all

 

If I Just Sailed Away

 

If I Just Sailed Away

If I just sailed away. It is a song title (one that will be on our next CD). At times it is wishful thinking.

The song starts with the lines…

Where would I be tomorrow, if I left home today…

How far could I get if I just sailed away?

Sail Away to Parrot Island Band music

I don’t think about “sailing away” too often, but every once in awhile I wonder if I was gone for a few days… would anyone notice? (I know Linda would and it is nice to have someone that would miss me for who I am and not what I do. :))

There are other times when I think about sailing (or driving) to a beach for a few days just to relax and not think about all the responsibilities I feel like I have (I’m sure almost everyone feels that way once in awhile). I like living here in Georgia, but with the ocean several hours away (6-7hrs in most directions), I don’t get to sit by the sea nearly as often as I would like.

The next two lines remind me of how quickly time passed…

I look into the mirror, sometimes I have to laugh

I can’t believe that time goes by so fast

While it seems like only yesterday that I was a little boy building sand castles in Virginia Beach, VA, now when I look in the mirror I feel like I am looking at “the old man and the sea”. 

Old Mand and the Sea sounds of Parrot Island Band

The chorus to this song is very simple…

Mmmhm mmmhm  if I just sailed way… if I just sailed away

Mmmmhm mmmmhm  if we just sailed away… if we just sailed away

When I sing this song, people usually close their eyes and sing along. I have found that even very simple songs can move people emotionally (and this one seems to do just that).

I am a pretty optimistic person most of the time and I think that comes out in the second verse…

I have so much that I am thankful for

I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone

Even though I think about “sailing away” at times, I never think about “staying gone”. I really do have so much to be thankful for and I have yet to meet someone that I would trade places with. As I talk about often with my Dad, if you can be thankful in the midst of whatever circumstances you face… you can make it through almost anything (whether you have a lot or very little).

The second half of this verse is easy to explain…

I look into your eyes and there I see

Sunshine and blue skies over me

I have a great wife (Linda) and she is my best friend. I have found that with Linda by my side, even the cloudy/rainy days bring rainbows and sunshine eventually finds its way through. If you ever hear that I did sail away, you will know that Linda is with me.

One of the great blessings of playing in the Parrot Island Band (a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band) is that Linda and Kevin (Kevin Garrelts/conga) are in it with me. I played solo for awhile in/after college and that was not nearly as much fun. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Linda is a good sport… her comfort zone has been stretched quite a bit. I love having steel pan added to the songs that I write, it’s a beautiful sounding instrument.

If you live in the area and don’t have the time or money to actually sail away, maybe you should think about hiring the Parrot Island Band. We can help you take a “musical vacation to a tropical destination”. People often come up to us when we are finished playing and tell us that our music helps them remember a vacation, cruise or beach getaway. Here’s to hoping you find a beach to sit by or ocean to sail on… “beaches and blessings” to you all…

 

Fun Night With Friends

 

Fun Night With Friends

Parrot Island Band view from the mic

A View from the mic. Saturday night was a fun night with friends. The Parrot Island Band (a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band) played for awhile at a friend’s retirement party. What a relaxing time it was listening (and playing) to the steel pan and congas beside Kevin and Wendy’s pool.

Parrot Island Band Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band by the pool

Our friend (and guest of honor), Annice, was celebrating 32 years as an elementary and middle school teacher. Her children put together a very nice evening and I can already see a more relaxed and happy Annice as school starts this year without her.

This is a short post tonight, but I wanted to write a few words about this very relaxing/enjoyable event. Hopefully someone will see this and think, “maybe the Parrot Island Band could play for a party by our pool?”.  While it is easy to just plug in an IPod and provide some background music, hopefully some live music (like ours), provides a special touch to a festive event. If you are having an event (for friends or maybe even a company outing), give Bry a call at 770-855-3404 and see if we might be a good fit for your event.

Congratulations to Annice, I know she has many talents and gifts that she will continue to use to help others. While I certainly don’t want to wish any years away in order to retire, I can tell that Annice is ready to move into a new chapter of her life with joy and anticipation…  Ok, maybe I am just a little jealous :).

A Heroes Welcome

 

A Heroes Welcome

A View from the Parrot Island Band mic

A view from the mic. This week the Parrot Island Band (a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band) received a Heroes welcome at Heroes Grille in Anniston, Alabama, for its 1st Annual Parrothead Gathering. The event was planned by Derek Raulerson (and friends) and it was a terrific evening.

Parrot Island Band visits Jacksonville, Alabama

Marc Spaulding, owner of Heroes was a gracious host for the event. The venue itself is spacious, well run and provides a great stage to play on. The food looked/smelled delicious, unfortunately we didn’t get there in time to eat… but if we are back in the area, I will certainly stop by and check it out.

Parrot Ialand Band and owner of Hroes Grill

In reflecting on our events, I also like to look for highlights. I will remember this event for the friendly people (loved the Hawaiian shirts and “Parrothead stuff” :-)), the large turnout and the festive atmosphere.

One group at the event were “first responders” (they respond in the event of various types of disasters and events like 9/11) who were training in the area. The folks were from various parts of the country and looked like they were having a great time (it was fun seeing them out for the evening). Among some of the places these guys came from included Arizona, Florida, Maine and Wyoming.

Group from First Responder training visit Parrot Island Band

Another couple of Parrotheads drove over from the Birmingham area and stayed for most of the evening. I always enjoy seeing couples out for an evening of fun and music, and there were several couples who looked like they were enjoying a relaxing evening together.

It was nice to play for a group of people who really enjoy Buffett music. There were several requests for A Pirate Looks at 40, Son of a Sailor and Come Monday. When we played Fins, the crowd joined in and when we played Margaritaville, a good portion of the group came down, danced and sang along. Lots of fun but no one out of control… making it a very enjoyable evening.

All in all, this was a great night and I trust that the Parrot Island Band (a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band from Atlanta, Georgia) made some new friends. While I don’t think there is a Parrothead Club in the Anniston/Jacksonville, Alabama, area, it seems like these folks have the right ingredients to start one.

Parrot Island Band a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band

Thanks again to Derek, Mark and everyone for making this a great event. I hope we see you all again soon. Until then… I hope that your remaining days of summer are filled with beaches and blessings…

Porter Party

 

Porter Party

 

A view from the mic. This time we look back to our event for Michael and Cathy Porter. Just back from their wedding in Chuka, Kenya, Micahel and Cathy gathered with friends and family for a day long celebration at the lakeside campground known as Lutherwood.

Fun to the left

A rustic pavilion was transformed into a beautiful wedding reception and as you would imagine, the atmosphere was joyful. The Parrot Island Band (a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band) was delighted to share in the day and have the opportunity to share some “island music” at the festive event.

Fun to the Right

The day was not without a bit of excitement (beyond the kind you would expect at a wedding celebration). Just after we set up our equipment, a sudden bolt of lightning struck somewhere in the immediate area (not something you want while you are standing near a PA system and steel pan)!

Within a few minutes we were scrambling to move our equipment under cover to beat the rain which was rapidly approaching from across the lake. The only casualty of this sudden “weather event” was Kevin’s (our conga player) tent/canopy as the wind picked it up and was about to lift it over the pavilion until I grabbed it… unfortunately in the process one of the support poles snapped.

Parrot Island Band holding down the tent

The rain didn’t stick around too long and we were able to set up our equipment again and play for a couple of hours. It was an extremely relaxing day as the kids swam in the lake and the adults visited (except for a few of the adults who are really “big kids” and they joined in the fun on the lake).

Parakeet Carter

Bill and Melissa Jones brought their boys and being big Parrotheads themselves (Bill once met Jimmy Buffett in a bar… a great story). As you can see, their son, Carter, came by and checked out the Parrot Island Band. It is never too early to begin teaching our kids to enjoy the important things in life… like Jimmy Buffett and the Parrot Island Band. Best wishes to the Porters from friends, family and the Parrot Island Band… may your days be filled with celebration, beaches (OK, lakes for you guys), blessings and a lifetime of love.

One More Day With You

 

One More Day with You

If I could have one more day with you. I just finished writing a song for my grandmother and great grandmother. They have been gone for a long time, but I have some wonderful memories of them from my childhood and the unconditional love they gave me.

Parrot Island Band groupies

I am a big fan of Jimmy Buffett and would certainly love to meet him and sit in for a few songs, but while writing this song, I had a thought. If I could have one more day with my grandmother/great grandmother OR meet (and even get to know) Jimmy Buffett… obviously I would choose the time with them over Jimmy (sorry, Jimmy J).

As the song states, thoughts of my grandmother/great grandmother come when I least expect it. Sometimes it is like they are very close and sometimes I wish they were here to see my wonderful family (or listen to the band play – they were both great supporters of my music). My grandmother used to come to some of my gigs in bars when I was in college. She was my biggest fan (although sometimes I was a little self conscious when she showed up in certain places).

Here are the words to the song One More Day With You:

Sometimes when I’m driving down the road

Sometimes when I’m visiting back home

Sometimes it’s a story, or maybe it’s a song

Suddenly it hits me just how long you’ve been gone…

 

Chorus)

If I could have one more day with you,

I know just exactly what I’d do,

I’d sit right here and listen, there’d be lots of reminiscing

If I could have one more day with you

 

Sometimes when I’m looking at the door

Remembering how many times you’ve walked through it before,

Sometimes how I wish that I could hear your voice once more

Suddenly I swear I hear you whisper in my ear

 

Chorus)

If I could have one more day with you,

I know just exactly what I’d do,

I’d sit right here and listen, there’d be lots of reminiscing

If I could have one more day with you

 

Bridge-

I can’t believe it’s been so many years

I still have these moments when I’m fighting back the tears

I hope that you can hear me, sometimes I feel you near me

When I close my eyes, it’s like you’re standing here

 

Chorus 2)

If I could have one more day with you

I know just exactly what I’d do

I’d tell you that I love you, I’d get a big hug from you

If I could have one more day with you…

If I could have one more day with you…

 

As part of the Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band, I usually write songs that are upbeat and tropical. Although this is not a Trop Rock song, I hope you enjoy listening to it and I would love to hear who you would love to have one more day with (and what you might do together).

 

God Made You Nose to Toes

 

God Made You Nose to Toes

God made you nose to toes.  We live in a world that constantly forces us to compare ourselves with others.  The models that we see on TV or in magazines rarely look like the people we see in our everyday lives. The houses I often drive by on the way to work are “humongous” compared to mine (although I know that many people would be glad to even have a house at all).

Parrot Island Band song

I wrote a song called Nose to Toes. It is a Trop-Rock kids song and yet we sometimes play it for adults and they seem to like it too. I think many of us still suffer from comparisons that were made when we were younger. “Why can’t you get A’s like your sister?” “You sing OK, but not as well as Johnny.” The comparisons never end and continue to haunt us even into adulthood.

The chorus to Nose to Toes begins the song:

God made you nose to toes and inside out

God loves you when you smile and even when you pout

God made you nose to toes without a doubt

So go ahead and be yourself and let it all hang out!

It helps when I am reminded that God loves me even when I don’t measure up to others. I love to sing and play with the Parrot Island Band (a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band from Atlanta, Georgia), but I sometimes find myself comparing myself (unfavorably) to other Trop Rock musicians or bands. While we get a lot of favorable feedback, I still find things about other bands that I wish did as well (I wish we could sound like some of the 6-7 piece bands…. but with only 3 of us. I know it doesn’t make sense but that’s how I think sometimes.)

The first verse to Nose to Toes looks at both the comparisons but also the reality that we are at our best when we are ourselves (and not poor copies of someone else):

If only I were smarter or taller I would be…

More popular or have more friends, at least that’s how it seems

I look into the mirror and finally I see…

That really all I need to do is learn how to be me

 

The second verse talks about what we see in the mirror:

When we look into the mirror, sometimes what we see

Doesn’t match with what the world tells us that we should be

So we spend too many hours trying to be somebody else

When if we want to be the best we have to be ourselves

Parrot Island Band has a unique tropical sound

As you and I know, it is easy to write (or sing) these words yet still struggle in trying to live them out. I continue to strive to be as authentic as I can, and hopefully encourage my family and friends to be who God made them to be (without adding the “if you would only” to the end).

