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Low G Aquila String Review

Low G Aquila String Review

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

Edyy Finn uke set up with low G

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

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

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

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

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

 

Beaches and blessings,

Bry

Parrotheads Like… John Denver??

 

Parrotheads Like… John Denver??

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

Parrotheads like John Denver Tribute Show

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time… beaches and blessings!

I Filled In For Jimmy Buffett

 

I filled in for Jimmy Buffett

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

Parrot Island Band highlight

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

Best applause ever for Parrot Island Band

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

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

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

Parrot Island Band

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

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

 

Block Party

 

A View From the Mic. 

Parrot Island Band block party

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

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

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

Parrot Island Band makes new fan

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

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

Fun Night With Friends

 

Fun Night With Friends

Parrot Island Band view from the mic

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

Parrot Island Band Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band by the pool

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

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

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

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

Parrothead Wedding Celebrations

 

Parrothead Wedding Celebrations

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

Parrot Island Band Weddings

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

Parrot Island Band weddings

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

 

 

A View From The Mic

 

A View From The Mic

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

A view from the mic by Parrot Island Band

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

What A Weiner

 

What A Weiner

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

What a Weiner

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

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

Fruitcake

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

There Is No Place Like Home

 

There Is No Place Like Home

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

Keving GArrelts of the Parrot Island Band

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

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

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

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

Atlanta Fin Land Tailgate

 

Atlanta Fin Land Tailgate

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

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

 

 

 

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

Fred McFArlin hanging out with the Parrot Island Band

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

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

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

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

 

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

Jimmy Smiling at PArrot Island BAnd invitation

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

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

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

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

Parrothead Walks For Lupus

 

Parrothead Walks For Lupus

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

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

Janice visits the Parrot Island Band

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

(From Janice Wolfe-Easley)

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

JAnice Easley walk for Lupus

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

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

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

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

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

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

Janice Easley with mom and sister

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

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

The Hokey Pokey

 

The Hokey Pokey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beachfront Radio Music Hut

 

Beachfront Radio Music Hut

Parrot Island Getaway

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

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

Parrot Island Band Cd- Parrot ISland Getaway

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

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

Jimmy Buffett Day

 

Jimmy Buffett Day

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

Did you know:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus and Jimmy Buffett

 

Jesus and Jimmy Buffett

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

It’s My Dream

 

It's My Dream

Sweet dreams on Parrot Island

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

The first verse of this song begins:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

man we’d have a good time

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

Before heading into the last chorus I wrote this bridge:

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

It's sit back, count your blessings

And here’s my dream for you…

Follow your heart, keep dreaming your dream

Look for your star, and be who you are…

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

Coral Reefer Band singing a Parrot Island Band song?

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

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

Jack’s BBQ Review

 

Jack's BBQ Review

Parrot Island Band loves Jack's BBQ

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

Margaritaville Nashville Review

 

Margaritaville Nashville Review

 

Parrot Island Band visits Mrgaritaville

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beach Bucket List

 

Beach Bucket List

 

Bech bucket list for Bry Harris of the Parrot Island Band

 

Places I’d like to play (music)

  • ANY Margaritaville Restaurant

  • Lulu’s

  • Rapscallion’s (closed:(

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

Places I would love to visit

  • Key West, Florida

  • The Outer Banks

  • Hawaii

Place I wish I could play (golf)

 

I’m Not Quite Right

 

I'm Not Quite Right

(But then you probably aren't either)

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

The first verse goes like this:

When taking a walk now and then

I see people just starting to grin

What they're thinking is probably true

So I guess I should share this with you.

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

The second verse takes a similar path:

It started when I was a child

Mom said I lost oxygen for awhile

But I’ve always seen things differently

So please don’t be offended you see….

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

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

I’m not quite right

As you can plainly see

But life’s too short to let it bother me

Singing and laughing some out here in the sun

So lighten up and have some fun.

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

I'm not quite right

As you can plainly see

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

So lighten up… and have some fun!

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

Welcome to Fin Land

 

Welcome to Fin Land… Here Comes Jimmy Buffett

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

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

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

 

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

Margaritaville Hotel Review

 

 Margaritaville Hotel Review by Derek Raulerson

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

Parrot Island Band would fit in great here.

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

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

Derek forgot to invite the Parrot Island Band

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fins UP!

