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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

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

MidWinter Meltdown Sounds Like Fun

MidWinter Meltdown Sounds Like Fun

Stuff Parrotheads Like.  There is an event that is being held in Virginia this weekend (Jan 27-29) that sounds like a lot of fun.  It is a Parrothead event called MidWinter Meltdown.  The event started 12 years ago and has become one superb event, from what I can tell. The Calypso Nuts, Crawdaddy, John Frinzi, John Patti and several other Trop Rock entertainers will be there to entertain 250-300 crazy Parrotheads… I am sure it will be a great time!

While the Parrot Island Band won’t be at MidWinter Meltdown this year, we will be joining with the Calypso Nuts for another event in Virginia on April 21 (Bry’s birthday!) The event is Phins on the James and you can find out more information by going to the Heart of Virginia Parrothead Club website .

I met a number of the Virginia Parrotheads while in Key West this past November and they are a wonderful group of people! Having grown up in Virginia (Tidewater), I have a soft spot for all things (OK, most things that are related to Virginia:)).

I look forward to being with everyone in April but until then I hope everyone has a great time this weekend… beaches and blessings.

Bry

 

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).

 

A View From The Mic

 

A View From The Mic

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

A view from the mic by Parrot Island Band

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

There Is No Place Like Home

 

There Is No Place Like Home

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

Keving GArrelts of the Parrot Island Band

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

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

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

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

Atlanta Fin Land Tailgate

 

Atlanta Fin Land Tailgate

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

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

 

 

 

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

Fred McFArlin hanging out with the Parrot Island Band

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

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

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

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

 

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

Jimmy Smiling at PArrot Island BAnd invitation

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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?

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!

Why Don’t We Play Golf at 2?

 

Anyone Going to Watch the Masters?

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

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

 

 

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

 

           

 

 

Rango Movie Review

 

Rango Movie Review

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Margaritaville Marketing Genius

 

Jimmy Buffett a Marketing Master

 

JimmY Buffett marketing genius

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Thanks Doyle!

 

Thanks Doyle!

Tropstock Revisited

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

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

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

 

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

 

Doyle Grisham a friend of Parrot Island Band

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

 

 

 

 

What’s Your Window on the World?

 

What's Your Window on the World?

Looking for Sunshine

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

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

 

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

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

 

Jimmy Buffett

 

 

Charlie Sheen Hysteria

 

What's Up With Charlie Sheen?

Pray for Charlie Sheen?

I have been changing the channel all week trying to get away from Charlie Sheen. Every station. Nearly every program. All showing Charlie Sheen ranting and wild eyed, looking like he is about to implode. Just when I was ready to close the book on Charlie Sheen, someone asks that we add him to our prayer list at church. I'm torn. What about all the others who are struggling and aren't famous? Shouldn't we spend time praying for those who are really trying to get their act together? And as to all the publicity…surely there must be more important news on TV? The unrest in the Middle East maybe? Or the rapidly rising gas prices?

Just when I find myself ready to dismiss the request to pray for Charlie, I find myself speaking on the kind of people Jesus reached out to. Those far from God. Those even farther from the church. Those who feel rejected by people of faith. In other words, Charlie Sheen. Someone's son. Someone's brother. Someone's father. I'm not sure that Charlie is too worried about what God thinks about him (or cares if I pray for him), but I am pretty sure that God loves him and would indeed want us to pray for him (and the countless others like him who are on the edge of disaster).

Not all that glitters is ... a diamondIn the song Diamond as Big as the Ritz, Jimmy Buffett sings of a man who has everything money can buy, and yet becomes a prisoner of his own success (or in Charlie's case, fame and money).

 

 

As Jimmy puts it:

It's the prophecy of the unattainable dream

if you take one look behind the shine

it doesn't always gleam

All of Charlie's posessions, his giant house, his money, his cars, his godesses… can't buy Charlie what he really needs… peace of mind, peace with others… OK, I'm in… "God, bless Charlie and help him to know Your love… and forgive me when I am too judgemental". I'm still changing the channel, but I'm (and I'll get the Parrot Island Band here in Atlanta to do the same ;-)) pulling for you Charlie.

Until next time, it's Jesus and Jimmy.

Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9: 12-13)

Pastor and a Parrothead

 

Pastor and a Parrothead

Walking a Thin Line

Walking that lin lineIn his song Fruitcakes, Jimmy Buffett states that there is a "thin line between Saturday night and Sunday morning". As a fan of  Jimmy Buffett and a follower of Jesus, there are many opportunities to walk that thin line.  My relationship with Jesus and my love for Jimmy's music both began about the same time while I was in High School and at the time I didn't see any tension between the two. As the years passed, I came to realize that Jimmy has had his own struggles with "religion" (which is quite different than faith, but that is a blog for another day) and that many Christians feel that you can't be a parrothead and a believer.

What I have discovered over the years is that parrotheads and christians both come in all shapes and sizes. I have also learned that people from both sides have many misconceptions about each other. What has been a pleasant discovery is that there are many followers of Jesus who also call themselves parrotheads. Unfortunatley, most of those who are parrotheads and christians feel that they have to keep it a secret. My hope is that through these blogs, I can encourage those who are also walking this thin line to openly enjoy the laid back music and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett (and yes, the Parrot Island Band), while also living out personal convictions of faith.

Yes, I am a pastor. More importantly, I am a follower of Jesus and His teachings of love and grace. I am also a parrothead AND I lead the Parrot Island Band: a Trop Rock, Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band. Here is a "Trop Rock" treasure to think about today; Jesus said, "I have come that they (you and I) might have life and have it abundantly". For me, (and many) that includes tropical tunes, beaches and plam trees.

Until next time, it's Jesus and Jimmy.

Parrothead

Pirates at the Gas Pump

 

Pirates at the Gas Pump

Something smells

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

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

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

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

 

Adittional links

 

Additional Links

Dave Calhoun – www.tropzone.com

Cruise Planners logo

 

 

Buffettinfo.com

Larry Yarbrough – DUI / Divorce Law

What Is a House Concert?

 

What Is a House Concert?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Letter to Jimmy Buffett

 

Hey Jimmy Won't You Give Me a Call

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

Hey Jimmy,

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

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

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

 

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

 

Bry~ the Parrot Island Band

 

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

It’s Cold On Parrot Island

 

BRRRRRR

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

Parrot Island Band Past Events

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

        

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

  • Tropstock 2010- Cocoa Village, Florida

  • Several Pre-Buffett Concert tailgate events

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

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

  • Renaissance Hotel in Atlanta – customer appreciation party

  • Pool parties – Greyfield North subdivision, Seven Hills subdivision

  • Cheeseburger In Paradise – Dunwoody

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

  • VA hospital/nursing home in Atlanta

  • "Gloucester Dayz" in Gloucester, VA

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

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

  • “Love the Lake” Concert series – Acworth

  • "Smoke on the Lake" festival- Acworth

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

  • "Taste of Cartersville" – City of Cartersville

  • Cartersville Chamber of Commerce

  • Trop Rocks the Smokies (3 years)

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

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

  • Phins on the James 2012