The last verse of the song gives an example that I am sure many can relate to:

You think that you’d look pretty if you straightened out your hair

Or covered up your freckles so nobody else would stare

There is no one else like you in this whole wide world

So remember that God loves you and enjoy those pretty curls

How many people do we know that have straight hair that wish it was curly, or people with dark hair that wish they were blond?  Most of us have something (or numerous things) we would change about ourselves if we could.

I write a lot of songs that aren’t particularly deep (most are about beaches, boats and sailing away) and sometimes envy my Trop Rock friends who write some wonderful songs.  Ironically, when I do write a deep song… it ends up being a kids song (or at least a song for the kid in all of us). One day I will get it recorded and IPod ready, but until then… here is a “rough version” of (God Made You) Nose to Toes – I hope you enjoy…

 

 

Beyond the End

 

Beyond the End

Beyond the End.  Written by Jimmy Buffett, Marshall Chapman and Waylon Jennings, Beyond the End is a song that I can’t remember hearing until I was searching the Internet today for blog material. While I wish I could sit down and ask these wonderful musicians what they were thinking when they wrote this song (Jimmy still hasn’t sent me his phone number), I will be left to share what some of my thoughts are when listening to it.

Things end all the time. The Space Shuttle program ended this week. Many people who have spent their lives in an industry that they thought would always be there are now left to ponder life beyond trips to outer space.

Were they listening to Parrot Island Band in space?

Some endings are welcomed. My son recently graduated from high school and is preparing to head off to college. My daughter, on the other hand, just graduated from college. “Beyond the end” for her at the moment is uncertainty. Something will turn up, but jobs are hard to come by these days… When looking “beyond the end” some people look forward with anticipation and hope while others worry about tomorrow and what it will bring.

Included in the lyrics of Beyond the End are:

A sea of friends are singin'

Vaya con dios [Go with God]

Mis amigos [My friends]

We take their hopes and feelin's

To some new world

We'll be revealin'

Jesus said, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." (John 3:8)

We spend a lot of time trying to plan our lives and anticipating tomorrow. The truth is (at least how I have experienced it) that as much as I have tried to figure out what tomorrow might bring, I am surprised more often than not. Many good things come to an end when I least expect it and many bad things turn out better than I could have hoped for.

Beyond the End. Many people worry about life after they die while others look forward to it. I’ve got friends who believe there is nothing “beyond the end” (and while I don’t share their beliefs, I do respect their rights to hold those them).

Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3) Roy Orbison sings on the recording of “Beyond the End”, adding a haunting vocal and reminder that like it or not, there will come an end.

Roy would have fit in great with the Parrot Island Band

There isn’t anything Tropical about today’s post. No plugs for the Parrot Island Band. No references to steel pan or Jimmy Buffett Tribute Bands. I will end the post here for today, hoping that whatever endings you are facing, beyond each end…you will find hope, joy and of course… beaches and blessings.

Parrotheads Like Hawaiian Shirts

 

Parrotheads Like Hawaiian Shirts

Hawaiian shirts are among the stuff that Parrotheads like. As far as I can remember, I wore my first Hawaiian shirt in the mid 1970’s at the height of the T.V. show Magnum PI’s popularity. Tom Selleck made Hawaiian shirts look cool and I thought I looked cool in one also (please don’t burst my bubble… I still think I look pretty sharp in Hawaiian shirts ;-)).

Parrot Island Band like Hawaiian shirts too

I’ve worn many Hawaiian shirts over the years and I am always on the lookout for the next “gotta have” shirt for my “collection”. While we were in St. Augustine, FL, this past week, I found two Hawaiian shirts that are now among my “favorites” (at least for the next month or so).

Parrot Island Band love bright shirts

The first purchase I made on this trip was in the historic section of St. Augustine (where numerous shops and “deals” are waiting for unsuspecting tourists). We spent several hours wandering the streets and enjoying the unique items in this section of St. Augustine. I thought I was going to get though the day without buying anything until… I saw my family crest!

Now you may say that what I purchased is only a nylon “Hawaiian shirt” flag but I beg to differ. As an only child with very little information about my ancestors, I have often wondered where my love of beaches, oceans and Hawaiian shirts come from. I am convinced that there are some fun loving, beach seeking ancestors in my family “Palm” tree.

On Thursday, I bought the smaller version of the Hawaiian shirt/flag for my front yard but felt compelled to go back and claim my family crest on Friday. When I shared my family crest story on Saturday afternoon, I felt like I was sharing my discovery with new found cousins (fellow Parrotheads that I hadn’t met until this weekend).

Parrot Island Band now has a flag

The second purchase on this trip took place on Friday evening when we were checking in. Just around the corner from the registration table were Cookie and Jim Goranson selling some of their shirts, jewelry and other Parrothead supplies from their business, “The Wacky Parrot” (www.thewackyparrot.com).

Parrot Island Band love the Wacky Parrot

As part of the Parrot Island Band (a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band from Atlanta, Georgia), we love Hawaiian shirts with parrots, palm trees and bright colors. Linda and I found matching ones in the Wacky Parrot Shop that we wore on Saturday afternoon and they received numerous compliments – thanks Cookie and Jim! Linda also found some beautiful parrot earrings that I know she will use for many gigs to come.

As you can see, Hawaiian shirts aren’t just… well, shirts! They often have stories and hold memories. I recently commented on a particularly beautiful Hawaiian shirt at an event in Georgia and the fellow wearing it said, “This shirt holds a lot of great memories… some of which I can’t remember!”  If you have any Hawaiian shirt stories that you would like to share, send them to me at parrotislandband@gmail.com and I may post them here on our website. Until next time, may your closets be filled with Hawaiian shirts, your days with beautiful beaches and your life with countless blessings…

A Great View From the Mic

 

A Great View From the Mic

Peoples and Henches drop by for Parrot Island Band fix

A great view from the mic. This week Linda and Bry (of the Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band from Atlanta, Georgia) were in St. Augustine, Florida, for the Beaches A1A Parrot Head Club event… Betty Teague Memorial Beach Bash. We played on Saturday afternoon to a great crowd and although there was a good chance of rain, the weather was beautiful.

A great view from the mic

Looking out from the mic, we were treated to a view of good friends. Dale and Peach Hench (Trop Rock fans of the year for 2010) were there along with Buddy (the “good Parrothead”) and Billy (the “old Parrothead”) Peoples. Both of these couples have been very encouraging to us since we started playing a few years ago at Trop Rocks the Smokies.

Although we had heard Jim Morris (and steel pan player John Patti) before, we also had the treat of listening to Jimmy Parrish (and the Ocean Waves) and the Calypso Nuts for the first time. Both groups were outstanding and we really appreciated the opportunity to spend some time getting to know Robbie and Lynley of the Calypso Nuts. While all of these groups are outstanding (and genuine/friendly people), the Calypso Nuts are a high energy duo that I hope we get to hear again (and often).

I can’t forget to mention Tropico (Barry Olsavsky, steel pan player who also plays with Jimmy Parrish) and Mark Hart, who also did a great job. Mark looks a bit like a ‘70’s rocker (maybe someone who might have played for Grand Funk Railroad) and had a hilarious delivery of his line, “this is the drinking part of this song”, which he shared at some point in every song (it must have worked, people were tipping him like crazy!). Unfortunately, the group Mango Fever was rained out on Friday afternoon but played a number of songs in the hospitality room (it was pretty noisy in there but what I heard was very good).

Mark needs some time on Parrot Island with the band

A special thanks to Debbie Mayer and her team. They did a wonderful job of making sure everything went smoothly and it looked like everyone had good time. One of the many things I like about events like the Beach Bash is that they also raise money for a good cause (Beach Bash focuses on Alzheimer’s related charities). Thanks also for bringing in the Parrot Island Band/duo and giving us the opportunity to play for the event (if you enjoyed hearing us, please let Debbie know she made a good decision in bringing us in J).

Well, that’s a quick view of this year’s Beach Bash. Linda and I had a great time and hope that we see some of our new friends in the coming year. If you are having a Parrothead event in 2011, we would love to be considered for the music lineup. In addition to Linda and myself (steel pan, guitar/vocals), our conga player (Kevin Garrelts) is a great addition to the Parrot Island sound and would love to come along if your budget allows.

If you read some of my other posts, I know you are waiting for it, so here it is… ready… ready- until next time… beaches and blessings to you all!

 

Parrotheads Like Flip Flops

 

Parrotheads Like Flip Flops

Parrotheads like flip flops. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Jimmy Buffett is a master marketer! Knowing that flip flops are definitely on the list of stuff Parrotheads like, Jimmy came out with a line of Margaritaville flip flops and I’m sure they are best sellers (I wonder if there is Parrothead underwear?…hmmm).

Flippin and floppin while listening to the Parrot Island Band

As I have been thinking about flip flops for the past few days (thus this post), I have noticed there is a great variety of flip flop styles. I also noticed there are some really ugly feet out there, but that is a post for another day :). When I looked up “flip flop pictures” on the Internet, I also found out there are some really creative flip flops out there…

Parrotheads like some stuff fishy

Grass is greener when listening to Parrot Island Band

I’m sure that some of you have flip flop favorites that you would like to share. Send me some brands or pictures of your favorite flip flops (send to parrotislandband@gmail.com) and I’ll share some of your wisdom (or humor) with the rest of the flock.

While I am out this week (Linda and Bry of the Parrot Island Band will be on a road trip to Beach Bash in St. Augustine, Florida), I will be keeping my eye out for unique flip flops and maybe I’ll get a picture or two… Would it be inappropriate to stop someone and ask if I could take a picture of their flip flops/feet? We’ll see how it goes and I’ll update the post next week… until then may your week (and life) be filled with beaches and blessings

Parrotheads Like to Travel

 

Parrotheads Like to Travel

Parrotheads like to travel.  When I think about stuff Parrotheads like… travel comes to mind. I must not be a very good Parrothead because I don’t travel nearly as much as most of the Parrotheads I know. The islands. The lake. Some beach, somewhere. It seems like my Parrothead family is always on the road.

Parrot Island Band heading to Beach Bash

Having said that, this week we are heading off to St. Augustine, Florida. Linda and I (Parrot Island Band/duo) will be playing at the  Beaches A1A Parrothead Club eventBeach Bash (15th annual event with proceeds benefiting Alzheimer’s charities). There will be a number of other Trop Rock musicians playing, including the Calypso Nuts and Jimmy Parrish. I have heard many good things about these Trop Rockers and I look forward to listening to them after we are done playing on Saturday afternoon (by the pool). I enjoy playing at Parrothead events as I enjoy meeting some new friends at each event.

So that’s pretty much it for the blog this week… I may sneak in an update on the road, but maybe not. As far as travel goes… I would love to hear some of the places my Parrothead friends like to travel (send your thoughts to Bry Harris at parrotislandband@gmail.com and maybe you will be mentioned in a future blog post). Until next time… may your week be filled with beaches and blessings….

Parrot Island Band heads to St. Augustine Florida

Adding to the List of Stuff Parrotheads Like

 

Adding to the List of Stuff Parrotheads Like

Stuff Parrotheads Like. It’s a list of things that Parrotheads have in common. OK, not all Parrotheads will like everything on the list but there are many who will. As I mentioned in my original post “Stuff Parrotheads Like”, some items on the list may be humorous, some serious and some may be informative…. we’ll see.

There are no Pairates on Parrot Island

I also said I would add some of your favorites to the list and I have already gotten a few suggestions. Bobby Curran added old pirate movies to the list. I remember watching pirate movies as a kid now that Bobby mentions it and certainly the more recent Pirates of the Caribbean series (although I haven’t seen the most recent one). There is a pretty good list of old pirate movies at http://www.thepirateking.com/movies/.