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

Derek Raulerson

 

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

My Favorite Trop Rock “Good Guy”

 

My Favorite Trop Rock "Good Guy"

Is Really a Trop Rock "Gal"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s My Job

 

It's My Job

So Let's Make the Best of It

Let’s face it, some days it is really hard to get out of bed and go to work. Even as a pastor, I have days when I would like to pack my bags and run, or maybe sail away. I remember one night in particular when I was on my way home from a very long (unpleasant) meeting and I found myself humming a song. When I got home, I pulled out my guitar and a piece of paper and wrote my song, “See Ya Later, I’m Gone”. When we play this song at our gigs, we usually see heads nodding and a smile that seems to say, “yes, I feel that way sometimes too”.

One of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs is a song that band member Mac MacAnally wrote called, “It’s My Job.” The song tells of an encounter street sweeper listenin to Parrot Island Band tuneswith a street sweeper who was whistling and bouncing along as he carried out what many would see as a “menial” job. Asked how he could be so happy to be doing this kind of work, the street sweeper said it was his job,

 

 

“to be cleaning up this mess
And that's enough reason to go for me
It's my job to be better than the rest
And that makes the day for me"

The next encounter was with the writer’s uncle who was a banker and self-made millionaire. Asked why he seemed so sad, the banker said,

“it's because in my contract there's a clause
That says "It's my job to worried half to death
And that's the thing people respect in me
It's my job but without it I'd be less
Than what I expect from me"

How do we find meaning in our work and embrace the attitude of the street sweeper?  In part, it is in finding work that we love, but it is also important to love the work that we find ourselves doing. Even the best jobs have their downsides and as we see, there are jobs that would drive us crazy that others seem to love!  Our faith can enhance our work when we follow the encouragement found in the Bible,

17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

One of the ways I have found to keep my perspective on work fresh is having another outlet. As part of the Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett tribute band from Atlanta, Georgia… I have found a way of getting away from the stress sometimes associated with my "day job". The Trop Rock music that we play, write and listen to is a great way to enjoy each day and look forward to the next.

Until next time… it's Jesus and Jimmy.

Why Don’t We Play Golf at 2?

 

Anyone Going to Watch the Masters?

With the Masters golf tournament only a week away, it is time to break out my song Why Don't We play Golf at Two?  It is a re-write of Jimmy Buffet's song, Why Don't We Get Drunk and Sc**w. As we play at a number of Country Clubs and also family oriented events, this song has raised a few eyebrows and chuckles. While the Parrot Island Band plays a number of Jimmy Buffett and Trop Rock standards, we are known to "clean up" the lyrics a bit here and there in order to accommodate the little parakeets in the crowd.

follow the Mastrs oif Trop Rock, the Parrot Island BandThis week I also purchased my first video game in almost a decade, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Video. I have been to Augusta twice (a practice round and a regular tournament round), but have not had the opportunity to actually play the course. In a couple of rounds on the video game, I have enjoyed seeing the course (on the video) but have definitely NOT mastered the game.

 

 

As I have written in one of my songs, Hey Jimmy Won't You Give Me a Call, I would love to play a round of golf with Jimmy Buffett. I have found that I can really get to know people during a round of golf. Although people you would like to meet are somewhat disappointing when you actually do meet them, I still have hopes that Jimmy would be a fun guy to hang out with for awhile. Anyway, if anyone has his ear… tell Jimmy  there is a Landshark and round of golf waiting for him here in Atlanta, GA.

 

           

 

 

School Boy Heart

 

School Boy Heart

school boys love Parrot Island Band tooI love the song “School Boy Heart” by Jimmy Buffett and Matt Betton. It reminds us that everyone is multi-dimensional and unique. Among other interests and influences (including his southern/gulf-coast view and dialect), Jimmy weaves his love for flying, sailing and writing into this song. While many of us share Buffett’s love for music, fun and ocean waves, it is important to also be true to ourselves and our own unique talents and influences (and not merely copy the Buffett image).

While I grew up with a short drive of VA. Beach, Va., I also had a number of other influences that formed my view of the world. I was the son of a golf professional and spent most of my childhood chasing golf balls and turtles around the numerous ponds and lakes of the local golf course where my father worked.  My life was profoundly shaped by my grandmother and great-grandmother, as I spent many nights and weekends at their apartment. There I learned to appreciate Lawrence Welk AND Hee Haw, both playing on the same night back to back.

