Archive for December, 2011

A few quick Reviews about Les Kerr

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“Les Kerr has soaked up the music and culture of the South, something readily apparent in his music which he calls “Hillbilly Blues Caribbean Rock & Roll,” an amalgam of rockabilly, Zydeco, bluegrass, blues and rock”” — Carey Miller, Clarion-Ledger

“About Christmas on the Coast: (The Jordanaires) go a long way towards giving a real old-fashioned Christmas feel to these simple country tunes laced with a hint of Zydeco, especially Kerr’s charming original title track and John Hartford’s ‘On Christmas Eve.’” — OffBEAT Magazine, New Orleans, Louisiana

“Nashville-based guitarist/ singer Les Kerr wisely employs Elvis Presley greats the Jordanaires on “Christmas on the Coast” (O.N.U. Records), a holiday album highlighted by Kerr’s hillbilly title track, the John Hartford number On Christmas Eve and a cool surf-cum-cabaret retelling of Wayfaring Stranger. “ — Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN


Trop On Les!

Did I Tell You I Went To Key West?

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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

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Quick Note from John Friday

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Merry Christmas
Happy Hannukah
Joyful Solstice
Festive Saturnalia
Happy Kwaanza

Any way you celebrate this time of year, I hope it’s filled with joy and love!

It’s been a hallmark of human cultures throughout the world (at least in the temperate zones) to celebrate the point at which the days begin to lengthen and the promise of spring returning. It rarely dips into the frigid part of the thermometer here in Florida, but since I can’t send the warmth literally, I send you warm thoughts and wishes for joy, health and happiness!

I want to thank YOU for your support and for making this past year the best ever!!

I’m looking forward to the new year with hope and excitement; I’ve got a number of projects in the works and hope to be seeing every one of you at shows in 2012! Among the things we’re planning are my first-ever midwest tour, a special Atlantic coast road trip, a “Summer On The Gulf” tour (with special guests!), lots of house concerts, and a new album……

Peace, love and joy,



“When he’s not strumming songs with titles such as “Boats Without Sails” and “Dancin’ on the Levee” on his Breedlove guitar, Friday is either marketing himself or writing songs. And like any artist, Friday labors over the lyrics. Songs emerge from phrases he overhears in conversation, stories he reads in newspapers or in novels and experiences that stick in his mind. Like his down-to-earth demeanor with the crowd, crafting songs from everyday images helps listeners identify with Friday’s music. ”  Lindsay Downey, News-Press

“[H]e has written some great songs! Some touching…some funny…all entertaining!”  Jeff Alldredge, Naples PHC Newsletter


Inspirational Key West and the Conch Republic

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Liveaboard by Key West Chris Rehm
^ Listen to Liveaboard while you read the blog! ^

Here in Key West there is an almost compulsive draw to be creative and in particular, original. We’ve had our share of well-known writers and performers over the years that need no introductions. There is some kind of energy here, which words can’t really describe. Maybe it emulates from the coral below us? Maybe it’s from our longitude and latitude, coordinated with a gravitational pull from the sun in relation to our proximity to the Bermuda Triangle? I’ll let soothsayers, scientists, geologists, and Santaria priests figure that one out, as I’m too busy taking advantage of it myself. Today we also have the creative vibe going. One example of many is a local performing artist, and all around good guy Bo Fodor, has been very active on both the video and music front, as of late. Over the last few months Bo has had two websites he’s introduced to the world from Key West . The first was Key West Coconut Telegraph Television, which is an internet television station running twenty four hours a day. It offers local coverage, as well as some fun, rare reporting from our sister city, ninety miles south of our southernmost point, Havana.

Bo has also more recently started an internet radio station, Key West Original Music Radio, which features exactly that! In addition, Bo has made slide videos for all of the music featured! I can’t imagine how long that took to do! Oh my gosh!! Great job Bo! If anyone wants to hear the sound of the Keys, this is where you can tune in 24 hours a day.


I of course also feel the inspiration that emulates from this coral island as well and it suits my style perfectly. I’m someone who thrives on innovation! Blazing one’s own path is encouraged here. That shows up on my current CD “Shanghai’d and Marooned in Key West (things could be worse)” where we have ten songs and eleven different overall genres, all of which are Conch Rock and eight of the ten also wear the Trop Rock hat as well. Additionally, every song was inspired from the energy of this island.