Derek Raulerson lists:

Cheeseburgers
The Ocean
Big kosher pickle
Heinz 57 & French fried potatoes
Juicy fruit & bathing suits
Pensacola (because of Frank & Lola of course)
Hanging around other parrotheads
Golf

OK Derek, I’ll give you all but the “big kosher pickle” (see, I told you we wouldn’t agree on everything). I know Jimmy put it in the song (Cheeseburger in Paradise) but pickles… ewww :)).

 

Parrot Island Band bans pickles

 

While a lot of Parrotheads probably don’t care for golf… Derek is an avid golfer and a darned good one (I can attest to the whoopin’ he gave me when we played a few months ago. I also like golf so I will leave it on the list. I also rewrote a Buffett classic (Why Don’t We Get Drunk and). It is now Why Don’t We Play Golf at 2? (you can listen here).

If you want to add your ideas to the list, leave a comment at the end of the post, drop a suggestion on our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/ParrotIslandBand) or email me at parrotislandband@gmail.com.

If all this talk of cheeseburgers and Parrotheads gets you salivating for some good Trop Rock music (steel pan, congas and island tunes), maybe it’s time to call the Parrot Island Band (Jimmy Buffett tribute band from Atlanta, Georgia) in for a party. We will leave the pickles in the song (Cheeseburger in Paradise) and even throw in some French fried potatoes.

 

Stuff Parrotheads Like

 

Stuff Parrotheads Like

I have been reading the book Quitter by Jon Acuff. In this book, Acuff talk about the tension between our “day job” and our “dream job” and how we can close the gap between them. So far it is a really good read and I look forward to exploring some of the thoughts that Jon has shared.

Acuff also has a popular blog called Stuff Christians Like (http://www.jonacuff.com/stuffchristianslike/) that is a spinoff of sorts of another popular blog… Stuff White People Like (http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/). Both blogs take a satirical look at their respective categories and have also inspired numerous other spinoff blogs (just Google “things people like” and you will see what I am talking about).

Since everyone else is doing it, I might as well join in. I will be adding a category to our website (www.parrotislandband.com) called “Stuff Parrotheads Like”. I will certainly attempt to keep it light and fun but also look at the many things that bind Parrotheads together.

Parrotheads like the Parot Island Band

So what do Parrotheads like? Jimmy Buffett is an obvious answer but there is so much more to being a Parrothead. Hawaiian shirts. Trop-Rock music. Sailing. Beaches. Boat drinks. The list goes on and on and hopefully you will help me put the list together. If you have something that you think needs to be on the list of “stuff Parrotheads like”, let me know and if I use it I will give you credit. You can send your suggestions to Bry at  parrotislandband@gmail.com.

The Parrot Island Band. I can’t forget the band. Hopefully our music will land on your list of stuff Parrotheads like. While we primarily play here in the Atlanta area, we are available to travel (for the right price and with enough lead time ;-)) Steel pans (that has to be on the list), congas and music that helps you escape to a beach somewhere.  We are much more “trop” than “rock” (Trop Rock being the genre that most Buffett/beach oriented bands fall under) but if you give us a listen, I know we can help you find your “happy place”. 

Parrot Island Band takes to a happy place

I look forward to hearing from you and adding this category to our Parrot Island Band page. So let’s get started, what is on your list of “stuff Parrotheads like”?

Tag, You’re It

 

Tag, You're It

TagYou’re it. It is a game that people have played since the beginning of time (OK, I don’t know that for sure, but I could be right so let’s go with it). I remember playing “tag” when I was a young boy and as a Dad when my children were little.

Reach out and touch the Parrot Island Band

Phone tag. It is a game that I play quite a bit with other adults. Someone calls me and I can’t get to the phone. They leave me a message and I call back but they can’t get to the phone. I leave a message…”tag, you’re it”…. and so it goes until we finally connect. Sadly, sometimes we actually deliver our message but we don’t really “connect”.

No bears on Parrot Island

Tag. It’s a game that I play with the Parrot Island Band website. I try to put certain words in each blog so that people come and read the post, but also to help the website rank higher in the search engines (like Google and Yahoo). As more people come to our website, hopefully some will look around, listen and then… hire us to play an event (the ultimate goal… getting out and playing our music)!

Some great words to tag a post with:

Jimmy Buffett tribute band

Trop Rock music

Parrot Island Band (We are from Acworth, Georgia, but play all around Atlanta and the Southeast… given enough notice, we are open to traveling further.)

Steel pan

Key West, FL (I would love to visit there some day soon; to play there would be even better…anyone?…anyone? :))

Margaritaville Restaurants (come on guys, how about inviting us to play at one of your locations?)

LuLu’s Restaurant (Same as above. We love all things Buffett and Jimmy’s sister’s restaurant would be a great place to visit and play.)

Outer Banks, NC (Now, there is a beautiful place to go, walk on the beach and yes… play some music.)

Margarita M.A.F.I.A. (A group of like-minded fans, musicians, venues that promote Trop Rock music.)

So there are a few of the topics that I like to write about (and tag so people can easily find), but there are many others I could cover. As I continue to reach out from our website and hopefully make new friends in the Trop Rock world, I would love to hear other topics that you who come to this site would like to hear about.  Now that you know some of my favorite “tags”….how about sharing some of yours with me… tag, you’re it :).

Parrot Island Band would love to hear from you

Another View From the Mic

 

Another View From the Mic

Another view from the mic.   Last night, we (the Parrot Island Band: available for events throughout the Southeast) played for the summer concert series in Cartersville, Georgia. While it was extremely hot, there was a great turnout and it looked like everyone was having a fun evening.  A good number of folks were up dancing and the kids were up and having a good time with their parents (our music tends to get the children moving… one of the most enjoyable parts of the evening).

A great view from Parrot Island band gig in Cartersville

A special thanks to Cartersville Downtown Development Authority Executive Director, Liz Hood. She and her staff did a wonderful job in planning and making sure the event ran smoothly. The tropical theme was evident throughout the venue and helped set the mood for the evening.

Look a flock of pink flamingos

 

A special shout out to Bones and Gristles BBQ. I now have another great place to visit the next time I head up to Cartersville. I had their pulled pork sandwich… mmmmmm.

Feeding the head Parrot Bry

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the Parrot Island Band is a Jimmy Buffett tribute band. We play 40-50 Jimmy Buffett songs, all with a Tropical flavor (steel pan, acoustic guitar and congas). We have also added a few Zac Brown and Kenny Chesney songs (all of which went over well last night :)).  In the mix of all these fun song, we also play several Parrot Island Band originals.  The Parrot Island Band has been nominated the last two years as duo/trio of the year in the Trop Rock awards that are held in Key West each year.

While we have a blast at events like last night, we are also right at home… at your home! We play a lot of neighborhood and backyard events, pool parties, boat docks, and corporate events. You can reach us on our website or call Bry directly at 770-855-3404 to plan your next event.

 

The Far Side of Heaven

 

The Far Side of Heaven

Mac would fit in great with the Parrot Island Band

Mac McAnally (of the Coral Reefer Band) has written many great songs but one of my favorites is The Far Side of Heaven. Mac apparently had an ex (and her boyfriend) in mind when he wrote this song. Although I can usually find anything on the Internet, I can’t find the words to this song anywhere.  Fortunately, I do have this song on my iPhone and the chorus goes like this:

On the far side of heaven, a long way from me

If I said, “go to Hell” I was only angry

Cause I pray every day when the time comes you’ll be…

On the far side of heaven

On the far side of heaven, a long way from me

This song can be found on Mac’s CD Semi True Stories and it has some other great songs on it as well. While the Bible tells us to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39) and forgive up to seventy-seven times (Matthew 18:21-23), sometimes that seems a Hard Way to Go.

There are many, when faced with betrayal, who says they would have to be The Last Man Standing before finding the ability to forgive. To hold on to anger and bitterness only seems to hurt the one holding onto these feelings. I love that Mac acknowledges his hurt in this song but also doesn’t hold on to the hurt of the broken relationship (and become bitter in the process).

When our feelings towards someone are The Opposite of Love, it is easy to close the door to loving someone new. Instead of resisting a new relationship, there comes a time when it is good to say “Come On In If You’re Coming”.

Meanwhile, When Trouble Comes Around in any form… a broken relationship or just trying to find our way Home Again… it is good to have a sense of humor. I wonder if Mac wrote his song Stephon, the Alternative Lifestyle Reindeer during the same time he wrote The Far Side of Heaven? I know that when I am under stress, I have written some songs that make me laugh and help me keep perspective.

Bry from Parrot Island Band was a little too excited for this pic

(I was a little too excited for this picture… how about a retake Mac?)

As part of the Parrot Island Band, (a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band from Atlanta, Georgia) I often hear people comment that our music helps them escape the stress of what they are going through. While I have only met Mac McAnally (3 time CMA musician of the year) in passing (after one of his concerts here in Atlanta), I can attest to his music’s relaxing (and inspiring qualities). I have already gone on record that I would love to play a few songs with Jimmy Buffett. I hope that if/when this happens, Mac will be around and join in with us as well.

 

Tribute to Troy Allan

 

Tribute to Troy Allan

This week Beachfront Radio gave a memorable tribute to Troy Allan (it would have been his birthday on Monday). Troy was a wonderful Trop Rock musician who died this past year after a courageous battle with cancer (very rare stomach cancer called Linitis Plastica). While I didn’t know Troy personally, I (like so many others) was moved by his positive/fighting spirit throughout his illness.

Troy Allan teaches Parrot Island Band... I Can

One of Troy’s songs, I Can, is on my iPhone and I listen to it often as I try to push myself a little further while at the gym or when facing  a particular obstacle in the middle of my day. I wish I could have had a conversation about his faith and the strength that he shared with so many. In my own life, I often draw strength from the Bible verse that says, “I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Troy’s lyrics to “I Can” are quite moving:

I can do what I put my mind to, I can do all that others can’t

I have pride and determination, so don’t you ever tell me that I can’t
Because I’ll prove you wrong, my will is strong
Yeah, I’ve just got to believe…I can.

I can make a difference, my voice will be heard
Ideas can move mountains if the action’s more than words
I know I’ll go the distance, even though the road is steep
Hey, I’ve just got to believe…I can

Some say don’t even try, no matter what the task.
But if the human mind can dream it, well, the Bible says it‘ll come to pass
Expecting the best and accepting no less, if you just keep telling yourself…I can

Gotta take it on yourself, can’t blame nobody else, gotta do what others don’t
Willing and able makes everything possible, just keep telling yourself…I can

 

Well, I just gotta believe I can…I can…I can

 

I am proud to be a part of the Trop Rock family that reaches across the country (and likely around the world). I appreciate the Parrothead motto, “party with a purpose”, and the way in which so many followers of the Parrothead/Trop Rock lifestyle not only enjoy life but reach out to others along the way. One of Troy’s last efforts was a series of concerts that he played to give to others in need.

I wrote a song… Sail On Superman as a tribute to Troy and his tremendous strength in the midst of great struggle:

He had a heart as big as Texas, a smile that lit the sky

He never met a stranger, so it comes as no surprise

He touched so many people, he changed so many lives

We don’t want to, it’s so hard to… finally say goodbye

You put a smile on our faces, but there’s a tear in my eye

Sail on Superman, Sail on Superman

May our love fill up your sail, as you head into the light

 

We (the Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band), will continue in the spirit that Troy Allan shared with so many. While we certainly enjoy songs about beaches and palm trees, we also seek to pass along the blessings that we have received.

It is said in the Bible, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Thanks to Troy for laying down his life for so many. I’m in no hurry, but I do look forward to the day when I can sit down with Troy and play a few songs together… until then sail on Superman, thanks for your inspiration to us all.

John Reno House Concert

 

John Reno House Concert

Last night John Reno was in town for a house concert and we (Linda and Bry) dropped in to listen to some great stories and music. John is a great musician and I loved the informal setting which gave John a chance to share some of the background stories for his songs. The evening was put on by the Atlanta Trop Rock Alliance which has put on some great events (John Friday, Brent Burns, Hugo Duarte and Jeff Pike) and continues to schedule some of the country’s best Trop Rock musicians.