One of the biggest influences on me has been music (especially Trop Rock, although I didn't know what genre it really was until the last few years). At the age of 12, I was given a nylon string Epiphone guitar and 5-6 “group” lessons at a local YMCA. From that moment on my life has been shaped by the music I’ve heard, the musicians I have looked up to and the opportunities I have had to play with and for others.  I sometimes wonder if other people stop to consider the many outside influences that shape who we are and how we view the world.

In recent years I have recaptured the dreams of my youth by playing with our band, the Parrot Island Band. The Parrot Island Band is a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band based in the Atlanta (more specifically, Acworth), Georgia area. Through these experiences I have had the opportunity to meet several members of the Coral Reefer Band (Jimmy's backup band) and have actually played a song with Doyle Grisham… a highlight I have already documented in another blog.

Just as each of us have unique experiences and talents, we are also given unique gifts to love and serve others around us.  The Bible speaks of “spiritual gifts” that are given to us so that we might build up, encourage and love those around us (1 Corinthians chapters 12-14; Romans chapter 12; Ephesians chapter 4; and 1 Peter chapter 4).  I hope that if you are reading this, you might realize that you have special gifts and talents to make this world a better place (and make you extremely valuable to those around you). OK, hum along with me… “I’ve got a school boy heart…”, now go write your own lyrics (figuratively) given the influences, experiences and talents you have been given…

Until next time, it's Jesus and Jimmy.

To B2B or Not to B2B?

 

To B2B or Not to B2B?

Great Buffett Bands

There are some really great Jimmy Buffett bands across the country. I have had the privilege of hearing a few and look forward to hearing more in the coming year. Whether you call them Trop Rock Bands, Parrothead Bands, or Jimmy Buffett Tribute bands… there is a growing list of bands that not only cover Jimmy Buffett music but also play some great original music as well.

Jeff Pike... dreaming of playing with Parrot Island BandOne of the very first Jimmy Buffett Tribute bands was A1A (after the road that leads to Key West and the town/city that Jimmy moved to after a time in Nashville). A1A plays out of Georgia and I try to catch them when they are playing in the area. Thumbs up to Jeff Pike, who is the band leader and an excellent musician.

 

Another Buffett band with a catchy name is B2B, a great play off of A1A. These guys are from the Richmond, VA area and although I haven’t heard them in person, I have heard they are really good as well.

Search for a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band and you are sure to come upon the "Landsharks", "Parrotbeach", "Changes in Lattitudes" and “Garrat Wilkin and the Parrotheads”. Each band will promote themselves as the “original”, “#1” or “best” Jimmy Buffett Tribute band around. The truth is, you can’t go wrong by listening to any of these guys. Fun music for tropical events… Parrot Island Band approved!

Bry, Linda and KevinHere in the Atlanta area? Be sure to look up the Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band. We have been intentional about remaining a three piece band, guitar/vocals, steel pan and conga. This allows us to play for a lot of events with a limited budget and also to fit into some tight spaces. Enough for today, I’m off to dream about more white sandy beaches and palm trees…

Rango Movie Review

 

Rango Movie Review

 

Where the Weather Suits My ClothesI don't usually go to a movie during the daytime during the middle of the week but today I went and saw Rango, the Johnny Depp movie that is currently out.  (I am taking a few days of "staycation" and thought this might be a good way to waste a few hours.) I first saw the poster for Rango while we (The Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band from Atlanta, Georgia) played for the Carmike Cinema National Manager's Convention in Myrtle Beach, SC, last July.

 

Trop Rock owl?This movie is one part cowboy movie and another part Deliverance. What originally attracted me to this movie was Rango the Lizard in a Hawaiian shirt.  While there is a band of owls, it wasn't quite the Trop Rock music I am used to ;-).  While it was a fairly mindless movie in one sense, it did make a good point that each of us has a purpose that we are called to follow. Often this journey can be filled with danger but there comes a point when we must gather our courage to take on challenges and carry on. 

 

OK, not the best movie I have seen in awhile, but it served it's purpose. Hope everyone is having a Trop-Rockin' day…

 

 

 

Jesus, Jimmy and Peace of Mind

 

Jesus, Jimmy and Peace of Mind

Peace Like a Palm Tree

Peace lIke a RiverThere is an old hymn, "Peace Like a River"  (an African American Spiritual) that speaks of having "peace like a river" in our souls.  I have always found a great deal of peace sitting by  a lake, river and especially the ocean. This week I have faced some very difficult circumstances and I must admit I am not finding very much peace at the moment. Scripture tells us to "cast all our anxieties" upon Jesus because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7) . Perhaps it is time to practice what I preach ;-) and let God help me with a problem I can't fix on my own.

