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Love Does What Love Does

Love Does What Love Does

Love Does What Love Does. Last year I read a great book by Bob Goff… Love Does. Bob tells story after story about the power of love to change people and circumstances. Bob does a wonderful job of showing how something as simple and yet profound as love can change the world around us. While we often use excuses that keep us from action (need for money, need more time or people to help,etc.), Bob Goff reminds us that love can overcome obstacles and take us places we could never imagine.

love does goff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The song Love Does was recorded (and I believe written) by Brandon Heath, accompanied by a beautifully done video…

I have read and reread the book Love Does several times now  and thought I would add my one thought to this wonderful concept… love does.  Love acts, love listens, love transforms…. and answers that timeless question, “what does God look like?” (loves does). The Bible tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Jesus came as “God in the flesh”, and as a follower of Jesus I seek to share Him with others. The most significant way that I/we can share God/Jesus with others is through love. Without getting too philosophical… here is my new song… “Love Does What Love Does

Love Does What Love Does

Love won’t fail or hesitate, love might bend but it won’t break

But love does, what love does – it changes everything

Love does, love does what nothing else can do,

love does, what love does…you know it’s always true…

Love is something you can know, see it moving to and fro

Love does, what love does… oh the joy it brings

Love does, love does what nothing else can do,

love does, what love does…you know it’s always true…

You can’t sit in your easy chair and tell someone how much you care

there’s always something you can do….

The world will be a better place, if you brighten up the place

showing love through all you say and do

Love is something we sing about, write about and talk about… but ultimately, love does something. What you do and what I do to show love may look different and that’s OK but let’s not just sit here… let’s get up and do something… people are waiting…

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Haris

Kala Ukulele ambassador

Eddy Finn Ukulele ambassador

Parrot Island Band

Kala ukulele Bry

Kala Uke Arrtists The Atomic Sharks

Kala Ukulele Artists “The Atomic Sharks”

I (Bry) enjoy getting to know ukulele musicians and Kala uke players even more so.  I have interviewed several Kala musicians but this is the first duo/band that I have interviewed together. As I also play “island music” and ukulele (as well as playing occasionally for kids)… I was looking forward to getting to know the Atomic Sharks. Thanks, guys, for answering these questions!

The Atomic Sharks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bio: from their website www.atomicsharks.com

The Atomic Sharks are Kris Hensler and Kenny Taylor.

 

Both Kenny and Kris share a passion for kids and music education. The Sharks were a perfect opportunity for both of them to combine their musical assets into one giant feeding frenzy of fun and mayhem. There’s one thing that the Sharks love as much as making great island music…and that’s teaching kids how to do it too. As musical ambassadors for Kala Brand Music Company, Kenny and Kris love to show kids how to have a great time while playing the ukulele.

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

Both born and bred in Fort Wayne, Indiana… although I’ve (Kris) spent time in Southern California and Chicago. We’ve both logged plenty of miles on the road in the 80’s and early 90’s.

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

Kris Hensler:

I started playing drums when I was 4 years old. My uncle was a jazz drummer in and around Chicago back in the ’50’s so I was drawn to performers like Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa.

As a teenager I got interested in songwriting and started to study the craft by listening to people like Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, James Taylor, and later on, Sting. The best lesson I learned from those guys was to stay out of the way of a good song. You should be able to strip away all of the glitter and ego and still be left with a compelling statement, whether it be musical or lyrical.

These days I’m a big fan of the Zac Brown Band. Good songwriting and great musicianship.

For pure vocal beauty, I love listening to Darius Rucker. He’s got one of those rare voices that I never get tired of hearing. I always liked him in Hooty but even more now that he’s on his own.

And of course Jimmy Buffet. Even though I love his songwriting and live shows, what I really aspire to is his ability to turn his passion into a viable business. Brilliant!

Kenny Taylor:

My earliest influences were the country western music played by my father, a fiddle player, the jazz my much older brother played on records, and seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. Yes, I remember it and I had just turned 3.

3) When did you start playing the uke?

Kris Hensler:

I started playing in late 2002. I bought myself a cheap 50 dollar uke for Christmas. So right at 11 years.  

Kenny Taylor:

I got to the uke late in life, when I was 30 yrs old. I started with a baritone, then a soprano, and then about 15 more sopranos over the years. I used them for theatrical and studio work. My 1990’s rockabilly band the Blue Moon Boys, featuring Nic Roulette, used the uke on several albums. We toured in a van a lot and a cheap ukulele I bought became the “bandvan” uke. Everybody in the band learned how to play it and countless musicians had a go at it, including cowboy band, Riders in the Sky and Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers (both of whom signed it).

4) What Kala ukes are you currently playing?

I (Kris) play an all Mahogany Tenor with cutaway. The model is K-SMHTE – C.

Kenny plays the Tenor Acacia with cutaway.

We also bring several of the Makala ukes to lives shows so kids can play them. We often do a short session to show kids a few uke basics.

Atomic Sharks

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD’s)?

We are currently working on new material for the Atomic Sharks’ first CD. We’re still working on a title for the CD, although we’ll be releasing several of the songs as singles online before the end of 2013. The first single off the new CD will be “Smile.” It features Kenny playing the Tenor Ukulele like a Lap Steel.

We’re also working with WTIU in Bloomington on a video project. It’s a series of 12 music videos that will be aired on PBS stations in the Midwest as part of a series for kids called the “Friday Zone”.

In addition to that, we’re also producing a series of 10 short music education spots that will air on PBS stations across the country sometime in 2014.

There are a few other projects in the early stages that I can’t talk about just yet. We work with a company called Creative Licensing Group (CLG). Our ongoing relationship with them will help us to extend the Shark brand around the globe in the next several years.

Plus live performances throughout the year.

2014 will be a busy year for the Sharks.

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? With answer of course 😉

Kris Hensler:

Nobody has ever asked WHY I write music. I hear many people who profess to be songwriters say things like, “well, I just write for myself and if people like it then that’s great.” I don’t subscribe to that at all. And I don’t think too many others really do either. I just think that’s the answer they want people to hear. I write music because I have something that I want to share with the rest of the world. I want to write that ONE song that someone remembers 20 years from now and thinks to themselves…hey, that was a really catchy tune. If that happens even once, I’ll be a happy man.

Parrot Island Band update: It slows up a bit for us in the cooler months but this gives us time to record a few of our original songs.  I have a couple of songs to add congas and background vocals and we should have our CD “Parrot Island Ukulele” out early in 2014.

Thanksgiving is only a couple of days away… we thank all of you who have listened to us and encouraged us this year… Have a blessed holiday season and I (Bry) hope we see you in 2014, if not before.

Blessings and beaches,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala ukulele Bry

 

Under Those Balmy Palms

Under Those Balmy Palms

Bry Harris uke

 

 

 

 

Under those Balmy Palms. There are still three weeks until the Balmy Palms song contest is over.  My song, Under Those Balmy Palms is one of the three songs chosen as a finalist and I have been busy trying to get the word out. Some of the neat byproducts of promoting the song contest have been:

Ø      > I have had folks let me know they have voted for me from (among other places) Ecuador, Canada, Alaska, Singapore, Australia and England!

Ø     > I have heard from a number of high school friends who have voted and sent along encouraging words (some I hadn’t heard from in several years… nice to reconnect a bit on Facebook).

Ø    > My Dad had a chance to hear my song… and I got his vote! 🙂

Ø     > I received a vote from Heidi Swedberg, actress who played “Susan” on “Seinfeld” (she is also a talented ukulele player who was kind enough to let me interview her a few months back).

Ø      > It has been very nice to contact friends about voting and find out that they had already voted…

Ø   > Several of my friends (and even acquaintances) have asked their friends to vote (greatly appreciated).

> Having contacted friends, family, acquaintances, Parrotheads, people we have played for, ukulele clubs and everyone I could possibly think of, I am now trying to have a little fun with the contest.  

Here are a few pictures I have been sharing to try and get people’s attention in a creative way…

Bry Harris Under Those Balmy Palms

 

Under Those Balmy Palms Bry Harris

Coming this week

Under Those Balmy Palms Bry Harris

 

 

 

 

 

Under Those Balmy Palms Bry Harris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While there is no way to know where I stand in this song contest, I feel good about the way I have promoted my song and the Balmy Palms company.  Thanks to everyone for your encouragement and kind words…

Until next time…

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala ukulele Bry aa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kala Ukulele Artist

Eddy Finn Ukulele Artist

Parrot Island Band

www.parrotislandband.com

 

Balmy Palms Song Contest

Balmy Palms Song Contest

I found out recently that I was selected as a finalist in a contest by Balmy Palms  to select a song to represent their tropical themed business! In addition to me (Bry Harris), you can hear the songs of the two other contest finalists…

Bry Harris uke

 

 

 

 

Here is what the folks at Balmy Palms were looking for…

“Aspiring singer/songwriters are invited to submit an original song for consideration. Submitted songs should convey the feel-good essence of the brand and put listeners in the brand’s trademarked “Balmy Palms state of mind”.  The ideal song will evoke images of a carefree island lifestyle and the brand’s tagline “No worries, no qualms…just Balmy Palms.

With those instructions, I set out to write a song for the contest –  the words are below. (I added ukulele, U-bass and steel drum and hopefully captured the essence of what they were looking for.)

Under Those Balmy Palms

It’s a good day, living it my way, down by the salty sea

Plenty of sunshine, having a good time, I’m happy as I can be

No worries, no qualms, living my life under those balmy palm trees 

It’s a good day, living it my way down by the salty sea 

Taking it easy, I’m feeling calm… under those balmy palms


I’ve got my hammock right over there, a place to go to let down
my hair

No need to hurry, the skies are clear, won’t you come over, pull up a chair

No worries, no qualms, living my life under those balmy palm trees 

It’s a good day, living it my way, down by the salty sea 

Taking it easy, I’m feeling calm… under those balmy palms


Taking in the breeze, living in the moment

Walking by the sea, can’t get enough of it…

No worries, no qualms, living my life under those balmy palm trees 

It’s a good day, living it my way, down by the salty sea 

Taking it easy, I’m feeling calm… under those balmy palms

Bry Harris Under Those Balmy Palms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think the final product is a song that can be used both in smaller segments (maybe on radio ads) or as the entire song to be played on radio. While the songs are being voted on (and I am sure the number will influence the final decision), the final selection will be decided by those who are running the contest.

So far, I have heard from folks in Australia, England, Singapore, Canada… and my dad (and he doesn’t usually get on the computer!) saying they had voted for my song- WOW! I also heard today from Heidi Swedberg (actress who played Susan/George’s wife on Seinfeld) who said she was casting her vote- NEAT!:). I haven’t been playing in the Parrothead circles very long so I have to “think out of the box” in seeking consideration from those who might vote.

Thanks to all who have voted for me so far. Not everyone has the same taste in music and at this point, it does become very subjective. I saw one comment that said he didn’t like any of the songs… now that is an honest opinion!!

I also have seen how important it is for those who vote to share and encourage friends to listen/vote…  I have seen responses from friends of friends who voted because they trust YOU… thanks for sharing!

Why am I pushing so hard on this contest? 1) Hopefully it will open more doors for people to hear my songs; 2) hopefully people who like ukuleles will hear and think about having us play at an event or house concert; 3) the monetary amount given to the winner would allow me to have songs I am preparing for our next CD to be “mastered”, or produced in better quality for radio stations and CD production; and 4) this is a bit of a stretch for me to “put myself out there” in asking folks to support my music… and it is good to move out of our comfort zones!  🙂

There will be more to come. The contest ends Sept 15th (going to be a long month)… but I am sure I will learn some things, reconnect with friends and grow along the way…

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

Eddy Finn Uke Artist

Parrot Island Band

  Bry Harris Under Those Balmy Palms

Peace, Love and Ukulele

Peace, Love and Ukulele

Peace, Love and Ukulele… It is the title of Ukulele legend Jake Shimabukuro’s CD. It is also an ideal…that music (in this case, the Ukulele) can bring peace into a chaotic world.

Bry Harris Kala Uke artist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know that the Ukulele brings me a great deal of peace. It is a great stress reliever and helps take me to my “happy place”. 🙂 It also brings a smile to those who listen and I have found that it is hard to be in conflict with someone while they are listening to a Uke and smiling. (In my “humble opinion”, the Ukulele is the ultimate “weapon of peace” and should be given to everyone around the world at this very moment.)

At the beach this past week, I sat and watched the ocean waves while playing the Ukulele and wrote one song (Down at the Beach) and started another (Peace, Love and Ukulele).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got home and finished Peace, Love and Ukulele…I hope you enjoy it. (If at any point it makes you smile, please pass this along to someone who needs a lift!)

 

Peace, Love and Ukulele

V1)

Turning off the evening news
It's giving me the blues
We've got to set our sights much higher

Another day has come and gone
I'm just trying to hold on
I know that we can do much better

Chorus)

Peace, Love and Ukulele… we need more of…

The kind of music that can… help us

Finally learn to get along….

