tropical rock

Dan Barron: Aloha from Hawaii!

Venues & Businesses
Blue Sky Vineyard

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Dan Barron Trio: Melting Away Spring Stress With Hawaiian-inspired Tunes
Dan Barron Trio: Authentic Island Vibes

Who: Dan Barron
What: Hawaiian music
When: 2015-04-25
The Bonsai Pipeline comes to Little Egypt Saturday, April 25, when Blue Sky Vineyard and Winery hold
Chris Wissmann
Video Comentary

The Bonsai Pipeline comes to Little Egypt Saturday, April 25, when Blue Sky Vineyard and Winery holds the annual Hawaiian luau party.

Activities will include limbo and hula-hoop contests.

For cuisine, Blue Sky will fire up a pig roast, while entertainment will come from fire twirlers, tarot readers, and for the fourth year in a row, Carbondale-music alumnus Dan Barron.

Barron, originally from Chicago and now living in Fairfield, Ohio, spent a year playing music on Maui.

Living in Hawaii, Barron told Nightlife, was transformational.

“When I was in Chicago giving it a go at making music, I found it very disheartening,” Barron says. “Not many people appreciated original music, and it was hard to break into the scene there, so I decided to take a break.”

With a couple of suitcases and his guitar, Barron bought a one-way ticket to Maui. He moved into a house with fourteen other people, all of whom were looking to change their lives.

“That’s when I realized what was really important,” Barron says. “Music, as much as I loved it and enjoyed playing it, needed to be more of a hobby. What was really important was family, education, and helping other people.”

With this insight, Barron returned to the mainland. He spent some time in Florida, where he met his wife Aurora. The two then moved back to Chicago, where they married.

“I didn’t have a chance with her if I was the man I was in Chicago,” Barron says. “If anybody comes to my show and enjoys what I’m playing, look for my wife in the crowd and shake her hand and thank her, because if it wasn’t for her I probably wouldn’t still be playing music.”

The couple moved to Carbondale so Barron could work on a master degree in social work. While here, Barron recorded a CD, Amaranthine, and Aurora began booking shows for him on the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. He was a natural to serve as Blue Sky’s luau musician.

“I loved the wineries,” Barron says of his life in Southern Illinois. “I love that they hire local musicians, and when people come to the wineries they appreciate original music. It was a really good experience.”

Barron says that his original music has been influenced by every place he lived. In Chicago, it was rock; in Hawaii, it was island music by the likes of Bob Marley and Jack Johnson; in Southern Illinois it was Americana and folk.

In the musical waters where Barron swims, the latter remains the strongest obvious current. With a voice that recalls Lyle Lovett, Barron lambasts greed in “Fall of Rome” and religious hypocrisy in “Believer in the Charade” (“Churches take more than they’re given / If the richest lot in town bears a cross on its brow then I believe in faith not religion”). “That [style] probably will stick with me forever,” he says.

But musically, Barron still loves to revisit the beaches and oceans of Maui. At the luau, expect songs by Marley, Johnson, and tropical arrangements of classic tunes like “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.”

“What I’m playing at the luau is not a projection of what I write currently, but it’s fun and I enjoy playing it,” he says. “Coming back for this luau, I’ll probably do that every year. I have a lot of good memories there.”

who: Dan Barron

what: Hawaiian music

where: Blue Sky Vineyard and Winery


when: Saturday, April 25

Dan Barron Trio: Authentic Island Vibes

Venues & Businesses
Blue Sky Vineyard

More Articles
Dan Barron Trio: Melting Away Spring Stress With Hawaiian-inspired Tunes

Who: Dan Barron Trio
What: island music
When: 2013-06-22
On Saturday, June 22, Blue Sky Vineyard in Makanda is hosting a luau. Let the island vibes glide pea
Brett Haynes
Video Comentary

On Saturday, June 22, Blue Sky Vineyard in Makanda is hosting a luau. Let the island vibes glide peacefully through the summer air as the Dan Barron Trio provides entertainment.

