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Apology Accepted

Apology Accepted

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

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

This is serious fun

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

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

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

Parrot Island Ukulele Eddy Finn

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

Beaches and blessings,

Bry

Honey I Shrunk My Guitar!

Honey, I Shrunk My Guitar!

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

Bry Harris loves his Eddy Finn Uke a Trop Rock Favorite

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

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

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

Parrot Island Band plays Eddy Finn Ukulele

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

Jimmy Buffett Tribute band Trop UKES

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

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

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

Beaches and blessings

Toes In the Sand

Toes in the Sand

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

Bry visits Capt Rob and Trop Rock Ukulele shop

Parrot Island Band visists Flagler Beach, Florida

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

Bry Harris has his eye on these Eddy Finn Ukuleles

Toes in the Sand and Toes int he Flip Flops

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

Let's go sell some Eddy Finns!

Surfs up for the Parrot Island Band

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

Bry Harris sees Finns everywhere

Flagler Beach home of Dale and Peach

Eddy Finn “Ukulele Ambassador”

Eddy Finn "Ukulele Ambassador"

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

Bry and his new Eddy Finn Ukulele

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

Parrot Island Band plays Eddy Finn Ukulele

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

Parrot Island Band buys their Eddy Finns at Uke Republic

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

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

Linda sporting her Eddy Finn magnet

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

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

Bry Harris is Edyy Finn "ukulele ambassador"

 

Beaches and blessings,

A Fun Time at Uke Republic

A Fun Time at Uke Republic

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

Parrot Island Band shops at Uke Republic

(Uke Republic Store)

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

Mike McQueen welcomes Bry Harris of the Parrot Island Band

(Mike McQueen and Bry Harris)

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

Bry with his new Eddy Finn Uke

(Bry and his new Eddy Finn Uke)

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

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

Uncle Jim Rocks Alabama Elementary School

Uncle Jim Rocks Alabama Elementary School

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conga Line to Parrot Island

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

Jim Mayer can play with Parrot Island Band any time

Phins on the James 2012

Phins on the James 2012

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

Parrot Island Band at Big Lick Grill

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

Parrot Island Band having a Trop Rock evening

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

Calypso Nuts close for the Parrot Island Band

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

Parrot Island Band enjoys visit with Big Ed

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

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

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

“Phins to the left, phins to the right

Phins on the James, at the Big Lick Grill tonight

Phins to the left, phins to the right

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

Thanks to all…

Beaches and blessings…

Will you take me to Parrot Island?

What are YOU good at?

What are YOU good at?

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

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

What are YOU good at?

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

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

Don't Quit listening to Parrot Island Band

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

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

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

Bry Harris of the Parrot Island Band

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

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

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

“Sidewalk Surfers” are Parrothead friendly.

“Sidewalk Surfers” are Parrothead friendly.

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

Stuff Parrotheads like

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

Parrot Island Band approved footware

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

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

 

Three Little Birds

Three Little Birds

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Island Time Radio Show Anniversary

Island Time Radio Show Anniversary

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

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

Island Time Radio with Parrot Island Band

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

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

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

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

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

Parrot Ialand Band at Atlanta Buffett tailgate 2011

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

Personal highlights… (Bry)

Picture of Picture being taken of Bry Harris

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

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

A special day with the Hansells

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

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

Beaches and blessings…

Did I Tell You I Went To Key West?

Did I Tell You I Went to Key West?

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

Parrot Island Band goes to Key West

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parrotheads Like… John Denver??

 

Parrotheads Like… John Denver??

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

Parrotheads like John Denver Tribute Show

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time… beaches and blessings!

Block Party

 

A View From the Mic. 

Parrot Island Band block party

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

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

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

Parrot Island Band makes new fan

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

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

Trop Rock Music Awards

 

Trop Rock Music Awards.

Parrot Island Band Nominated for trio of the year

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

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

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

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

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

 

If I Just Sailed Away

 

If I Just Sailed Away

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

The song starts with the lines…

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

How far could I get if I just sailed away?

