Archive for May, 2012

Billy Bowlegs weekend

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It’s the summer season in Destin. A great time of the year. People are out boating, tourist are taking over the town, the restaurants are packed, lightening is seen most days…yep, I love Destin in the summer. Sunshine Cindy and I spent Tuesday and Wednesday evenings catching up on more Crab Island Mambo stuff. It was nice to spend a few quiet evenings at home I even got to watch the first game of the Stanley Cup finals between New Jersey and LA. It was a great game that went into overtime with LA prevailing. It should be a good series.

Tonight (Thursday) we went to Sunshine Cindy’s parent’s house. We have finally made time and plans to take the boat out for the first time. We spent tonight getting it cleaned up. The boat has been in the lift since last October. Needless to say it needed some cleaning but it was really not too bad. Tiff had cleaned it up a month or so ago. We just wiped it down, vacuumed the interior and we will be good to go.

This is going to be another big weekend around here. Tomorrow Wayne has a friend from Cincinnati coming into to town to spend a few days with him. We are going to meet up at the harbor tomorrow to give Joe a tour of our waterfront. I am sure we will end up at the Boathouse and then most likely the Tipsy Turtle for a few brews. Saturday is the big Billy Bowlegs Pirate festival in the Sound in Ft. Walton Beach. That always brings a couple thousand boats together for a big party. They will have fireworks over the Sound on both Friday and Saturday nights. It should be a good time as everyone is “Embracing the Chaos!”

Get out and enjoy your weekend no matter where you are at! A full report to follow on Monday!!! See you then…..

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Review of the Austin Show

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Culture Map Austin has a review of last night’s show: “Jimmy Buffett brings an intimate beach party to ACL Live

The venue was packed (tickets, priced at a below-usual cost for Buffett at just around $100, sold out in a brief two minutes the morning they went onsale) for the kickoff show on Buffett’s “Lounging At The Lagoon” summer tour. Buffett explained that the ACL Live date was something of a warm-up, “a big surprise in a little package,” as a theater show for an artist who usually plays venues with ten times the capacity.

For all the arena-readiness of Buffett’s band and material, though, the set scaled nicely to the ACL Live stage. The thing that’s easy to forget about the man’s material — especially the ones he wrote during his prime as a songwriter in the mid-70’s — is how personal and introspective it is.

For his part, Buffett, too, seemed to treat the opportunity to make the show a more intimate sort of beach party as a special occasion. In between leading the sing-alongs, he treated the crowd to some unique moments and reflections of Austin – not just the usual shout-outs to Barton Springs (but, sure, those too), but also reminiscing about Jerry Jeff Walker, covering Nanci Griffith and playing a handful of songs that had been out of the perennially on-the-road band’s rotation for over a decade.

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Tour Kicks Off in Austin

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Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band kicked off the “Lounging At The Lagoon” at the Austin City Limits Theatre in Austin, TX. The set list from the show is now available.

The set list included some songs that Buffett has not performed in a a while including:
You’ll Never Work In Dis Bidness Again” (last played 08-12-1990: East Troy, WI)
Sea of Heartbreak” (last played 05-29-2004: Dallas, TX)
Mermaid In The Night” (last played 06-30-1989: Auburn Hills, MI)
Who’s The Blonde Stranger?” (last played 03-17-01: San Jose, CA)
Gulf Coast Highway” (last played 04-21-2008: Houston, TX

The tour continues on Saturday night with a show at the Woodlands Pavilion in Woodlands, TX

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Billboard interviews Buffett on New Album

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From Billboard: “Jimmy Buffett To Record New Album This Year

Jimmy Buffett says he has tunes to the left and tunes to the right as he eyeballs his next studio album.

Buffett tells that he’s “got a lot of songs and I’m gonna go in this year” to record a follow-up to 2009′s “Buffet Hotel.” “I’m happy with the material ’cause I’ve been working at it for a while,” Buffett says, detailing songs such as “Useless and Important Information,” which is “in the running for the album title,” as well as “Einstein Was a Surfer,” “I Want to Go Back to Cartagena” and “Clueless People in a ‘Fraidy Cat World.”

“I’ve got a couple of minor-key things,” Buffett adds. “I’m excited about it, and (the material) is kinda piling up on us here, so I’m ready to go back in.” Buffett says he’s “written most of this stuff myself,” though he’s also worked with regular collaborators Mac McAnally and Will Kimbrough and has composed a song with Jerry Jeff Walker’s son Django.

Buffett is considering a number of studios to work on the project, including his own Shrimp Boat facility in Key West, Fla., as well as EMI’s Abbey Road studio and Mark Knopfler’s British Grove Studios, both in West London, England. “I want to go in and do it together as a band,” Buffett says. “We normally do that anyway, but then people are busy and have to go out and someone’s usually phoning in a part from somewhere. This time I’d like to the whole thing all together… I started thinking, ‘Do I really want to go in and make a record or do I want to just put a few (songs) out. I thought maybe I’d go in and do four or something, and then I said, ‘Nah. I like going in the studio with my band, and it can be an experience.