Parrot Island Band night out listening to John Reno

“Panman” Dart Fifer sat in for a few songs with John last night on the steel pan. Dart plays with a number of local steel pan bands and also with Jeff Pike (A1A) on some of his local gigs.  Dart and Linda spent a little time comparing steel pan techniques and although Dart did a fine job, Linda is still the prettiest steel pan player around (in my own humble opinion:).

Dart would fit in nicely on Parrot Island

I enjoyed John’s story related to his recent trip to New York. He and John Patti (a Trop Rock heart throb and excellent steel pan player) recently finished in the top 5 in a Folger’s Coffee jingle contest. While they didn’t win (as many of us hoped and believed they would), their success in this contest not only promoted Trop Rock music but also introduced their music to an even wider audience.

John has some wonderful stories about his dogs, his boats and his experiences as a professional musician. While we haven’t played with John, we did play in the same event a few years ago (Trop Rocks the Smokies). Hopefully we will have the opportunity to hear him again soon and maybe even play a few songs together.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend a house concert, you can always host one yourself. Invite a few friends over and a fun band (like the Parrot Island Band… just call 770-855-3404 and ask for Bry), and you can enjoy this wonderful setting for music in your own home. While we play many neighborhood events and parties, the house concert setting allows a musician to tell the stories (and you know I love telling stories) that inspired their songs. Although we enjoy being background at various events, there is something unique and enjoyable about house concerts. They can be held inside or out and can be put together with just a little effort and a few good friends.

One of the highlights of the evening actually took place on the way to the John Reno house concert. We stopped off at I-Hop for some pancakes and as we entered, we heard the song "I Got You Babe" playing. Last week at our marina gig, one of the ladies requested this Sonny and Cher classic 😉 and was a bit put off that we didn't have this song in our song list. Maybe this was a sign that we should add this song to our repetoire…nah:). Thanks again to John Reno for some wonderful music and until next time… beaches and blessings to you all.

Everybody’s on the Phone

 

Everybody's on the Phone

I was listening to Jimmy Buffett sing Everybody’s on the Phone (ironically while on my iPhone) and it struck me how dependent I am on my gadgets. This is not a totally new revelation, as my wife, Linda, (the lovely Linda Harris of the Parrot Island Band) tells me on a regular basis, “No toys at the table!”:).

Buffett trying to reach the Parrot Island Band

Will Kimbrough and Jimmy Buffett put it nicely in the chorus:

Everybody's on the phone
So connected and all alone
From the pizza boy to the socialite
We all salute the satellites
Let me text you with your master plan
You're loud and clear but I don't understand
I'm a digital explorer in analog roam
And everybody's on the phone

While it is easier to send information to someone because of phone, text or e-mail, it seems like we really haven’t gotten better at “connecting”.  We “hear” but often fail to “listen.  Communication is not just a skill but also an art and no mountain of technology can help us to really connect if we don’t work at it.

I’m not ready to toss my phone… I really do enjoy the easy access to others (had a wonderful conversation with my dad today). I also must confess that I enjoy a few games (yes, I do play an occasional game of Angry Birds) and all of the “apps” (there is even a Bible app that I can use to look up some of my favorite inspirational verses).

Trying to connect with Parrot Island Band

Other features I enjoy on my phone are the camera and video. I use these to take pictures at gigs (Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band in Atlanta, Georgia) and to occasionally capture a new song I am working on.

So where does this leave me? I spend too much time on the phone, but there are some legitimate (and fun) uses for it. As Jimmy sings in his song Barometer Soup, “moderation seems to be the key”. Some time on the phone is OK. We also need time face to face, really listening, time for exercise, enjoying nature and for me… time to pray and reflect. Of course, I also enjoy time with the phone off and guitar in hand… I think Jimmy is playing somewhere tonight, think I’ll turn on the radio and listen in for awhile. As always, beaches and blessings to you all.

Is The Tide Going To Reach Your Chair?

 

Is The Tide Going To Reach Your Chair?

One of my favorite songs at the moment is Knee Deep by Zac Brown (and featuring Jimmy Buffett). The song begins:

Gonna put the world away for a minute
Pretend I don't live in it
Sunshine gonna wash my blues away

Parrot Island Band has room for these guys

In this crazy world of deadlines and stress, it is important to know when (and how) to relax. For me, images of blues skies, seagulls and sandy beaches quickly do the trick.  There are a couple of verses in the Bible that also help me find a peaceful place: “Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Philippians 4:6-7 MSG) Thinking about a beautiful sunset, or listening to breaking waves… I find myself in a prayerful mindset (sometimes knee deep in prayer) without even having to “work at it”.  It is in this peaceful place that I can often release the worries around me and enjoy the life God has given me.

Zac Brown continues to sing his own kind of wisdom with these words:

Wishing I was knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze and it don't seem fair
Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise there's a fire in the sky
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise

Parrot Island Band state of mind

While many people think of paradise as a place where there are streets of gold or maybe expensive high rises are abundant, there are many others like myself who are content to sit at the ocean’s edge and watch the beauty of God’s creation. I am thankful for those moments when, like Zac Brown, I only find myself worrying about the rising tide in relation to my chair in the sand :).

Towards the end of the song, there is an invitation to join in:

Come on in the water it's nice
Find yourself a little slice
Grab a backpack…
You never know until you try
When you lose yourself
You find the key to paradise

Zac Brown shares another nugget of wisdom when he reminds us that we actually find paradise when we are willing to lose ourselves. As much of Jesus’ life was spent by the water, I wonder if He was reflecting on the beauty of the water before He taught His followers that if they were willing to lose their lives (in service, love and giving to others), they would actually find real meaning in life (Matthew 10:39).

While some have to wait to take their trips to the beach to find the kind of peacefulness described in the song Knee Deep, as a musician I find it easy to escape through the words and music of a song. As part of the Parrot Island Band, if things are too stressful during the week, I can call a band practice or hopefully have a gig waiting where we can sing/play our way to a relaxing state of mind.

Whenever we play (the Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band from Atlanta, Georgia), there are usually several people who tell us how relaxing the steel pan, congas and acoustic guitar music is. The great part of playing, for me, is that the music we play for others (maybe another link back to losing ourselves?), also brings us a great sense of joy and relaxation. 

Here’s hoping you find a comfortable chair by the ocean side. I also hope you find some relaxing (maybe Parrot Island Band) music to help wash away the stress and blues of your day. Until next time, wishing you beaches and blessings…

 

 

Hanging Out At A Marina

 

Hanging out at a Marina

A view from the mic. We almost didn’t get to “hang out at the marina” (would I get to sing Jimmy’s song Mañana?) last night but things turned out great by evening’s end. When I packed up the van to get ready to head out to our gig at Park Marina on Lake Allatoona, the car “started funny” and I thought, “Uh oh”.  The van was packed and I knew we only had one or two more starts before it died. Luckily, Kevin (Kevin Garrelts, our conga player) had his jumper cables so he followed along… just in case.

Parrot Island Band fans getting ready for fun

On the way to the Marina, a big storm came up and it looked like we might get washed out before we even began. We got to the boat dock and quickly unloaded and settled in for a wait to see if the storm would clear. After about 45 minutes, the storm passed and we set up our equipment and got ready for an enjoyable evening.

While we were setting up in front of one of the boats, our hosts told us of the last musician they had out for a party. Apparently the musician for that evening had a little too much to drink and fell over backwards… into the lake (with his electric guitar in hand)! He came up under the boat and struggled to come up for air but fortunately the power to his sound system was quickly cut off. With that story I was confident that whatever we did would be an improvement :).

Parrot Island BAnd waiting for Steve Martin to call?

The rest of the evening was a blast. Everyone seemed to have a great time and most seemed to be fans of Jimmy Buffett’s music and by the end of the evening, the Parrot Island Band (a Jimmy Buffett Tribute band from Atlanta, Georgia) as well. The party participants really seemed to enjoy the tropical feel of our music with congas and steel pan, a great sound for a cool evening on the lake. One of the party guests even came home a day early from Europe to be at the party and he “joined the band” for a few songs on the maracas (and even wore a grass skirt for his band debut).

The only person who wasn’t too pleased was the lady who requested a song from Sonny and Cher….? She wanted to sing “I Got You Babe” with me and couldn’t believe that I didn’t know the words to that song (I know, I’m a Trop Rock slacker). Oh well, other than that, it was a great night and the entire dock seemed to be having a great time singing, dancing and enjoying their time with family and friends.

Parrot Island Band Trop Rockin with Sonny and Cher

When we finally loaded everything up for the ride home, it was time to see if the car would start. I was (barely) able to get the engine to turn over and we went home feeling really good about our gig. When I got home, I turned the car off, unloaded and thought I would see if it might start one more time… nope! While we certainly cut it close, everything turned out great, and to top it off… no Parrot Island Band members went overboard.

Do you live on a lake? Maybe you have a relaxing backyard pool? The Parrot Island Band has a great sound for a relaxing party. The folks at the Marina were surprised at how little space we take up and what a full sound we provide. While we certainly play a lot of Jimmy Buffett music, we are more than just a cover band. We also have original Trop Rock songs that are on radio stations from Key West to California and they will quickly get your toes tapping. If you can’t get to the beach, let us bring the beach to you. Go ahead, pick up the phone and call Bry at 770-855-3404… you know you want to. Beaches and blessings, hope to see you soon.

Cheeseburger in Paradise

 

Cheeseburger in Paradise

Cheeseburger in Paradise. I have eaten my share of cheeseburgers over the years. As a youngster I ate (I exaggerate sometimes but not this one) cheeseburgers nearly every night for dinner for as many years as I can remember. My dad was a golf pro at a local country club and would often be out until 9 pm or later so my mom let me eat burgers in front of the T.V. before he got home.

Parrot Island Band loves Cheeseburgers

Not surprisingly, one of my favorite songs of all time is Cheeseburger in Paradise. I make sure the Parrot Island Band plays this song every time we play together and it is always very well received! Of course you would expect a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band to play this song, but for me it is not only expected… it is a joy to do so.

Jimmy Buffett may like his cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato and Heinz 57 but I like mine with ketchup and cheese only. While I have eaten a lot of good hamburgers over the years, I mostly enjoy a burger freshly charcoal grilled.

For years I sang the Cheeseburger in Paradise song incorrectly. I always thought the lyrics were “medium rare with mustard be nice” but I have to admit I always wondered where the cheese was in the song. The correct lyrics are, “medium rare with Munster’d be nice” and although I love this song… I have never tried a burger with Munster cheese.

Along with a good cheeseburger, I also enjoy a visit to Cheeseburger in Paradise (the restaurant) once in awhile. These restaurants have great atmosphere (as do the Margaritaville Restaurants) and it is good to have one here in the Atlanta area. The Parrot Island Band played at Atlanta’s Cheeseburger in Paradise for about 6 months a couple of years ago and were well received. Unfortunately, one of the assistant managers came up one night and said he had made some adjustments to the sound system on a night when someone came in to “evaluate” the music.  Next thing I know, we get an email canceling our next gig because there were a couple of tables that complained we were “too loud” (the first and only time I ever remember hearing that about the Parrot Island Band). While we haven’t been back as a band, we did enjoy the times we had at Cheeseburger in Paradise.

Parrot Island Band loves a good cheeseburger

So what kind of music will you hear when you hire the Parrot Island Band to play while you are eating your favorite cheeseburger? While we primarily cover Jimmy Buffett songs, we do so with an “island feel”.  Acoustic guitar, congas and beautiful steel pan round out the Parrot Island Band sound. There are still a few weekends open on our schedule to plan a “backyard island cookout” so what are you waiting for… give Bry a call at 770-855-3404…

Parrothead Wedding Celebrations

 

Parrothead Wedding Celebrations

Getting married? Or are you thinking about a Parrothead wedding renewal celebration (you could even get several couples together for this one)? If you are a parrothead and want to consider a wedding that is unique, fun and tropical… the Parrot Island Band can help you pull off a Parrothead wedding to remember! We can provide music for the wedding, the reception and here is where it gets interesting… I (Bry) can actually officiate your wedding ceremony since I am also an ordained minister (not many Trop Rock musicians can say that!).