With the website we’ve made some major innovative inroads as well! With the coming of digital downloads, both artwork and information have fallen by the wayside. While this is a big shame in so many ways, anyone who thinks digital downloads are going to go away, have their heads buried in the sand. What we’ve done, is set up all the information on the website in the music section! Each song has its own page, for instance. On each song’s individual page we have:

A) The Lyrics
B) The story behind the song
C) All of the personnel playing on the song.
D) Artwork from both local as well as international artists.

In some cases we also have a music track to go along with it. In addition, we have three unreleased tracks available for listening along with a story to go along with them as well. Thus far, we’re the only artist doing all of this. Some may have some things. I know Jimmy Buffett has the lyrics on his site, for
Instance, however there is no information other than that. I’ve talked to a producer/publisher in Nashville about what we’re doing down here and he was quite excited about it. I have the impression that in time, we’ll see more artists doing similar things with their music on their websites.

Of course here on the Blog we’re also infected with the creative vibe/energy/inspiration that oozes out of the rock we live on called Key West. In addition to the Key West news from the source, we also add pictures and/or a collage, as well as a music clip… not forgetting a video, every now and then! 
Thank God for The Conch Republic’s creative inspiration!

J. Harold Lowry of course is also drawing inspiration from the Conch Republic archipelago for his book “Key Lime Floats”. A book that will surely bring a smile to your day! Available in either paperback or via download via Kindle!

It’s a plethora of inspiration down in the entire Conch Republic!

This last week Country Singer/Songwriter/Actress and all around great person Misty Loggins was in town. Misty texted me shortly prior to let me know she’d be here and I texted her back saying “Hey! Want to cut a song with me?” She said “Sure!”. Fantastic!… only one problem. I didn’t have a song for her to sing. Hummm… off to work! So I wrote a song, “Island Blue” for her to sing. This is the first song for my next album “All The Best From Key West”, which is how I always sign off on letters and e-mails. Misty nailed it! Plus, in addition, again, it’s exploring new ground. At the moment we have Misty, Richard Crooks on drums, and myself on guitar, so the canvas is progressing well, but we still have a ways to go and more instruments to add. Dan Simpson is again at the helm on the board. I’ll have more info on this one when we finish it, hopefully in a couple of weeks.


All the Best From Key West!

Key West Chris


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Sail On Ralph MacDonald (March 15, 1944 – December 18, 2011)

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Grammy-award winning percussionist, songwriter, producer, and long time Coral Reefer member Ralph MacDonald passed away after a battle with lung cancer at age 67.

A message from Nefra-Ann MacDonald, daughter of legendary percussionist Ralph MacDonald: “At 12:50 AM my dad lost his battle with lung cancer. Details for his service to come. Thank you all for your support of my dad and our family. Ralph MacDonald, my papa. I’ll miss you.” Grace MacDonald; Atlba MacDonald.

From Paul Leslie: Mr. Ralph MacDonald has passed away. He was a friend and also one of the most talented songwriters the world has known. He wrote “Just the Two of Us,” “Where is the Love?” He was the son of the Calypsonian MacBeth the Great and joined Harry Belafonte’s band at 17 years old. As a conga player he performed with everyone from Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon…you name it. He was a lovely man. His music will live on, and through his music, so will Ralph.  (posted from )


Grammy-award winning percussionist, songwriter and producer Ralph MacDonald was born in Harlem, NY in 1944. As the son of Trinidad-immigrant and Calypso performer “Macbeth The Great,” Ralph grew up amidst the rise of Calypsonian revolution in New York City. The young boy was often placed playfully on his father’s drums for a moment or two and, when he got older, MacDonald dreamed of someday achieving the regional success of his father.

At 17, Ralph helped a friend carry his steel drums into an audition for legendary performer Harry Belafonte. The friend got the gig, and MacDonald became a regular at rehearsals. When one of the players in Belafonte’s Steel Band was late for a rehearsal, Ralph brashly declared his ability to play, and wound up getting the job.

Thus began a 10 year stint with Belafonte that schooled MacDonald in the music business. It also introduced him to songwriter Bill Salter, and the two began writing together to fill time on the road.

At one point, young MacDonald had the nerve to tell Harry Belafonte that despite all the gold records on the wall, Belafonte didn’t really know what Calypso was. Belafonte said “Fine kid – if you know so much because your father was a Calypso singer, then you write me a song.”