 

Relax and enjoyI am also reminded of some difficult days in High School when I was learning to play guitar and hearing this relaxing music from an up and coming musician, some guy named Jimmy Buffett. Songs of island, beaches and palm trees had a way of calming the storms within. There is just something about a palm tree swaying in the breeze that  is relaxing and calming. There are no palm trees here in Acworth, Georgia, but I do have a guitar… probably time to pull it out and play a few Trop Rock songs.

 

Playing with Linda and Kevin in the Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett tribute band here in Atlanta, Georgia, has also been a very rewarding endeavor. Our music has taken us to Myrtle Beach, Cocoa Beach, Savannah, GA and many other beautiful places. I'll take a little time now to find my peace and give thanks for the many blessings and friends that I have. Perhaps you are facing some tough moments… God's listening, Jimmy's singing and if you ever need the Parrot Island Band to help you find a peaceful, relaxing place… please don't hesitate to give us a call.

Beaches, Bands and Bars

 

Beaches, Bands and Bars

Fred McFarlin - friend of Parrot Island Band: Jimmy Buffett Tribute BandIf you are looking for some good Trop Rock related reading, check out the blog by Fred McFarlinBeaches, Bands and Bars.  Fred has been in the music business for many years and is currently a mobile and radio dj.  Fred has been instrumental in helping start the Atlanta Trop Rock Alliance, along with Jeff Pike of the band A1A and Dawn Brys.  The Atlanta Trop Rocks Alliance will be bringing in Kelly McGuire, Brent Burns, John Friday, John Reno and hopefully many others in a "house concert" format in the weeks ahead.

I recently attended a house concert held by Drew Higgs at Lakeside Town Center. I brought along the prettiest member of the Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band here in Atlanta (and steel pan player), my wife Linda. Playing that night were Jeff Pike and Hugo Duarte. These two wonderful musicians did a great job and it was a real Trop Rock treat to be able to listen to these guys up close. Trop Rock and house concerts… a great combo! Hope to see you out listening to one of these great musicians or maybe at one of our upcoming gigs.

Beaches and blessings,

Bry

Happy Birthday Brent!

 

Happy Birthday Brent!

One Of My Favorite Trop Rockers

snow bird seasonChange of pace today, just wanted to take a moment and wish Brent Burns a happy birthday. Brent is one of my favorite Trop Rock musicians and a real character. He has written some hilarious songs (from Snow Bird Season to Double Wide in the Sky… and the list goes on). He has also written some songs that put me in the mood (sorry Brent, the mood to go to the beach… not the other kind), like Beach in My Backyard. A few years ago, Brent's song Pain at the Pump made the CNN ireport year end special, along with the Parrot Island Band song… Pirates at the Gas Pump (and I have to admit I was pretty excited that our song was mentioned in the same breath as one of Brent's). If you are as fired up as I am about the current gas price fiasco, you should definitely listen to Brent's song Drill, Drill, Drill.

On a personal note, I was honored to see Brent pull up a chair and listen to our set a couple of years ago at Trop Rocks the Smokies. While the rest of the headliners were sleeping off Friday night… we played on Saturday afternoon and Brent sat on the balcony with two of my favorite couples (the Peoples and the Henches). Thanks Brent, for your interest and encouragement. Thanks also for sharing your gift of music with so many… you get a check plus in my book (you can trade that in for a Landshark if you'd like)!

Check out Brent's calendar, if he isn't playing in Gulf Shores, Alabama (at great venues like Lu Lu's), you can likely find him at a Trop Rock event  near you! Oh yeah, I hear Brent plays a little golf… while I love his music- I can't personally vouch for his golf game. Hope it was a great day Brent- God bless…

Bry

Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band

Margaritaville Marketing Genius

 

Jimmy Buffett a Marketing Master

 

JimmY Buffett marketing genius

 

 

 

 

 

JimmY Buffett marketing geniusMargaritaville. What started out as a song about a lifestyle centered around "booze in the blender", became a brand that is tied to beaches, hotels, restaurants, sunglasses… you name it. Jimmy Buffett is not only an entertainer for the ages, but also a marketing master! While Jimmy may have blown out his flip flop back in his youth (and inspired many like the Parrot Island Band  from Atlanta, to form Jimmy Buffett Tribute bands), he found a new pair with Margaritaville rubber stamped on the bottom (and a few dozen probably waiting for him in the closet).

