Welcome to Trop Rock Tales
Story of Trop Rock Tales
Who Is Trop Rock Tales?
Hi everyone! Cindy Muir here and I'm excited to start a new website called Trop Rock Tales. Many of you know me from previous Trop Rock World writing and from my many interviews with Trop Rock musicians.
With this new website, I hope to bring you more news and insights into the wonderful world of Trop Rock music, musicians, fans and events.
I started out back in 2011 writing for a beautiful print magazine called Gulfscpapes, started writing for Trop Rockin' Magazine in 2012 and my first cozy mystery book, Schooled For Murder was published in 2014.
Let's have fun on this site! If you would like to have your event publicized here, let me know!
Masks & Quilts For Trop Rock
Many of you know Sheila Jorgensen from San Diego, California. Before Covid shut down travel and live Trop Rock music events, Sheila could often be found in front of the stage, dancing along to great tunes. Just barely over a year ago, the great shutdown began, and the live music stopped. Fortunately, virtual concerts began and Quarantine Concerts Worldwide was formed. Trop Rock musicians began to take to Facebook and showcase tunes that were as live as possible.
Many of us began to tip our musical friends, as it became clear that their livelihoods had drastically changed, with live gigs all canceled. Soon an Artist Relief Fund was started by the Trop Rock Music Association and wearing a mask became the new normal. Do you recall that initially, masks weren’t plentiful, and we had to do a bit of searching to find coverings for our face? Sheila had been a seamstress since age 16 and had a nice collection of fabric saved from past years. She even had tropical fabric from Hawaii and an idea was born. Sheila began to make masks and the fees that she earned all went to the TRMA Artist Fund Relief fund.
Now making those initial masks wasn’t an easy task. She stood in line at a Joann’s Fabric Store for over two hours, had friends send her thread and elastic and sewed many days from 8 am until midnight. Sheila was receiving mask orders from across the nation, but also donated many to health care workers, first responders, family, and musicians. She was able to send approximately $1500 to the TRMA Artist Relief Fund and her efforts encouraged others to donate money, as well. Some masks were also donated as fund raisers.
When the mask orders began to slow down, Sheila looked for another project with which to help Trop Rockers. She turned to making T-shirt quilts and has made six so far with her own shirts, plus many donated shirts. Quilts will be donated to Lone Star Luau 2022, Meeting of the Minds 2021, LAPHC, and other Trop Rock events.
How did Sheila get interested and become passionate about Trop Rock music and the musicians? She has been a Jimmy Buffett fan since 1978 and has attended 110 of his concerts, plus being able to meet him three times. She became a Trop Rock fan about ten years ago and began hosting house concerts at Sheila’s Flip Flop Shack (her back yard). She’s involved on the board of Phins to the West and was nominated as Fan of the Year at the 2020 Trop Rock Music Awards.
If anyone is interested in a mask or quilt, she invites you to contact her on Facebook at Sheila Jorgensen or at email@example.com. Terrific work, Sheila!!
Beth Travers Finds Trop Rock
I’d been hearing bits of information about a new female Trop Rock musician on social media and was lucky to get to hear Beth Travers several times recently in Key West. I liked her music and her fun onstage demeanor, but not until we sat down to chat did I find out about her amazing musical background.
Originally from Connecticut, Beth lived in Nashville for twenty-five years. But before that, she gravitated toward music at an early age. She apparently stole her mother’s guitar when she was only eight years old and taught herself to play. She began teaching herself piano at age ten, so music was most definitely a strong point early in her life.
Beth wrote her first song when she was only twelve and eventually she was sent to Nashville by BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) and began “writing like crazy.” Along with songwriting, she played bass guitar and worked extensively with Nashville greats. She was Ray Steven’s bass player and worked with the Cashes, at the Grand Old Opry and with Dollie Parton movies.
She eventually went to work for the American Red Cross, however, and taught CPR. She still did military show tours with her husband, fellow musician Dave Signs. Beth said she felt “called to serve” and spent some time with Europe, which she described as a non-musical time for her.
