Posts Tagged bry harris

Clay musician finalist in national songwriting contest

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GREEN COVE SPRINGS – After years of writing and performing rap music in the 1990s, a Clay County singer-songwriter found a positive outlet in a genre completely opposite of rap.

Twenty years later, Michael Williams has found success in tropical rock or troprock, a blend of rock and roll, country, reggae and Caribbean music.

“In the 90s, I was a struggling rap artist in a band,” Williams said. “I felt rap had a negative vibe and now I want something upbeat.”

The 41-year old Green Cove Springs native entered a nationwide songwriting contest. Until Sept. 15, the public can vote for one of three original “tropical rock” songs including Michael Williams’ own “Balmy Palms (In an Island Song).”

“I spend a lot of time at the beach and I like the vibe,” Williams said, who will turn 42 this month. “It’s positive and upbeat. It’s feel good music.”

For at least 20 years, Williams has worked full time jobs while pursuing musical aspirations in his spare time. Entering the lifestyle clothing brand Balmy Palms’ songwriting contest gave him a deadline to complete a song and gain recognition.

“I’ve wanted to record an album in the studio but this challenge made me want to speed up the process,” Williams said. “Before the day was over, I was humming the melody during work.”

Within the next few days, the lyrics and melody were roughly complete. Strumming on the acoustic guitar, Williams produced a song appropriate for a genre of music made popular by Jimmy Buffet, arguably the most well-known trop-rock singer and musician. “It’s like you’re living in an island,” Williams said. “I’m always thinking of the beach and island vibe.”

Williams recorded “Balmy Palms” at The Music Factory in St. Augustine with producer and bassist Harley Hallett and drummer Gary Anderson. “When you play the role of producer, you make suggestions to the artist about where things should fit,” Hallett said, who co-owns The Music Factory with his wife Shery. “I suggested where to put the steel drums, what the drums should sound like and the pace of the song. We definitely collaborated.”

From the start “Balmy Palms” has a driving beat and is faster than the other two songs. Williams bought a steel drum and learned to play it, giving the song a flavor of Key West in the measures between vocal lyrics.

“It’s different when you’re at the beach,” Williams said. “That’s why I listen to tropical artists. I feel like I’m there when I listen to trop-rock.”

One of the competing artists, Don Middlebrook, is considered to be one of the founding fathers of trop-rock music. For more than 25 years, he has played more than 150 tour dates each year across the country. Middlebrook has toured with Greg ‘Fingers’ Taylor and opened for Reba McEntire, The Doobie Brothers, Hall and Oates, Jefferson Starship, Meatloaf, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The third competitor is singer-songwriter Bry Harris, leader of the Parrot Island Band, a Jimmy Buffett tribute band. Harris and his band have recorded one CD and been nominated three times as Trop Rock Duo or Trio of the Year by Margarita Mafia, a community of artists, DJs, and music enthusiasts obsessed with working to promote the musical sub-genre.

“His song is more upbeat,” Hallett said. “The pace is so quick and it gets the message across quickly.”

All three trop-rock songs can be heard and voted on at

Original Article

By Sarah Wakefield Rosser

Staff Writer at Clay Today

Featured Artist Interview – Bry Harris from the Parrot Island Band

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Our sit down interview with this week’s Featured Artist – Bry Harris from the Parrot Island Band


(TRB)Where are you based these days?
(BH) We live in Acworth, Georgia  …. about 50 miles NW of Atlanta.

(TRB)Do you have a Regular Gig where your fans can always find you?
(BH) While we have had a very busy year, most of our gigs are private, corporate, country club or neighborhood events. We try to make several out of town trips each year and for the past few tears we have been asked to play a few Parrot head events each year (ie Trop Rocks the Smokies, TropStock, Phins on the James, A1A Beaches Parrothead club’s Beach Bash and we are scheduled to play Music on the Bay in 2013).

(TRB)Do you have any current projects in the works?
(BH) We have plenty of songs ready for our 2nd CD, just trying to figure out the best way for us to get them recorded… I have really fallen in love with the ukulele over the past year or so (I am now one of the official music endorsers for Eddy Finn Ukuleles) and I am hoping that our next CD will  feature a lot of ukulele, steel pan and congas.