MacDonald delivered an album of songs: 1966’s critically-acclaimed ‘Calypso Carnival.’

At 27, MacDonald, Bill Salter and William Eaton started their own publishing company, Antisia Music. Everyone told him he was crazy, but Ralph was determined to do it on his own. The partners opened a modest office in New York City and kept the door locked. When asked why, MacDonald explained that it was a publishing company, and that songs were meant to go out the door, not in. He gave himself two years to get the company going.

One year and eleven months later and wondering if Antisia Music would survive, Ralph happened to begin working with Roberta Flack. He and Salter had written a song called “Where Is The Love,” and in a studio session, he pitched it to Roberta. She recorded it, and it went on to sell 10 million copies, earning Roberta and Donnie Hathaway Grammys and firmly establishing Antisia Music.

From there the success kept on coming. Ralph began recording with legends like James Taylor, Billy Joel, Bette Midler, Diana Ross and Paul Simon. He and his partners wrote the Grover Washington Jr. hit “Mr. Magic” and Antisia Music placed a song called “Calypso Breakdown” on the BeeGees ‘Saturday Night Fever’ soundtrack. That album went on to sell 47 million copies and earned MacDonald two Grammys of his own, as a performer and a producer. Riding high on the disco craze, Ralph released two albums of his own, gaining commercial success and international recognition.

In 1980, Ralph wrote and produced Grover Washington Jr.’s classic album “Winelight.” Among the MacDonald compositions were hits like “Winelight,” “In The Name Of Love,” and a song destined to become an American standard: “Just The Two Of Us.” That song alone has been recorded by hundreds of artists worldwide, including Will Smith’s 1999 adaptation of the song.

How To Get Tan With Cruzan 9 Rum

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After one sip, you’ll be showing off those tan lines.

To me Cruzan 9 is a versatile great tasting rum. It can easily be enjoyed as a relaxing sipping rum and it can also be the life of the party when combined with fruity mixers. For me it’s my go to rum, I buy the large bottles and end up using it for most of my cocktail creations. It tastes great, price is excellent and saves me from using the harder to find rums.

Cruzan 9 is an aged rum using a unique blend of nine different spices – including vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, mace, allspice, pepper and juniper berry. That combination of spices creates a rich, bold rum with complex layers of flavor that is sure to put a smile on any Castaway’s face.

This week’s rum recipe comes from the good people of Cruzan. This cocktail is a departure from our normally fruity mixtures, this recipe is simple yet sweet. Makes for a good dessert drink in my opinion. Enjoy the Cruzan 9 Tanned.



  • 1¼ parts Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum
  • ¼ part Cruzan Rum Cream
  • ¼ part Whipped Cream

INSTRUCTIONS: Layer in order in a tall shot or pony glass. Garnish with a cherry on top.

Enjoy the drink Castaways, let me know what you think of it.


Don’t forget to sign up for the Castaway Winter Beach Bash! This break from the cold will take place January 20 – 23, 2012 at the beautiful Bolongo Bay Resort on St. Thomas in the USVI.

The fun will be hosted by yours truly and will include a rum tasting, a complimentary bottle of Cruzan Rum in your room, a sunset sail, a rum snorkel scavenger hunt, nightly entertainment and Castaway room discounts. Take a break from the Winter and come lime Castaway style in the US Virgin Islands! Click here for booking and details. Can’t wait to hangout with everyone on the warm sands of St. Thomas!

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Get Your Reggae On With “The Illest”

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Music set the mood, and few beats can set the mood better than reggae.

I was perusing the pages of one of my favorite blogs out of the Bahamas called the Sandy Slipper, and found a recent post about a reggae band called Willis and the Illest. Based out of Nassau this band is ready to get their music out to the rest of the Caribbean and reggae lovers around the world.

Mr. Sandy Slipper says that you can find The Illest at Bahama Joes most Thursdays in down town Nassau.

Enough talk, here is the fantastic music video of Willis and the Illest performing their song “Hey”. The video is excellently produced and you’ll be able to get a feel for the high talent level of this reggae band.