She and Dave decided they would move to Florida and a whole new chapter of Beth’s life began to unfold. Trop Rock performer Jack Mosley contacted her to play bass with his band and she got her first real taste of the Trop Rock music world. “I have found my tribe,” Beth told me, and it wasn’t long before she began to perform as a solo act. She claims that she’s always been a Parrot Head and “addicted to the beach.” She has some wonderful ways to describe how she feels about the genre. “I feel like I was a kid who grew up not knowing my last name was Trop Rock and now I’ve found my family that I didn’t know.”
Beth has two albums under her belt: Late Bloomer and Happiness Comes in Waves. She performs locally in and around her town, Englewood, Florida and wants to start more travel with husband Dave to do shows. She went to Music on the Bay last year and would love to do more house concerts and Parrot Head events, in addition to Trop Rock functions, of course. If you’re anywhere near a show at which she performs, do yourself a favor and take the time to hear her. I guarantee you’ll become a fan!
John McDonald - A Trop Rock Innovater
John McDonald is one of the many Trop Rock artists who grew up in the North Eastern part of the country but migrated to Florida. His story while still in the land of winter is very interesting and his musical roots reach a long way.
Originally from Boston, John wound up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for graduate school. It was during this time that he started playing music in bars and clubs and after grad school ended, he stayed in the area. Performing as a solo artist, people began to request Jimmy Buffett songs and that got John interested in music that had tropical influences, or “from exotic places,” he told me.
John put together sets of music that included Paul Simon, Bob Marley and Buffett influences and in 1994 the band “John McDonald and the Mango Men” was born. He hadn’t really heard of Parrot Heads at the time and he called what his band was playing “tropical rock.” Naturally, he shortened the term to “Trop Rock.” He continued to play in this vein, unaware of what the name would become, until the mid-2000s.
“Trop Rock was grown organically,” he said, “but Buffett crystalized the movement.” He also credits Buffett for getting hmi through lots of cold northern winters. Maybe John was following the warm temperatures when he moved to the Space Coast of Florida in 2017. He said he got tired of winter and wanted to “reboot myself,” so he now lives in Melbourne. “It’s a whole other world in Florida,” he told me, and he credits the move with rejuvenating his songwriting.
While John has a couple of prior CDs that were produced in the North East, he’s very excited about his forthcoming collection, which will be called Islandology. The project is close to being finished, although he’s currently playing a single from the CD, called “Rooftop Island.” He said the CD will include some very upbeat music, to hopefully encourage listeners to get up and dance.
Performing with John are Kevin Chordnicki on percussion and Dale Sinski on guitar. Dale plays bass guitar, ukulele, steel drum and provides background vocals on the CD. Dale is also a lifelong friend of the great jazz musician George Benson, so he can easily add jazz vibes to the music.
John has been playing for several Parrot Head Clubs and public venues in his area and is performing more of his original music. “We all want to connect with fans,” he said, and he had 13.000 viewers during his Facebook live show back in April. John believes in the power of music and we look forward to hearing even more from him.
Parrot Heads of Port Aransas Celebrate 12 Years!
Back on December 9, 2008, a group of intrepid Port Aransas citizens and friends met to have the first formal gathering of the Parrot Heads of Port Aransas. The group was organized by LuAnn Ferguson and turned 12 years old December 9, 2020.
An informal celebration was held on the Port Aransas Beach with a bonfire and some Buffett and Trop Rock tunes making a musical backdrop. There were original charter members in attendance and brand new members, making for a wonderful night of celebrating Partying With a Purpose in Port Aransas, Texas!
AND HIS GODWINKS
“Godwinks.” That’s what Joe Downing said he’d been inundated with – “Godwinks.” He’s thankful that his life is headed full force down the Trop Rock highway. How did this come about? It started in Middletown, Ohio.