 

Speaking of brands and logos, I read today that Starbucks has redesigned its logo in order to reach out beyond the coffee market in order to break into new markets and new products. With the possibilty of beer and wine tastings on the Starbucks horizon, will we soon see Starbucks counters in the lobby of every Margaritaville Restaurant?starbucks logo

 

 

 

 

 

As today is Ash Wednesday, I am reminded of another brand/logo combination that has been changing the world for over 2,000 years. The Cross and the Fish. Both are used as symbols of the Christian faith and recognized all over the world. The cross is a reminder of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. It is a symbol for me of God's grace, love and a call to serve others along the way. As for the fish, Jesus called out to others, "follow me and I will make you fishers of men" Matthew 4:19. He often taught by the sea and several of his disciples were first fishermen before laying down their nets to follow Jesus.

On the surface, Jimmy Buffett is THE master of nautical marketing… but for many of us, Jesus is the one who still "walks on water" ;-)

Thanks Doyle!

 

Thanks Doyle!

Tropstock Revisited

“This is the day that the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it.” Psalm 118:24

Bry with the Tiki godsEver have one of those days when everything clicked and it was just a great day overall? I had one of those days (actually a weekend) last October at an event called Tropstock. The Parrot Island Band (a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band here in Atlanta, Georgia) opened the event that included some wonderful musicians, including several from the Coral Reefers (Jimmy Buffett’s band).

On Sunday, I led a worship service with Peter Mayer, Nadirah Shakoor, Jack Mosley, John Frinzi and Doyle Grisham (among others). When I sang a song that I had written for the event (River Runs Deep), Doyle Grisham was gracious enough to play along. Doyle did a great job (of course) and was kind enough to suggest that we might play together again someday (yes, I am smiling as I write this).

 

In case you don’t know who Doyle Grisham is, he plays pedal steel guitar for the Coral Reefers and with many other fine musicians as well (edit: I should have said, many other musicians have the privilege of playing with Doyle). What made my day was not only playing a song with Doyle, but finding out that he (as well as Peter, Nadirah and all the others) is an extremely nice guy (not surprised, but pleased to know).

 

Doyle Grisham a friend of Parrot Island Band

I hope I have other music highlights in the years to come, but I will certainly treasure this one for the rest of my life. I have a picture of Doyle and me that I see every time I turn on my iPhone and believe me, I have shared it a few times. While I often find myself asking God for things, I don’t take as much time to thank God for things that I should. So here goes… thank You God for a great moment and memory… and thanks Doyle, for being a great musician… and did I mention… also a pretty darn nice guy :).

 

 

 

 

What’s Your Window on the World?

 

What's Your Window on the World?

Looking for Sunshine

While our experiences cause us to look at the world in a certain way, it is also true that how we view the world determines how we feel about certain experiences. If we have had a number of bad experiences, we may tend to look at things from a “darker” perspective… OR,  if we look at things from a more positive perspective, we may be quicker to find a silver lining in difficult circumstances (and don't forget, a Parrot Island Band tune can always lift your spirits as well ;-)).

What's Your Window ont eh the World?In the song, Window on the World, Jimmy Buffett sings about a number of experiences like travels and musicians that were only here for a short time. As in the song, I can relate to nights without sleep and too much caffeine consumption (mine coming from a childhood developed soda addiction). I am sure that many can also relate to the longing of a loved one while spending too many nights from home.

 

Sometimes our circumstances are difficult and it is easy to be overcome by everything going on in life. A Bible verse that I have found helpful along the way is from Philippians 4:8, “Finally…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is praiseworthy- think about such things.”  Now, I’m not one of those people that believes that a “positive attitude” solves all problems, but I do believe that when we live our lives looking for the best in others and the good around us… we are more likely to feel better about the challenges that each day brings.

The title to the song Take the Weather With You (Neil Finn and Tim Finn) seems to beg the question, what kind of weather (attitude) will you take with you? It also seems to suggest that we have a choice as to what we see when we look out our windows and that we can decide to take sunshine or dark clouds with us as we go about our daily life (another reason I appreciate Jimmy's Margaritaville attitude, he invites us to look on the bright side of life). My window on the world?  Although I don’t always succeed, I try to see the blessings and blue skies that come my way… and I wish them for you as well. 

