Archive for July, 2012

WNY Shore Radio Interview with Swim Skinny

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WNY Shore Radio will be broadcasting a special interview with Swim Skinny this Friday night at 9 PM. They will be playing the whole “Naked and Wet” CD and interview segments.  Be sure to tune in and help us promote this show and the CD.
Click to Order The New CD "Naked & Wet"
Thanks again.  I also have some other very important tasks coming up next week that i will need your help.

Big Tom Johnson

Here is the info:

Friday Night on The Shore @9pm Eastern: A SPECIAL Swim Skinny Event. We’ll be broadcasting the Naked and Wet CDs in their entirety with exclusive interview segments heard nowhere else! Spread The Word and start Torgola Weekend Skinny!

Join the Swim Team and your Swim Skinny News FAST.

Watch Buffett backstage at Comerica Park

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Watch Jimmy Buffett performing LIVE on from his dressing room at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI

Have you ever wished you could hang out backstage with Jimmy before the show? Well this is your chance!

Jimmy will be spending 20 minutes with YOU, shooting the breeze and playing some tunes LIVE from his dressing room at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI this Friday, July 27th at 6:30pm EDT.

All of Jimmy’s proceeds will go to charity. Tickets are Pay What You Can. Get yours here.

Top donors from the show will get some very nice gifts!

#1 Top donor will get a PHONE CALL from Jimmy live from his dressing room during the show! Hey may even let you tell him what to play.

Next Top 3 donors (2nd-4th place) will get a personally autographed Margaritaville Key WestTM Frozen Concoction Maker

Next top 5 donors (5th-9th place) will get an autographed copy of Jimmy’s new CD: Fin City

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Honey I Shrunk My Guitar!

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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

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Video of Margaritaville Atlantic City announcement

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A video clip of Jimmy Buffett at the press conference on Tuesday for the announcement of the Margaritaville Atlantic City complex is now available (from CBS 3 in Philadelpia)

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Margaritaville Atlantic City Announced

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Margaritaville and Resorts Casino Hotel are giving Atlantic City visitors their license to chill with an experience unlike any other on the East Coast. Governor Chris Christie announced July 24th at a press conference on the Boardwalk in front of Resorts that Resorts will be adding a Margaritaville complex to the property which will open in May 2013.

Larger image of the proposed complex

“The Margaritaville project at Resorts is an amazing step forward for Atlantic City,” said Morris Bailey, owner of Resorts Casino Hotel. “Our investment coupled with the Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville brand is a huge coup for Atlantic City and I am extremely proud to say it was Resorts and the state of New Jersey that made it happen.”

The Margaritaville complex at Resorts will completely embrace the lifestyle featuring a casino, restaurant, Five O’clock Somewhere Bar, retail stores, LandShark Bar and Grill, a year-round beach bar complex, and their first ever coffee shop. Additionally, Resorts Boardwalk façade will be re-themed with the Margaritaville brand.

“Today’s Margaritaville announcement is another great sign for Atlantic City and another important step forward in our efforts to revitalize Atlantic City as a premier resort and vacation destination,” said Governor Chris Christie.

“It is certainly no surprise to me that a huge flock of Parrotheads reside on the Jersey Shore,” said Jimmy Buffett, “I am very grateful for the years of support from some of our most die-­‐hard fans in the country. Atlantic City is a historic beach town and I am very happy to be a part of helping it find its place again as a beach vacation destination. I’ll see you on the Shore.”

For more information visit

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Buffett to appear at press conference at Atlantic City Resorts Casino

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From “Jimmy Buffett to join Governor Christie at Resorts Atlantic City press conference

A press conference will be held Tuesday to announce plans for a major project at Resorts Casino Hotel that will be a first for Atlantic City and the East Coast.

Governor Christie will be on hand and we just received word that Jimmy Buffett will also be in attendance.

The press conference take place at 2 p.m. on the boardwalk at Resorts casino hotel.

It has been rumored that plans were in the works for a Margaritaville in Atlantic City for some time now and this could be the official announcement we have been waiting for.