V2)

So many people fuss and fight
Everyone thinks they are right
Why can't we learn to love each other

Sometimes our pride gets in the way
And though we know what we should say
It looks like we aren't even trying

Chorus)

Peace, Love and Ukulele… we need more of…

The kind of music that can… help us

Finally learn to get along….

Bridge)

What if we could just remember
On this journey we need friends
The world would be a better place
If we could come together in the end

Chorus)

Peace, Love and Ukulele… we need more of…

The kind of music that can… help us

Finally learn to get along….

As a Kala Ukulele artist (or, Kala Uke Ambassador, as I like to sometimes refer to it), I am always looking for an opportunity to spread my love of Ukulele. It is never too late to pick up this wonderful instrument. It is a joy to play the Ukulele and have someone say that they had always thought of the Uke as a toy but have now changed their mind and realize that it is a great musical instrument!

Although many know me as part of the Parrot Island Band (a Jimmy Buffett tribute band from Atlanta, Georgia), I also write original music and enjoy taking the Ukulele into schools, nursing homes and any place that is looking for some fun music to lift their spirits.

My wish for everyone tonight is peace, love and, of course… Ukulele! Thanks for reading and listening…

Peace, Love, Ukulele 🙂

Bry Harris

Parrot Island Band

Kala Ukulele Artist

Peace, Love and Ukulele

 

 

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Bry Harris

I became a Kala Ukulele artist a few months ago and I have been interviewing some of the other Kala musicians in order to get to know them better (and hopefully help others to get to know them as well). Since I am waiting to hear from some of the other Kala artists, I thought I would share my own story as an introduction to the Kala community. I have really fallen in love with the Ukulele in recent years and view myself as a “Ukulele Ambassador” of sorts…. In addition to our band (the Parrot Island Band), I love to take the Ukulele into schools (and to senior groups) and teach them about the Ukulele. Since I have added the Uke as the main acoustic instrument in the band (in place of guitar), I have had many wonderful conversations about the Uke and I have made several “converts” to this neat instrument.

Bry Harris Kala Brand Music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bio:

I grew up in Tidewater, Virginia, and have had been drawn to the memories of lakes, rivers and the ocean ever since. When I graduated from high school, I was named “most likely to open for Jimmy Buffett” (ok, it was a ‘tongue in cheek” accolade and officially it was something like… “in 5 years Bryant will likely open for Jimmy Buffett”- but time has morphed into the “most likely to” reference :)).

While I did play in bars and restaurants for awhile in college, I took and extended break from music (about 25 years!) and began playing again for others around 2006. I started a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band that now includes my wife (steel pan) and good friend, Kevin Garrelts, (congas) and myself (vocals, guitar and, of course, Ukulele). While we started as a cover band, I have written around 30 songs that we add to our set lists and they have been very well received.

We recorded a Trop Rock CD, Parrot Island Getaway, which consists of original songs and has been played on Internet radio stations from Key West to California, New York to Alaska and even Canada. The Parrot Island Band has been nominated 3 times as Trop Rock duo/trio of the year at the Trop Rock awards that is held in Key West, Florida.

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“I currently live in Acworth, Georgia… about 45 minutes to an hour north of Atlanta.”

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

“I started playing guitar when I was 12 years old in the 70’s. I was influenced by the likes of James Taylor, Grand Funk Railroad, the Eagles, many of the great singer/songwriters of my youth such as Dan Fogelberg and Harry Chapin. Probably the biggest influence on my music (and no surprise to those who know me) was Jimmy Buffett. I loved his fun-loving persona and tropical themed music. Jimmy’s music still influences me today!

“In addition to Jimmy Buffett, the music that I listen to today comes from a broad range of “Trop Rock” musicians that paint musical scenes of beaches and palm trees but are not necessarily known to the general public. I love musicians who play because of their passion for music… but like me, may never play in front of large crowds or on mainstream radio.”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“I have only been playing the Ukulele for a couple of years but I have definitely been bitten by the bug. I keep a Ukulele out at home to play while watching TV or just for the fun of it (and to relax and work on new song ideas). I also have another Uke in my office and take a break now and then to play a few chords (I find it boosts my creativity and makes the rest of my work day more enjoyable).”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“I play the Kala Acacia Tenor (KA-ASAC-T) with an added MiSi pickup. I also keep a Kala Long-neck Soprano (KA SLNG) in my office. I use this Uke when I go to preschools or elementary schools to teach them about the Ukulele (or sometimes just the letter “U”!).”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“Our first CD, Parrot Island Getaway, has been out for a few years now so I should be announcing our next CD (but we are still trying to figure out a way to get moving on that). I have written enough songs for a new CD and my plan is that when it comes out, it will be one that features the Uke, steel pan, congas and U-bass (so if there is anyone out there wanting to help us get this going, just let me know ;-)).”

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? with answer of course;-)

“Q: Jimmy Buffett is on the phone and wants to know if you would like to have lunch and play a few songs together?”

“A: Let me check my calendar and call you back (JUST KIDDING! ;-)) Yes, just let me know where to go… I’ll be right there!”

I get an extra question since this is my idea… 😉

“Q: Why did you switch from playing guitar to Ukulele?”

“A: While I have always loved playing the guitar, there is something about the Ukulele that relaxes me and moves me in a deep way. I feel as if I should have been playing the Ukulele all my life and that it is part of my “purpose in life” (to play the Uke and somehow bring joy to others through it). I am just beginning to explore how the Uke will be a part of this next chapter in my life and I am really looking forward to discovering the answer….”

All for now

I hope I can get in touch with some of the other Kala Ukulele artists and have more of these interviews in months to come… until then, pick up a Ukulele… strum a happy song and make someone smile…

Peace, Love and Ukulele

Bry Harris

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Ukulele Artist

Kala Uke Artist Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Jesse Daniel Edwards

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Jesse Daniel Edwards (Jay Smart of the Smart Brothers)

I have enjoyed getting to know some of the Kala Ukulele artists and although I am almost done with those I have been able to reach so far, I hope I will catch up with some more over time. Thanks to Jesse Daniel Edwards (Jay Smart of the Smart Brothers) for giving us a chance to get to know him a little better.

Bio (taken from jessedanieledwards.com/about/)

Kala artist Jesse Daniel Edwards

Jesse Edwards' first language was music.

"I loved hearing my granddad sing songs from the "Sound of Music" while strumming his ancient uke. I learned to play by watching and listening at his feet at the ripe old age of 4."
Born with a love of music and a natural talent for singing and picking up pretty much any instrument he got his hands on, Jesse studied guitar, bass, drums, piano, clarinet, saxophone, and the oboe growing up. In Jesse's teen years, his classical training clashed with his many punk and heavy metal bands. Since then, he has adopted a unique blend of folk and roots music as his characteristic style.

"I spent a lot of time touring around the US with my brother and we cut our teeth in towns like Nashville and Atlanta. As a result, the music of the region, specifically the Southern roots and folk music of Appalachia have really affected me artistically," Jesse says of his inspiration and sound.

Jesse has recorded 3 nationally-released albums, 4 solo albums, and 2 live albums – as well as music for an independent film. He has toured professionally on the festival and college circuits for the past 4 years in the US and abroad where he has shared the stage with notable acts including Matt Costa, John Prine, Roger Clyne, & The Squirrel Nut Zippers. His award-winning songs have been featured in radio, TV, and film and are available on ITunes, Amazon, Verizon V-Cast, and Napster. He lives in Carlsbad, CA, and is an officially endorsed Kala Ukulele artist.

 

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“Current home: Running Springs, CA”

2) What were your earliest/ and current musical influences?

“Earliest musical influences: gospel and traditional music. It was all my brothers, sisters and I were allowed to listen to.”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“Started on the uke at age 6, listening and watching at my granddad’s feet as he played old family songs.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“I play a Kala tenor.”

Kala artist JaySmart

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“Not on the road at the moment; heading in to the studio though to work on an acoustic album which will be out in the summer.”

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? with answer of course;-)

“Have you ever performed Bohemian Rhapsody on solo Uke? The answer: hell yes.”

You can find Jesse at jessedanieledwards.com

www.facebook.com/thesmartbrothers

Here at the Parrot Island Band, Linda (my wife and steel pan player) and I had a fun day playing at a surprise wedding shower and tomorrow we play for a home school prom (we will provide the music while the students are having pictures taken) and then I get to share a few “words of wisdom” to the students between dinner and their dance… still trying to figure out how to work the Uke into this part but sure I’ll think of something. 😉 Until next week….

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala ukulele Bry aa

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Rachel Pearl

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Rachel Pearl

Thanks to Rachel Pearl for taking some time to answer a few questions as our Kala Ukulele artist of the week! As Rachel lives in Nashville, we are not too far away (Atlanta, GA)… hopefully I can find the opportunity to hear her live soon. I have enjoyed listening/watching some of her videos and it is obvious that Rachel is a person with great talent and a passion for her music. Without delay, here is another Kala Uke artist interview….

Kala artist Rachel Pearl 1

BIO (from www.facebook.com/RachelPearlMusic/info)

Rachel Pearl hails from Bowling Green, KY, where she grew up with music. Her mother is a popular blues singer from that area and her great Uncle Bill has played at Woodstock and made music all over the world.

She moved to the Nashville area in 2000 to learn more about herself and music. She travels the US with her ukulele and guitar singing original jazzy tunes, Top 40 hits and jazz standards.

Such is the enigma, the phenomenon called Rachel Pearl. She has such a range of technique in her work and is not afraid to experiment with some amazing results. With her jazz background and classical training, she tackles pop music with all that she's got, unafraid of shying outside the norm. Her ability to bring together classic sounds with current pop iconic music distinguishes her from many other musicians and also points to a growing trend. Pearl brings a warm vocal tone and vintage taste to electronic popular music. These days Rachel Pearl's new sound has been heavily influenced by artists such as: Oh Land, Robyn, Florence and the Machine, Kimbra, Lady Gaga, Imogen Heap, Katy Perry, Natasha Bedingfield, Madonna and many more.

Kala artist Rachel Pearl 2

1) Where is home for you at the moment?    

“Nashville is my home! They call it Music City for good reason. There is so much talent here. I visit other big music towns like NYC and Los Angeles, but they don't feel like home. They are great for inspiration and collaboration though.”

2) What were your earliest/ and current musical influences?  

“My earliest influences were artists like Bonnie Raitt, Cyndi Lauper, The Beatles, Herman and the Hermits, …..I listened to so many things growing up. My mother had stacks of vinyl records and my twin sister and I would listen on our little record player. My current influences range from Ella and Julie London, to Katy Perry and Oh Land.”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“I started playing ukulele after a relative passed away and I was given their instruments. It was three years ago. One was a mahogany soprano, the other a tenor banjo ukulele. Both were at least 60-80 years old and I felt that they deserved to be cleaned up and played.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

I love the solid acacia tenor and the (now discontinued) curly mango tenor. One of my favorites is also the arch top. It has a wonderfully warm sound.”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)? 

“My newest release is my self-titled CD "rachel pearl". It is pretty different from my jazzy CDs, but I think that music is all about taking chances and learning new things as you go. I've been songwriting more than I ever have and I've been learning a lot. I will return to a more acoustic sound, I'm sure. And I still post ukulele videos from time to time.” 

Kala Uke artist 3

You can also find Rachel at:

www.rachelpearl.com

www.twitter.com/rachelpearl

www.youtube.com/rachelpearl

Facebook

 

 

 

Here on Parrot Island (that imaginary place where the Parrot Island Band resides), I finished a new song this week. 🙂 The title of the song is If You Want a Happy Song and is a reminder (to me and hopefully others) that we are responsible for our own happiness and have the choice each day to write our own happy song….  We have a gig at a small coffee shop this weekend and will have the opportunity to play this song live. I always enjoy sharing new songs with people and, even better, when it is in a small setting. Until next week….

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Ukulele Artist

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist RJ Kaneao

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist RJ Kaneao

Thanks to RJ Kaneao for taking time to answer a few questions in my quest to get to know some of the Kala Uke artists better…. I stopped by RJ’s webpage and really enjoyed hearing his music and finding out more about him!

RJ Kaneao Kala Uke artist

Bio (taken from www.rjkaneaomusic.com)

Combining reggae grooves, heartfelt ballads, and Polynesian rhythms, RJ Kaneao's unique blend of contemporary sounds and traditional beats lends to the color of local Hawai'i and Pacific (Polynesian) music. Performing alongside such greats as Don Ho, Melveen Leed, the late Dennis Pavao, Mana'o and Company, Kawao, Fiji, Various Marley's, the late great Braddah IZ Kamakawiwo'ole and many others, RJ has spent much of his life fine tuning the details of island music.

 

As a Polynesian entertainer traveling the globe with Tihati Productions, RJ's exposure abroad has helped craft his musical style into a much desired local pleasure. Once the musical director for Tihati Productions on the Big Island Chapter, he continues to honor and share his Polynesian heritage with all.