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Uncle Jim Rocks Alabama Elementary School

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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 ( 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

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Doc Watson – Memories

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“I have seen the David and the Mona Lisa, too; and I have heard Doc Watson play Columbus Stockade Blues.” Guy Clark

Memories is the name of my favorite Doc Watson album.  I just about wore the needle through the 2-record LP that included Make Me Down A Pallet On Your Floor, Shady Grove and Miss The Mississippi when I became a fan of Doc’s in the 1970s.  I first saw him in concert then and witnessed his talent and showmanship first hand. Then a few years later, when I interviewed him, I found him to be every bit of the gentleman that I had anticipated.

When Doc came to perform at the Ryman Auditorium in 2011, I was just as excited as I had been when I was an 18-year old guitar player in 1975.   As what turned out to be his last Ryman show approached, I recalled these memories in a dispatch called Doc Watson – No Strings Attached. I hope you’ll enjoy these memories of Doc.

Doc Watson – No Strings Attached

Doc Watson is my favorite acoustic guitar player.  He is a hero to me for the amount of talent he has in his voice and hands, and for the way he conducts himself on stage.  Always with dignity, humor and enough integrity to weigh down a jumbo Gallagher guitar case.  When tickets became available for his Ryman Auditorium show July 28, 2011, I jumped at the chance and ordered immediately.

Doc first came into my consciousness when I was in a college bluegrass band in the 1970s.  We called ourselves The Eighth of January, after the fiddle tune that eventually became
the popular song The Battle of New Orleans.  The boys and I were “just eat up” with learning and playing as much acoustic music as possible.  Doc was high on our list of people to emulate.

The summer after my freshman year at Ole Miss, a wondrous announcement was made: The Atwood Bluegrass Festival in Monticello, Mississippi would bring Lester Flatt The Nashville Grass and Doc Watson to perform.  The Eighth of January developed a plan of action in short order.  Our fiddler Steve Cook of Clinton and banjo player S. Cragin Knox of Jackson would drive south, while I would mount the Southern Campaign and head north from Pascagoula to converge on this monumental event in force.

Lester Flatt The Nashville Grass, with then teenage mandolin player Marty Stuart, wowed the crowd.  I was thrilled that Lester tipped his hat to me through the window of
his bus while he waited to be introduced.  Steve got fiddler Paul Warren to sign his souvenir program.  Warren had played with Flatt Earl Scruggs and stayed with Lester after their breakup, “Thank ye kindly, neighbors,” Lester told the audience.  “You’re
welcome,” we applauded.

Jamming at bluegrass festivals brings pickers together for the length of a song and sometimes for much longer.  The day of Doc Watson’s performance, Knox, Steve and I made the acquaintance of Carl Nobles, a guitar player from Hazlehurst.  He sat in with us and we’ve all been friends ever since.  A long-haired mandolin player from Vicksburg also played with us that day and I haven’t seen him since.

L to R: S. Cragin Knox, Steve Cook, Kenny Boone, Carl Nobles, Les Kerr

While we were jamming, John Stennis, Jr., then a state legislator, walked by and asked if we wanted to play on the big stage.  It took us less than a claw hammer banjo lick to say “yes!”  Because we were unscheduled, we were the last local band to perform before the stage was cleared and set for Doc.  For several years afterwards, I bragged about “opening” for Doc Watson in Monticello.

Five years later I saw Doc again at the Sand Hills Bluegrass Festival in Marianna, Florida.  I had earned a degree and was a young radio station news director in Mobile, Alabama.  When I heard that Doc would be that close to Mobile, I made plans to attend.

Because of my job, I would get to participate in a “sit down” with Doc Watson and the local media, some of whom also played guitar.  Talk about another dream come true!

L to R: Festival organizer Danny Lipford, Doc Watson, Les Kerr, Mark R. Kent, Mike Lipford

Doc was as gentlemanly and forthright as we could have imagined.  “You’d be surprised at how little I pick at home,” he said when we guitar-playing newsmen asked how often he practiced.

We asked about his signature guitar made by J.W. Gallagher in Wartrace, Tennessee and learned that, “Well, he just brought one along and said he’d like for me to play it.  Said ‘the only strings attached are the ones that’s on it,’ and I’ve been playing it ever since.”

Doc talked about his pre-acoustic years playing country and rockabilly dance music.  “Yeah, I had one o’ them gear-shifter tail pieces on an electric guitar that could really make
it whine.”

He said he enjoyed listening to the night programming of Nashville’s WSM AM, the home station of the Grand Ole Opry, and New Orleans’ WWL AM, which broadcast country music for truckers at night then, and a local FM country station near his home in North Carolina.  “Who knows, maybe the popular music we hear now will be considered folk music sometime in the future.”

Since then, I’ve seen Doc perform at many times at places like the Station Inn and the Ryman Auditorium and each time, as a picker and as a person, I have felt honored to be in his presence.

