Time to hit the road.
It’s now mid to late September and we evacuated because of a hurricane, but that’s in a different blog which I’ll write soon.
I went on a short tour in August. I had lots of reasons to travel, the primary reason being I owed some folks house concerts. In July 2016 I put out a new CD, “At the End of a Long Road.” For funding, I used Kickstarter and a few friends supported at a level where I promised them a house concert. These are the kinds of friends you don’t want to disappoint. But, how to make this happen?
Sean Lindahl and Sheri Benson are such GREAT friends. They live in up North in Minnesota. I originally got to know them through our home bar, The Cork and Stogie, 1218 Duval Street, Key West. Sean and Sheri are also friends with Dave Senior, Leslie and Diamond Dave (Dave Jr.) from the Cork and often came to Key West to do interior carpentry and home remodeling. My partner Key West Chris and I met Sean aboard the USCG Museum ship The Ingham a couple of years ago in January, hanging out and watching the sunset with our friends mentioned above. We became fast friends very quickly and met Sheri when she came down to join Sean for a week.
They are, really, the sweetest people and they love to have a good time. About 7 years ago they created an event called “Seanfire.” Sheri had a very old couch she wanted to burn. According to “legend,” Sean announced, “Such a large fire cannot be enjoyed by only two people.” He probably raised an index finger during the proclamation. Thus, the bonfire became Seanfire and was held at Sean’s home in Buffalo Lake, MN, the second Saturday in August. A funny thing is they forgot to burn the couch. The couch was eventually burned two years later behind the barn. What does this have to do with my topic? Everything. Seanfire 7 was to be held August 12, 2017, and I signed on to be the entertainment.
I couldn’t just do one date, of course. If I was going to Minnesota I was going to make sure I had other dates on the way up and on the way back. I would be driving, after all. I needed a PA so it made sense to pack up my Bose L1 Compact. Looking at the map, I saw Tennessee was on the way. I called Danny Lynn of Tiki Man Radio and we settled on Tuesday the 10th. After several messages and calls I had a three week tour set up. Checking my email I noticed CDBaby (see album link above), one company that I sell my music through (and also the company that helps me collect royalties) was having a convention in Nashville. That seemed like the perfect end to my tour so I bought my ticket and booked the hotel room. Being as busy as we are in Key West, playing music, I had to be efficient with timing. Luckily our friend Bobby DeVito was available to be a surrogate Shanty Hound for Key West Chris.
Full of trepidation after not leaving the Keys for more than a few days in 3 1/2 years, I hit the road on Monday, September 7th. My first stop would be Melbourne, FL, for an overnight stay with my friends Kate and Jerry. They live in the unincorporated part of Melbourne by Floridana Beach. I arrived in the evening and Kate and I, like those moths to the flame, headed to the local bar known as SBI or Sebastian Beach Inn.
We hung out in the back on the deck. It was late Monday night, so very quiet, with only a few locals and a cool bartender. One of the guys called out, “Turtle on the beach!” Excitedly we ran to the rail to watch a female Loggerhead drag herself through the darkness with tremendous labor onto the sand and out of the charging surf. She was dragged back by the beating waves but managed to pull herself forward inch by inch. In the dark, her flippers tossed sand into the air as she excavated the hole into which she would deposit her eggs. For some reason I turned 180 degrees to look at the dark sky just in time to see a shooting star blazing downward. While we were there four turtles buried their clutches. What an auspicious beginning to my tour.
The next morning, after a good breakfast with Kate, Jerry and their Papillions Bama and Candy, I hit the road for the Panama City or, more specifically, Saint Andrews.
Saint Andrews is a quaint historic town near the Panama City Beaches. Jeff Brewer and the Panama City Parrothead Club attended along with some other friends. Diana and Tim have a wonderful pub known as The Mariner’s Daughter. Serving beer and wine, they also have an adorable gift store of sundry items.
Before the show I grabbed an oyster po-boy from Hunt’s Oyster Bar across the street. It was epic! I rarely say “epic,” by the way. Delicious food, busy oyster shuckers, cheap beer. You can’t beat it.
I played for a couple of hours and was so grateful to the folks at the Mariner’s Daughter. It was great to see Cathi and Wayne Edwards with their parrot, Mr. Utley. Thanks to Susanna Russell for giving me a place to spend the night. Even Woody Jenkins stopped by! I couldn’t believe it.
On August 11th, I got in the car and headed for the Tropics of Tennessee.
I realize Tennessee is not tropical. The whole “tropic” thing, for those not aware of the Parrot Head lifestyle, is that “tropical” is a state of mind. Those who embrace the tropical lifestyle can live in Florida or Alaska and anywhere in between, but the key is to celebrate and support our communities by “partying with a purpose,” no matter where you live. My destination, The Tiki Bar, is a place where the tropical lifestyle is exemplified. So, I headed to Harrison Bay near Chattanooga.
With many thanks to the River City Parrot Heads for attending and the Tiki Man and Original Hippie Chick for hosting my show on a Thursday night during the beginning of the school year. The Tiki Bar is at a private home but, oh, what a home it is, with an outdoor tiki bar and pool and the Chocolate Bar inside featuring a long bar, pool table and a card table plus a long line of alcohol delights. It is a bar, after all.
The Tiki Man broadcast the show on his radio station and it was a fun night. With the recent passing away of Glen Campbell I couldn’t help but play “Rhinestone Cowboy,” a favorite of mine and my cousins when we were younger, playing the 45 on our plastic turntable. I also felt I should play “Tin Cup Chalice” by Jimmy Buffet. “I want to go back to the islands…” I played plenty of originals but we had some great sing-alongs like “Wagon Wheel.” So many of these folks that showed up I now know as friends.
The next day, I hit the road again. Time to head to Seanfire.
To be continued…