 

Jimmy Buffett

 

 

Pirates at the Gas Pump

 

Pirates at the Gas Pump

Something smells

If anyone has been to the gas pump lately, you have already discovered a painful truth… gas prices are heading north with no relief in sight. With spring and summer right around the corner, it is likely that prices will only continue to rise. While some blame the conflict in the Middle East for the current surge in oil prices, others blame the government for banning (or not allowing permits) to drill here in trhe U.S.  All I know is that someone is making a lot of money off of the fear that there is an oil shortage, whether it is a reality or not.

A few years ago we faced the same problem and we (the Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band), posted a song that I had recently written (Pirates at the Gas Pump) on CNN's I report page. It was picked up by various radio and Internet sites. By the end of the year it was on the CNN I Report year end special, and gas prices had gone down substantially. Another Trop Rock musician, Brent Burns, also wrote a  song about the so called "crisis"… Pain at the Pump, and this song also became a hit with those who were frustrated with oil prices.

With our current "oil crisis" still in its early stages, we can expect to see prices climbing not only at the gas pump, but also at the grocery store as well. When all has subsided, we will discover that oil companies will have made record prices and as another election season begins to raise funds, we will most likely  find that politicians have received some pretty hefty contributions from these oil companies… hmmm

Oh (oil) well, time for Brent to break out his song again and the Parrot Island Band will do its part, and maybe… just maybe, gas prices will begin to moderate… until then, pull out some Trop Rock music and relax!

 

Adittional links

 

Additional Links

Dave Calhoun – www.tropzone.com

Cruise Planners logo

 

 

Buffettinfo.com

Larry Yarbrough – DUI / Divorce Law

What Is a House Concert?

 

What Is a House Concert?

WHAT IS A HOUSE CONCERT? It is a seated concert that provides an opportunity to hear live music in a friendly, intimate, home setting. It is a gathering of guests, family, friends (and their friends) in which to share a casual, fun experience; a place to meet the artists, become acquainted with their music and hear some of the stories behind the songs. A house concert isn't a party, although there is normally a potluck before or between sets. Simply put, it's playing for a small, intimate audience who are "Ticketed, Seated and Listening"!

WHY AT A HOUSE? Hosts open their home to friends and neighbors because they like to share great music with them. Hosting house concerts affords them the opportunity to introduce musicians/songwriters that their guests may be unfamiliar with or reacquaint them with those they've heard at other house concerts. Additionally, it gives the songwriters a lot of pleasure to share their music and hopefully further their names in the music world and keep them doing what they do and love.

It should be noted that many hosts choose their backyard as the venue, which can provide a wonderful ambience. However, there should always be a plan for weather contingency.

WHAT DO THE HOSTS GET OUT OF THIS? They receive no economic benefit from the house concerts. The benefit they do receive is the joy the music and gatherings bring to their home. 100% of the suggested donation goes to the performers.

DOES IT COST THE HOSTS ANYTHING? Typically, the cost to the hosts is minimal. They may want to rent chairs (although guests are usually encouraged to bring their folding/camping style chairs), provide ice, water and some food, paper and plastic goods; not to mention their time. But the benefits of having a group of people who appreciate the same music they do far outweighs the money and other costs.

WHAT DOES IT COST THE GUESTS? There is a recommended cash donation of $15-$20 per person, depending on the distance the songwriter must travel.

HOW MANY PEOPLE COME? As many as the home can comfortably accommodate without becoming a fire hazard. Depending upon where the songwriter is traveling from, 30-35 people is usually the minimum it takes for it to be financially feasible.

HOW DO HOSTS PROMOTE THE HOUSE CONCERT? Many hosts have found websites like evite.com to be extremely effective in sending invitations and tracking the number of expected guests.

WHAT ABOUT THE NEIGHBORS? Hosts usually invite their neighbors and encourage them to attend. As a courtesy to them, they plan their gatherings on weekends only, either Friday evenings, Saturday afternoons or evenings or Sunday afternoon. No performance runs later than 10:30 p.m.

HOW CAN YOU BECOME OR FIND A HOUSE CONCERT VENUE? First, find someone with a home that could accommodate 35+ people. Then contact the entertainer you are interested in hearing … oh, like maybe, the Parrot Island Band … and then determine a date for that performance. As you begin to promote the show to folks, ask them to be considerate and make a reservation only if they plan to attend.

