Posts Tagged trop rock

Featured Island Artist – Jack Johnson

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JackJohnsonBefore Jack Johnson became the 21st century kingpin of beachside pop/rock, he was a champion surfer on the professional circuit. The sport was second nature to the Hawaiian native, who began chasing waves as a toddler and, by the age of 17, had become an outstanding athlete on the Banzai Pipeline. However, Johnson was also testing other creative outlets — specifically film and music — and a serious surfing accident during his first professional competition convinced him to devote more time to those landlocked hobbies. After studying cinematography in college, he turned his full attention to music, writing breezy pop songs punctuated by an unassuming voice and a mellow, beach-bum demeanor. The combination proved to be particularly commercial, as Johnson’s first five major-label albums all climbed to platinum status.

While studying film at the University of California in Santa Barbara, Johnson partnered with friends Chris Malloy and Emmett Malloy to produced a surfing documentary entitled Thicker Than Water. Although the project spotlighted Johnson’s talent as a director, it also showcased his flair for songwriting, and the accompanying soundtrack featured several of his own tunes. Thicker Than Water was deemed 2000’s Video of the Year by Surfer magazine and paved the way for a second surf flick, The September Sessions. Meanwhile, Johnson began receiving similar notice for his songs, one of which was covered by G. Love & Special Sauce on the band’s 1999 album, Philadelphonic. Shortly thereafter, Johnson’s demo material piqued the interest of J.P. Plunier, a French producer who had helped launch Ben Harper‘s career several years prior.

With Plunier’s help, Johnson recorded and released Brushfire Fairytales in 2001. The debut album featured a cameo by Ben Harper, thus sparking a friendship between the two musicians. Moreover, its casually spun folk songs attracted an audience that stretched far beyond Johnson’s own surfing community, and Brushfire Fairytales went platinum as a result. After touring throughout the early half of 2002, he returned to the studio and issued On and On one year later. Despite its musical similarity to Brushfire Fairytales, On and On found Johnson delving into social commentary, resulting in a number of songs that paired worldly, insightful lyrics with a sunny surf vibe.

Jack Johnson toured heavily in support of his growing catalog, taking frequent breaks to surf and spend time with his family. When it came time to return to the studio, he resumed his partnership with Mario Caldato, Jr., the same producer who had helmed On and On, and decamped to Mango Trees Studio in Hawaii. In Between Dreams was released in 2005, sporting a mango tree on the album’s cover (in tribute to the studio) while offering a familiar mix of tropical songwriting and conscious commentary. The album peaked at number two, Johnson’s highest chart position to date in America, and sold more than two million copies stateside. Oddly enough, it was Johnson’s next project, the kids-oriented Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George, that finally sent him to the top of the charts. The soundtrack debuted at number one in February 2006, selling 149,000 copies during its first week and making Curious George the first animated film sincePocahontas to have a chart-topping soundtrack. Like the four albums before it, it climbed to platinum status.

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Despite such continued success, however, Johnson was dealt a sharp blow in 2007, when his cousin Danny Riley succumbed to brain cancer. That death, coupled with the decision to record outside of Hawaii’s familiar environment, lent a moody ambience to Johnson’s next record, 2008’s Sleep Through the Static. Nonetheless, the bulk of the album retained a warm, sand-scrubbed feel, and Sleep Through the Staticwent platinum within five weeks. Johnson traveled throughout Europe that summer, playing some of his largest shows to date, and the resulting footage was captured for the 2009 CD/DVD release En Concert. Johnson released his fifth studio album, To the Sea, in June 2010. Covering a nine-year span, the Jack Johnson & Friends: The Best of Kokua Festival compilation appeared in 2012 and featured performances from Johnson’s benefit concert for the nonprofit, environmental education organization the Kokua Hawaii Foundation. Johnson returned to his Mango Tree studio with Mario Caldato, Jr. — who produced his 2005 release In Between Dreams — to record his sixth studio album, From Here to Now to You. The album, which was scheduled for release in September 2013, was preceded by the single “I Got You.” ~ Andrew Leahey, Rovi

Photos from our 1st Swim Skinny Show

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Photos from our 1st (of many) Swim Skinny Show – October 2012

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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 with Howard Livingston

Posted in Featured Artist of the Week, Trop Rock Artists, Trop Rock Interviews | 3 Comments »


Our sit down interview with this week’s Featured Artist – Howard Livingston

Howard Livingston

(TRB)Where are you based these days?
(HL) We live in the fabulous Florida Keys

(TRB)Do you have a Regular Gig where your fans can always find you?
(HL) We play many festivals and have concerts at several venues in the Keys and across the country.

(TRB)Do you have any current projects in the works?
(HL) Yes, we are just finishing our new CD project “Six Pack And A Tan” which will be released October 13th.

(TRB)What was your major influence for pursuing a career in Trop Rock?
(HL) I all started when I started visiting the Keys and the Caribbean, I realized that I wanted to live in the tropics. It took a while but I left the corporate world and picked up my guitar. Best choice I ever made.