Carbondale musician Dan Barron has played music since he was eighteen years old. His major influences include Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, and Langhorne Slim. He taught himself guitar completely by ear.

“My father bought me my first acoustic guitar when I was eighteen,” Barron told Nightlife. “I played throughout college, moved to Chicago, and tried to make it big with my band. After two years of no success, I moved to Hawaii to get away from it all. I gave up my music career for almost two years until I met my wife in 2006. With unconditional belief in my music, she pushed me to keep writing and playing. We moved to Carbondale in 2009 to complete my master’s degree at SIU. My wife became my manager and started gigging me around the wineries in Southern Illinois.”

Barron writes heartfelt, honest original music.

“I am a folk singer / songwriter similar to a modern version of Bob Dylan mixed with artists of today such as Ray LaMontagne and Damien Rice,” Barron said.

Barron recently released an album of original music, Highway 93, available on <>. The theme of the album projects an urgency toward social issues.

“It’s about the importance of love and family in a society of greed and selfishness within which we currently live,” Barron said.

Nightlife asked Barron what his favorite non-musical thing is to do.

“Spend time with my wife and daughter,” he said.

At the Blue Sky show, Barron will play with a trio that diverts from his usual style to a Hawaiian luau-themed show. He said to expect “acoustic guitar, bongos, and electric-guitar playing, Hawaiian beach-style music, including cover songs from Bob Marley and Jack Johnson.... Come out for a great afternoon of amazing food, fun activities, and great music.”

who: Dan Barron Trio

what: island music

where: Blue Sky Vineyard and Winery

when: Saturday, June 22

Dan Barron Trio: Melting Away Spring Stress With Hawaiian-inspired Tunes

Venues & Businesses
Blue Sky Vineyard

Who: Dan Barron
What: Hawaiian music and luau
When: 2012-04-28
An all-day luau takes place Saturday, April 28 at Blue Sky Vineyard and Winery featuring various par
Leah Williams Wright
Video Comentary

An all-day luau takes place Saturday, April 28 at Blue Sky Vineyard and Winery featuring various paradise-themed contests and a performance of modern beach music by the Dan Barron Trio. The luau begins at 10 a.m. and continues through 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

The Dan Barron Trio will take the stage at 2 p.m.

As a musician, life hasn’t always been a beach for Barron. Instead it’s been a series of high tide and low tides. Born on the outskirts of Chicago in 1981, Barron grew up taking piano lessons but gave them up to pursue other interests. When he was eighteen years old and his father gave him an acoustic guitar, Barron realized his passion for music. Barron said he has barely put down the instrument since.

“I knew right then and there,” Barron said.

After teaching himself to play, Barron progressed to writing songs and formed the Barron James Band. He performed with this group on and off for the next ten years.

But when that band fizzled, Barron returned to the Windy City to embark on a solo career as well as a new band called Dan Barron and Soundtailor. The band signed with an independent record company, Rudy Records, after attending a showcase in New York. An EP, 2004’s Trodden Path, followed, and two of its songs were picked up and featured in the movie Finding Preet. Another track from the record won honorable mention in the Cooch Amateur Songwriting Contest.

Everything seemed to shine brightly for the group, with more on the horizon. But after being unsatisfied with where his career was going, Barron needed a change in geography. So he quit and moved to Hawaii for about a year.

“I loved it there,” Barron said. “It was such a relaxing place to be.”

Barron found what he was looking for performing at coffee shops and restaurants on Front Street in downtown Lahaina, Maui. There Barron developed a newfound appreciation for music by removing the pressure of chasing success.

Since relocating to Carbondale, Barron released a solo CD, Amaranthine.

Barron said the music for the Blue Sky show has been particularly tailored to sound as if it originates from the islands.

“I would definitely consider it beach music,” he said. “It’s fun music, influenced by Jack Johnson and artists like that.”

In addition to the performance, Blue Sky will award a prize for the best-dressed luau attendee. The winner will earn an overnight stay in the Tuscany Romance Suite along with a $100 Blue Sky Vineyard gift card.

Limbo enthusiasts can get down-- literally-- for a $50 gift card to Blue Sky. The winner of the hula-hoop contest will receive a $25 gift card.

No luau would be complete without a hog roast, and Great Boars of Fire will provide a full pig and other island-inspired menu items. Those who attend may also enjoy fire twirlers, face painting, and leis.

When it comes to the daily stresses in anyone’s life, Barron said sometimes just letting go feels therapeutic.

“I would just want people to come and relax for a while,” Barron said. “Forget the stress and just relax. It’ll do wonders.”

For more information about the Dan Barron Trio, visit <>.

who: Dan Barron

what: Hawaiian music and luau

where: Blue Sky Vineyard and Winery

when: Saturday, April 28

Boat Drunks: Taking Margaritaville to the Wine Trail

Venues & Businesses
Von Jakob Vineyard

Who: Boat Drunks
What: VonJakobville festival and Jimmy Buffett tribute
When: 2012-01-28
Every year Von Jakob Vineyard brings a bit of the tropic to Southern Illinois with the VonJakobVille
Brian Wilson
Video Comentary

Every year Von Jakob Vineyard brings a bit of the tropic to Southern Illinois with the VonJakobVille Festival. It’s a mixture of food, drink, and live music designed to provide some respite from the cold winter months, and this year’s event will take place Saturday, January 28 at Von Jakob’s Alto Pass location.

Returning to the festival for their seventh year will be the nationally known Jimmy Buffett tribute band the Boat Drunks. Now in their eleventh year as a group, the Boat Drunks have opened for Buffett, the Beach Boys, and Little Feat, and have performed with nearly every member of Buffett’s touring group. The Boat Drunks perform at venues across the country and receive regular airplay on Buffett’s Margaritaville station, Sirius XM Channel 24.

Boat Drunks manager Todd Lindsey says that while the group began as a straightforward Buffett tribute group, he sees a definite evolution in their songwriting.

“When we first started, we basically just did Buffett songs,” Lindsey says. “You know, songs that he wrote and performed, and then all the songs that he covered that he performed at his shows. We’ve gone from that to now having three albums of our own original music, and we do also some more covers of some things that we want to do as well as the covers that he still does in concert. So the show is really a nice mix.”

Boat Drunks percussionist Howie Golub agrees, adding that “you could call it Buffett-based, but I think it’s wider.... Trop-rock is what you’re gonna hear. It’s got elements of island style, country-western, Latin, straightahead rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a melting pot.”

Lindsey says even though the group is now performing in some less-than-tropical conditions through the winter months, they still try to maintain the atmosphere of their music.

“That’s what we try to create,” Lindsey says. “Just try to let people be in that kind of atmosphere, that Margaritaville, that Buffett kind of atmosphere, without actually traveling to the Caribbean or a Buffett show or whatever. Especially with something like this at VonJakobVille. Here we are in the middle of January, the middle of winter, and we’re all having a good time in our tropical Hawaiian shirts and leis having a drink and listening to some good island music in the middle of winter. So it’s a nice kind of cabin-fever kind of thing.”

Golub says the cold weather never prevents people from coming out and enjoying the music.

“The whole vibe, warm weather, summer fun, regardless of whatever the season actually is... a lot of people come dressed up,” he says. “Tropical shirts, you see a couple of grass skirts, coconut bras. People really get into it. The crowd gets into it, too.”

Golub adds that the group always enjoys playing VonJakobVille, and encourages folks who’ve never heard this type of music to come out and have a good time.

“It’s a great party,” he says. “There’s people of all ages, from twenty-one to seventy-seven. A lot of dancing, a lot of singing along. We toast the crowd with what we call socials to get everyone involved. It’s just a fun time.”

In addition to the live music, folks coming to the festival will get to enjoy a buffet as well as a variety of domestic and craft beers and wines.

Tickets to the festival are $15, which includes the live music, a souvenir wine glass, and a lei.

Doors open at 10 a.m. The buffet will be served starting at noon, and the Boat Drunks will perform from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

To learn more about the Boat Drunks, visit <>. To follow the band or to hear samples of their music, visit their Facebook page.

who: Boat Drunks

what: VonJakobville festival and Jimmy Buffett tribute

where: Von Jakob Orchard

when: Saturday, January 28

Conch Republic: A Blazin’ Beach Sunset Concert

Venues & Businesses
Carbondale Sunset Concert Series

Who: Conch Republic
What: Sunset Concert Series (tropical rock)
When: 2011-07-07
Conch Republic: A Blazin’ Beach Sunset Concert
T.J. Jones
Video Comentary

It’ll be perfectly acceptable if concert-goers come to the Thursday, July 7 Sunset Concert at Turley Park decked out in swimming suits, grass skirts, and Hawaiian shirts. The Conch Republic will put on a beach party, and everyone will be invited to celebrate the music of iconic beach and tropical-rock groups like the Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffett. And heck, you don’t have to worry about getting sand stuck anywhere or getting sunburned!

Since Cinco de Mayo 2006, when the band played their first show, the Conch Republic have performed for thousands of eager music lovers. Based in Lexington, Kentucky, the band features lead singer Rich “Schooner” McGuire, guitarist and ukulele player Shannon “Skelly Mon” Gritton, bassist Bud “Vegas” McKinley, percussionist “Margarita” Mike Horvath, singer “Señ ora” Theresa Thomas, and guitarist Mike “Panama” Thomas.

“The energy and the fun is the first draw,” Señ ora says. “I am very much a beach person. I am an island girl, and have always been drawn to the ocean and that kind of lifestyle and the lifestyle portrayed in a lot of the Jimmy Buffett songs.”

Originally from Mount Vernon, Illinois, Thomas is thrilled to return to her old stomping grounds.

“I’m so excited to get back to the Southern Illinois area!” Señ ora says. “I am so excited to actually be able to perform and tell all my old friends on Facebook, ‘Hey come down and see the band!’”

Besides the actual music, a Conch Republic show features limbo and hula-hoop contests, leis and beads will be available, and you’ll probably see some beach balls floating around.

“What sets us apart from other trop-rock bands and Jimmy Buffett-inspired bands is the energy,” Señ ora says. “It’s what made me want to join the band— to get up and perform and get people involved. Our whole goal is to get everyone to have a great time. That’s definitely a draw to me, because that’s fun!”

One of the band’s most exciting gigs was opening for the Beach Boys in Mississippi at the Gold Strike Casino. The New Year’s Eve show was definitely a full house.

“That was a wonderful experience,” Señ ora says. “We got to meet them during sound check. My husband [Michael] actually talked with [honorary Beach Boys member] John Stamos. He is a really huge Disney fan, as is my husband. They struck up a conversation about Disney and talked for about forty-five minutes and showed each other pictures of things they’ve seen and done at Disney [parks]. Stamos has a wonderful collection of Disney memorabilia that’s incredible. We were all around during sound check and they talked Disney some more. They’re all really nice guys.”

The band is currently recording a second CD, entitled Splash, which will mostly be original songs. At the Turley Park Gazebo, the Conch Republic will mostly play cover songs of crowd favorites and will even take a request or two. For Señ ora and her amigos, it’s all about having fun.

“I love looking out and seeing everybody smiling, people on their feet, moving to the music with their hands in the air,” she says. “That makes the show for us. When you look out and see people dancing in their seats or dancing in the aisles, the dance floor, or coming up to the stage to request songs, it makes us feel like we’re really doing our job. Imagine having a hobby you enjoy doing that you can share with hundreds or sometimes thousands of people at the same time!”

Find out more at <>.

who: Conch Republic

what: Sunset Concert Series (tropical rock)

where: Turley Park Gazebo

when: Thursday, July 7

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