The Illest Bio

The Illest Reggae Band is a twisted amalgamation of aggressive roots, rock and dub-style reggae fused with their maniac blend of rock, ska, reggae, hip hop, rb and jazz alike. Fronted by Willis Knowles and the soulful wailing of Mandisa Kerr, the band continues bridging the gap of music, people and culture through original songs and countless covers. Known for their energetic, uplifting performances, The Illest is poised to take their message of acceptance, love and I-nity to audiences everywhere.

The Illest is a band you will NOT want to miss. They are steadily on the rise, each performance more energizing than the last. These talented musicians are passionate entertainers with a natural driving force and they know how to light up a stage.

If you’d like a freed CD of Willis and the Illest, click here and head over to the Sandy Slipper for details. He is giving away a few copies to a couple lucky people.

Don’t forget to sign up for the Castaway Winter Beach Bash! This break from the cold will take place January 20 – 23, 2012 at the beautiful Bolongo Bay Resort on St. Thomas in the USVI.

The fun will be hosted by yours truly and will include a rum tasting, a complimentary bottle of Cruzan Rum in your room, a sunset sail, a rum snorkel scavenger hunt, nightly entertainment and Castaway room discounts. Take a break from the Winter and come lime Castaway style in the US Virgin Islands! Click here for booking and details. Can’t wait to hangout with everyone on the warm sands of St. Thomas!

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Santa’s Going South – New Song by Toby Keith & Sammy Hagar

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I’m starting to think the big man up north is getting sick of the snow and frostbite. I was listening to Radio Margaritaville today and heard a great song called “Santa’s Going South,” sung by country star Toby Keith and former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar.

“Ain’t gonna be no white Christmas / Ain’t gonna be no reindeer / Ain’t gonna be no sleigh bells ringing / Not around here,” Hagar sings before Keith responds with, “I’m packing my tank tops / My board shorts and my flip flops / I take first class non-stop / Down Mexico way.”

I’m really diggin’ these tropical Christmas songs, last week it was “Let it Snow (Somewhere Else)” and now “Santa’s Going South.”

I’m a little surprised it was Toby Keith that cut this song with Sammy Hagar. It’s a well known fact that Sammy, Mr. Beer in Mexico, producer of Cabo Wabo tequila and Beach Bar Rum, is good friends with island cowboy Kenny Chesney. Sammy and Kenny teaming up on a tropical Christmas song makes so much more sense. Don’t get me wrong, I love the song and think it sounds great with Toby, but something tells me it would have been pure island gold with Kenny. Just my opinion.

Listen Here, Toby Keith Sammy Hagar – Santa’s Going South

If you like the song you can download it here.
Santa's Going South - Santa's Going South - Single

I hope you Castaways are feeling the Christmas spirit. Sometimes it’s hard to get into the holiday frame of mind when it’s 80 degrees out, so songs like this definitely help. Santa’s Going South will be playing a lot in the RSR household for the next couple of weeks.



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Les Kerr’s December Lineup

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This Thursday, December 15, Knoxville, TN At Noon Eastern (11am Central), I’ll perform at 30-minute set at the Knoxville Visitors Center as part of WDVX FM’s great Blue Plate Special, a daily live concert series also broadcast and streamed online. In Knoxville, join us in person or listen on the air at 102.9 FM. Not in Knoxville, not a problem! Listen anywhere online at John Francis will also perform during the hour-long show but I’m not sure “who’s on first.” Remember, Noon Eastern, 11am, Central time,

This Saturday, December 17, Nashville, TN 8PM – Nashville’s funky, legendary Brown’s Diner! Kevin Ball & The Busters, a fine blues band, has asked me to sit in a play a few songs. It’s not a full “Les Kerr” show but you will love Kevin & The Busters. FYI, Brown’s is now no-smoking.

Next Thursday, December 22, Nashville, TN 6pm – 7:15pm, Ri’Chard’s Café. My friend Gordy Thomas, a great songwriter and performer, and I will play an acoustic show at this great Cajun restaurant. We’ll end at 7:15, so get there early. Check out Ri’Chard’s menu & get directions here:

Get a Les Kerr Ringtone! If you have an I-Phone, my version of Jingle Bells (Christmas in New Orleans) with The Jordanaires, is now available as a ringtone so ring in the holidays with this unique thirty-second tone. Available for I-Phone users only, just go to your app for ringtones and look up “Les Kerr.”


