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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

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

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

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

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”.

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

 

 

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 😉

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…

 

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…

 

 

Tag, You’re It

 

Tag, You're It

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

Reach out and touch the Parrot Island Band

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

No bears on Parrot Island

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

Some great words to tag a post with:

Jimmy Buffett tribute band

Trop Rock music

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

Steel pan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parrot Island Band would love to hear from you

Another View From the Mic

 

Another View From the Mic

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

A great view from Parrot Island band gig in Cartersville

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

Look a flock of pink flamingos

 

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

Feeding the head Parrot Bry

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

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

 

The Far Side of Heaven

 

The Far Side of Heaven

Mac would fit in great with the Parrot Island Band

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

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

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

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

On the far side of heaven

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Tribute to Troy Allan

 

Tribute to Troy Allan

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

Troy Allan teaches Parrot Island Band... I Can

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

He touched so many people, he changed so many lives

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

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

Sail on Superman, Sail on Superman

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

 

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

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

John Reno House Concert

 

John Reno House Concert

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

Parrot Island Band night out listening to John Reno

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

Dart would fit in nicely on Parrot Island

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

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

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

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

Everybody’s on the Phone

 

Everybody's on the Phone

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

Buffett trying to reach the Parrot Island Band

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

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

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

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

Trying to connect with Parrot Island Band

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

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

Hanging Out At A Marina

 

Hanging out at a Marina

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

Parrot Island Band fans getting ready for fun

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

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

Parrot Island BAnd waiting for Steve Martin to call?

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

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

Parrot Island Band Trop Rockin with Sonny and Cher

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

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

Cheeseburger in Paradise

 

Cheeseburger in Paradise

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

Parrot Island Band loves Cheeseburgers

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

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

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

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

Parrot Island Band loves a good cheeseburger

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

Parrothead Wedding Celebrations

 

Parrothead Wedding Celebrations

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

Parrot Island Band Weddings

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

Parrot Island Band weddings

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

 

 

A View From The Mic

 

A View From The Mic

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

A view from the mic by Parrot Island Band

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

There Is No Place Like Home

 

There Is No Place Like Home

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

Keving GArrelts of the Parrot Island Band

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

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

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

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

Atlanta Fin Land Tailgate

 

Atlanta Fin Land Tailgate

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

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

 

 

 

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

Fred McFArlin hanging out with the Parrot Island Band

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

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

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

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

 

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

Jimmy Smiling at PArrot Island BAnd invitation

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

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

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

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

A Night Out at Hemingway’s

 

A Night Out at Hemingway's

Jeff Pike, Scott Kirby and David Edmisten come to town

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parrothead Walks For Lupus

 

Parrothead Walks For Lupus

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

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

Janice visits the Parrot Island Band

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

(From Janice Wolfe-Easley)

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

JAnice Easley walk for Lupus

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

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

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

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

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

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

Janice Easley with mom and sister

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

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

Beachfront Radio Music Hut

 

Beachfront Radio Music Hut

Parrot Island Getaway

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

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

Parrot Island Band Cd- Parrot ISland Getaway

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

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