Along with many local artists, RJ Kaneao's influences include Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, John Mayer, Elvis Presley, James Ingram, Jerry Lee Lewis, George Benson and Frank Sinatra. "Weird, huh?!" Not really, considering the eclectic mix of tunes from the catchy lines of "This is 4 My Lady", "Ooh Now Girl", "Sip'n on Wine" (TORU CD) to laid back ballads like "Love You Driving Me Crazy" (LANUI CD). He credits much of his success and musical guidance to his mentor, Kalama Ku Koanui, and his family as inspiration, especially his son, Aaron.

With his fourth release, "Best Of Me", RJ Kaneao highlights his musical inspirations once again and brings his journey back to its roots. Recorded completely in his own studio, "Best Of Me" is a testament not only to RJ's musical gifts but his technical skill behind the boards and as a producer as well. "Best Of Me" is RJ's latest giving of himself back to his listeners, fans, friends and family.

From the relaxing love groove “Babygirl” and “You're Beautiful” to the more upbeat “Just Friends” to the already well requested  smash hit single, “All Night”, RJ shows that he still has a rhythm and step for ladies. The island pop “Ooh Baby” throws down the funk, while “Karakia No Te Atua” (“Best Of Me”) seeks to hold strong the support for struggles of the Polynesian man in today's world. Ending with a smooth R&B ballad, RJ's “I Can't Leave You Alone” is a tribute to the softer and more romantic, heartbroken side of his music. With 14 original tracks in total, RJ Kaneao's "Best Of Me" is the culmination of the creative mind and musical talent of one of Hawaii's hardest working entertainers.

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“I am in Hawaii for the most part but toggling between flying to L.A. on red-eye flights to get where I need to go. I realize the move is probably something in the near future.”

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

“I've pretty much been around music since I was in my mother’s belly…lol. My family has been deeply rooted in music and entertaining when I was a child and as I progressed through my school years. I've been on-stage since I was like about 3-4yrs old but my earliest recollection is probably when I was about 6, so my earliest influence has to be my family. My current musical influences range from musicians, artists, vocalists and just some everyday people. To be able to pull influences and a better understanding of your music and how it runs, indeed, in sync with your life, can bring so much depth into your music.”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“As a child I always fiddled around with it, and in Hawaii it’s a normal thing. I started taking it more seriously when I was about 14. But I've been a lead guitarist professionally for about 18 years and from time to time switch it up with ukulele.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“I am playing a Kala Mahogany cutaway. KA-SMLTE-C”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“I have my two most recently released albums on iTunes and some singles, songs I produced for other artist etc.

“As far as tours, there has been talk, but nothing confirmed, as of yet.”

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? with answer of course 😉

“Question: What is Music to me, like, what is the definition?

“Answer: to me, music is sharing, giving, expressing, beauty of creativity, but most of all, a giving of pure love.”

You can find RJ at  www.rjkaneaomusic.com

Facebook 

Youtube

As I have mentioned in previous interviews, I greatly enjoy the diversity and talent among Kala Ukulele artists. Kala has some world class (and world traveled) musicians playing their Ukuleles. I hope some of these guys/gals make it to Atlanta so I can meet them in person! 🙂

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Uke Artist Bry Harris

The Kala Tree Song

The Kala Tree Song

I wrote a song this week called the Kala Tree Song, another fun little song for folks who enjoy the Ukulele and life at the beach. While it feels primarily like a children’s song, I have had several adults comment how much they liked it… so I guess if you are a child or an adult and you enjoy it, it’s for you!

As a Kala Ukulele artist (I play and promote Kala Ukes for Kala Brand Music), I included the Kala brand Ukulele in the song because they are such beautiful (and great quality) instruments. I also mention the “Kala tree” in the song as it is a Ukulele display that is placed in many stores that sell Kala Ukuleles.

Kala Brand music Bry Harris

As it relates to this song, I imagined a (Kala) palm tree down near the ocean that had Kala Ukuleles hanging from its palm branches. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a palm tree (with Ukuleles) waiting on you so that you could pick a Ukulele and play some Island music to those who passed by? 🙂

 

I think this song might make a neat children’s story (expanded a little, of course).… I will have to keep an eye open for the opportunity to develop this song/story in the future (and it already has the song to go along with it!). I am also excited about having another Ukulele song to share when I visit schools (preschool/elementary) to teach them about Ukuleles (or in some cases, the letter “U”).

Without further delay, here are the words (and video) to The Kala Tree Song… I hope you enjoy it!

The Kala Tree Song
V1)
I saw a Kala Ukulele, hanging in a Kala tree…
I saw those lovely Ukuleles, and this one was the one for me

Chorus)
So I played my Ukulele, and I sang an Island song,
And everyone who gathered ‘round me,
asked if they could sing along…

V2)
Picked up my Kala Ukulele and I went down to the shore
I started playing for the sea gulls,
they asked if I would play some more

Chorus)
So I played my Ukulele, and I sang an Island song,
And everyone who gathered ‘round me,
asked if they could sing along…

V3)
Picked up my Kala Ukulele and I went down to the sea,
I started playing for the dolphins,
they asked if they could stay with me..

Chorus)
So I played my Ukulele, and I sang an Island song,
And everyone who gathered ‘round me,
asked if they could sing along…

Interlude-
Bridge)
I’m thankful for the Kala trees, and lovely Ukule..e..les
I’m thankful for the summer breeze, and the music that it brings

Chorus)
So I’ll play my Ukulele, and I’ll sing an Island song,
And everyone who gathers ‘round me,
I hope will come and sing along…

I’m finding that simply written songs can be enjoyed as much as those that are written by “master songwriters” and that if I have a song in me… it needs to be shared. So pick up your Ukulele (or whatever instrument you choose) and share your inspiration with us… I’ll be waiting…

Beaches and blessings,
Bry Harris
Kala Uke Artist
www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Uke Artist Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Justin Fox

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Justin Fox

As I have been reminded in these interviews, not only do musicians have a variety of musical styles, but we also have a great deal of diversity in backgrounds and personal lives. With Easter just a few days away, I thought it would be a good week to post my Kala Uke artist interview with Justin Fox who is using his music (including his Ukuleles) to reach out to others in faith and love…

Kala artist Justin Fox

BIO: (From http://www.justinfox.com/story/)

“My dad is a forester, my mom is a folk singer…My uncles are butterfly collectors, tile layers, Scientologists, and flamenco dancers…

I was dreaming of being Kris Kristofferson in “Convoy”.  I wanted to be a truck driver.

In 1989, while playing Poison’s “Fallen Angel” to a packed crowd of screaming teenagers, I felt God tap me on the shoulder. We were driving home the last few songs of our set, the energy was building, and as I took in the moment, peering through the smoke and the lights, caught in the audience’s joyful response, it seemed like I heard God quietly say, “I want you to do this.”

A few years later: 1993, still before the age of the Internet, email, cell phones, Chris Tomlin, Delirious, or Third Day… I began the adventure of my life, visiting youth groups, camps, and Sunday services with just a batch of original songs, a trunk of cassette tapes and my acoustic guitar. I was on a brand new road to where music was going in church, and logging hundreds of thousands of lonely miles up and down California, at odd hours of the day and night, joining the rushing current of 18 wheelers, I realized I had finally got my wish…

I was a truck driver!

I graduated in 1993 from Bethany University in Santa Cruz.  I married Heidi, the love of my life, a week later, and we are thankful to now be celebrating 20 years of marriage.  I’ve produced ten CD’s of original music…oh, and four children. As our kids grew (three teenagers now!), my desire for a more local, close-to-home existence and some dramatic nudging of the Spirit prompted a change.  I had been “on the road”, full-time, for over seventeen years and an opportunity opened up to serve at my local church while attending graduate school at Biola’s Talbot Seminary. Three years later, I have earned an M.A. degree in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care and will graduate as a licensed spiritual director.

I currently serve as City Pastor to Costa Mesa through ROCKHARBOR Church, lead worship at Lighthouse Community and other various venues, write for David C. Cook’s TRU discipleship curriculum, and accompany college students as a spiritual director at Biola University.”

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

Costa Mesa, CA

2) What were your earliest/ and current musical influences?

Earliest musical influences: Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Beach Boys

Current musical influences: Jack Johnson, Black Keys, Mumford & Sons

Kala artist justin Fox b

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

Seven years ago

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

Two gorgeous soprano ukes – one with dark wood and traditional stylings and one that's lighter with modern elements including a pickup with EQ and Tuner!

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

My first Uke recording was "Handiwork" and that set me on the journey.

Here's the track:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/handiwork/id118443388?i=118443099

You can find Justin at http://www.justinfox.com/

This week, I (Bry/Parrot Island Band) was invited to Open Arms Preschool in Acworth, GA to introduce the Ukulele as they learn the letter “U”. I love sharing the Uke with young and old alike and the kids had a great time and were very well behaved. While we usually play for adults (corporate events, neighborhood parties, private events, etc.), this was a fun time that I’m glad I could be involved in…

Until next time…

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Uke Artist Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Stuart Fuchs

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Stuart Fuchs

As another week starts, it is time for another Kala Ukulele artist interview– this time we hear from Stuart Fuchs. From the sound of things, Stuart is very busy… thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions, Stuart!

If you live in the Tampa, Florida area- stop by and visit Stuart… here is some information Stuart sent me last week, “I'll be giving a Ukulele clinic on Tuesday 3/26 @ Sam Ash in Tampa…the Dale Mabry location.  The details are at www.stufchs.com on my calendar.”

For the rest of us, here is some more information on Stuart and his Ukulele travels…

Kala Uke artist Stuart Fuchs

BIO: (http://www.stufuchs.com/about-stu/)

Stuart Fuchs is a performing artist, multi-instrumentalist, music educator & workshop facilitator.  He plays everything he can get his hands on, but specializes in Ukulele, Gypsy Jazz & Classical Guitar, Didjeridoo, and Percussion.

“Stuart travels the world with his collection of instruments and loves to spread joy through music, with spontaneous (and scheduled) acts of musical kindness.  Have you ever been treated to a spontaneous serenade in an airport gate, or in the waiting room of a doctor’s office?  If you heard soulful and peaceful refrains coming from a smiling Ukulele player, that was Stu.

“Stuart Fuchs has worked as a performing musician, teaching artist & workshop facilitator for nearly 20 years—playing many styles of music on Guitar, Ukulele & healing music on overtone rich instruments such as Tibetan Singing Bowls and the Aboriginal Didjeridoo.  Stuart has been called a “modern day pied piper” and has performed & taught music to a diverse array of populations—from corporate executives & toy designers at Fisher-Price Inc., developmentally disabled adults, juvenile offenders, and hospice patients.  Stuart believes passionately in the healing power of music to be a vehicle for personal expression & wellness—he finds great joy & purpose in guiding individuals into a more humanistic and natural experience of their innate musicality.”

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“In my sweetheart's arms!  No, really, I was born in the Bronx, NYC.  Home for 17 years has been Buffalo, NY.”

2) What were your earliest/ and current musical influences?

“Earliest? My Father was a classical guitarist & I grew up listening to him play.  At a very tender age, he taught me a few things about it & then let me have one of his guitars.  I would take it into the woods and then try to make the sounds of birds.  

First music that made me want to play was George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue & my sister's David Bowie & Beatles LP records. Songs by Monty Python, Pink Floyd & Jimi Hendrix were what I first learned to play. Currently listen to just about anything that has soul & is not overly produced.  I'm open to a lot.  I love roots music of America, Indian classical music, jazz, New Orleans funk, Classical, The Rolling Stones, Django Reinhardt….I'll stop now :)”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“First Uke was a cheap-o soprano in 2001.  I had no idea what it was, I just knew I wanted a small axe to play on the bus & cheer me up during Buffalo's bitter winters.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“My endorsement with Kala was sealed with a Marcy Marxer signature Uke.  The fine fellows at Kala's shop set it up just as I like it & IT SMOKES! (Thank you Ryan & Crew!)”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“Yes indeed!  On 3/3/13 I released my first SOLO CD called "Stukulele". You can hear and buy it at http://stukulele.bandcamp.com/album/stukulele.  I have also launched a NEW WEBSITE at http://www.stufuchs.com/.

I am currently touring with Bhakti Yoga/Kirtan artists David Newman & Mira, accompanying them with my guitar & Ukulele…singing ancient & very healing Sanskrit Mantras.  It's a meditation method & a limb of Yoga known as "The Yoga of the Heart".  Look up "Kirtan" for more.”

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? with answer of course;-)

“Q) What is the best palindrome you've ever heard?  

A) "I'm a lasagna hog.  Go hang a salami". “

(Stuart… you got me there… I learned something today… I had to go look this up.  😉 For the rest of us, a palindrome “is that peculiar marvel of language when words or sentences read the same forward and backward” Good one!)