Parrot Island Band Weddings

While most weddings seem to be stressful and very formal, there are some out there who would like to slip on some flip flops, Hawaiian shirts, hula dresses and get married to the sweet sounds of steel pan music. Why not go all out and bring out the parrothead decorations, open the Tiki bar for the reception and then listen to the fun songs of Jimmy Buffett, Zac Brown, and Kenny Chesney played in that tropical Parrot Island Band style. The Parrot Island Band has been nominated as the Trop Rock duo/trio of the year for the last two years (2009-2010) and it has been said that we will "take you on a musical vacation to a tropical destination" (OK, I said it… but it is true!).

Parrot Island Band weddings

Maybe you have been married for 10, 20, 30 years and you want to celebrate your years together with friends and family. If so, let's put together a wedding renewal celebration…. bringing together your friends and family to celebrate the years you have shared and also look forward to the years ahead. Interested in finding out more information about your Parrothead wedding… call 770-855-3404  and ask for Bry.

 

 

A View From The Mic

 

A View From The Mic

Last night Linda and I (Parrot Island Band/duo) played at the Alpharetta Athletic Club (West Course) and had a wonderful time at their first adult pool party for the summer. We set up to a beautiful view of the pool and even though it was “hot, hot, hot” to start with, by the end of the evening the weather was wonderful.

A view from the mic by Parrot Island Band

While it was a fairly quiet event, it was nice seeing people sitting and visiting with one another. I usually like to pick out a few people at each event and talk with them throughout the evening, but last night was a night where we just settled in and played while the group enjoyed a relaxing evening of music and conversation.

On nights where there is less interaction, I look for more non-verbal cues to tell me how “things are going”.  A foot tap, someone singing along, thumbs up or a smile from someone passing by are all good signs. We were set up near the entrance/exit of the pool and several folks stopped by and told us how much they enjoyed the evening (much better than dropping their heads and looking the other way 😉Parrot Island Band draws a crowd

 

 

 

 

As I was loading up the equipment, one of the ladies asked if Linda and I were married.  When told that we were, she noted that she thought that it was neat that as husband and wife we have found something like this that we can do together. I agree, playing with Linda only adds to the enjoyment of what we are doing and hopefully it shows. While we only had the duo last night, it is also great when Kevin is sitting in with the congas as he is not only a fine musician but a good friend.

As the summer gets into full swing, it’s not too late to put together a tropical themed party. While the economy is still a bit sluggish, remember the Parrot Island Band IS “Jimmy Buffett on a budget” and is probably more affordable than you think.

We can set up in a small area (back yard, pool… clubhouse, etc.). If you are in the Atlanta area, maybe it’s time to get some friends together, cookout and bring in that Island feel of the Parrot Island Band. Yes, we are a Jimmy Buffett tribute band, but we also bring in some Trop Rock originals, Zac Brown Band music and even Kenny Chesney (not Kenny himself, but his music ;-)).  Until our next gig…out at a local marina next Saturday night… blessings and beaches to you all.

 

What A Weiner

 

What A Weiner

What a Weiner! Yes, I am talking about Anthony Weiner and his sexting/texting scandal. It seems that everyone is jumping on the Weiner wagon… so I might as well join in.

What a Weiner

I don’t know much about Anthony Weiner as a politician and as a result of this scandal, he will mostly be remembered for bad taste and bad judgment. What he does on Twitter is really none of my business, but as with Arnold Schwarzenegger, I feel sorry for his family, friends and constituents who most likely feel embarrassed and betrayed.

Jimmy Buffett pokes fun at all sorts of people in the song Fruitcakes, and rightly so. People are messed up. Bankers, lawyers, teachers and yes, even “religious people”. We are all messed up and do hilarious, scandalous and even embarrassing things on a daily basis.

Fruitcake

The Bible had something to say on the subject as well. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he says that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). It’s funny how Jimmy Buffett can say the same thing the Bible says, but in different words, and everyone will sing along with Jimmy and take offense to the Bible.

As a follower of Jesus, the good news for me and anyone who will receive it is that while “the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Yup, I’m messed up, you are messed up and we begin to get better when we admit our own “messed up-ness” and ask for God’s help (and forgiveness).

My fondness for Jimmy Buffett is in part due to his ability to poke fun of our human condition (and even his own) without judging others. My love of Jesus helps me to look at others who are “messed up” and still care for them (as they often care for “messed up” me).

So why is this such controversial news? We all sin (mess up, fall short of God’s wonderful plan for us).  We also try to cover up (which people in the spotlight seem to do with varying degrees of success or failure). Perhaps we should try a new strategy, maybe we should “open up” to God’s grace and also spend less time worrying about how messed up others are.

Now that I think of it, all of this reminds me of a song I wrote called “I’m Not Quite Right”. Whenever the Parrot Island Band plays this song at one of our gigs, it is funny to see the smiles of acknowledgement (not just that I’m “not quite right”, but that we are all “not quite right”).

Come on out and enjoy a show. Maybe together we can get a little less messed up. In the meantime, good luck Mr. Weiner and as one comedian said…, “It’s a good thing you don’t have any kids or someone would ask how the little wieners feel about this”? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist;-)).

 

There Is No Place Like Home

 

There Is No Place Like Home

There is no place like home. I was reminded of this statement today as good friend and Parrot Island Band conga player, Kevin Garrelts, took a quick trip to the Tidewater area where I grew up.

Keving GArrelts of the Parrot Island Band

Just hearing that Kevin was heading to Norfolk and eating at Smithfield Station (in Smithfield , VA.) brought back a flood of memories. My dad built a golf course in Smithfield when I was about 13 years old. Interestingly, I looked up the course on Google Earth and I could see outlines of certain holes but could also see that the course had been abandoned for some time.

As I looked at the faint outline of Golf Land (later renamed Smithfield Downs golf course), I was reminded that you can erase something from physical existence, but it is much harder to erase from one’s memory. I was also reminded that as I have aged, the concept of home has grown, shifted and yet maintained some roots to my childhood.

When I think of home today, I think about Linda (my wife), Jennifer and Chris (daughter and son). I also view home as an emotional place where I feel accepted, loved and supported. Home is more about relationships today the than roads, houses and playgrounds of my youth.

Having said that, the rivers, lakes and ocean of the Tidewater area remain a large part of who I am today. The songs I sing, write and enjoy are often about these themes. While Tidewater is not an island, it is the foundation for much of what has become the Parrot Island Band. In future posts I will look at the impact the blend of beaches, Jimmy Buffett and tropical themes have had upon me over the years.

Atlanta Fin Land Tailgate

 

Atlanta Fin Land Tailgate

(Coral Reefers: Left to right- Peter Mayer, Jim Mayer, Michael Utley, Nadirah Shakoor, Doyle Grisham… Parrot Island Band: Linda Harris, Bry Harris, Kevin Garrelts)

The Parrot Island Band had a great time recently with the Atlanta Parrothead Club at the pre-Buffett tailgate event (on the Welcome to Fin Land tour) here in Atlanta. We met up with Wayne Myers and the rest of the “set up” crew at 9am. From there, we headed off to Aaron’s Amphitheatre to set up the band equipment, meet some new friends and enjoy the day. What always strikes me is how empty the parking lot starts off and when the gates open around noon, how quickly the place turns into an amazing spectacle of crazy Parrotheads.

 

 

 

We played off and on from noon until about 5:30, sharing the entertainment duties with DJ Fred McFarlin. The members of the Atlanta Parrothead Club made sure we got plenty to eat and drink… what a great group of folks to hang around with for the day.

Fred McFArlin hanging out with the Parrot Island Band

Late in the afternoon, several members of the Coral Reefer Band came out to sign autographs both for those near the Margaritaville Shrimp Bus and the Atlanta Parrothead Club. Nadirah Shakoor, Jim Mayer, Peter Mayer, Doyle Grisham and Michael Utley came over to our band tent before they left for the concert to say hello and have a picture taken with us (of course a real treat for us).

While we have played several Buffett tailgate parties in the past, this one was as close to the main gates as any band gets without actually opening for Jimmy inside. As I have mentioned in other places, at my high school graduation it was said that I would likely open for Jimmy Buffett some day. Jimmy might not have heard us playing last week, but this was pretty close to actually opening for Jimmy himself J.

We went inside and listened to several songs and then headed home, worn out, but having enjoyed a wonderful day. As always, Jimmy has surrounded himself with some incredible musicians and puts on a wonderful show. I hope Jimmy continues to enjoy playing for everyone for several more years… at least until he comes out to one of our tailgate shows or invites us in ;-). Have a great concert tour, Jimmy (and Coral Reefers). Hope we see you again next year.

Hey Jimmy (Buffett), Won’t You Come Out And Play?

 

Hey Jimmy, Won't You Come Out And Play?

Jimmy Smiling at PArrot Island BAnd invitation

Last year I wrote a song titled, Hey Jimmy, Won‘t You Give Me A Call?”… so far he hasn’t called. I have been a fan of Jimmy Buffett since I was a teenager back in the 70’s (and was named “most likely to open for Jimmy Buffett” at my high school graduation J).

Next week, our Trop Rock Trio- the Parrot Island Band will be playing for the Atlanta Parrothead Club tailgate party before Jimmy’s concert at Aarons Amphitheatre. It will be a great day and just so Jimmy knows, he is welcome to come out and play a few songs with us 😉  If anyone has Jimmy’s ear, please pass on the invitation.

For those of you who are in the Atlanta area and can’t make the Buffett concert next week, please know that we are available for your next event (pool party, birthday, neighborhood gathering, house concert, etc.). With steel pan, congas and acoustic guitar, you will find yourself taking a musical vacation to a tropical destination.  The Parrot Island Band is “Jimmy Buffett on a budget” and ready to play for those of you who love Jimmy’s music but can’t quite afford to bring in Jimmy himself.

So Jimmy, won’t you come out and play? I have been a fan of yours for 35 years and I am not sure either one of us have another 35 years to wait before we finally meet. I have had the pleasure of playing with Doyle and have shared the stage with Peter, Jim and Nadirah. I think you would enjoy singing a song or two with the Parrot Island Band. We’ll be looking for you next week in Atlanta. OK, Linda says “your people” probably won’t let you out into the parking lot with all of us crazy Parrotheads. In that case, I will be glad to come inside for a visit ;-))

A Night Out at Hemingway’s

 

A Night Out at Hemingway's

Jeff Pike, Scott Kirby and David Edmisten come to town

Last night I headed down to Marietta, GA to Hemingway’s (a local bar/grill). The entertainment lineup for the evening was Jeff Pike, David Edmisten and Scott Kirby. While Jeff (of the band, A1A) is a regular at Hemingway’s, I later found out this was Scott’s first time playing in the area. Scott plays and travels with David Edmisten, an EXCELLENT guitarist with fine vocals as well. David once played in Cowboys (until recently a local country music/dancing venue) where he played with Vince Gill (a pretty good guitarist himself).

I hadn’t seen Jeff Pike in a few months and I have to say, he has lost some weight and is looking GOOD (congratulations Jeff, I know you have been working hard at taking care of yourself and it shows)! Jeff helped promote the event and there was a great turnout for the evening. Jeff opened the night with a great set, playing music that he has written over the last 20 years. While I always enjoy an evening of A1A and Buffett music, I really enjoyed listening to Jeff’s originals… especially the song that he co-wrote with Monty Tolar called, “There’s An App For That”. Jeff told me that he has added a couple of new members to his band (including a steel pan player) and I look forward to hearing them soon.

Scott Kirby followed Jeff and did a wonderful job, as usual. I saw Scott last fall at Tropstock in Cocoa Beach, FL. The Parrot Island Band opened the event so I guess I can say we opened for Scott as well. Scott is a singer/songwriter who tells some wonderful stories of his life by the sea and on the road. Scott’s music is Tropical/Acoustic/Folk and I was wondering how well I would be able to hear his music as crowded (and noisy) as Hemingway’s was. Scott and David quieted the crowd quickly with their music and held our attention throughout the evening.

