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Tiki Thom Visits Parrot Island

 

Tiki Thom Visits Parrot Island

Another Trop Rock "Good Guy"

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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)

 

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!