Kala Uke artist Stuart Fuchs

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find Stuart at:

http://www.facebook.com/StukuleleStuartFuchsMusic

http://www.stufuchs.com/

From here on Parrot Island (yes, it’s a state of mind, but I spend so much time here that sometimes it’s hard to remember I’m not really ON an island :))… I hope everyone’s week is filled with sunshine, palm trees and the sound of Kala Ukuleles (that’s your cue… get off the computer and go play your Uke!)

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Uke Artist Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Ian Clarkson

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Ian Clarkson

In today’s installment of Kala Ukulele artist interviews, we get to catch up a bit with Ian Clarkson of the musical group, the “Jive Aces”.  Although Ian is from the UK, he and the Jive Aces will be in Tampa this coming week, on March 14th at the Zendah Grotto 4450 W. Ohio Ave, Tampa, FL (from 8-11:30). For me, this is a case of “so close and yet so far”, as we (the Parrot Island Band from Atlanta, GA) were just in Tampa last week for a gig. All I can say Ian, is that I hope it is warmer for you (Bring them Sunshine Ian!) than it was for us…brrrrrr (it was cold and windy for our event ;-)).

Kala artist Ian Clarkson 1a

Bio: Ian Clarkson is the lead vocalist, trumpet and Ukulele player for the Jive Aces, the UK’s No.1 Jive and Swing band. (from http://www.jiveaces.com/who_are/ian.html):

“Ian was born in the Liverpool area and lived only a few doors away from Paul McCartney’s brother. He then moved to Essex and London, hence his current accent.

He began singing when he was a boy and would entertain his family with song and dance and whole theatrical shows which he would put on with his sister in the Clarkson family home for guests.

He soon went to London to sing and learn trumpet and it was in the smoke-filled jazzy nightclubs of the capital that he met most of the Jive Aces.

Ian’s cool singing style, hot trumpet and hip showmanship put him centre stage as the front man and he pulls it off with ease in a style reminiscent of Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima and Dean Martin all rolled into one.”

Kala artist Ian Clarkson

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“Currently home is on the Kent/Sussex border in sunny England. It is easier for the band to live near each other and it's nice to live in the country but also be so close to London for gigs.”

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

“I started off as a kid listening to Elvis. As I grew older, 14/15, I was interested in whom his influences were and so sort of worked my way back into blues and other American roots music, all while my friends were getting into whatever the radio or disco was playing. 

“So my influences were and are everything from early New Orleans Jazz, blues, swing and hillbilly up to 50's R&B, rock ‘n roll and very early soul. I also loved crooners like Bing, Sinatra and Dino and Nat King Cole.

“One of the bands biggest influences is Louis Prima, hence the latest album being a salute to him.

“On this album is our version of “Bring Me Sunshine” which although Prima didn't perform, we thought summed up the joy he put in his music, and that we hope we do too. Plus it was one of the first songs I played Uke with the band – I had the honor of playing it personally for HRH Prince Charles who loved it and was very interested in the Uke, stopping to chat about it for a while.” 

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“I only properly started playing about three years ago when my wife bought me one for Christmas after I had been playing on Uke nut Kaplan Kaye's lovely Kala. I was instantly in love and very soon I had acquired a few Ukes and a couple of Banjoleles. When I started, I didn't know it was going to catch on so much in the UK, but it seemed to spread like wild fire. All of a sudden when I played Uke with the band, the fans and friends loved it and many started playing Uke themselves. Uke builds a sort of friendly community around it. Unlike most other instruments, it isn't egotistical or financially driven, it's all good fun and about sharing, I like that. 

“I used to play guitar when I was a young kid before I started trumpet. I played mainly rhythm on blues and rockabilly stuff at the time and then gave it up. I always wanted to start playing again but just didn't get around to it. When I found the Uke, I realized this is what I needed. It fell under my fingers, I could take one anywhere and it was such a happy sound, it made people smile when you played it – and I'm all about cheering people up. 🙂

“Oddly enough, a short while ago, an ex girlfriend posted a shot of me playing her Uke from about a hundred years ago and I didn't even remember it. I thought I'd never touched one until just a few years ago.” 

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“I mainly play my two Kala concerts, my custom painted yellow "Bring Me Sunshine" model, of course. And I still have my little soprano yellow Makala that I played in the Sunshine video. I actually recorded on that too. One of the things I love about Uke is that you can also grab the lower end soprano Uke and get a great little sound out of it. Most of our recordings now have Uke on it, even if it’s only me playing rhythm, instead of the usual rhythm guitar.

“I'd like to try a Tenor though and also get a high end soprano for fun.” 

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“Ooh I think sometimes we have soooo many projects on the go… We are currently touring to promote our latest album “King of the Swingers: A Salute to Louis Prima” which is going very well. We have a lot of theatre dates as well as festivals and dances, etc. 

“In April we are back in the US playing in LA and DC and also recording our next album, a Christmas CD, plus filming another video. 

“In the summer, we have the Satin Dollz coming over to the UK to tour with us. We mainly work with them in LA. If you have ever seen one of my little tutorials, the Dollz are always featured. When they first toured with me, I got them into Uke (as it is infectious) and now they all play Uke, and look great while doing it. Check them out; they even do ukeograms too….

“We also have some shows coming up featuring our Skiffle Combo which features me on Uke and our saxman switches to fiddle and Al, our trombonist, plays washboard. Skiffle is great for Uke and is both fun and exciting. (We also recorded a skiffle CD called “Its Skiffle Time!” – which was great fun to record).” 

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? with answer of course;-)

Q)"Would you like my collection of vintage Ukes?"

A) "Yes, please"

You can find Ian at:

http://www.jiveaces.com

http://www.facebook.com/jiveaces

I’m enjoying these interviews so far for a number of reasons. Not only do these Kala artists have a great variety of musical backgrounds, but they seem to have a shared love for music (and especially the Ukulele) that is contagious. Everyone has been so cooperative in answering these questions… I have several more to go and look forward to sharing more Kala Ukulele artists’ interviews in the weeks ahead.

Have a great visit to Florida, Ian…

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala ukulele Bry aa

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Will Kimbrough

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Will Kimbrough

I saw a picture of Will Kimbrough playing a Kala 8 string Ukulele about a week ago and thought that Will would make a great Kala Uke artist. Today I saw his picture up on the Kala Brand Music web page confirming that he is now a part of the Kala Ukulele family! 

In my interview with Jim Mayer (Coral Reefer Band/Jimmy Buffett), he mentioned that he and Will had been playing the UBass and Ukulele on some of the songs on Buffett’s upcoming CD. As I am a big fan of Jimmy Buffett (and the wonderful musicians that he surrounds himself with), I was excited to hear that there will be some Uke on this project. Will confirmed that he “just played the Kala Uke all over the upcoming Jimmy Buffett album!! Probably half the songs have the 8 string tenor Kala on them…” !

If you haven’t heard of Will Kimbrough, you have missed out on some great music. Will is not only a superb song writer but an outstanding musician. While Will sits in on some of Jimmy Buffett’s concerts and recording sessions, he is a wonderful talent in his own right… OK, enough superlatives from me… check out Will Kimbrough for yourself.

Kala artist Will Kimbrough

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bio:

“Will Kimbrough was born and raised on the Gulf Coast. He has been out playing music since his first band at the age of 12, and on the road since he graduated high school. Will's bands include Will and the Bushmen, The Bis-Quits, DADDY and now Willie Sugarcapps, his collaboration with Grayson Capps and Sugarcane Jane (Anthony and Savana Crawford). Will has released 6 solo albums in addition to 6 albums with his various bands. Will's songs have been recorded by Jimmy Buffett, Little Feat, Todd Snider, Jack Ingram and others. He has worked in the studio and live with Buffett, Snider, Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, Mavis Staples and way too many others to mention here. Will produced two of Todd Snider's finest albums (East Nashville Skyline and The Devil You Know) as well as Adrienne Young's Grammy Award nominated Plow to the End of the Row CD. Will is currently on tour all over the U.S., finishing his upcoming solo CD and working on the debut Willie Sugarcapps CD

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“Nashville”

2) What were your earliest/ and current musical influences?

“ Hank Williams, Beatles, Mississippi John Hurt”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“3 years ago”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“8 string tenor!”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“ Currently finishing a solo CD, and beginning a CD with Willie Sugarcapps—my new band with Grayson Capps and Sugarcane Jane (Anthony and Savana Crawford).”

Kala Will Kimbrough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find Will at:

www.willkimbrough.com and Willie Sugarcapps- Home  for tour dates, news, blogs and information.”

Thanks again to Will for answering a few questions, here’s wishing you a year of gigs and fun… and of course, more Uke! 🙂

It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway), Will is always welcome to sit in and Uke with the Parrot Island Band (here in Atlanta, Ga but have Uke, steel pan and congas and will travel)- aloha!

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Uke Ambassador Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Heidi Swedberg

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Heidi Swedberg

Continuing my quest to get to know other Kala Ukulele artists, today I share my interview with Heidi Swedberg. I love to hear from musicians like Heidi who are teaching and sharing music (especially Ukulele!) with the next generation. Thanks to Heidi for taking the time to share some of her thoughts and answers…

Kala Heidi

 

 

 

 

 

BIO (from Heidi Swedberg and the Sukey Jump Band's Sonicbids EPK and  http://sukeyjumpmusic.com/)

“Actress/musician Heidi Swedberg (Seinfeld, Galaxy Quest) loves to share the joy of music with people of all ages.  She and her partner, Daniel Ward, make beautiful music together. They believe in the incredible power that being a music producer (not just passive consumer) can bring to all people, and believe we all have a song in our soul to share.

“When Heidi was 5 years old, she received her first ukulele from the Hawaiian Easter bunny while living in Kailua, HI. She has fond memories of teaching herself chords and writing songs in her room in Albuquerque, NM, the place she thinks of as home. She picked the instrument up again in 1992 in Hollywood, CA, while playing a singer-songwriter for a network TV pilot. Now life imitates art and she plays a singer-songwriter-teacher full time.

“She recorded her first album this summer in Albuquerque. Play is a family fun ukulele album which encourages you to pick up the instrument and play along.”

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“Los Angeles, CA is my physical home, but NM will always house my heart.”

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

“I have three older sisters and my parents were dynamic Girl Scout Troup leaders for them. My earliest musical influence was the voices of my family and a gaggle of girls singing from the scout songbook. We sang in cars, around the piano and around campsites. It was how we were pacified and entertained. I hope to record one of my favorite songs we sang together for our next CD.

“Current musical influences are as wide as the world and include everyone I meet. I was recently in Haiti teaching ukulele at an orphanage. The kids there taught me a song which we have recorded… I love to learn songs wherever I go. A mom from Panama taught me another song that will be on the new album. If you have one to share with me, be prepared to see me adopt it!”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“I got my first ukulele when I was 5. My family lived in Hawaii and the Easter bunny brought one for each of us in our Easter baskets. One of my sisters still has hers. Wish I had mine, but I loaned it to a boyfriend in high school. Many years later he returned a mandolin in its place.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“I use a UBass in my band. It has a great sound, easy to travel with and is a conversation starter. A school where I teach has a bunch of Kala Baritones. I play one every week along with a chorus of 35 middle schoolers.”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“We are working on our new CD "My Cup Of Tea" and anticipate a spring release. Right now we have 17 songs from around the world, mostly in the folk tradition, but some pop covers as well. The instrumentation includes xylophone, tuba, guitar, stand up and electric bass, all manners of percussion, horns… and always ukulele. There will be a booklet included (like my last CD) which includes all lyrics and chords.

“We will be doing a spring tour from LA to Kansas City, where we will play the kid's festival Jiggle Jam on Memorial Day weekend. Dates will be available on my blog soon!”

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has?

“Where can we send you monetary support?
To my Kickstarter campaign, which is coming soon! Until then, you can buy our first CD and sign up for our newsletter on my blog.

Kala Heidi a

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can also find Heidi at:

Heidi’s blog http://sukeyjumpmusic.wordpress.com/

Website  http://sukeyjumpmusic.com/

On a personal note, I (Bry) picked up a new Kala Uke this week- the Kala Acacia Tenor (with a Mi-Si pickup added at the Kala custom shop).  Not only is this a beautiful Uke but it sounds FANTASTIC! The Parrot Island Band played the Music on the Bay event in Tampa, FL, this weekend and with over 700 in attendance, the active pickup system provided the needed volume (without sacrificing tone).

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala ukulele Bry and the Parrot Island Band

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Kyle Heimann

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Kyle Heimann

Our next Kala Ukulele artist is Kyle Heimann. I’m really enjoying getting to know some of the other Kala artists and the wide range of musical styles and backgrounds of this group. Kyle and his duo look like my kind of people (a little “goofy” but a lot of fun 🙂 ). After doing a little search online, I’m a little embarrassed to admit it but I think I could fit in with this group pretty easy (in fact I’m thinking about taking my Uke and stalking them for awhile 😉  ). Without further adieu… here’s Kyle!