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Typical weekend of playing in Destin

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Last Friday was one of those typical Destin days. We didn’t have any plans beyond heading to the harbor. The weather was threatening rain all day but that did not stop us. First stop was the Tipsy Turtle. We talked to Becca and Paul for a while then headed down to see Steve at the Hawaiian Ice booth. He was having a beer at the Shark Shack and told us he needed a large tank top for someone who was coming back over the weekend. I went and got it, we chatted for a while longer then off to Crab Island Cantina Sunshine Cindy and I went. Scotty was behind the bar and there was a tourist couple from St. Louis having a few beers before they were going on a dolphin cruise. We chatted with them for a while. Carlos came by and we had a chance to talk to him about trying to do some type of music event at the Cantina. I told him I would put a proposal together and see where we go with it. Wayne joined us there and Dominic came in to work the bar.  The Cantina has a nice vibe to it now and you can’t beat the view.

Time to continue our journey. We went back to the Turtle. Julie was there and Matt was behind the bar now. We weren’t there for 15 minutes and down the boardwalk came Marilyn and Dave. They had been at AJ’s and saw us at the Turtle. As we were talking to them we see Kenny and Terry coming down the boardwalk from the other direction. A few minutes later another friend of theirs, JP came and joined the party. We all got some food from the new burrito stand and the party was on. Matt and Mindy showed up to play their music. Kenny joined them for a few songs. Then Julie had a friend, Shannon come down to join us. And finally Bridget who works at Burrito del Mar and her boyfriend came by and chatted with us. Like I said, you never know how a day might go.

Saturday was the day we had Jeff Brewer coming over from Panama City to play at the Tipsy Turtle. He started at 7:00. By 7:15 some dark clouds rolled in and it looked like rain. But as quickly as they came they broke up and it turned into a great evening. We had a good group of friends show up including SinCity Lisa and Deron from Panama City. There were some tourist who stopped and stayed for hours to listen to Jeff. He is a good entertainer. Not often you get to hear Buffett one minute and the Hooky Pokey the next! lol  Jeff did his last song and was ready to pack up but the crowd wanted one more. He was half way through this “last” song and it started to rain. I guess he went one song too many. It only lasted for a few minutes but was enough to get everyone wet. It was still fun.

Sunday was a relaxing day. The weather was hot and humid, perfect for the pool. I spent a couple of hours catching a few rays and having a few brews. Sunshine Cindy passed on going to the pool so she could get some stuff done around the house. After the pool, I headed back down to the harbor and the Turtle. I needed to drop off an invoice and get them signed up for another month of advertising. While there a guy I had talked to in the past, Ken stopped by. He is crazy. He had a friend with him and they were prowling the harbor. Ken cuts up with everyone. They left and then Barry came by with a co-worker. If Ken is crazy, Barry is insane…but in a good way. He is a lot of fun. He was giving Summer, from the band Summerbreeze a hard time about her Dad who makes us the other half of the band. He left to go the Red Door and an older couple came and sat down. Matt was giving him a hard time. This guy was just as funny as the previous two were. I asked Matt if there was a sign for the crazy folks to come and join me. About this time the sky was getting dark, the wind kicked up and I headed for home. The end of another fun weekend. See you Thursday….

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VSA TN – Roll Down the River on the Cumberland Queen (Video Link included)

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Performing The Cumberland Queen at VSA TN 2012

Vision, strength and artistic expression.  Each was abundant during VSA TN’s 2012 Art Institute at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tennessee as people of all ages gathered to create, learn and then display their accomplishments.  VSA TN offers those with disabilities exposure to visual art, dance, literature and music through the guidance of professionals in those fields.  I was honored to be this year’s “music person,” and if the week was half as rewarding to the participants as it was to me, I’d say it was a huge success.

Through a recommendation from my friend Tammy Vice, VSA TN’s Lori Kissinger contacted me and told me that this year’s theme was rivers.  Alright!  I could channel my inner John Hartford and perhaps those in attendance could write a river song.