(TRB)And the question everyone asks, with such a variance of answers. Who are/were your musical influences now and getting started?
(HL) I have a ton of folks that have influenced me. Hank Williams, Elvis, The Beatles, Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley, Lyle Lovett, and the list goes on and on. I love all types of music and appreciate great songwriters.

(TRB)Who, if possible, would you like to perform with?
(HL) I have been so very blessed to play with so many wonderful performers that it is difficult to say who would top the list of folks I have not played with. I would loved to have played with Bob Marley. I think he was probably a pretty cool dude.

(TRB)What is the one place that you have on your Bucket List of Venues to play?
(HL) I want to perform at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, so much history there.

(TRB)Tell us about your most memorable performance.
(HL) That is a tough one because we have played at so many wonderful venues. If I had to decide on a couple it would be The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. This was the last show that Buddy Holly did and his signature is in the dressing room along with everyone you can imagine. Yes, I had to put my John Henry there too. Quite an honor. The second place would have to be a concert we did on an island in the Keys. We were on a house boat and a couple thousand of our friends brought their boats out and joined us. Impromptu moments are the best.

(TRB)What is the best way for your fans to stay in touch?
(HL) You can reach us on Facebook “Howard Livingston and The Mile Marker 24 Band” and our website is


Trop On!


Green World Gallery – Trop Rock Paradise

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Happenings at Green World Gallery

Helping save the planet Green World Gallery is committed only to eco-friendly products. Here you’ll find a variety of art, prints, giclees, and many more artistic products all created by local artist. Come visit our online store to see all the different ecological art we have to offer. Feel the softness of the T-shirts that are printed with petroleum free ink and made of organic ring spun cotton that will make you feel like you’re in a cloud. You can also find us on Facebook andTwitter sharing our adventures with friends along with reading and posting comments.

Looking for relaxing music with a twist of island sounds? If you love music and the sounds of the Artist Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville, Green World Gallery carries the largest collection ofTrop Rock CD’s. You will find such Artist as Howard Livingston and Mile Marker 24, Michael McCloud, Don Middlebrook, Steve Tolliver and many, many, more. It’s your one stop shop for all your tropical rock. Can’t remember the CD your looking for go to the Artist Page for individuals CD.

In the heart of Key West on Duval Street, Green World Gallery will be hosting various Trop Rockers playing acoustic like Island Time, John Reno, Dennis McCaughey and Howard Livingston from November 1st -5th, 2011. Visit our home page for a list of times and days.

Green World Gallery is a proud member of Parrot Head Club that engages in charitable, educational and encourages environmental concerns throughout the community and is a Not-For-Profit Corporation. The Annual Meeting of the Minds will be held in Key West at the Casa Marina hosted by Parrot Heads in Paradise. Come on down to the store to listen to your favorite Trop Rocker in person.

Original Article

Collaboration of MOTM Schedules

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Until Next Time… Trop On!













CD Review: Little Summertime – Dani Hoy

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Summer is a season we all relish as the time we can spend out-of-doors, running off to the warm sunny beaches, lounging by the pool with our margaritas, and not having to bundle up just to walk out to the car. Luckily for us, Dennis McCaughey and Tropical Soul has bottled summer up and applied to a shiny silver disc called Little Summertime.


With eleven original songs, there’s plenty of summer to soak in. The overall feel of the CD is breezy and joyful with an acoustic rock sensibility. Many of the cuts feature John Patti on steel drum and Doyle Grisham on steel guitar. The title song, which is the first cut on the CD, starts the fun right off the bat. “Little Summertime” the song is up-tempo from the first ukulele strum to the tight harmonies and handclaps over the chorus. “Richest Man in the World,” my personal favorite, has a wonderful strut and the chorus is infectious. It’s a great story, too, about making that musical leap into the unknown and the joy of doing it. “Made for You and Me” is a delicious duet between Dennis and Heather Sneeringer. It’s a very danceable romantic tune with gentle, easy harmonies. “Sweet Love” kicks up the country feel with background mandolin picking behind the chorus. This is a solid hit with Jere Groft on full drums and Doyle Grisham’s steel guitar. After hearing this one live I’m happy to hear it in full production on the CD.


Little Summertime doesn’t slow down much, but when it does it’s a sweet and rewarding change. “Paint the Sunset,” a song about making memories last, features finger-picking acoustic guitar and a prominent, sweeping steel guitar. Jere’s hand drums add to the mellow feel. Heather’s jewel-tone voice gives us “Light and Magic,” a hook-laden reggae bop. “Big Fish, Cold Beer,” co-written by Dennis and Alex Leist, is a straightforward rockabilly tune with a great driving beat and Crawdaddy wailing on the harp. The chatter over the end is priceless.


The CD rocks on with “Laidback Life” and “If Tequila Won’t Do It.” The beautiful and wistful “Back to the Boardwalk” is a soft acoustic ballad featuring Heather again. “Island Music” is full on Caribbean, shake your bottom, let’s-make-a-conga-line. “Hey oh oh-way,” the island music will carry you away, especially with Patti’s pans chiming along and the shaker percussion; a great ending to a great CD.