IMG_3036Kyle-utar-01

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bio:

“Kyle is one-half of a musical duo called Popple (an acoustic, humor rock band). He mostly plays a tenor ukulele and kazoo, although the nose-flute and harmonica usually make an appearance. Popple travels around the country speaking and entertaining youth and they are bearded.” (Editorial note… I’m not sure if the band or the youth is bearded but I may just show up one day to find out!)

PoppleJumpColorSq

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“I live near Fort Wayne, IN.”

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

“My mom comes from a very musical family and her dad (my grandpa) taught music, directed groups and owned a music store. So, I kinda went from piano to trumpet to guitar to ukulele. There was probably a couple dozen other instruments that I have messed around with or currently do. I love goofing around with all kinds of instruments but ukulele is my main one, followed by guitar.”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“I bought a $35 ukulele in 2003. I was playing guitar with another guy (the beginnings of our band, Popple), and worked the ukulele into one song, then two . . . now, I usually don't take a guitar to a gig.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“I have a Utar (now discontinued) and a Kala KA-15S that are both fitted with electronics. I also have a Ubass that is tons of fun. But, mostly, I play a Kala KA-ASMTE-C and an Archtop, both tenors. They feel fairly similar and I can never decide which one I like better. That is 5 Kala instruments for those keeping track at home.”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“I am in a band called, "Popple." We travel around playing mostly for youth groups, retreats, and other church functions. We call it ‘Acoustic-Humor-Folk-Beard-Rock.’"

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? with answer of course;-)

“I wish people asked me if I used steroids. That would imply that I look very strong. The answer would be, ‘No, this is all natural.’ "

kyleukeicon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any group that plays kazoos and Kala Ukuleles is OK by me and if they are ever nearby, they are more than welcome to sit in with us (the Parrot Island Band from Atlanta, GA).  Thanks to Popple for taking their music and reaching out to young people… keep spreading the Uke!

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala ukulele Bry

Kala Ukelele endorsing artist Jim Mayer

Kala Ukulele (U-bass) endorsing artist Jim Mayer

I first met Jim Mayer a few years ago at a Parrothead event (Tropstock) in Cocoa Village, FL.  While our band (the Parrot Island Band) opened the event, Jim, brother Peter, Nadirah Shakoor and Doyle Grisham (all members of Jimmy Buffett’s band, the Coral Reefers) were the musicians that everyone came to see (including me!).  There were a number of other Trop Rock bands/performers at the event and it was a thrill for me to be a part of the event that had some of “Jimmy Buffett’s band” to get to meet up close.

On Saturday of Tropstock, Jim (who also goes by “Uncle Jim” for his children’s music events) played for all of the children who had come to the event. I enjoyed seeing someone who plays for a band as big as the Coral Reefers also share another side to his music. I have since seen Jim present his IM4U Anti-Bullying program to elementary and middle school students in Alabama (organized by my friend, Derek Raulerson) and I was moved by his passion for helping young people through his message and music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I looked at the list of Kala Ukulele artists, I saw Jim’s name under those who play the U-bass (a baritone Ukulele that is built to be played as a bass). I thought it would be interesting to ask a few questions and hear about his current music projects (one of which includes the Kala U-bass)…

Bio (taken from http://www.unclejimrocks.com):

Jim’s talent shines on both electric and upright acoustic bass, playing with performers ranging from jazz legend Mose Allison to James Taylor to Ringo Starr. As a member of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band since 1989, Mayer has been writing, recording and performing worldwide with Buffett.

In addition to appearing on numerous television shows, some of Mayer's career highlights have been: touring with and opening for The Moody Blues and Chicago as a member of PM [the Peter Mayer Group] (1989), performing as a Coral Reefer band member at President Clinton's Inauguration (1992) and President Clinton's White House Birthday Celebration (1995), performing with Joni Mitchell in a benefit for the New Orleans Homeless (1994), performing with Robert Greenidge, Michael Utley and Grammy winning artist Ralph MacDonald at the Trinidad-Tabago Jazz Festival (1996), and being featured on the XM Kids Rumpus Room Concert Series.

Mayer has played on over thirty studio recordings. Some recent recording credits include upcoming CD releases from Little Feat and JD Souther. And in his spare time, (spare time, what's that?) he's engineered and produced eleven CDs in addition to his own.
Jim resides in Nashville where he works continually to improve the lives of children and their parents with music and videos. He loves dogs, climbing trees, and chunky peanut butter.

Uncle Jim presents a compelling anti-bullying program entitled “IM4U” (I’m for you).

 

Kala Jim Mayer

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

 “Nashville, TN”

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

 “ Earliest: The Beatles
   Current: Brett Dennen

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

  “Four years ago”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

   “U-Bass”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“Just finished recording the new Buffett release in Key West, FL. The Kala U-Bass was used on special songs and sounded fantastic and unique; the band was digging it. Will Kimbrough sat next to me and played an 8-string uke and rocked on it.

Personally I am working on a Bully Prevention Teaching Program for young children called ‘IM4U’.”

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? with answer of course;-)

“Q:What keeps music interesting and keeps you inspired?

A: 1) Believing that notes I play really matter and require my complete attention, dedication and focus.

2) Keeping perspective by having a sense of humor about where my notes fit into the larger scheme of things. The ocean, the sky, a forest, a lake are all amazing and inspiring.”

I have been a Jimmy Buffett fan for many years and I have also become a fan of Jim Mayer as well (both as a person and his music). Although I am not in the same league musically to Jim, it is neat for me to be able say that we are both Kala Ukulele artists. 🙂 I look forward to hearing Buffett’s new CD when it comes out and I will be listening for Jim’s U-bass and Will Kimbrough’s 8-string Ukulele…

While we are certainly no Coral Reefer Band, our little Trop rock trio (the Parrot Island Band, a Trop rock/Jimmy Buffett tribute band from Atlanta, GA) is always ready to play some Buffett tunes while Jimmy and the rest of the band are filling their venues. I like to promote our little group as “Jimmy Buffett on a budget” and there are many groups like ours throughout the country who are thankful for the opportunity to share our love of Buffett music.

Thanks Jim, for taking the time to answer a few questions and always being ready to share your love for music and your infectious smile…

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Brand Music Bry Harris

Music On The Move

Music On The Move

Music On The Move. Last week I was invited by music teacher Cheryl Walburn (former Parrot Island Band steel pan player) to her school, Roberts Elementary, in Dallas, GA, to participate in their weeklong event called “Music On The Move”. Each day a parent or friend of the school (my category) was asked to come to the school and introduce a musical instrument to the students in their classrooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During their music week, I was told there would be a mandolin, guitar, violin and even someone who would sing opera to the students. My instrument, of course, would be the Ukulele (Kala soprano) and I started off the event on Monday.  Having recently agreed to represent and promote Kala Ukuleles (they call me an “endorsing artist”, I like to think of myself as a Kala Ukulele Ambassador 🙂), I thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce these young people to a wonderful instrument.

With Mary McDonald as my school guide, we set off to visit as many classrooms as possible. When we entered each classroom, I asked if the students knew what instrument I had with me. Answers from the younger students ranged from “banjo”, “guitar” and even “violin”. I gave the students some background information on the Ukulele and then played my song, “Parrot Island”. I was happy to see that the kids not only enjoyed the song, but really seemed to enjoy the Ukulele.

Music on the Move

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My song “Parrot Island” is a song about an imaginary island filled with palm trees, a clear sandy beach and dolphins jumping in the nearby waters. I asked the kids what they would want to bring or do on a visit to Parrot Island (I told them there would be a soda machine and all drinks were free) and they came up with some fun answers. Some wanted parrots, while others wanted to parasail. A few wanted to swim with the dolphins, while others wanted to see sharks (without teeth, of course). Only one class wanted their cell phones and video games and while I told them they could bring them to this wonderful (yet imaginary) place, I hoped once they got there, they would want to enjoy all the fun (and outdoor opportunities) that would be provided.

Music on the Move

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did stop by the teacher’s lounge while some were on a break and they seemed to enjoy a few minutes of entertainment too. Several mentioned reminiscing of some “beachy” place they had visited. On the way to another classroom, I encountered a class en route in the hallway. I sang them a song quietly and as another class came from the other direction, I paused to let them pass. The teacher stopped and asked if I would continue and when I finished, both classes erupted in applause (so much for playing quietly!). The highlight of the morning came when I heard a student yell from down the hallway… "There's Ukulele Man!". Yup, that was fun. 🙂

I left Robert’s Elementary School with a smile on my face and I feel like I left the place a little more joyful that morning. I was followed by a mandolin player on Tuesday and was told that many of the students were convinced he was playing a Ukulele!

Music On the Move - A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I usually play for adults as part of the Parrot Island Band (a Trop Rock/Jimmy Buffett tribute band from Atlanta, Georgia), my time at Roberts Elementary was a blast. I enjoyed hanging out with the students and they were all very well behaved. I hope I have the opportunity to return to this event next year and maybe even visit another school, should the opportunity arise.

As warmer weather approaches, remember us if you are planning a community event that needs some tropical music…maybe a party for your HOA (Home Owners Association) event or even a customer appreciation outing. We also play a number of fundraisers throughout the year and I also like to play at house concerts if you would like a more intimate musical environment.

Peace, Love and Ukulele,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala ukulele Bry

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Snap Jackson

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Snap Jackson

As a new Kala Ukulele endorsing artist, I wanted to get to know some of the other musicians in the “Kala family”.  Dustin Barber was kind enough to be the first to respond to my request for an interview and I enjoyed getting to know more about him and his tremendous talents. Snap Jackson (and several others that we will hear from in coming weeks) is my next featured artist.

Kala Snap Jackson Uke artist

Bio (from Snap’s website): “In July of 2006, after hearing John Hartford’s Mark Twang album, singer-songwriter, Snap Jackson walked into a music store in Stockton, California and purchased his first banjo. He has been obsessing over it ever since. In addition to both Scruggs style and clawhammer banjo, Snap also plays the ukulele, mountain dulcimer, and the harmonica. In recognition of his efforts, Snap was nominated in 2010 for the Northern California Banjo Player of the Year award and in 2011 he received an endorsement deal with both the Deering Banjo Company and Kala Brand Ukuleles. When he is not on the road fronting his band, Snap Jackson & the Knock on Wood Players, he can be found at home playing the banjo and spending time with his family. Some of Snap’s major influences include: Nina Simone, Jerry Garcia, John Hartford, Earl Scruggs, Stevie Wonder, and Townes Van Zandt.”

The following questions are just a few that I thought would help me (and others) get to know Snap a little better:

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“The road, but Stockton, California is where I keep my clothes.”

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

“My mom was a big fan of soul and old school r&b music: Kool & the Gang, Switch, Tower of Power, Earth, Wind, and Fire, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Commodores, Stevie Wonder, and artists of that nature. My father, on the other hand, was into the more mellow stuff like James Taylor, America, John Denver, the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and the early Michael Jackson stuff. My Grams, Molly Bustos, exposed me to mariachi music at a very young age. I still enjoy listening to mariachi music very much. To me, mariachi music and bluegrass music have many commonalities; the harmonies, timing, themes, and even some of the same instruments are used in both styles of music. Both genres were created by and for the working man. I also grew up listening to a lot of hip hop music.”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“About 5 years ago.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“The tenor spruce top cut away is my main Uke on the road. For the type of music that we do, it really cuts through and gets the job done.”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“We just released Kaleidoscope, our second full length studio album consisting of all original songs. [The first album is A Breath of Fresh Air.] Both albums are available on itunes.”

Snap Jackson and the Knock on Wood Players

 

 

 

 

 

You can also find Snap at:

www.knockonwoodplayers.com

Facebook

I really appreciate Snap taking the time to answer these questions. I also took some time to listen to Snap and The Knock On Wood Players on Youtube (just Google and you can find several great videos) and was impressed with the quality and professionalism they put into their music. I enjoyed seeing how Snap worked the Ukulele (he is also a very talented banjo player) into the mix that includes (among others) guitar, stand up bass, and fiddle.  I hope that Snap and the band make it to the Atlanta area before too long – I’ll be there if they do!

Until Snap makes it to Georgia, keep us (the Parrot Island Band) in mind if you are here in the Southeast and looking for some Tropical Ukulele music (Kala Uke, steel pan, congas and soon U-bass). In addition to some fun cover tunes, we also play a number of original songs and have been nominated three years in a row as Trop Rock Duo/Trio of the year.

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Uke Ambassador Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Dustin Barber

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Dustin Barber

I (Bry) received some good news this week as I joined the Kala Ukulele “family” of endorsing artists/musicians. I thought it would be interesting to get to know some of the other musicians who play Kala Ukuleles and since I have met and listened to Dustin Barber before, I thought I would ask him to answer a few questions. I hope some of the other Kala artists will be willing to participate in this project in the coming weeks.