Joe grew up in Middletown, Ohio and went to Ohio State as a literature and romantic poetry major. He always wanted to be involved with music, however and spent 15 years in Nashville networking and really studying how to write songs. He told me that he cut his teeth in Nashville, but that 99.9% if all musicians and songwriters there don’t make it professionally. “In order to make it in Nashville, you have to leave Nashville,” Joe said and that’s what he did.
While in Nashville, he got to know J.D. Edge and J.D. put him in touch with Mike Nash. The Trop Rock ball began to roll after that, as Mike let him know about the Trop Rock music genre and Parrot Heads. Joe had been influenced by Zach Brown in realizing that beach songs could exist with country and do well. Joe wrote several songs in Gulf Shores and didn’t realize at the time that what he was writing was indeed Trop Rock.
Joe made the move to Ponte Vedera, Florida, where his goal was to slowly transition into full time music. He lost his day job, however, and instead of lamenting that, he has thrown himself into making music full time. He considers this a “Godwink.” Recently, Joe has thrown himself into working on his CD, called Songs From the Gulf. He wrote the original songs with Mike Kuhl and Jeff Randall, with the aid of Skype. The recording was done at Mainframe Recording Studio in Nashville with Nathan Smith, who has been in the business for thirty years. “I couldn’t be prouder of who I wrote with and the CD outcome,” Joe told me.
One of the songs from the new recording is called “YOLO” (You Only Live Once) and was nominated as Song of the Year in the 2020 Trop Rock Music Awards. Joe was also nominated for the Horizon Award, which recognizes the potential of newer artists in the genre. Joe is also quite the family man and he and his lovely wife Krystal have two precious children.
Joe is loving writing and playing Trop Rock music. He feels that real opportunity exists in the genre and that the real magic of Trop Rock is in the friends you make. He loves Parrot Head events and would like to travel more for house concerts. Most of the time, you can find him performing in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine areas of Florida. “I’m happy to be an Acorn off the Buffett tree,” he said and we’re all happy to get to know him and his music.
Honoring Those We Lost
Our Trop Rock Family has lost two of the best recently. Our hearts go out to the families of Bart Mason and Bob Anderson. They loved life and they loved Trop Rock and all it entails. Sail on, Bart and Bob.
We had a great Trop Rock Strong week in Key West! Low key, plenty of great music and a time to reconnect with great friends from across the nation!
2020 TRMA AWARDS
Musician of the Year-John Patti
Duo Trio-Thom & Coley
Radio station of the year-Radio Trop Rock
Radio program Live-Trop Rockin the USA
Radio Program Recorded-4 at 4 Gina Babin
Best Album Art-It's Still Summer Somewhere
Live Music Venue-Smokin Tuna
Music Video-Erica Sunshine Lee
Band of the Year-The Dock Rockers
Song of the Year-Somewhere in the Caribbean
Horizon Artist-Erica Sunshine Lee
House Concert Small- Isla Bella
House Concert Large-The Habitat
Business Professional-John Burns
Songwriter of the Year-Aaron Scherz
Single of the Year-Beach Town Aaron Sherz
Event of the Year Small-Lone Star Luau
Event of the Year Large-Music on the Bay
Lifetime Achievement-Jerry Diaz
Female Vocalist-Erica Sunshine Lee
Male Vocalist-Aaron Scherz
Album of the year-Aaron Scherz
Fan of the Year-Kristen McFadden
Entertainer of the year-Donny Brewer
Congratulations to all the TRMA Award Winners of 2020!
There was a more intimate atmosphere with less musicians, less fans and more time to hear almost all the musicians present in Key West Our souls were quenched with seeing old friends from across the nation and with hearing familiar and newer Trop Rock musicians. If you attended, you're sure to agree! If you weren't there, we missed you!
A Fantastic Week in Key West!
Jerry Diaz Comes to Port Aransas!
Sue & Charlie Roberts hosted Jerry Diaz and Hanna's Reef at their home for a fabulous house party. Can you imagine the wonderful music of Jerry with the sun falling into the beach background? It was magical and wonderful to see so many Parrot Head friends from across Texas there!