Text copyright 2011, 2012. Photos from the collection of Les Kerr

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Lounging at the Lagoon Tour kicks off in Austin

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Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band perform tonight at Austin City Limits Theater in Austin TX. Listen to the show on Radio Margaritaville / SiriusXM 24 and help us out with the set list.

From Radio Margaritaville: Jimmy Buffett kicks off a new tour at the new Austin City Limits Theatre. It’s almost Summer, and it’s time for “Lounging at the Lagoon.” Opening night starts with a Pre-Concert Tailgate Party at 8:30 pm ET with Kirsten, then Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band live in Austin, exclusively on Radio Margaritaville at 9:00 pm ET.

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Memorial Day

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Please take a few minutes today to remember all those who have or are serving our country. They are the reason we can do what do!

It has been another fun weekend here on the Emerald Coast. Friday was spent on Charlene’s boat at Crab Island. We had Julie, Dean, Trish, Julie, Mike and of course Capt. Russ. It was a beautiful day in the water and we even had Rick and Jane boat up to join us. We ended the evening at Julie’s swimming and eating pizza till almost 11 pm. Fun!

Saturday was the 17th annual Memorial Day Party at Bobby and Darla’s house. Bobby is a vet who does this party to show his support to all the troops. He has tons of food, a band and about 100 friends show up. It is always a good time. Sunday started out with Sunshine Cindy and I going to Harry T’s for brunch. The harbor was packed but we were able to get a seat inside. Sunshine Cindy ordered a Bloody Mary. As she started to drink it a guy came up behind us and told her she could not have that drink. It was our musician friend Steve Hall. He was there with his wife and another couple. Steve is a fun guy and an excellent musician. His wife is a wedding planner who just completed a wedding that cost over $200k. Wow, some people have more money than they know what to do with it.

Sunday afternoon and evening was our Crab Island Mambo party at KC’s Sandbar in Ft. Walton Beach with John Friday. Thank to Mike and Bev and the staff at KC’s for putting this show on. John played for 4 ½ hours solid without a break. It was in the low 90’s and he had the sun right on him. I am not sure how he did it! John had the crowd dancing and the drinks flowing. Meg took good care of our group. Everyone had a great time! Thank you again Mike!

Enjoy your Memorial Day. See you Thursday….

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Featured Artist of the Week – Chris Sacks

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Hailing from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Chris Sacks has found the warm sands and blue waters of the tropics calling to him and developed an entertaining songwriting style that leaves one to wonder if he has red American blood or blue Caribbean seawater running through his veins. Taking his love of the lower latitudes and his straight-shooting, no-holds-barred style of songwriting, Chris gives you a clear handle on who he is, and what he wants out of life. His musical style, a creative blend of breezy Country Beach Rock, Americana and folk, finds him writing about life experiences as he shares stories that are rich with escapism, life and love.

“I just wanna make people smile with the music that I play. Artists like Jimmy Buffett, the Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, and Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers really hit the bulls-eye for me,” says Chris. “It’s good music that really moves you, whether you’re away on vacation, or away for years. That’s what I think about when I pick up my guitar: songs that convey true emotion and tell a story that takes you away from it all for a while.”

A former member of the Captain Quint Band, Chris is currently touring and promoting his first solo CD titled “Nowhere.” In addition to his solo career, Chris has formed The Chris Sacks Band and is also busy working on his second album titled “Tropical Recharge”, scheduled for release in June ‘12. Just back from Key West, FL where he hosted the “Chris Sacks Artist’s Jam” in November, Chris is already planning to return to the places that call out to him and are the inspiration for much of his songwriting. You will find Chris touring from Maryland to Florida this year with plans to soon extend his tour to the west, as well.

Visit Chris’ Website at
CDs can be purchased from iTunes and on CDBaby at:
BeachFront Radio Music Hut at:

Influences: Jimmy Buffett, The Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, and Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers


New novel from Tom Corcoran now available

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A new book from author Tom Corcoran is now available at “The Quick Adios (Times Six)” (Hardcover and Kindle Edition)

Tom Corcoran returns with a seventh novel, his first Alex Rutledge mystery in three years. Longtime fans and newcomers to this series are sure to enjoy The Quick Adios (Times Six). It is January in Key West, and freelance photographer Rutledge is summoned by his lover, city detective Beth Watkins, to a double-murder scene in The Tideline condo near Smathers Beach. When he arrives, cameras in hand, Alex is asked to leave. There is no explanation given. Within an hour he is offered another photo job, this time to document an office building in the Sarasota area. He flies north with the client later that day only to find confusion and murder on that end, too. The main problem in both locations, Alex quickly learns, is the abundance of suspects. Rutledge has no desire to be an investigator, and much prefers his work for ad agencies and travel magazines. As in previous Rutledge novels, Key West, with its characters, history, natural beauty and isolation, plays a fundamental role in the tale, in this instance the events of two murder cases.

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