Dustin Barber Kala Uke Artist

 

 

 

 

In looking at Dustin’s website, I took a few highlights (read the rest at dustinbarber.com) to share in this interview….

“Dustin Barber, known to his friends as "Dusty," began playing guitar at age 7 in Ft. Worth, Texas, where he was born. His father Sam bought him an electric guitar and taught him classics such as "Walk Don't Run" and "Wipe Out," which he leveraged to win elementary school talent shows. Soon after, he was playing complicated classical pieces.

His first big opportunity to tour internationally, surprisingly, was with a Southern Rock / Country band. This required that he set aside his Charvel and pick up a Telecaster, but as a fan of Chet Atkins, Ricky Skaggs, and Albert Lee, with whom he studied, he had no trouble combining his progressive rock skills with blistering country chops.

Presently, Dusty is touring the world with the Godfather of Soul, the legendary Al Green. Performing on stages from London to Madrid and television shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, he has remained incredibly busy in 2008. This experience has brought his talent to the forefront, and has proved that he is one of the most versatile guitarists in the nation.”

I first saw Dustin play a couple of years ago at a Parrothead event (A1A Parrothead Club’s Beach Bash) in an event that we (the Parrot Island Band) were also playing in. Dustin played guitar and Ukulele in Jimmy Parrish’s Band The Ocean Waves. If you have the opportunity to hear Dustin play guitar or Ukulele, make sure you don’t miss it!

Dustin Barber plays Kala Ukes

 

 

 

 

The following questions are just a few that I thought would help me (and others) get to know Dustin a little better:

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“Jacksonville, Florida”

2) What were your earliest/ and current musical influences?

“My father would be my earliest influence and my most current influences would be Bob Marley, Al Green and tropical music!”

3)  When did you start playing the Ukulele?

“I started playing the Ukulele around 2008.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“I am currently using a Kala Spalted Maple Cutaway w/pickup (KA-FMTE-C 4-String Tenor), Kala Mahogany 8-String (KA-8. 8 string uke) and a Kala Travel Uke (KA-SSTU-FMCP. Travel uke) with onboard compass in case I get lost!”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“I am currently the touring/recording guitarist for The Reverend Al Green, The Conch Fritters, Steel Bamboo Band and The Dustin Barber Project.”

Check out some of Dustin’s projects below…

dustinbarber.com

steelbambooband.com

theconchfritters.com

Dustin Barber

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to LIKE the Conch Fritters on facebook to keep up with their dates and new releases! If you haven’t gotten a copy of their new CD "Deep Fried", you can find it on Itunes, Cd Baby or their website at theconchfritters.com.

Thanks to Dustin for taking the time to share a little of himself with me. I hope that we have an opportunity at a future event to sit down and play our Kala Ukuleles a bit. I know that I could learn a lot from such a talented musician!

In the meantime, if you live near Atlanta, GA,  I (Bry) would love to come play at your event (or maybe you’d like to host a house concert).  The Parrot Island Band not only plays some classic Jimmy Buffett tunes, but we also play other tropical songs by bands like Zac Brown, Kenny Chesney, etc.  In addition to some fun cover tunes, we also play a number of original songs and have been nominated three years as Trop Rock duo/trio of the year.

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Uke Ambassador Bry Harris

I’m in a Ukulele State of Mind

I’m in a Ukulele State of Mind

I’m in a Ukulele state of mind. That’s right. The Ukulele puts a smile on my face and relaxes me when I am stressed out. I cannot hold a negative thought in my mind while I am playing the Ukulele.

Whether with the Parrot Island Band (a Trop rock Jimmy Buffett tribute band in Atlanta, Georgia), or playing by myself… the Ukulele has become a source of relaxation and joy. While noodling  (a technical term meaning “just messing around”) on my Ukulele last week, I wrote this song I’m in a Ukulele State of Mind:

 

I’m in a Ukulele State of Mind

Chorus)

My ukulele puts a smile on my face

My ukulele takes me to a good place

I’m feeling better all the time

I’m in a ukulele state of mind

No matter what I’m going through

I know just where to turn yes I do

Everything is better all my skies are blue

What could a ukulele do for you?

Chorus)

My ukulele puts a smile on my face

My ukulele takes me to a good place

I’m feeling better all the time

I’m in a ukulele state of mind

When it’s hard for me to smile… sometimes,

I try to change my thoughts this is what I find

My ukulele it never fails me

It puts me back on island time

Chorus)

My ukulele puts a smile on my face

My ukulele takes me to a good place

I’m feeling better all the time

I’m in a ukulele state of mind

Bridge

I close my eyes and take it in

Hear the sound of peace feel the joy within

Chorus)

My ukulele puts a smile on my face

My ukulele takes me to a good place

I’m feeling better all the time

I’m in a ukulele state of mind

A “Ukulele state of mind” is a great place to be. For me it is a place of beaches, palm trees and smiling faces.  Feeling stressed or worn out? Maybe you should pick up a Ukulele and strum yourself to a happy place… I’ll be there waiting with my Uke…

Beaches and blessings,

Bry

Parrot Island Ukulele

Parrot Island Ukulele

Parrot Island Ukulele. As I have admitted earlier, I have been bitten by the Ukulele bug. I find it to be an extremely relaxing instrument and I love introducing the Uke to folks who have never heard one (or have a suspicious view of the Ukulele).

I started the day by visiting the members of the Durham Foundation (a fundraising group at Durham Middle School in Acworth, Georgia). After I played them a few songs, I shared with them a little about our band (the Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band from Atlanta, Georgia). It was a very nice visit and they must have enjoyed our visit as they enthusiastically took all of the business cards that I brought.

My next stop was the area where the middle schoolers are dropped off each day. I was asked to be one of the community greeters and thought I would play them a little Ukulele to start their day. While I received the expected eye rolls and head shakes (after all… they ARE middle schoolers), I did get a few grins and some seemed to enjoy the music (shhh… don’t tell anyone!). A few of the students did not know what a Ukulele is so perhaps I planted a few seeds that will grow at some point in the future.

As it has been a very dreary day here in Georgia (rainy and a bit chilly), I thought I would put together a quick Ukulele video (played on my Sruce top Eddy Finn Ukulele) of one of my first songs… “Parrot Island”. Parrot Island is really a state of mind, a place with palm trees, parrots and a tropical breeze. I am including the words, feel free to put on a Hawaiian shirt and sing along…

 

Parrot Island

We all need a place where we go just to get away

Call it a holiday and stay for awhile

Leave all of our worries and hurries a mile away

Come climb aboard today, just bring a smile…

Chorus:

Just sit back and close your eyes, soon we’ll be there

The beaches are white and the ocean is clear

The palm trees are blowing, do you feel the breeze?

On Parrot Island come do as you please…

We all need a dream that will keep us awake

A special place we can go throughout the day

To help us remember to take time to play

Come climb aboard and we’ll be on our way…

Chorus:

Just sit back and close your eyes, soon we’ll be there

The beaches are white and the ocean is clear

The palm trees are blowing, do you feel the breeze?

On Parrot Island come do as you please…

I know you are wondering, “Can this really be”?

A place you can go in a moment of need

Would you like to go to that Island with me?

Just climb aboard and I will promise you’ll see…

Chorus:

Just sit back and close your eyes, soon we’ll be there

The beaches are white and the ocean is clear

The palm trees are blowing, do you feel the breeze?

On Parrot Island come do as you please…

 

As the Eddy Finn Ukulele Ambassador (www.eddyfinnukes.com), I am always looking for places to play and spread the joy of playing Ukulele. You may also be in need of a Trop Rock Jimmy Buffett band this spring or summer, so please keep us in mind and contact us at www.parrotislandband.com if we can be of help. Until then…

 

Beaches and blessings,

Bry

Low G Aquila String Review

Low G Aquila String Review

Low G Aquila String Review.  I received a low G Aquila string in the mail a couple of weeks ago to try on my Eddy Finn ukulele. Ukuleles are generally strung with a high G string (in the progression of GCEA strings), but the low G string is an octave lower.

Edyy Finn uke set up with low G

I put the low G Aguila string on my Eddy Finn Spruce ukulele (spruce top/mahogany back and sides). The Eddy Finn Spruce ukulele is sometimes referred to as a “guitar player’s ukulele”. My Eddy Finn uke has a great look with a nice cutaway and its coloring is similar to my Martin acoustic guitar. It also has a pickup so that I can play it with our band (Parrot Island Band; a Trop Rock/Jimmy Buffett tribute band in Atlanta, Georgia). While many traditionalists are not fans of pickups in ukuleles, the one that Eddy Finn uses provides a great sound for the types of events we play (maybe another trait that guitarists find appealing?).

So how does the low G string setup sound?  The traditional tuning (high G,CEA) provides a brighter sound that is usually associated with the ukulele. With the low G tuning, the ukulele has a lower top end sound (more bass sounding).

Some people say that the low G string makes the ukulele sound more like a guitar (making it a great compliment to the Eddy Finn Spruce ukulele). In playing with the low G set up, I’m not sure I would say it sounds more like a guitar… but it does set the ukulele up to play more like a guitar with the strings going from low (G) to high (A). This also gives more notes on the lower end and a more ‘mellow” sound (you can find a more in-depth discussion on the topic here).

How do I like the low G setup? I think it sounds great! I also picked up an Eddy Finn Bamboo uke (I’ll share some thoughts on this beauty in another blog post J) that I will keep as my high G string setup. One lesson I learned in trying out the low G string… don’t be afraid to experiment!

While I’m at it, stop by and check out the Eddy Finn Spruce Tenor giveaway at www.eddyfinnukes.com … running now until October 31stThis message brought to you by Bry Harris, an Eddy Finn Ukulele Ambassador (endorsing artist/musician) 😉

 

Beaches and blessings,

Bry

Apology Accepted

Apology Accepted

Apology accepted.  I received an apology on Saturday that I gladly accepted. We (the Parrot Island Band, a Jimmy Buffett tribute/cover band from Atlanta, Georgia) were playing for a community event in Roswell, Georgia. It was a pretty easy event, as gigs go; we were set up between a few vendors and played as people passed by.

There were a couple of musicians playing after us and one of them was listening carefully during a couple of our ukulele songs. When we were putting up our equipment, this musician said, “Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I owe you an apology….” I was wondering what he had to apologize for since I didn’t know him…. He continued, “I have always thought of the ukulele as a toy and after listening to you guys play, I realize that I was wrong!” We spent several minutes talking about the ukulele and where he might pick one up. (Of course, I recommended Uke Republic…a great group over there to help you figure out which ukulele you need.)

This is serious fun

What a great compliment. As the Eddy Finn “Ukulele Ambassador” (endorsing musician), I love telling people about Eddy Finn Ukes… and I also have fun playing a really neat instrument.

When people think of the ukulele, many remember Arthur Godfrey from the 1950’s or Tiny Tim from the 1960’s and think of the ukulele as either an instrument used long ago or as a prop for a novelty act. The truth is that the ukulele is an instrument that many musicians play today and it is currently riding a wave of popularity.

Some who play the ukulele today are Paul McCartney, Eddie Vedder (rock) and Michael McDonald If you ever want to hear an incredible ukulele player, just check out Jake Shimabukuro. Of course, I would be amiss if I didn’t mention that Jimmy Buffett also plays ukulele from time to time in his shows.

Parrot Island Ukulele Eddy Finn

Although it was a pretty quiet day in Roswell, I felt like I had changed someone’s perspective about the ukulele and that is a great feeling. If you live in the Atlanta area (we do travel some with enough notice), maybe you would like to relax and enjoy some Parrot Island Band music. With steel pan, ukulele/guitar and congas, you can count on us taking you to a “happy place”… AND we are affordable (we don’t call ourselves “Jimmy Buffett on a budget” for nothing).  🙂  

Beaches and blessings,

Bry

Old Man and the Sea

 

Old Man and the Sea

Old Man and the Sea. They say that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, so I’ll keep this post short.:) This picture was taken a few weeks ago while we (the Parrot Island Band, a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band from Atlanta, Georgia) were in St. Augustine, Florida. We played as part of the A1A Beaches Parrot Head Club’s Beach Bash event.

Bry Harris play Eddy Finn Ukele to relax

As you can tell by the smile on my face, I love sitting on the beach… I also love playing my Eddy Finn Ukulele (or uke for short).  What better than to combine the two and sit by the ocean, reflect on the beauty and play a few songs… I did… as Jimmy Buffett sings, “I want to go back”… “Someday, I will”…

Beaches and blessings

Honey I Shrunk My Guitar!

Honey, I Shrunk My Guitar!