With winter coming, pick up a Little Summertime. You can pick one up at a performance near you, if you haven’t already. Go to for more information on the CD and how you can get one for yourself and a friend.


Written by: Dani Hoy

Parrot Heads to Spread Their Wings in Key West Nov. 3-6

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Subtropical Key West is widely credited with inspiring singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett’s smash hit “Margaritaville” and other tunes. Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 3-6, some 3,500 of Buffett’s “Parrot Head” fans are to spread their wings on the island during their 20th annual convention.

The convention is titled “Don’t Stop the Carnival,” recalling Buffett”s album and stage play based on the Herman Wouk novel of the same name.

Events include a concert by Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band, beachside performances, a charity auction and raffles, the TropRock Music Awards, a street festival with live music and a “Beach Bash” at the Casa Marina, a Waldorf Astoria resort on the Atlantic Ocean at 1500 Reynolds St.

The anticipated entertainment highlight is a showcase at the Casa Marina by the entire Coral Reefer Band. Members include songwriter/performer Mac MacAnally, keyboard master Michael Utley, steel drum wizard Robert Greenidge, guitarist Peter Mayer, pedal steel guitar player Doyle Grisham and vocalists Nadirah Shakoor and Tina Gullickson.

Convention attendees also can enjoy music by favorites including Howard Livingston and Mile Marker 24, John Frinzi, the Sunny Jim Band and more.

Even Buffett himself occasionally makes a surprise appearance. The internationally acclaimed entertainer, whose lyrics contain frequent Key West references, established his first Margaritaville Store and Margaritaville Café on the island and maintains a recording studio overlooking the former shrimp docks.

Events at the Casa Marina are not open to the public, but only to registered Parrot Head club members. The public can attend the Margaritaville Street Fest, planned for 1-6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, near Margaritaville at Duval and Fleming streets. Scheduled entertainers include the Young Rebel Goombas, Mr. Myers Band and Michael Armstrong the Key West Band.

As well as Buffett’s music and associated tropical lifestyle, Parrot Heads embrace charitable, environmental, educational and humanitarian activities. Since 2002, members of the more than 200 national and international Parrot Head chapters have contributed $22.1 million and nearly 2.7 million volunteer hours to local and national charities.

Event information:

Who’s going?!


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11th Annual Wavefest – Waveland, MS

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11th Annual Wavefest
Oct. 15, Garfield Ladner Municipal Pier, Beach Blvd & End of Coleman Avenue, Waveland, MS
Arrrgh Matey! Calling all Parrot Heads and Jamaican rumrunners come join in the FUN for this family festival! This year’s theme is “The Pirates of the Mississippi Sound” and features the Caribbean sounds of regional Tropical Rock, Parrot Head, and island rhythm bands from along the Coconut Telegraph line from Florida to New Orleans – live music all day! Enjoy a Caribbean flavored menu as you stroll among the many food vendors, arts & crafts and business booths, and do not forget to enter the contest for the best pirate costume, along with a children’s treasure hunt. It is all about the Music, the Sand, and the Sea! Ahoy! Come aboard, put on those flip-flops, grab that shaker of salt, board your galleon, batten down the hatches, and weigh anchor for a voyage that will shiver your timbers with joy until the sun returns to the sea! 11am-8pm.
Admission: Free! 228-467-0855


Trop On!

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Mac McAnally to release new live album

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Mac McAnally has recorded his first live record “Live in Muscle Shoals”, to be released on October 11. You can pre-order his new album at

Grammy nominated, award-winning, prolific hit songwriter, singer, musician and producer Mac McAnally will release his first live recording Live in Muscle Shoals on October 11th on Mailboat Records.

Recorded live from the Norton Auditorium at the University of North Alabama during the W.C. Handy Music Festival, Mac put together an incredible band of musicians consisting of fellow Coral Reefers (Mac is a member of Buffett’s band) and Muscle Shoals/Nashville session friends in which they captivated the audience.

“Last summer the fine folks in charge of the W.C. Handy Music Festival asked me to play a show that ran the gamut of everything I’ve done,” Mac said.
“In live performance you don’t have to look far for imperfections. I look at the imperfections as blessings too,” he added. “W.C. Handy made a career out of mixing influences from his surroundings and expressing them musically. I share that aspiration and hope to merit having shared the bill with his legacy on July 31, 2010 in his hometown of Florence, Alabama,” he added.

The CD includes his hits “Back Where I Come,” (Kenny Chesney), “All These Years” (Sawyer Brown), and “Down the Road,” (Kenny Chesney), as well as a cover of the ‘60s hit “I Heard It through the Grapevine.” A master storyteller, Mac set up each song with an anecdote and those bites of observation and humor which are included on the disc.

As reigning three time winner, Mac is once again nominated for a CMA Award for Musician of the Year; the awards will be handed out November 9th on ABC-TV.

To watch new videos of Mac performing songs from his new album “Live In Muscle Shoals” click here.


Original Article here