Fire up the engines, raise the steam

This was just one group’s list of words for a river song

I asked Tammy, a fine songwriter, for advice on how to write a song with three separate groups who would meet in three separate sessions daily from Monday through Thursday, then perform the finished product on Friday.  She was last year’s music person and suggested I do what makes perfect sense:  start with words.  We sang a few river songs like Hartford’s Mississippi Queen, John Fogarty’s Proud Mary and Stephen Foster’s Old Folks at Home for inspiration.  Then, each group suggested words that related to rivers.  Water, fish, boats, downriver, steamboats, passengers, cargo and more all appeared on a big white board.

Blow the whistle and the steam comes through

Once we had the basics, a story and song could be created.  What river could we use?  Well, a list including every stream from Duck River in Tennessee to the Amazon and the Nile emerged and among them was the Cumberland River, which runs right through Downtown Nashville.  The best name for a steamboat on our own river? The Cumberland Queen, of course.

Between the three groups, we wrote a chorus, two verses and a bridge to create the musical story of a steamboat that carries cotton, lumber, people and entertainment along the river.

Strike up the band and start to play

As the week went on, both the participants and I learned the song and sang it over and over.  I reminded them of the songwriting mantra that, “you not only have to write songs, you have to remember them, too!”  To help them (and me) on the day of the performance,

Lyrics on poster board for the big performance

poster boards with the lyrics were placed on chairs within view.  After special guest James “Nick” Nixon, one of Nashville’s blues legends, performed a great set of his own music, it was time to sing The Cumberland Queen.  The students belted it out like an experienced showboat chorus line to rousing applause.

Dancers Board the Riverboat

VSA TN’s own “river dance”

Not only did the talented participants write and sing a song, they learned a dance through the guidance of Deanne Collins that gave visual life to Fogarty’s Proud Mary. Complete with a long cloth representing the river’s waves, an elaborate dance ensued.  In addition, river-related art they had created with the help of artist Annie Tagg was on display at the event.

Visual art created during VSA TN Art Institute

She’ll take you there, then bring you back

Being a part of the week and the process reminded me of why I wanted to learn to write songs and perform years ago – the sheer joy of it.  If you ever get the opportunity to use your skills to show others how they can enjoy those same abilities, take it.  You’ll receive much more than you give and you’ll also experience the wonderful vision, strength and artistic expression which motivated you to follow your passion in the first place.

View a short video of the beginning of The Cumberland Queen here

Note: section headings in this text taken from lyrics of The Cumberland Queen. Learn more about VSA TN at

Learn More about Les at

Text and photos copyright 2012 Les Kerr

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Beach Party before the Comerica Park Show

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From the Detroit Free Press: “Beach party to kick off Jimmy Buffett concert at Comerica Park

When Saturday’s Buffett concert at Comerica Park was announced in May, show promoters drove the point home: This wouldn’t be just a night of music. This would be a daylong, margarita-filled, sand-laden, Parrot Head-pleasing extravaganza.

To that end, a slab of pavement in downtown Detroit will become a slice of tropical paradise on Saturday, with bars, bands, carnival attractions and makeshift sand islands. Buffett fans and non-concertgoers are welcome to join the free nine-hour festivities before the show kicks off inside the ballpark at 7:30 p.m.

Among the frills at the pre-show party, which starts at 10 a.m. Saturday in the parking lot just north of Comerica Park:

• A 1,600-square-foot sand island with a tiki bar serving margaritas, along with a sand-diving game where contestants will turn up buried salt shakers redeemable for prizes.

• A sand beach with a stage featuring local bands Toast Jam and Square Pegz.

• A beer tent serving Land Shark Premium Lager, the house beer for Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant chain.

• A Ferris wheel, midway games, misting stations, a photo lounge and an appearance by Land Shark’s FinMobile.

More Details

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Featured Artist – Hugo Duarte

Posted in Featured Artist of the Week, Pirates, Trop Rock Artists, Trop Rock Happenings | 2 Comments »

Like good Cuban food, Hugo’s music is a combination of a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and a whole lot of down-to-earth ingredients that come together in an adventure of the senses. You can’t really describe it; you just have to try it in order to understand and appreciate the flavors and subtleties of whatever it is that you’ve just been presented.”