If you have been following the Parrot Island Band lately you will see me (Bry) with a lot of pictures holding a ukulele (sometimes called uke). At some point during our gigs, I will usually say something to the affect that my favorite guitar was left out in the rain and Linda tossed it in the dryer… causing it to shrink. 🙂

Bry Harris loves his Eddy Finn Uke a Trop Rock Favorite

My very first guitar was an Epiphone Nylon String/Classical guitar. At the age of twelve, I was given my guitar and a few group lessons at the local YMCA. We also had a “bluegrass club” at high school where students taught each other songs by groups such as the Eagles, James Taylor and yes, Jimmy Buffett (to name a few).  [Yeah, I know these aren’t bluegrass musicians, but that’s the only way we could get together and play the songs we liked.] Beyond the YMCA and friends at school, I have found many excellent musicians over the years who were willing to share their talent and musical knowledge…thanks!

While I have had numerous guitars over the years, I have always enjoyed the sound and feel of the nylon string guitar. About a year ago, I picked up a ukulele while in a local music store and enjoyed the similar sound that the ukulele makes to that found in the nylon string guitar (a little more mellow and strings that are a little easier on the fingers).

I have found the ukulele to be a very relaxing instrument. It has been said that you can’t play a sad song on the ukulele. I am not sure if that is true but I know that playing the ukulele usually puts me in a good mood.

Parrot Island Band plays Eddy Finn Ukulele

The ukulele is easy to take with you when you are traveling and a great instrument to have in the office. I keep one at home and one at work, often pausing for a few minutes to relax and play a song or two before getting back to whatever project is in front of me. The ukulele is also a great instrument to have with you when sitting at the beach. 🙂 While at St. Augustine Beach last week, I had a great time sitting beside the ocean and playing some relaxing uke music.

Jimmy Buffett Tribute band Trop UKES

While I would have said a few months ago that I was a guitar player who dabbled in ukuleles, I now feel more like a ukulele player who plays a little guitar. I still have a lot to learn about playing the ukulele and it will take continued playing until it feels as natural as playing the guitar. That being said, I am glad to have added to the ukulele to my life.

As an added bonus to having picked up the ukulele, I have also become an official “endorsing artist/musician” for the Eddy Finn Ukulele Company. The Eddy Finn Ukes are not only great sounding instruments but they are reasonably priced for the average person. Add a “fin” to the sound hole and market it as a ukulele for those who love islands and beaches… and you have a perfect match between the Eddy Finn Ukulele and the Parrot Island Band (a Trop Rock -Jimmy Buffett tribute trio from Atlanta, Georgia).

Looking for a new instrument to learn? Why not consider the ukulele (and an Eddy Finn Ukulele at that)? Affordable. Highly portable. The ladies love them (OK, I can’t speak for ALL ladies, but my wife, Linda, and this really cute three year old at our last gig think they are cool). Easy to learn to play. Relaxing and…FUN! What are you waiting for? Put on your flip flops and go get a ukulele!!

Beaches and blessings

Toes In the Sand

Toes in the Sand

Toes in the Sand…. Not only are these words part of a great Zac Brown song, but it is also the name of a great little ukulele store in Flagler Beach, Florida.  I dropped in on “Capt” Rob Plympton this past week during our (the Parrot Island Band) time at A1A Beaches Parrothead Club’s  Beach Bash” .  Rob took some time to show us this great store, one that sells sandals, flip flops, and some cool ukuleles! (address: 819 N Oceanshore Blvd., Flagler Beach, FL 32136 phone 386-283-1996)

Bry visits Capt Rob and Trop Rock Ukulele shop

Parrot Island Band visists Flagler Beach, Florida

As the Eddy Finn “Goodwill Ukulele Ambassador” ;-), I was pleased to see that Rob carries a good number of Eddy Finn Ukuleles, in addition to his other ukuleles and uke supplies.  Rob is also the President of the Phuncoast Parrothead Club and a ukulele player himself (Rob, why didn’t we play a few songs together?  Now, I really do need to go back to visit Toes in the Sand!

Bry Harris has his eye on these Eddy Finn Ukuleles

Toes in the Sand and Toes int he Flip Flops

“Capt” Rob is one of those people I connected with on facebook and finally met in Key West last year.  I always enjoy meeting people like Rob “in person”, and to see him at the ukulele shop was an added treat.  Flagler Beach is also home to our friends Dale and Peach (“From Flagler Beach”) Hench and also Trop Rock musician Capt Nick Nicholson.  (I’m sure you are wondering, but everyone in the Trop Rock world seems to have a cool name like “Key West” Kev, or Capt., or something tropical…)

Let's go sell some Eddy Finns!

Surfs up for the Parrot Island Band

A side note… we (myself, Linda, Kevin and Wendy Garrelts), also visited Finn’s Beachside Restaurant. While not related to Eddy Finn Ukuleles, it was a great place to eat lunch.  With an upper deck overlooking the ocean, it was a perfect place to relax and enjoy a delicious cheeseburger.  Finn’s Restaurant is within walking distance of Capt. Rob’s uke and flip flop shop – be sure to check them out next time you are in the area.

Bry Harris sees Finns everywhere

Flagler Beach home of Dale and Peach

Eddy Finn “Ukulele Ambassador”

Eddy Finn "Ukulele Ambassador"

As some of my friends have seen over the last month or so, I have become an “official” Eddy Finn Ukulele Musician/Endorser. I like to think of myself as an Eddy Finn “Ukulele Ambassador”, spreading the good news and fun sounds of this great line of ukuleles (sometimes refered to as "ukes")….

Bry and his new Eddy Finn Ukulele

While the Parrot Island Band has been playing as a Trop Rock/ Jimmy Buffett tribute band (here in Atlanta, Georgia) for several years now, our sound continues to evolve.  Replacing the drums with congas and getting smaller (moving from 4 piece band to a duo/trio group), we have gravitated to a sound that you might associate with palm trees and island breezes.

Parrot Island Band plays Eddy Finn Ukulele

This year, we have also added the ukulele to the band, as I (Bry) have enjoyed learning to play this fun instrument over the last couple of years. A few months ago, I went to a local ukulele store (Uke Republic) and owner, Mike McQueen showed me around and answered my numerous questions about his store and the dozens of ukuleles that were on the wall.

Parrot Island Band buys their Eddy Finns at Uke Republic

One ukulele that caught my eye in particular was an Eddy Finn Ukulele.  Not only are these ukuleles fun to look at (the sound hole is in the shape of a shark fin, a symbol that is often associated with Jimmy Buffett and his song, “Fins”), but Eddy Finn Ukuleles also have a beautiful tone as well.

The Eddy Finn slogan is “play to your senses”.  They even have a patented smell that leaves you dreaming of a tropical beach somewhere. I ended up buying a Spruce/Tenor Eddy Finn Ukulele that has just come out on the market. This beautiful ukulele has a built in tuner and pickup that has helped me blend in with our other instruments (steel pan and congas).

Linda sporting her Eddy Finn magnet

Since I have already taken my new ukulele to several local gigs, it is time to take it on a road trip. Look for pictures on http://www.facebook.com/ParrotIslandBand  as the Parrot Island Band heads to St Augustine, FL, to play in A1A Beaches Parrot Head Club’s event, “Beach Bash and Volley Ball Tournament”. We will be playing July 14th by the pool from 12-3pm and I (Bry) will have my Eddy Finn Ukulele with me, playing both Jimmy Buffett tunes with an island flavor… but also adding as many Trop Rock originals as we can fit in.

I also look forward to sitting by the beach and strumming on the ukulele…maybe there is a new song to be written as I sit back and enjoy the view…

Bry Harris is Edyy Finn "ukulele ambassador"

 

Beaches and blessings,

A Fun Time at Uke Republic

A Fun Time at Uke Republic

One of my favorite places to visit is now Uke Republic, a cool little ukulele store in Austell, Georgia, (5000 Austell Powder Springs Rd., SW Suite 290, Austell, GA 30106). You can also find Uke Republic online at www.ukerepublic.com. Owner Mike McQueen not only sells beautiful instruments but also takes time to answer questions and share his passion for the ukulele.

Parrot Island Band shops at Uke Republic

(Uke Republic Store)

My first visit to Uke Republic was a treat, as Mike not only greeted me enthusiastically, but had Radio Margaritaville playing in the shop.  Of course, being a part of the Parrot Island Band (a Trop Rock  – Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band here in Atlanta, Georgia), I immediately had a good feeling about Uke Republic :).

Mike McQueen welcomes Bry Harris of the Parrot Island Band

(Mike McQueen and Bry Harris)

Mike took the time to show me the wide variety of ukuleles in his shop and was extremely knowledgeable about ukuleles in general.  Of course, I gravitated to the Eddy Finn Uke that has a fin pattern for a sound hole (for non parrotheads, the fin is a symbol that is widely associated with Jimmy Buffett).  Mike ordered the Eddy Finn model that I like and helped hook me up with a neat little ukulele stand and case.

Bry with his new Eddy Finn Uke

(Bry and his new Eddy Finn Uke)

I’m adding Uke Republic to the list of “stuff parrotheads like”, although this store appeals to musicians who enjoy all styles of music. If you are looking for a place to sit in and play with some other ukulele enthusiasts, ask Mike about the group that meets at Uke Republic regularly to share songs and enjoyment of the ukulele.

At a subsequent visit to Uke Republic, I met Mike’s store partner and wife, Donna.  I enjoy seeing a family owned/run operation with such nice people. Looking for a new ukulele? Or maybe your first one? Drop in (or go online) and get to know the good folks at Uke Republic…  Maybe I’ll see you there!

Uncle Jim Rocks Alabama Elementary School

Uncle Jim Rocks Alabama Elementary School

Uncle Jim (bass player for Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer band) rocks Alabama elementary school with help from a Parrot Island Band lead singer and a Parrothead councilman.

(Today's post is by Derek Raulerson, friend of the Parrot Island Band – a Trop Rock Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band from Atlanta, Georgia.  Derek and Bry met a couple of years ago when the Parrot Island Band played an event for the summer reading program in Jacksonville, Alabama.  Since then Derek and Bry have become good friends and occasional golfing buddies… both share a love of all things Jimmy Buffett).

Jim Mayer hanging out with Bry Harris of the Parrot Island Band

It’s hump day on the mainland and a lot has been going on!  Jim Mayer, known to kids as “Uncle Jim” and to adults as the bass player for Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band brought his anti-bullying message (www.unclejimrocks.com) and IM4U program to 818 elementary students with the help of Parrot Island Band Head Parrot Bry Harris.  Bringing Mayer to Kitty Stone Elementary was the result of a few coincidences and the legwork of Councilman & Parrothead  Derek Raulerson, who had dealt with a friend's child’s encounter with a bully at school. The issue was already on his mind when none other than Bry Harris recommended Mayer’s campaign to bring awareness to anti-bullying across the nation. After checking out the program, Raulerson took the idea to Kitty Stone Elementary Principal Christy Hamilton and district administration, ultimately securing $1,500 from the city to pay for the show, which Raulerson said covered Mayer’s expenses.

Derek and Jim looking for Bry and the Parrot Island Band?

Fourth-grader Deandre Sigler said that message was the most interesting part of the program, learning what kids can do to help, “like telling people and reporting it if something’s wrong.” “You need to tell somebody,” Mayer told them. “This is really important because kids all over the country are getting hurt because nobody’s speaking up.” Deandre had never heard of cyber-bullying until Friday, but now he knows to be cautious before “you go online or text someone, and you hurt somebody’s feelings.” Mayer told students that once they hit send, they can’t take it back. A chorus of “Whoa!” met Mayer’s explanation of how something goes viral, of how quickly one message to a friend can turn into 125 quickly.

Conga Line to Parrot Island

A sea of children danced around a man with a guitar and broccoli hat last Friday morning at Kitty Stone Elementary School in Jacksonville, AL, probably not realizing who stood before them.  Those impressionable minds are comparable to sponges soaking up life’s lessons from an entertainer who travels the world bringing us a form of escapism.  Some would say “I don’t know and I don’t care” (Jimmy Buffett/Jim Mayer) but with the help of the coconut telegraph and Bry Harris, Buffett’s bass player was brought to a small town in Northeast Alabama. Isn’t it amazing how our love for tropical climates, cheeseburgers in paradise and Jimmy Buffett can bring us together and make things transpire?  Hope to see you in Atlanta next month for the largest Parrothead gathering in the southeast, we will be the ones under a mango tree!

Jim Mayer can play with Parrot Island Band any time

Phins on the James 2012

Phins on the James 2012

We (the Parrot Island Band- a Trop Rock/Jimmy Buffett tribute band from Georgia) had a great time at a parrothead event, Phins on the James, last week. Having grown up in the Tidewater, VA area (Bry), it was great being in Lynchburg, VA with many wonderful people.

Parrot Island Band at Big Lick Grill

The Parrot Island Band opened the evening at the Big Lick Tropical Grill. We were originally scheduled to play on the outdoor deck but rain caused us to move inside. With 250 or more in attendance, it was a great venue and a superb event.

Parrot Island Band having a Trop Rock evening

The Calypso Nuts followed us and they had the crowd on their feet and dancing at the very first song. As usual, the Calypso Nuts did a marvelous job and are both outstanding musicians and tremendous entertainers (Rob and Lynley, you can send the check or just pay me the next time you see me ;-).