As I mentioned earlier, David Edmisten does an excellent job in complimenting Scott’s music. I could tell that David enjoys playing and his lead guitar skills are outstanding. He really gets into the music but at the same time makes it look effortless, a true professional. It is amazing how much one or two instruments can add to the sound (not that Scott isn’t great by himself, but David and Scott together… beautiful).

In our own band/trio (The Parrot Island Band), I have been blessed to have Linda (steel pan) and Kevin (congas) as part of the group. People often comment how “full” a sound we provide with just the three of us. While there is a temptation to add more instruments into the mix (for bigger events like those A1A is able to handle), our configuration is a great one for small to medium sized events and also for those with a limited budget.

As you can tell, I really enjoyed the evening (even the hot wings ;-). I was able to visit with Fred McFarlin, of the Atlanta Trop Rock Alliance, and Georgia…his better half. Always enjoy our visits. We will see them in a few weeks at the Atlanta Parrothead Club’s Buffett tailgate party as the Parrot Island Band will be performing. Fred will be providing music as well (Fred is a mobile DJ, among his many talents). Also great seeing Drew Higgs, Thomas (Gringo) Roberts and Betsy. As I pulled into the driveway, I was told there would be a change of clothes waiting in the basement so that I could come in (yup, lots of smoke to go along with the wonderful music… the first I could do without, the latter I will remember for a long time :).

Tiki Thom Visits Parrot Island

 

Tiki Thom Visits Parrot Island

Another Trop Rock "Good Guy"

Bry Harris and Tiki Thom at Cheeseburger in PAaadiseMy favorite “good guy” of Trop Rock this week is none other than Tiki Thom Starkey.  Thom and I met up yesterday at Cheeseburger in Paradise here in Atlanta. Although it was a quick visit, we had a chance to catch up a bit… a real treat on a chilly spring day (Thom must have brought some of that Maine weather with him).

 

 

 

 

 

Tiki Thom Starkey playing a PArrot Island Band tune?For those of you who haven’t met Thom yet, he is a Trop Rock musician from Maine who travels quite a bit, with recent stops at the New England Parrothead Convention and Spring Phling (with the New Jersey Parrotheads). Thom and I met last fall at Tropstock, as the Parrot Island Band had the opportunity to open this event (like how I worked that in here?). While we haven’t picked our next place to visit, I hope that we have the opportunity to share a stage before too long.

I was pleased to hear that Thom offered the proceeds from his Bikinis and Martinis CD (at the Beachfront Radio Music Hut) to help out disaster victims (through the Red Cross). I know that the recent tornado victims here in the south appreciate the efforts of all Parrotheads. Thanks for your efforts Thom (see, another reason Thom is on the “good guy” list this week).

I am a little jealous of Thom as he is preparing to record his second CD. Thom will be working with Kevin Johnston from the band, Captain Quint. Kevin has been producing some great Trop Rock CD’s and I am sure that Thom’s CD will be a winner (remember Thom, I was your friend before you hit it big ;-)).

Well, I think that is it for today. The only thing I am worried about is the company that Thom has been keeping recently ;-). Thom is also part of the Beachfront Radio staff (if you are looking for a great place to advertize your business, contact Thom and he will be glad to talk to you about opportunities on Beachfront Radio). Thom has been hanging out with the Pyrate girls and DJ Jeff Allen (from Beachfront Radio). I am afraid they might rub off on Thom and drag him to the dark side… resist them Thom, they will lure you with promises of a place on the “Bad Guys of Trop Rock” list but in the end you will find yourself heartbroken and playing for bar mitzvahs (no place for an up and coming Trop Rocker like you). Seriously though, our friends at Beachfront Radio (Thom included), show that you can have a good time and be good folks…. Thanks for the visit Thom (next time lunch is on me).

Parrothead Walks For Lupus

 

Parrothead Walks For Lupus

5th Annual DC Lupus Walk – The Rain Could Not Stop Us!!

(Today’s guest post is from Janice Wolfe-Easley, a friend of the Parrot Island Band. We first met Janice when she visited her sister, Sharon, here in Georgia. We discovered we share a love of Jimmy Buffett, Trop Rock music and the beach. As a fellow Parrothead, we also share a belief that it is important to enjoy the life we have AND to use our lives to help others. Janice recently participated in Walk for Lupus Now®, a fundraising event for the Lupus Foundation of America. Janice shares with us her experience in the Walk for Lupus Now®. Thanks Janice, for your friendship and inspiration… you give Parrotheads a good name… Bry ;-))

Janice visits the Parrot Island Band

(Left to right: Linda, Janice, Bry, Sharon, Dan)

(From Janice Wolfe-Easley)

April 16, 2011 – When the rain started falling Saturday morning, we were prepared with our ponchos and umbrellas! Enthusiastic volunteers and Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) staff greeted us at the registration tents with friendly smiles and colorful butterflies to carry along the route. Knapsacks were provided by the leading sponsor of the walk, Human Genome Sciences (HGS). HGS is not JUST a sponsor, HGS is the pharmaceutical company that VERY recently (March 2011) developed the FIRST drug approved specifically for the treatment of lupus in the past 52 years!  WOW!!

JAnice Easley walk for Lupus

Despite the rain, cold and wind that tried to claim the day of lupus awareness in the District of Columbia, over 2000 walkers strutted down Pennsylvania Avenue. The poor weather had the “potential” to put a damper on the event, but the spirits of lupus supporters were vibrant and strong, and they refused to allow anything to get in the way of giving this chronic disease the awareness it deserves! 2000 walkers came together to help raise lupus awareness and funding to support those affected by lupus. 2000 walkers, the biggest crowd yet for this walk, surpassed the fundraising goal and to date has raised over $300,000.
 

Teams large and small proudly displayed signs, T-shirts and banners of their family and friends that “live with lupus.”  My own lupus support group team did a phenomenal job of raising money – earning t-shirts, a tent, and even cupcakes for the day of the event – way to go, team! To my surprise, my family designed T-shirts for us to wear “in honor of me.” Did the rain dampen spirits? I don’t think so, in fact, it may have drawn us closer as we “huddled together for pictures, huddled together under tents to eat soggy cupcakes, shared rain gear and huddled together under umbrellas to cross the finish line”.  As we walked back to the car after the walk, we planned where to go for breakfast. Another opportunity to gather together, enjoy a warm meal and talk about our wet but uplifting morning. I wondered why my brother-in-law was very quiet at the walk. I thought, maybe he’s cold and uncomfortable. I could certainly understand that! Here’s what he wrote to me after the walk –
 

"Today we walked in support of the Lupus Foundation in D.C. Despite inclement weather the smiling faces of those that deal with the Hell of this disease daily and yet bear these conditions to support their own cause was truly inspiring. I looked at life a little differently today. Heroes come in all different walks of life. I saw a lot today. One of them being my Sis-in-law, Janice. We are so proud of you! Stay Strong!"  Rick Pownall

What is Lupus?  Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years. In lupus, something goes wrong with your immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs ("foreign invaders," like the flu). Normally our immune system produces proteins called antibodies that protect the body from these invaders. Autoimmune means your immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues ("auto" means "self") and creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body. An estimated 1.5 million Americans have lupus and at least 5 million people worldwide. To learn more about lupus, visit http://www.lupus.org/.

The Lupus Foundation of America, Inc. (LFA) is the foremost national nonprofit voluntary health organization dedicated to finding the causes of and cure for lupus and providing support, services and hope to all people affected by lupus. Donations continue to be accepted!!

Follow This Link to visit my personal web page and help me in my efforts to support Lupus Foundation of America-DC/MD/VA Chapter. All money raised will continue to provide free education workshops and support services to those affected by lupus.

Janice Easley with mom and sister

With the inspiring success of the 2011 DC Lupus Walk, plans are already being made for the 2012 DC Lupus Walk! The Lupus Foundation of America, Inc. (LFA) goal for 2012 is to become the largest lupus walk in the nation by having over 3000 walkers with a goal to raise $400,000 dollars.

May is Lupus Awareness Month! Get your lupus gear at http://www.shoplupus.org/

The Hokey Pokey

 

The Hokey Pokey

What If The Hokey Pokey Is All It Really Is About?

What If The Hokey Pokey Is All It Really Is About?

What is your philosophy of life, “live and let live”… “don’t do today what you can put off until tomorrow”? Yogi Berra has some wonderful words of wisdom, one of my favorite sayings being, “if you come to a fork in the road… take it!” (pretty simple and obvious, but how many of us get stuck and just can’t make decisions… sometimes we just have to choose a direction and keep moving).

Some philosophy can be a bit glum, such as Solomon’s, “Meaningless! Meaningless!… Everything is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Imagine walking around all day thinking everything is meaningless… what a downer that would be. 

Solomon’s other well known quote is from Ecclesiastes 3:1 where he states: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven”. While still a bit fatalistic, this viewpoint does help us realize there are certain things like birth, death, weeping and laughing that are a part of life (hopefully this can help us enjoy the “ups” and better face the “downs” of life).

Hokey Pokey Another great philosopher (Jimmy Buffett) sings, “What If The Hokey Pokey Is All It Really Is About?” There is certainly something to be said for not taking ourselves too seriously. As Jimmy points out, “My life can get as messy as a day old sticky bun… so I arm myself with punch lines and a big ol' water gun”. As serious as life can be at times, I appreciate a good one liner… and there are times when a squirt gun might just be what is needed to change the mood.

While there are countless passages from the Bible that I could quote to develop a “philosophy of life”, today I choose this quote from Jesus: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). The second half of the quote can also be translated to mean, “and have life abundantly” (or to the point where it/life overflows).  I hope that if you are reading this you aren’t just “getting by”, or have “given up” on life…. God wants us to enjoy the life we have (one of the reasons I like Jimmy Buffett’s music so much, it almost always makes me smile).

One the things I love about playing in the Parrot Island Band is that I can choose songs that are upbeat and fun. Also, I can write and sing songs that bring a smile to others. While there are many definitions of Trop Rock music, I find this category of music to be uplifting and relaxing. If you are struggling today to have a good outlook on life, take some time today to hum, sing or write a song that brings a smile to someone’s face….

Loren Davidson IS a Trop Rock “good guy”

 

Loren Davidson IS a Trop Rock "good guy"

Loren Davidson Trop Rock friend of Parrot Island BandToday I am taking a look at another “good guy” of Trop Rock music, Loren Davidson.  While I haven’t had the opportunity to hear Loren live, I have enjoyed listening to his music on the internet. I have also followed his posts on various Facebook sites (and we have exchanged a number of messages back and forth) and I get the sense that we would enjoy hanging out and strumming a few songs together.

Loren lives on the “left coast” (Castro Valley, CA) and entertains music lovers with his blend of country, rock, reggae, folk, and calypso music. Loren describes himself as an “escape artist”, helping people escape the stress and distress of daily living (what a great image!).

I am always interested in hearing how musicians get started. Like many of us, Loren started early and played in a high school band. He has been writing and playing on and off since then.

About ten years ago, Loren started performing and then started work on his first album. Loren discovered that people were performing "Jimmy Buffett-style" music and decided he enjoyed playing this type of music as well. The rest, as they say… is history.

loren Davidson a Trop Rock friend of Parrot Island Band

From Loren’s press kit, he describes his latest CD project – “Loren’s current album, Island Standard Time, is his fourth. The ten original songs on this album are about work, life, Mondays, sailing, and love, who we are and the fun we'd like to have, because it's always more fun living life on "Island Standard Time."'

Having listened to a number of songs from Island Standard Time, I can tell you it is an EXCELLENT CD. Great songs (both written and performed) and wonderfully produced, I am sure that this CD will take Loren to another level in the Trop Rock world. Here’s hoping Loren and the Parrot Island Band find a place and time to get together before too long.  He may or may not make it onto Beachfront Radio’s “bad guys” of Trop Rock list (although I think Loren has aspirations of landing on both the “good” and “bad” guy list:)), but Loren Davidson is a wonderful musician/songwriter and will continue to share his Trop Rock treasures with us for years to come… thanks Loren!

Beachfront Radio Music Hut

 

Beachfront Radio Music Hut

Parrot Island Getaway

Beachfront Radio loves to play Parrot Island Band musicGreat news from Beachfront Radio! The good folks at Beachfront Radio have announced that they are opening the Beachfront Radio Music Hut where you will be able to find (and purchase) the music of all your favorite Trop Rock musicians. The music of Brent Burns, Howard Livingston, John Reno and yes, the Parrot Island Band (along with many others) will be found in one convenient place.

While the Parrot Island Band is not as well known as many of the musicians that will have their music in the Beachfront Music Hut, it will be a great opportunity for Trop Rock music fans to find our music. With songs like Trop Rock Frame of Mind, Parrothead Fever and Parrothead Holiday available, I am hopeful that we will make some new friends/fans thanks to this great idea. While we are not able to make a number of the Trop Rock events (dang "day job" ;-)), we have been nominated for the last two years as Trop Rock duo/trio of the year by Margarita M.A.F.I.A.

Parrot Island Band Cd- Parrot ISland Getaway

If you haven't found Beachfront Radio yet, it is an online radio station that plays Trop Rock music. Yes, they do play some Jimmy Buffett music… but they also play a wide variety music that would not normally be found on mainstream radio. Many bands/musicians like the Parrot Island Band may have started out as Jimmy Buffett tribute bands, but have gone on to write their own music and have been well received. Others have been influenced by the beach, or the sea, and have written/played their own music from the beginning.

Beachfront Radio listens to Parrot Island BandThanks to DJ Jeff and the rest of the Beachfront Radio crew for all they are doing to promote Trop Rock musicians. In future posts, we will also look at other Trop Rock stations like Permanent Vacation Radio, Island Dreamz Radio, Conch Republic Radio, Southernmost Radio Network and others who are kind enough to play our music… we appreciate you all!

Jimmy Buffett Day

 

Jimmy Buffett Day

Jimmy Buffett Day celebrated by Parrot Island Band- Letty NowakAs Jimmy Buffett prepares to begin his 2011 tour “Welcome to Fin Land”, he does so on a day that was officially named “Jimmy Buffett Day’ by the state of Florida. Although I am not a big fan of some of Jimmy’s political views, I do appreciate his philanthropy and passion for using his success to help others.   (painting by Letty Nowak)

Did you know:

  • Jimmy used the proceeds from his 1995 tour to fund the Singing for Change Charitable Foundation, which gives "grants to local charities that support children and families, the environment and disenfranchised groups”.
  • Jimmy raised $3.4 million for hurricane victims in 2004 with his Surviving the Storm Hurricane Relief Concert.
  • Jimmy helped form and continues to support the Save the Manatee project.
  • Jimmy has supported the Wounded Warrior project.
  • Jimmy performed a concert in Gulf Shores, Alabama in 2010 to promote business and tourism in the Gulf after the oils spill.

While I am sure that these (and many other causes that Jimmy has supported) are reason enough to honor the father (or is that grandfather ;-)) of the Parrothead Nation, Jimmy brings a lot of joy to each city he visits. In a time when there are still many without work and the economy continues to sputter, we still need to take time to celebrate and spread joy.

While the Parrot Island Band is not playing anywhere tonight, I am looking forward to hearing Jimmy’s show on Radio Margaritaville. I always look forward to hearing a mix of the old and new Buffett songs. I also enjoy seeing who might join him on any given night (last year Zac Brown showed up at a concert and did a great job!)

Steel drum, congas, Peter and Jim Mayer, Doyle Grisham and Nadirah Shakoor… Oh yeah, I can’t forget Mr. Utley and Robert Greenidge, Tina Gullikson, Ralph MacDonald and McAnally (oops..and John Lovell). Wow, what a  great lineup of musicians that play alongside of Jimmy!

All of these guys and gals will be heading to Atlanta on Tues., May 24th. The Parrot Island Band (Bry Harris, Linda Harris and Kevin Garrelts) will be just outside of the main gates all afternoon entertaining the Atlanta Parrothead Club and the thousands of parrothead crazies who will be wandering the lots. Please stop by and say hello if you have a chance.

Parrot Island Band, Bry Harris, Linda Harris, and Keven Garrelts

Hope you have a great tour Jimmy and thanks for all the joy you brings us. Thanks also for using your talents to make the world a better place. Hope to see you in Atlanta (I don’t have tickets yet but there are always some to be found on the day of the concert). Also, please don’t hesitate to invite me to sit in Jimmy… I’ll be ready and waiting as usual 😉 Happy Jimmy Buffett Day everyone… now time for the show.

Jesus and Jimmy Buffett

 

Jesus and Jimmy Buffett

(Disclaimer: If you are easily offended by religious discussions, please stop here… I’ll go get some chips and be right back… OK, if you are still with me please know that I am not putting Jimmy on the same level as Jesus, just sharing some personal thoughts, feel free to disagree).

What do Jesus and Jimmy Buffett have in common for me? We’ll… they have both spent a lot of time on the water and down by the sea. They also have a message that is appealing to the regular guy/gal (although we as Christians have often made it less accessible by adding man-made rules, formality and sadly… at times, a judgmental attitude. Remember, I gave some of you a chance to leave earlier 😉 ).

One of Jesus many facesThere was a book written a few years ago called Jesus in Blue Jeans, that looked at Jesus heart and message for the ordinary man/woman. What a great book and concept. I have found that there are many outside of the church environment who are followers of Jesus, but not great fans of “organized religion”. Many of these people are hanging out incognito in Hawaiian shirts and wearing flip flops (and are really neat/fun people)

 

Bry and the Coral Reefers share a laughAs I have shared in other places, I met Jesus and Jimmy Buffett within the same year. When I shared this at Tropstock (the Parrot Island Band opened the very first day of the very first Tropstock), a couple of the Coral Reefers present had a good laugh. While Jesus changed my life as a teenager, Jimmy’s music also got me through some very difficult years.

 

It was very moving for me at Tropstock (Trop Rock music festival) when one of the attendees came up after we played (during Tropstock Worship) and asked if he could talk for a minute. He share a renewed sense of hope and appreciation of God’s love for Him. At the end of our conversation, we shared a prayer and a sense that we had shared a special moment together (something that wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t combined our love for God and Trop Rock music together).

Much more to share about Jesus and Jimmy, but enough for today. One more connection between Jesus and Jimmy, they both celebrate the same birthday… December 25th (and bring joy to many, although in different ways!). No offense intended… I realize there are many more important discussions we need to have, but it is also OK to look at the lighter side of things from time to time (and trust me, I do…) Have a great day… time for another snack.

It’s My Dream

 

It's My Dream

Sweet dreams on Parrot Island

A few years ago I wrote a song titled “It’s My Dream”. Some dream of traveling, some dream of fame, some dream of riches… but almost everyone has a dream.

The first verse of this song begins:

Did you ever have a dream of flying to the stars?

Maybe make a million dollars, or drive a fancy car…

My dream may be quite simple, but it suits me to a tee

So sit right back and listen and see if you agree…

The key part of this verse for me is the section that goes, “my dream may be quite simple but it suits me to a tee”. It seems to me that the most important part of a dream is ownership. It doesn’t  help if it is someone else’s dream. For a dream to have meaning it needs to be YOUR dream (for you), or MY dream (for me).

The chorus to this song may be strange to some, but not to me:

James Taylor to the left of me, Jimmy Buffett to the right you’d see,

Coral Reefer band they’re circling me, man we’d have a good time,

man we’d have a good time

James Taylor and Jimmy Buffett dreaming of playing with the Parrot Island BandI’ve actually had this dream on many occasions, playing onstage with Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor and the Coral Reefer Band (and believe me, this is one COOL dream). I grew up listening to both Jimmy Buffett and James Taylor, both great songwriters and entertainers. While Buffett and Taylor may not seem a natural combination, it is interesting that they both have played with Zac Brown (hey, he’s living MY dream!).

Before heading into the last chorus I wrote this bridge:

If there is a lesson that I’d like to share with you…

It's sit back, count your blessings

And here’s my dream for you…

Follow your heart, keep dreaming your dream

Look for your star, and be who you are…

Since starting the Parrot Island Band a few years ago, I have lived my dream in a number of ways. I have played at Cheeseburger in Paradise and also with Doyle Grisham (steel guitar player for the Coral Reefer band). I have been surrounded by Coral Reefers (Peter and Jim Mayer, Doyle Grisham  and  Nadirah Shakoor) as we led a worship service together at Tropstock. I have also played several tailgate events before Jimmy Buffett concerts and will be playing even closer to the venue in a few weeks as we play for the Atlanta Parrothead Club Buffett tailgate (not bad for a kid that was named "most likely to open for Jimmy Buffett" by his High School senior class ;-)). While not exactly playing with Jimmy Buffett, I have come a lot closer than if I hadn't pursued this dream.

Coral Reefer Band singing a Parrot Island Band song?

I hope that if you are reading this, you are counting your blessings and that you continue to follow your dreams. Don’t settle for someone else’s dream and don’t worry if it isn’t as big or important as someone else thinks it should be.

OK, you’ve listened to my dream…now, I’d love to hear yours.

Jack’s BBQ Review

 

Jack's BBQ Review

Parrot Island Band loves Jack's BBQ

 

The second day of our (the Parrot Island Band) trip to Nashville included a stop by Jack’s BBQ Restaurant. There was a line outside the door and down the sidewalk and although I was tempted to eat somewhere else, I’m glad I waited (about 30-40 minutes).

 

Parrot Island Band had a great time at Jack'sIf you’ve ever seen the “soup Nazi” episode of Seinfeld, you get a sense of what it is like to order at Jack’s. The server behind the counter was a no-nonsense gentleman who barked out options and punctuating each with a firm, “yes or no?”.  I did get a bit of a smile from him (after I ordered) when I told him he sure smelled nice (like smoked BBQ). I had a jumbo pulled pork sandwich with baked beans and potato salad. Although I wasn’t crazy about the sides, the BBQ was delicious!

We spent a good part of the afternoon looking around the rest of Nashville. There was a guitar shop (recommended by Steve Youngblood- Parrot Island Band tracks down Elvisthanks Steve!) that we spent some time in… some really beautiful guitars. The thing that struck me about so many of the shops were all the Elvis items for sale (I could see the Elvis focus in Memphis, but Nashville?… but I guess whatever sells…)

 

All in all, a great place to visit… also took a drive down music row. A lot of musician’s taking their dreams to Nashville, interesting that Jimmy Buffett found his success when he left Nashville and headed to Key West.

Margaritaville Nashville Review

 

Margaritaville Nashville Review

 

Parrot Island Band visits Mrgaritaville

 

A couple of weeks ago the Parrot Island Band was supposed to play an event in Pigeon Forge (Trop Rocks the Smokies) that was canceled at the last minute. Not wanting to pass up a weekend off, we (Linda, myself and Kevin and Wendy Garrelts) head off to Nashville.

Here comes the PArrot Island BandAfter checking into the Opryland Hotel, we head off to the Nashville Margaritaville and an early dinner. I like the atmosphere of the Nashville Margaritaville as it fit nicely into the downtown district (older/rustic buildings). Just inside the main doors were two musicians playing some country (go figure ;-)) music.

We were led up to the second floor by way of a musical stairway (each step played a music note… I couldn’t play the stairs any better than I could play a real piano). We had a great waitress (TJ), who made excellent suggestions regarding the menu. She also was very personable and took good care of us throughout the evening. Thanks TJ!

Kevin and I split a big plate of hot wings… mmmm… they were really good (sorry, can't remember what the gals had… but they enjoyed it).  I also enjoyed the atmosphere with Buffett music and video playing on numerous screens.

There is a good sized stage on the second floor, all that was missing was the Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band from Atlanta, Georgia. 😉 I think the crowd would have enjoyed some live Buffett music with steel pan and congas– not country music, but hey- it IS a Margaritaville.

Of course we had to stop by the gift shop on the way out. I picked up a Landshark mug for a friend and Kevin found a beautiful shirt. I could spend a lot of time picking out souvenirs but with all of the many choices I could hardly narrow it down to one or two items…Kevin GArrelts of the Parrot Island Band

All in all, a fun night with great friends… priceless. Tomorrow, a look at Jack’s BBQ, another great place to eat (I see a theme here).