Such are the elements of this remarkably talented Singer/songwriter/storyteller. Duarte blends of a bit of Country, a pinch of Bluegrass, a handful of Southern rock, a cup or two of Blues, a dash of Island music, occasionally sprinkled with some American history, or tales of the sea, to form an eclectic style that doesn’t fit into the traditional definitions of the Rock and Roll world, the Tropic/Island sound, Blues, Country or any other particular genre.

Born of Cuban, Chinese, and Scotts-Irish ancestry, Duarte’s music is as diverse as his origins. His early childhood years were spent in Tigerville, South Carolina, an extremely small community in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was there he came to understand the basics of life in that close-knit, rural community where life was simple, where everyone’s parents parented everyone else’s kids, and music and song were an integral part of everyday life.

Somewhere along the line, Hugo’s family moved to North Carolina where Duarte’s musical influences drifted away from the native Bluegrass and traditional country music that had been so much a part of his life and began to take a new direction. He began to focus on the Allman Brothers, the Marshall Tucker Band, Poco, the Eagles, Billy Joel, Elton John, Pure Prairie League, the Outlaws, Loggins and Messina, and many others. And that focus didn’t stop there. It also included Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Led Zeppelin, Glen Miller, John Phillip Sousa, Aaron Copeland, and other equally divergent styles.

A defining moment in Duarte’s young life occurred when his long-time friend, Darrell Stafford, loaned him a guitar; an old Stella that had once belonged to Stafford’s grandmother. At a formative time in a boy’s life, when dreams take root, when idealism is at its strongest, when words and melodies trigger the search for self, the loan of that old Stella marked a pivotal point on the compass in Hugo’s young heart and mind.

Visualize a 14 year old boy, with that loaned Stella, sitting by the radio or dropping LPs onto a turntable and teaching himself to play along. This is the point where Hugo began developing his own brand of music, a style he dubbed “country music” because it wasn’t that big a departure from what he’d grown up with. It was also during this time period that Hugo wrote his first song called “Dance For Me”, a song about a ballerina.

As Duarte continued to develop his music skills using various music styles as his guide, whether it was Soul, Country, Beach music, Rock ‘n Roll, Classical, a unique blend emerged and began to meld together into his brand of “All Music”. Hence the origins of Hugo’s eclectic style… a style that really began to surface while at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Growing increasingly serious about his music, Duarte left college and began playing clubs in Charlotte, North Carolina and then on the road in places like the ‘Tween Waters Inn in Captiva, Florida and Crow’s Nest in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It wasn’t long before he realized he could make a living doing what he loved the best.

A few years later as he drifted down that music highway playing gigs with his ever expanding group, The Full Sail Band, he found himself as far south in the US as one can go. Searching for a connection to his Cuban heritage, he arrived in the Florida Keys and fell immediately in love with the area.Hugo and The Full Sail Band strummed and sang at Rick’s, Sloppy Joes, the Hog’s Breath Saloon, Turtle Kraals, The Bull, The Top, and Casa Marina. Name it, Key West fans, and he’s most likely played there.

It was in those early Key West years that Hugo met and developed a professional friendship with the Calypso Poet, Jimmy Buffett. Over the years Buffett would call or stop by when he was in town, often sitting in with Hugo and the band. They occasionally shared the stage at a locally owned bar called Del Rios, which today is the site of the original Margaritaville Bar and Restaurant.

Sometimes other friend-musicians stopped by as well. Anyone happen to be there on New Year’s Eve when Hugo Duarte and The Full Sail Band made room on stage for Jimmy Buffett, Steve Winwood, and Steve Cropper. Other Key West on-stage collaborations have included the likes of Sam Clayton, Russ Kunkel, Billy Dean, Fingers Taylor, Michael Utley, Robert Greenidge, and Larry Michael Lee. Larry Michael Lee is also the producer of Hugo’s CDs, Another Day In ParadisePlaces Along the Road, and Don’t Be Fooled By The Hat.

Yes, Hugo Duarte’s music is unique. It demands something of the listener, especially if the listener really wants to “get it”. Yes, you can put it on in the background and it will sound great, or you can choose to listen closely and that’s when a door to a truly unique awareness really begins to open.

So……Why settle for standing outside and peering through the window? Open that door and step inside…really inside, where you will hear, see, and feel the magic.

All Information is from Hugo’s website: