As we were talking with a friend during the late afternoon of one of those days that you want to push the slow motion button on, so it will last as long as possible, he said it was a day to put in the “memory bank” for future reference. We liked the phrase so, without any apology, we decided to borrow it for the title of this blog post.
Our “A Little More Les” book tour has found us spending some time in Panama City Beach, FL. as we work on “Music & Murder,” a special event we’re appearing at with, award winning author, Michael Lister that will feature several very talented musicians and writers as special guest performers. “Music & Murder” will be held on May 7 at Gulf Coast State College and you can find more details on our Events page.
So, what does that have to do with a “Memory Bank” day? Well, while we certainly hope May 7 will qualify, that’s not the day we’re writing about. The day in question is the Sunday we just flipped over, April 24.
April 24 was a picture perfect day on Florida’s Gulf Coast and we decided to take the suggestion of a friend, Victoria Ciccarelli Stewart, and check out a singer/guitarist she thought we would like, Hank Barbee. Hank was playing at a local club called Little Village, a waterfront shopping and entertainment venue located in historic St Andrews. For those of you not familiar with the area, after you cross the Hathaway Bridge heading east out of Panama City Beach towards Panama City (Yes, Weather Channel, they really are 2 different cities!) you run into historic St. Andrews.
When we arived at Little Village Hank was already playing and we quickly found our way to a table and were instantly taken with Hank’s music and the vibe of Little Village. Little Village is a VERY friendly place where everyone may not know your name, but that doesn’t matter because they’ll strike up a conversation with you and by the time you leave not only will names be known but, chances are good that, business cards, e-mail addresses and phone numbers will have been exchanged. At least that was the case with us and Arthur and Jen, who we found ourselves sharing a table with.
Although none of us had seen Hank Barbee perform before, we were all more than a little impressed with his performance.
Slinging a vintage Les Paul gold top guitar, his easy going manner only added to the surprise of just how good he is. Trust us, Hank Barbee has something to say and you’re going to want to hear it. Yes, he performed some songs you have heard before but, unlike too many performers, he didn’t just try to give you what you’ve heard on the radio over and over again. He put his own spin/stamp on familiar songs and they were better for it. The icing on the cake was when he dipped into his own catalog and shared some of his original creations. This guy can sing, play and write with the best you’ve heard. Check out a little of Hank’s self-titled album and see for yourself. When he took a break, we had to go up and buy our own copy to take some of Hank’s mojo home with us. Since he was between sets, we only had a little time to talk, but we found the man as laid back and easy to get to know as his songs were. Bottom line: We like him and, if all goes well, Hank will be joining us on one of our upcoming “Steve & Johnnie Plus …” video podcasts. Watch this space for more info.
What we thought might be a “stop by and catch one set” visit to Little Village turned into a several hour good time making new friends and hearing a great undiscovered (for the moment) talent on a beautiful day. Little Village claims to be “A place where you can trade in the sun and sand for shade and serenity” and we took them up on all of the above. A nice patch of shade and a cool breeze made having to leave so we wouldn’t be late for a previously planned visit with friends difficult, but leave we did.
We hadn’t had the chance to see our friends for much longer than any of us like and it was really good to see them. Since the day continued to be a “keeper,” we headed out to their back yard for some quality time in their pagoda. Along with catching up with our friends, the flowers that lined their back yard gave Johnnie a chance to see just how good her new phone’s camera was.
We know there may have been more important and impactful things going on in the world this past Sunday but, for us, this was all we needed. At some future date when things are not as good as we’d like and it seems like the world is closing in, hopefully, we’ll pause and pull the recording of April 24, 2016 out of our “Memory Bank” … and smile.