Beach Bucket List

 

Beach Bucket List

 

Bech bucket list for Bry Harris of the Parrot Island Band

 

Places I’d like to play (music)

  • ANY Margaritaville Restaurant

  • Lulu’s

  • Rapscallion’s (closed:(

Trop-Rockers  I’d like to meet/play with

Places I would love to visit

  • Key West, Florida

  • The Outer Banks

  • Hawaii

Place I wish I could play (golf)

 

I’m Not Quite Right

 

I'm Not Quite Right

(But then you probably aren't either)

The song I'm Not Quite Right ended up on our (the Parrot Island Band) CD Parrot Island Getaway and has been a favorite in our live shows. While I wrote the song primarily about myself, it seems to strike a chord with many of our listeners as well. The sub title for the song is "Or What Wives Really Think About Their Husbands ;-)) Let's face it, most guys do a lot of stupid stuff and most of us are OK with that.

The first verse goes like this:

When taking a walk now and then

I see people just starting to grin

What they're thinking is probably true

So I guess I should share this with you.

I wrote this with a picture in my mind of those times when I have bought a new shirt or big glasses or a awful looking hat and yet I thought they were pretty cool. Looking back at pictures I realize how goofy I must have looked at certain times and what I interpreted as an approving smile from someone was in reality a grin of disbelief.

The second verse takes a similar path:

It started when I was a child

Mom said I lost oxygen for awhile

But I’ve always seen things differently

So please don’t be offended you see….

While my head is a bit out of round-, I don't think I was really dropped or oxygen deprived. ;-)) That said, I do have what some people think is an odd view of things. I tend to discover puns in everyday conversations and I am also quick to see the humorous side of things (even when others don't think something is funny at all).

If you haven't heard the chorus, it goes like this:

I’m not quite right

As you can plainly see

But life’s too short to let it bother me

Singing and laughing some out here in the sun

So lighten up and have some fun.

A lot of people seem to take themselves too seriously and are too easily offended. Life is short and many of the things we let worry us or get under our skin are just not that big a deal. I think the world would be a better place if we laughed more, took more walks and sat by the edge of the sea (and realized how small we are in comparison).

While the Parrot Island Band plays most of its gigs here in the Atlanta area, we do get to travel to some pretty neat events. One of those has been Trop Rocks the Smokies (it was canceled this year due to unforeseen circumstance… and I am still waiting for the phone call letting me know it was being "rescheduled" ;-)) This event was a truly laid back event that took place around a pool in an enclosed area of the hotel where we stayed.

One of my favorite memories of singing I'm Not Quite Right was at Trop Rocks the Smokies a couple of years ago. As I was singing, I saw someone with a big smile on his face and others who were with him pointing in his direction. It was here that Howard Bennett became a member of the unofficial "Not Quite Right Club". Howard has come to several of our events over the past 2-3 years and whenever I see him, I now think of this song. Howard is one of those guys that knows not to take himself too seriously and gets it… being "not quite right" is both a compliment and badge of honor (especially in a world that is so messed up!) Howard Bennet is Smiling because He's Not Quite Right

 

 

 

 

 

To all the Howard Bennetts of the world, I tip my guitar to you and hope we meet at one of our gigs some day soon.  As we head toward the final chorus we are reminded:

I'm not quite right

As you can plainly see

You can't be everywhere, you can't please everyone

So lighten up… and have some fun!

OK ladies, we admit it… we're not quite right. We know it. We're OK with it. Are you smiling because you agree… or do I have something in my teeth again?

Welcome to Fin Land

 

Welcome to Fin Land… Here Comes Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett is getting ready to head out on his 2011 tour… Welcome to Fin Land.  While many people look to the Masters Golf Tournament as the beginning of spring, there are many others for whom the beginning of Jimmy's concert tour is the sign that spring and summer are on their way. The Welcome to Fin Land tour begins next week in Tampa, Florida and I am sure that Parrotheads are gathering their tailgate goodies in preparation for this kick-off event.Welcome to Fin Land Tour with Parrot Island Band at Atlanta Tailgate

One of Buffett's stops will be in Atlanta at the  Aarons Amphitheatre (formerly known as Lakewood Amphitheatre) on May 24th. The Parrot Island Band will be playing in the parking lot just outside of the main gates. This tailgate party is hosted by the Atlanta Parrothead Club and in recent years, several of the Coral Reefers have stopped by for a visit.

Join the Parrot Island Band for the Jimmy Buffett tailgate in AtlantaIf you have never been to a Buffett tailgate party, you should definitely make the effort to attend. Here in Atlanta, you will see thousands of parrotheads in their most colorful outfits, with grass skirts, coconut bras and every type of Hawaiian shirt imaginable. With music blaring all over the tailgate lots, you will have the opportunity to make new friends and reconnect with old ones.

 

What to do after Buffett is gone? Well, if you live in the Atlanta area… you can always contact the Parrot Island Band for a party at your house or neighborhood. With the steel drum prominently featured by our band, you will be whisked away to some of your favorite vacation destinations as we take you on a "musical vacation to a tropical destination".

Margaritaville Hotel Review

 

 Margaritaville Hotel Review by Derek Raulerson

(I met Derek last summer at a Parrot Island Band event in Jacksonville, Alabama and found out quickly that he was a kindred spirit… or is that kindred parrothead? When I heard that he was heading to Pensacola, Florida and the Margaritivaiile Hotel, I asked if he would share a few thoughts about his experience there. Thanks Derek, and hope we find some time to get together before too long- Bry – Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band– Atlanta)

Parrot Island Band would fit in great here.

I  (Derek) set off for a weekend last month and found my lost shaker of salt!  It is
located at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Hotel in Gulf Breeze, FL
(Pensacola).  Upon arrival you will be greeted by the valet, dressed in a
tropical shirt of course, and enter the lobby that has floor-to-ceiling
windows that allow you to view what every Parrothead dreams about………………the
ocean.  

The lobby is decorated in exquisite sea colors (sea green, teal
blues and tans) as are the rooms.  The help staff is very user friendly and
will accommodate you in getting your luggage to your room or suite.  Paddle
fans adorn the high ceilings and palm trees are there too. On the west side
of the lobby is the entrance to the heated outdoor pool and tiki area which
serves food and drinks. You can view the ocean from the pool area and the
sunsets are spectacular.

Derek forgot to invite the Parrot Island Band

Each room has a view of the ocean or the bay, depending upon which side of
the hotel you stay.  I recommend one of the 24 corner suites as it will
offer breathtaking views of both the bay and the ocean.  The suites are very
spacious and decorated in sea blue and green. The stately king sized room
reminds me of a five-star hotel with soft pillows, white bedding, and Jimmy
Buffett’s book on the night stand.  All portside pirates will appreciate the
alarm clock radio that is equipped with an iPod doc to listen to your
favorite Buffett melodies, two free bottles of water plus two free coupons
for drinks at Landshark Landing which is adjacent to the hotel.
Relax to the tunes of the Parrot Island Band

 

 

Another nice amenity is the Keurig coffeemaker with six packs of single-serve
coffee. The bathroom is spacious with a huge walk in shower and garden sized
tub. Another classy touch are the salon style shampoo, conditioner, shaving
cream and other necessities.  Bathrobes with the Margaritaville logo hang in
the walk-in closet (remember this is a suite, not a regular room).  Blackout
curtains drape the windows so no light will creep in as you are wasting away
in Margaritaville or watching the big screen HD television.

Now I understand why Frank and Lola love Pensacola. Food!  The Frank & Lola
Love Pensacola café is off the main lobby and the food is great and the
service is good.  You can dine on seafood, local fresh fish and of course
Cheeseburgers in Paradise served with a big kosher pickle and Heinz 57,
fried green tomatoes,  or shrimp and oysters from the fat man on the dock.

Be sure to request the Parrot Island Band when at the Lnd Shark Landing

While sitting at the bar a message was heard on the coconut telegraph that
the Landshark Landing had been remodeled and open for business and it is
exactly the place Buffett fans dream of.  Buffett on the radio, thatched
hut, and greeted with a smile at the door is what you get at this beach side
food fair.  They offer a wide array of food and drinks and of course
Cheeseburgers in Paradise.  

Once can dine in the bar or better yet on the beach.  This is the place to play and have fun.  It is reminiscent of Wii’s Sports Resort offering outdoor ping-pong, corn hole, beach chairs and umbrella covered picnic tables for your convenience. This beach pavilion is the perfect setting to enjoy a nice meal, have drinks or lay in the hammocks near the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.

Hotel prices vary but our stay for 3 nights and four days in the corner
executive suite was well worth $300 a night (other rooms as low as $159 per
night).  Living by the salty sea is a sweet, sweet life and well worth it!
See you in Atlanta on May 24th!

Fins UP!

P.S. the picture is of me and captain Tony

Derek Raulerson

 

Derek and CAptain tony... where is Parrot Island Band?

My Favorite Trop Rock “Good Guy”

 

My Favorite Trop Rock "Good Guy"

Is Really a Trop Rock "Gal"

Parrot Island Band steel pan - Linda HarrisWhile I will be looking at various "good guys of Trop Rock" in upcoming posts- today I will start with my favorite Trop Rocker, my wife Linda Harris. Linda plays steel pan (sometimes known as "steel drum") for the Parrot Island Band (from Atlanta, Georgia). While my love of Jimmy Buffett music goes all the way back to my youth, Linda's appreciation for Jimmy has come more through osmosis than direct choice.

When I began playing again (after a nearly 20 year break from playing music publicly), Linda was supportive of my desire to dust off my Jimmy Buffett songs and hit the Trop Rock trail. A good friend and fellow parrothead (Harlan Dunk) began playing drums and a new friend (Cheryl Washburn) joined with me to play a few parties and outings. The next thing we knew, the Parrot Island Band was born (and being asked to play more and more events). Linda was willing to come along and listen, encourage, support and eventually I even talked her into joining us with the "shaker".

As timing would have it, Cheryl (steel pan player) was in the middle of her degree work for her next level teaching certificate. I found myself late one night sitting at the computer and just looking around on eBay. I had always loved the steel pan sound and as I browsed the steel pan auction I somehow convinced myself that maybe it was time for me to learn this beautiful instrument. I began bidding on one steel pan in particular and before I knew it I had bid much higher than I had planned (yikes!). I got off the computer and went to bed with the confidence that someone would let me off the hook and out bid me….

When I woke up the next morning I received an email from the good folks at eBay stating that I had won the auction and that my steel pan would arrive in a few days. I did what any stunned eBay winner would do in this situation… I panicked! I was hoping that somehow my package would get lost or I would receive an email stating that there had been some mistake. Nope! When the UPS driver delivered my package and Linda noted the arrival… I finally confessed. Asking who was going to play it… I said, "Well, me… of course".

There was one little problem, I can't read music (I play by ear) and apparently all those dents on the inside of the steel pan… notes! Linda helped me set up the pan and she began to tinker with it. We found a steel pan instructor in Rome, Georgia and she began to play with the Parrot Island Band (definitely outside of her comfort zone). We found a steel pan/percussion camp at the University of Southern Mississippi (led by John Wooton) and sent Linda off to camp for a week (she was the oldest…ummm… most mature person there by several decades!)

Bry and Linda Harris of the Parrot Island BandWhat a good sport Linda has been. It has been great having something we can enjoy doing together. She is willing to listen to all of my new song ideas (good ones and bad alike). She has been willing to play some pretty big events, even as she was still learning the instrument (even though I know she was not comfortable doing so at the time). She even helped in playing on our first CD when she had been playing for just a short period of time.

While Beachfront Radio may have its "bad guy" of Trop Rock favorites, I will enjoy my time with my nominee (and since it is my award… she wins!) for Good Guy of Trop Rock, Linda Harris. Together we have been nominated (2 years in a row) as the Trop Rock duo/trio of the year… we have come a long way indeed! More importantly, you couldn't meet a nicer person and she is a beauty as well. I guess that makes me the luckiest Trop Rocker on the beach!