Calypso Nuts close for the Parrot Island Band

One of the many special treats for us was getting to spend some time with “Big Ed” Meyer and Kate Walker-Starr from Island Dreamz Radio. The entire evening was broadcast live on the station, allowing those who couldn’t attend to listen in over the Internet.

Parrot Island Band enjoys visit with Big Ed

Getting back to VA also allowed us a couple of fun personal moments. Kevin Garrelts, our conga player, was able to visit with his brother, Art and sister-in-law Joanne, whom they hadn’t seen in a couple of years. I (Bry) was able to visit with two friends from high school (Burt and Scott Robinson). While Burt and I have kept in touch over the years since high school, I had not seen Scott since his wedding in the early 80’s.

A big thanks to Tom and Nancy Cofer of the Heart of Virginia Parrot Head Club who made it possible for us to play at the event.  To all those who planned this event, you did a GREAT job! Most of us will never know all the work that went into running a superb event. Oh yeah, it was my (Bry’s) birthday and what a wonderful way to spend it!  It was also great seeing our friend from Tidewater, Andy Harrell… hope our paths cross again soon.

I hope I didn’t leave anyone out, it sure was great being with everyone and I hope we get a chance to get together again. Until then, from our song… “Phins on the James”,

“Phins to the left, phins to the right

Phins on the James, at the Big Lick Grill tonight

Phins to the left, phins to the right

Phins on the James, it’s a Parrothead delight”

Thanks to all…

Beaches and blessings…

Will you take me to Parrot Island?

What are YOU good at?

What are YOU good at?

I was talking with some elementary school children this week and I asked them what they were good at. One said “dancing”, another “playing” and after a few more answers, one little girl said confidently, “singing!”

I asked the little girl how she knew she was good at singing. She said she knew she was a good singer because she had fun doing it… what a great answer!

What are YOU good at?

Think of how many adults have quit singing, dancing, painting, etc. because someone told them when they were younger that they weren’t good at it. What if we redefined what success is, as it relates to our hobbies, talents or passions?

Now I’m not suggesting that everyone who enjoys singing should be on American Idol, but we shouldn’t be afraid to pursue activities we enjoy, simply for the joy these activities bring.

Don't Quit listening to Parrot Island Band

I was recently at a conference called the Quitter Conference by Jon Acuff. Jon not only encourages people to follow their dreams but also to leverage their “day jobs” in order to pursue those things we love to do. In some ways, this was a Non-Quitter Conference, as Jon often says, “don’t quit your day job, at least not yet”.

There is a lot to be said for following passions because they are fun, even though they may never pay the bills.  I also wrote in my notebook while at the conference, “approval is terrible fuel for a dream”. Sometimes we give up on our dreams because we aren’t very good at the activities we love… but maybe we could be if we gave these dreams time to develop and our talents time to improve.

After a 25 year break from music, I started playing the guitar again. Before I knew it, I had formed the Parrot Island Band, a Trop Rock/Jimmy Buffett Tribute band near Atlanta, Georgia. We started playing backyard events and if being “really good” was the mark of whether or not we continued (versus the fun we had), we probably would have quit right then.

Bry Harris of the Parrot Island Band

Since those early “gigs”, we have now played at events in Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, North and South Carolina and Virginia. We have played at Cheeseburger in Paradise, for several Jimmy Buffett concert/tailgate events, a National Movie Theatre Manager’s Convention (Carmike Cinemas) and even a minor league baseball game (the Augusta Green Jackets).While we haven't met Jimmy Buffett, we have met most of the Coral Reefer Band and I (Bry) have played a song with Doyle Grisham (Jimmy's Pedal Steel guitar player)

Even with all of this, there is a temptation to compare our band to bigger, better, more successful bands… but I won’t. How do I know that we are really, really good? I know we are really good because we have a LOT of fun (going back to the little girl’s explanation)…

What dreams have you given up on that you would really have fun pursuing? Another quote from the Quitter Conference that spoke to me is, “our dreams may not pay the bills but they may feed our souls”. Wow! Do it (whatever IT is) because you love it and have fun… what a great way to know if you are “good at something”.

“Sidewalk Surfers” are Parrothead friendly.

“Sidewalk Surfers” are Parrothead friendly.

Stuff Parrotheads Like.  If you find yourself at Cool Spring Galleria in Franklin, Tennessee, stop in the Flip Flop Shops and tell Jeff Kent (General Manager) that Bry says hello. While at a recent conference in the area, I wandered into the mall to get out of the cold for a bit (it was 25° outside…brrrrr).  I saw the Flip Flop Shops store and it made me smile as I thought about the warmer months ahead. Next thing I knew, I was making a beeline toward the store…

Stuff Parrotheads like

While I wasn’t in the mood to try on flip flops, Jeff talked me into trying on a pair of Sanuk “Sidewalk Surfers”. “Sidewalk Surfers” are part sandals, part shoes and extremely comfortable.  When a friend from California visited a couple of months ago, he was wearing these types of shoes and I dismissed them as some “California fad”. On my feet, in the Flip Flop Shops, in 25° weather, in Tennessee, these looked totally cool. 🙂

Parrot Island Band approved footware

If you end up in the Flip Flop Shops store in Cool Spring Galleria, be sure to ask for the Parrot Island Band (a Trop Rock Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band from Atlanta, Georgia) discount. I must warn you that Jeff will likely pretend he doesn’t know what you are talking about. Next, ask him for a business card and once he gives it to you, ask him if that card is worth any kind of discount. That should work.

If you see us (the Parrot Island Band) playing this spring or summer, you just might get a glimpse of these comfortable shoes… I mean sandals… um, “sidewalk surfers”. 

 

Trop Rock Buffet

Trop Rock Buffet

“Trop Rock Buffet”.  This is the name of my most recent song (Bry Harris of the Parrot Island Band). As I wrote this song, I pictured myself driving to Key West and being drawn to a little roadside Café/Bar along the way. Even though I can’t tell you where this Café is, I believe I will see it one day and it will be the very one that inspired this song.

While I was the one being welcomed to this Trop Rock Café, I was also the “old man” who had been playing there since 1982 (the year I graduated from Old Dominion University and took a 25 year break from music).  The sign on the roadside to this imaginary Café bids those passing by to slow down and enjoy the journey… something I have been trying to do more of in the last few years.

My answer to the “miracle question”, “What would you do if money were no object?” is this… I would find a little bar or Café by the beach somewhere and play Tropical tunes to a small group of folks who would sit, listen and enjoy just hanging out together.

I’m sure there are many musicians playing in little dives all over the country. For me it is not so much about chasing a dream as much as it is living one. Whether it is a large crowd or a few friends, I really enjoy playing a song that makes someone smile and relax.

So here it is… “Trop Rock Buffet” – a place where you can get a regular diet of Buffett, Beach and Tropical tunes. If you get to that little Café before I do, take a picture and send it to me… make sure to send directions because I’ll get there as soon as I can.

 

Trop Rock Buffet

Verse 1)

I was almost halfway down the road to paradise

I saw a sign that said please drop on in

We know you’ll love the people here and if you like

You can go out back and take a swim…

 

Chorus)

A gentle breeze, a sunny day… it’s a Trop Rock Buffet

Down by the sea, you and me… at the Trop Rock Café

 

Verse2)

The old man in the corner playing Buffett tunes

He’s been playing here since 1982

And if you listen carefully I swear to you

You may never go back home again

 

Chorus)

A gentle breeze, a sunny day… it’s a Trop Rock Buffet

Down by the sea, you and me… at the Trop Rock Café

 

Verse 3)

Well minutes turned to hours and there I was

Trying to decide what I should do

I asked the old man why he stayed for all these years

He shared with me what I now share with you

 

Bridge)

If you see that sign, and you do slow down

Could be the perfect time

Just look what I have found

 

Chorus)

A gentle breeze, a sunny day… it’s a Trop Rock Buffet

Down by the sea, you and me… at the Trop Rock Café

 

A gentle breeze, a sunny day… it’s a Trop Rock Buffet

Down by the sea, you and me… at the Trop Rock Café

 

 

Three Little Birds

Three Little Birds

Don’t worry about a thing.”  While these are words that many people recognize as being from Bob Marley’s song, Three Little Birds, they are also words that are captured throughout the Bible.

 

Jesus said, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you?” (Matthew 6: 25-30)

There are many things that we worry about… bills, health, jobs, relationships, etc. There are so many things that seem to be out of our control and cause us great anxiety… the words of the apostle Paul remind me that it is not God’s desire for us to worry when he writes, “ Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

As I turn to God for comfort and peace, I often find that my worries are smaller than when I started. I am also reminded that I am not alone and that God’s love is bigger than my worries.

Paul also writes that we are to, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) If you have a lot on YOUR mind today… remember that God loves you and that you are not alone.

Blessings and peace from the Parrot Island Band. May your hearts be filled with songs of joy and love.

Check Out “The Finder”

Check Out "The Finder"

Stuff Parrotheads Like.  There is a new show on FOX, that has a Tropical feel to it… The Finder.  The show is an offbeat detective show that is set in “Looking Glass Key, FL” and in a beat up bar named Ends of the Earth Bar.  Geoff Stults plays Walter Sherman, a detective who is both quirky and talented, often sporting Hawaiian shirts and flip flops.  Stults solves cases in part due to an obsessive compulsive focus (and strangely ingenious) that is related to a brain injury he received while in the military.

Parrot Island Band approved

Stult's “sidekick” is Michael Clarke Duncan who had a breakthrough performance in the movie The Green Mile.  I love Duncan’s character and his deep voice (and he has some incredible muscles). Duncan plays Leo Knox, a gentle giant who is a bit of a home spun philosopher (and legal advisor).

Michael Clarke Duncan digs the Parrot Island Band

The only thing the show is missing so far is a good Trop Rock band and I gladly offer up the Parrot Island Band as a solution.  I could also see Trop Rocker Howard Livingston as a regular on the show or maybe we could take turns bringing Tropical tunes to the show… OK, I digress, the show is definitely worth checking out and hopefully will find an audience before it goes the way of most of the shows I like (long term hiatus or cancellation).

Maybe if enough Parrotheads begin to follow The Finder, the writers will bring Buffett on for an episode and we can finally solve the mystery of Jimmy's "lost shaker of salt"… tune in :)).

Island Time Radio Show Anniversary

Island Time Radio Show Anniversary

Stuff Parrotheads LikeIsland Time Radio Show is celebrating its 12th anniversary this Monday, January 30th.  Hosted by Dennis King (DK the DJ), this show does a great job of playing a mix of both independent Trop Rock musicians and established artists.

When our CD, Parrot Island Getaway came out a few years ago, Dennis was kind enough to play a few songs and have me (Bry from the Parrot Island Band) on the show. When interviewing musicians, Dennis does a good job of putting his guests at ease and  makes the audience feel like they are a part of the show (through emails, internet chat, running Facebook comments, etc).

Island Time Radio with Parrot Island Band

It was great seeing Dennis while in Key West this past November – I always enjoy meeting people in person that I have gotten to know over the Internet (Facebook, interviews, e-mails). Thanks to Island Time Radio and DK the DJ for a great program and happy anniversary from the Parrot Island Band!

In case you haven’t heard, the Island Time Radio Show is heard live on Monday nights from 10 pm to 1 am, Eastern Time on WBWC 88.3 FM (Baldwin Wallace College) in the Cleveland, Ohio area. 

Island Time Radio Show can also be heard on a worldwide webcast at http://www.wbwc.com. The show is repeated on WNY The Shore Radio at http://www.wnyshoreradio.com/ Saturdays – 9 pm, Eastern Time and on Beachfront Radio at http://www.beachfrontradio.com  Wednesdays – 8 pm, Eastern Time.

MidWinter Meltdown Sounds Like Fun

MidWinter Meltdown Sounds Like Fun

Stuff Parrotheads Like.  There is an event that is being held in Virginia this weekend (Jan 27-29) that sounds like a lot of fun.  It is a Parrothead event called MidWinter Meltdown.  The event started 12 years ago and has become one superb event, from what I can tell. The Calypso Nuts, Crawdaddy, John Frinzi, John Patti and several other Trop Rock entertainers will be there to entertain 250-300 crazy Parrotheads… I am sure it will be a great time!

While the Parrot Island Band won’t be at MidWinter Meltdown this year, we will be joining with the Calypso Nuts for another event in Virginia on April 21 (Bry’s birthday!) The event is Phins on the James and you can find out more information by going to the Heart of Virginia Parrothead Club website .

I met a number of the Virginia Parrotheads while in Key West this past November and they are a wonderful group of people! Having grown up in Virginia (Tidewater), I have a soft spot for all things (OK, most things that are related to Virginia:)).

I look forward to being with everyone in April but until then I hope everyone has a great time this weekend… beaches and blessings.

Bry

 

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…