Sail Away to Parrot Island Band music

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

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

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

I look into the mirror, sometimes I have to laugh

I can’t believe that time goes by so fast

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

Old Mand and the Sea sounds of Parrot Island Band

The chorus to this song is very simple…

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

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

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

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

I have so much that I am thankful for

I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone

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

The second half of this verse is easy to explain…

I look into your eyes and there I see

Sunshine and blue skies over me

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

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

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

 

Fun Night With Friends

 

Fun Night With Friends

Parrot Island Band view from the mic

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

Parrot Island Band Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band by the pool

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

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

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

A Heroes Welcome

 

A Heroes Welcome

A View from the Parrot Island Band mic

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

Parrot Island Band visits Jacksonville, Alabama

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

Parrot Ialand Band and owner of Hroes Grill

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

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

Group from First Responder training visit Parrot Island Band

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

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

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

Parrot Island Band a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band

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

Porter Party

 

Porter Party

 

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

Fun to the left

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

Fun to the Right

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

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

Parrot Island Band holding down the tent

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

Parakeet Carter

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

One More Day With You

 

One More Day with You

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

Parrot Island Band groupies

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

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

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

Sometimes when I’m driving down the road

Sometimes when I’m visiting back home

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

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

 

Chorus)

If I could have one more day with you,

I know just exactly what I’d do,

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

If I could have one more day with you

 

Sometimes when I’m looking at the door

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

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

Suddenly I swear I hear you whisper in my ear

 

Chorus)

If I could have one more day with you,

I know just exactly what I’d do,

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

If I could have one more day with you

 

Bridge-

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

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

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

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

 

Chorus 2)

If I could have one more day with you

I know just exactly what I’d do

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

If I could have one more day with you…

If I could have one more day with you…

 

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

 

God Made You Nose to Toes

 

God Made You Nose to Toes

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

Parrot Island Band song

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

The chorus to Nose to Toes begins the song:

God made you nose to toes and inside out

God loves you when you smile and even when you pout

God made you nose to toes without a doubt

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

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

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

If only I were smarter or taller I would be…

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

I look into the mirror and finally I see…

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

 

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

When we look into the mirror, sometimes what we see

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

So we spend too many hours trying to be somebody else

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

Parrot Island Band has a unique tropical sound

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

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

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

Or covered up your freckles so nobody else would stare

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

So remember that God loves you and enjoy those pretty curls

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

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

 

 

Parrotheads Like Hawaiian Shirts

 

Parrotheads Like Hawaiian Shirts

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

Parrot Island Band like Hawaiian shirts too

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

Parrot Island Band love bright shirts

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

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

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

Parrot Island Band now has a flag

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

Parrot Island Band love the Wacky Parrot

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

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

Parrotheads Like to Travel

 

Parrotheads Like to Travel

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

Parrot Island Band heading to Beach Bash

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

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

Parrot Island Band heads to St. Augustine Florida

Tag, You’re It

 

Tag, You're It

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

Reach out and touch the Parrot Island Band

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

No bears on Parrot Island

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

Some great words to tag a post with:

Jimmy Buffett tribute band

Trop Rock music

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

Steel pan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parrot Island Band would love to hear from you

Another View From the Mic

 

Another View From the Mic

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

A great view from Parrot Island band gig in Cartersville

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

Look a flock of pink flamingos

 

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

Feeding the head Parrot Bry

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

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

 

Everybody’s on the Phone

 

Everybody's on the Phone

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

Buffett trying to reach the Parrot Island Band

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

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

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

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

Trying to connect with Parrot Island Band

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

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

Is The Tide Going To Reach Your Chair?

 

Is The Tide Going To Reach Your Chair?

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

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

Parrot Island Band has room for these guys

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

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

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

Parrot Island Band state of mind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Hanging Out At A Marina

 

Hanging out at a Marina

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

Parrot Island Band fans getting ready for fun

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

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

Parrot Island BAnd waiting for Steve Martin to call?

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

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

Parrot Island Band Trop Rockin with Sonny and Cher

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

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

Cheeseburger in Paradise

 

Cheeseburger in Paradise

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

Parrot Island Band loves Cheeseburgers

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

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

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

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

Parrot Island Band loves a good cheeseburger

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

A View From The Mic

 

A View From The Mic

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

A view from the mic by Parrot Island Band

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

What A Weiner

 

What A Weiner

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

What a Weiner

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

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

Fruitcake

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

There Is No Place Like Home

 

There Is No Place Like Home

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

Keving GArrelts of the Parrot Island Band

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

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

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

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

Atlanta Fin Land Tailgate

 

Atlanta Fin Land Tailgate

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

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

 

 

 

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

Fred McFArlin hanging out with the Parrot Island Band

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

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

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

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

 

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

Jimmy Smiling at PArrot Island BAnd invitation

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

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

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

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

A Night Out at Hemingway’s

 

A Night Out at Hemingway's

Jeff Pike, Scott Kirby and David Edmisten come to town

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.