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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…


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!