Letter to Jimmy Buffett

 

Hey Jimmy Won't You Give Me a Call

(Have always wanted to thank Jimmy for his influence on my life, no clue how to get it to him personally… who knows- maybe he checks out facebook pages ;-)

Hey Jimmy,

You may or may not get this, but it’s time that I sat down and wrote it… Your music has had a great influence on me for over 30 years and I wanted to take a few moments and say thanks. I first discovered your music in the 70’s and I attended the concert that you opened for the Eagles (Tidewater, VA). That same year, my parents got divorced (mom moved out and dad and I moved several times in the next few years) and I learned to play as many of your songs as I could… what a great escape from family stress your music provided! When I graduated from High School, I was such a fan(atic) that I was named “most likely to open for Jimmy Buffett” (still one of my fondest accolades).

At the same time, I also started attending church… kind of interesting that both you and that “other guy” celebrate your birthday on the same day ;-) I went to college, played in local bars and tried to figure out how I could best balance my faith and my fun (more often than not the fun side won out… in excess!) When I graduated from college (long story cut short here) I became a Presbyterian minister and drifted away from my parrothead roots (although I still bought and listened to all your new albums).

A few years ago I heard that Peter Mayer was playing a Christmas concert. I heard that he was a person who lived out his faith and still had fun (and was a Coral Reefer). I went to the concert and then went home and pulled out my guitar (another long story inserted here). I started a Buffett tribute band (with my wife and a few friends) and we have been having a wonderful time ever since (as both a pastor and a musician). We put together a CD of original songs, several which are being played on the radio. Although I haven’t “opened” for you “officially”, I have played numerous times at Cheeseburger in Paradise and at tailgating parties in Atlanta. People have said that I prove the saying “it’s never too late to have a happy childhood”. You helped me through some rough times and you keep inspiring me to have fun times (some find it odd that I am a pastor, others that I am a parrothead, I am thankful to have both influences in my life)… thanks!

 

“There’s a thin line between Sat. night and Sunday morning”,

 

Bry~ the Parrot Island Band

 

Bry Harris of the Parrot Island Band
 
Bry Harris 1978 "Most Likely to open for Jimmy Buffett"

It’s Cold On Parrot Island

 

BRRRRRR

It is cold here on my little island tonight (actually I'm here in Atlanta/Acworth, GA but in my mind I am always near or on an island) It is 29 degrees out and it seems a long way from shore, or in this case… spring. While there are a few nibbles from those needing a Trop Rock band, at the moment we do not have any gigs scheduled for a month or so. We do have several really good gigs lined up from March through October, but for now it is time to do those things that make summer more enjoyable… like working on the web site, learning some new songs and making contacts for possible summer gigs. It is going to be another cold day tomorrow… but it is time to make a statement… I am ready for spring- I think it will be a good day for a Hawaiian shirt!

Parrot Island Band Past Events

The Parrot Island Band plays a variety of events, including;

        

  • Carmike Cinema National Managers' Convention- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

  • Tropstock 2010- Cocoa Village, Florida

  • Several Pre-Buffett Concert tailgate events

  • Various birthday parties, 28th, 40th, 70th, etc. in Acworth, Conyers, Alpharetta

  • Various fund raisers – chiropractor, bank opening, Kenya Connection (church), baseball team

  • Renaissance Hotel in Atlanta – customer appreciation party

  • Pool parties – Greyfield North subdivision, Seven Hills subdivision

  • Cheeseburger In Paradise – Dunwoody

  • Presbyterian Village’s Alzheimer’s Unit caregiver appreciation event

  • VA hospital/nursing home in Atlanta

  • "Gloucester Dayz" in Gloucester, VA

  • Woodmont School – for thirty-five 7 year olds :)

  • Jacksonville, AL – Library’s End of Summer Reading Program

  • “Love the Lake” Concert series – Acworth

  • "Smoke on the Lake" festival- Acworth

  • Country Clubs – Brookstone in Acworth, Alpharetta East and West

  • "Taste of Cartersville" – City of Cartersville

  • Cartersville Chamber of Commerce

  • Trop Rocks the Smokies (3 years)

  • A1A Parrothead Club's Beach Bash (2 years)

  • Key West (Sloppy Joe's, Hog's Breath, Bubaloos, Green World Gallery)

  • Phins on the James 2012