On Island Time

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William Fair Roberts
December 10, 2011
Ok, you know how you wake up one morning and find yourself doing
something you never thought you would ever find yourself doing again?
That happened to me the end of last month.  I had been in the Bahamas
only a short while when I ran into a guy I have known for a few years.
His name is Grandville Semmes and he says he is the descendent of a
famous sea captain from the American War of 1812.  He and I have known
each other for years.  Well anyway, I ran into him in a bar Pete’s
Pub.  After my “ride” around the islands fell through when the owner
had to head south  a day early when his client was asked to “leave the
islands” for some indiscretion he and his newly found girlfriend  had
been involved in.
Anyway, they left the day before I arrived so I decided to take
advantage of the time here in Marsh Harbor for a few days until
something else cropped up.  …and cropped up it did.  Grandville has
lived in and out of the islands most of his life and it seems like he
has connections in every port on every island in the Caribbean.  When
I saw him sitting at a table in the Pete’s, I had a feeling my current
journey was about to change for the better.  Well it changed and it
definitely turned in another direction for a few days.  We talked for
a while, caught up on old times and after a couple of hours of tasting
some of the best rum in the islands, he told me he had been hiring out
as a charter pilot in the Caribbean in the winters and in Alaska in
the summers.   After we had finished about a fifth of rum he told me
about his latest job.  One of his employers in Fairbanks had bought a
plane down here in the Bahamas and wanted it delivered up there as
soon as he could get it there.  Grandville had a local mechanic check
out the plane and it was his plan to head to Alaska tomorrow.  He
asked if I was still a licensed pilot and I told him I hadn’t owned a
plane in years, but I thought with a little flying time I could be
back up to speed in no time.  The Cessna Caravan he was contracted to
fly up there was almost new and he wanted to know if I would co-pilot
it for him.
I thought it would be good to get some time behind the stick so I
agreed.  I told him I didn’t have any clothes suited for Alaska this
time of year.  Being that he and I are about the same size he said he
could take care of everything I need.  We would take three or four
days getting up there, flying just in daylight hours and we were to
leave the next day.  As always, Grandville would not fly an empty
plane anywhere, so searched around for a cargo to take with us.  There
didn’t seem to be anything going that way, so he came up with a plan
to buy some things and sell them when we got there.  For the sake of
ease and simplicity he said it would be better to pick up a load along
the way so when morning came we met at the airstrip outside of Marsh
Harbor and prepared for the first leg of our flight.  Grandville
doesn’t spend much time alone, so he and his live-in girlfriend were
ready when I got there.  They were just finishing the pre-flight when
I rode my rented bike into the hangar.  In ten minutes time we were
off for the US.
Our flight plan took us first to Jacksonville and then to Jackson, TN
where we spent our first night.  Grandville knew a mechanic at the
airport that let us stay in his hangar for the night.  We ordered in
pizza, checked out the plane and slept in sleeping bags on the floor
in the almost empty, cold hangar.  At daylight we were off, trying to
make the most of the time we had to fly.  From Jackson it was on to
Scottsbluff, NE where we decided what we were going to transport.  We
made arrangements while in the air to purchase 1000 pounds of prime
beef steaks to deliver to Alaska.  We purchased at a discount through
a guy I had done business with there a few years earlier. The beef was
at the airport waiting on us.  The steaks were flash frozen and
individually wrapped, packed in ice and double boxed so they would
stay frozen for the remainder of the trip.   We purchased the prime
beef at a great price and were able to make a profit of $1.75 per
pound for the whole load.  That $1750 for us to share.  While we were
on the ground, we purchased a few other things that we could find a
buyer for up there.  We spent about $1500 dollars and turned a profit
of another $2500 on it.  Not bad since we were not paying for the fuel
for the trip.  Our trip took us to Seattle, Ketchikan and eventually
on to Fairbanks.  We made the delivery and once the plane was
inspected, we were handed our tickets that led us back to the Bahamas
via Seattle, Milwaukee, Memphis and eventually on to the islands.  It
had been a long trip, but the sub-zero temps in Alaska made the
islands look that much better when we arrived in our charter from
Tonight I will be trying to make contacts that will get me aboard
someone’s boat heading south, but for now I am going to find me a cold
beer and a couple of small lobsters and then settle back and watch the
sailboats leaving out of port.
William Fair Roberts…on island