(TRB)What was your major influence for pursuing a career in Trop Rock?
(BH) When I was in high school, I was a huge Jimmy Buffett fan (Jimmy’s music helped me through  some difficult times as a teenagers, providing a great  means of escape.). At our high school graduation, I was named (tongue in cheek), “most likely to open for Jimmy Buffett”. I did continue to play in bars and restaurants while in college (Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA) but after college settled down and drifted away from music for a number of years.

After a more than 25 year break from music, I saw an advertisement for Peter Mayer at a Christmas concert in Atlanta. After attending the concert, I brushed off the dust on my guitar and started playing some really small gigs and it has grown to more and bigger gigs each year.

(TRB)And the question everyone asks, with such a variance of answers. Who are/were your musical influences now and getting started?
(BH) I grew up listening to Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, the Eagles, Jim Croce, Dan Fgelberg, Three Dog Night, Grand Funk Railroad, Harry Chapin… a lot of the singer/songwriter musicians, I’m sure I have left out some but this is a pretty good list to start with…

Currently, I love music by folks like Howard Livingston, Rob Mehl, Jimmy Parrish, Mac McAnally  Mark Mulligan, and one of the sweetest voices of Trop Rock, Paul Roush (and still, after all these years… Jimmy Buffett)

(TRB)Who, if possible, would you like to perform with?
(BH) Jimmy Buffett!  And Howard Livingston quickly come  to mind but there are many of the Trop Rock guys/gals that I would be thrilled to play with…

(TRB)What is the one place that you have on your Bucket List of Venues to play?
(BH) Any of the Margaritavilles, Lulu’s, a cruise ship… I have several of the Trop Rock events on my list… oh, I’m sorry- did you say name ONE? 😉

(TRB)Tell us about your most memorable performance.
(BH) We opened the first Trop Stock and on Sunday morning there was a worship service on the river.  Jim and Peter Mayer, Nadirah Shakoor, and Doyle Grisahm of the Coral Reefers were there (as well as a number of other top notch Trop Rockers).  Doyle Grisham was kind enough to play along on a song I had written for the event… backed up by Doyle Grisham… THAT was cool!

Second most memorable, National managers convention for Carmike Cinemas, held in Myrtle Beach, SC.

(TRB)What is the best way for your fans to stay in touch?
(BH) You can keep up with us on Facebook  at and also on our website at www, (where I also do a little blogging… send me you ideas, questions… would love to hear from our friends)


Trop On!

Featured Artist of the Week – Parrot Island Band

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The Parrot Island Band

The Parrot Island Band from Atlanta, Georgia, is a Jimmy Buffett tribute band that was nominated as the Trop Rock Music Award Duo/Trio of the year for 2009-2011. We are a “Trop-Rock” trio, available for parties, cookouts, wedding, fundraisers, corporate events… if you are looking for excellent Jimmy Buffett music at an affordable price, look no further! As we like to say, we are “Jimmy Buffett on a budget”.

The Parrot Island Band consists of Kevin Garrelts (congas), Linda Harris (steel drum), Bry Harris (guitar/vocals) and can add bass player if needed for bigger events. The band has been together for five years and has had the opportunity to play all around Atlanta and throughout the southeast region. While we play over 50 Jimmy Buffett songs, we also have written over 20 original “tropical songs” that have been very well received.

Parrot Island Band Members

Jimmy Buffett tribute band

Bry Harris

Band leader, Bry Harris, has been a huge Jimmy Buffett fan since the mid-70’s. He was named “most likely to open for Jimmy Buffett” by his high school graduating class. Although he took a long break from the music business, Bry is making up for lost time and enjoys meeting new friends at the numerous gigs that the band plays for.



Atlanta Trop Rock Band and Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band

Linda Harris

Linda Harris is the beauty of the band and plays the steel pan. While many people only get to hear the steel pan on cruises or the Carribean, Linda brings the Island sound to the Parrot Island Band. Linda decided it was a good idea to pick up the steel pan when Bry “accidentally” won a bid for one on Ebay (and had no idea how to play it himself).



Key West Kev - Atlanta, Ga

Kevin Garrelts

Kevin Garrelts adds the sound of congas to the band, rounding out the tropical feel to the music we play. Originally from Kearney, Nebraska – “Key West” Kev currently resides in Acworth, GA. While Kevin is currently playing percussion/conga with the band, he is also an excellent rhythm guitar player.

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