Island Issues

Sometimes ‘The Sound Of Music’ Is Too Much; But Many Local Bands Hit The Right Note

Sometimes ‘The Sound Of Music’ Is Too Much; But Many Local Bands Hit The Right Note

Musician plays a synthesizer in abandoned industrial interior

Not too long ago I walked into an off-island restaurant, took a seat and while looking over the menu, asked the waiter if he could turn down the ear-splitting music that was piped in from ceiling speakers. He said: “No, the guys in the kitchen like it.”

As I laid the menu on the table, walked toward the exit and looked around the empty dining room I came to the conclusion that the folks in the kitchen were the only ones that liked it.

Why do so many bars and restaurants insist on blasting their patrons with piped in music at a jack-hammer volume, much of it unintelligible gibberish that drowns out any attempt at table conversation and requires that you scream your order at a tone-deaf waitress?

Live music is just as bad when a group of guys that resemble unmade beds set up speakers the size of Volkswagens in a bar or restaurant the size of a minivan then begin playing only for what appears to be for their own enjoyment or that of their goo-goo-eyed girlfriends sitting adoringly next to the stage.

And get ready to head for the exits when they announce they are going to perform some of their own compositions, a combination of screeching and electrical malfunctions guaranteed to peel paint. Their first and last attempts at a decipherable language are when the band sets up and constantly repeats ” “Check, one, two, three..” And the only time they recognize the folks sitting at the tables in front of them trying to yell a conversation at each other is when they point out the location of their band’s tip jar.


Dan & Michele

However, Amelia Island is blessed with exceptions to this chaos with some very, very talented musicians such as guitarist Dan Voll, and his bassist Michele Anders; Kathy & Phil Maphey, aka The Macys; tuxedo-clad piano man John Springer; fiddle-gal Amy Basse; the Davis Turner Band; Beech Street Blues Band and the Amelia Island Big Band, talent that knows how to entertain and keeps audiences coming back for more no matter where they perform.

promo pix

The Macys

Good music, understandable lyrics, respect for the audience, understanding that loud doesn’t necessarily mean good, mixed with solid talent is the trademark of these folks and will assure them of repeat audiences wherever they perform. Bands aspiring to pick up local gigs can learn a lot watching these pros perform.

If want an enjoyable evening out with some very pleasant entertainment you’ll find it wherever these groups are performing.


Sleepy Time Gal: During a January 19, 2016 reading of a couple of proposed tree ordinances at a meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commission, local environmental activist Julie Ferreira said: “We have to put up with a lot from the mills.” She claimed that she has been unable to sleep at night since she moved to the island due to noise from the Rayonier operation. That’s like the guy who built a house next to the airport and then complained about the noise from the planes. I don’t know how long Ms. Ferreira has lived there but she must be a very tired lady.


Getting On track: Studies I’ve read say that the deepening of Savannah, Georgia’s port will lead to an increase in truck and rail freight traffic in Georgia. Craig Camuso of CSX told the Georgia State Board of Transportation last week that one CSX train is the equivalent of about 280 trucks. Well, that could take some of those log trucks off our roads if the mills used more rail transportation. But don’t toot that horn when going past Ms. Ferreira’s house.


Read All About It! Oh Never Mind! The two online news organizations — NC FL Independent and the Fernandina Observer – both reported very early this week that the city of Fernandina Beach was close to reaching a settlement with fired Human Resources Director Robin Marley leaving the bi-weekly News-Leader without much of a story for its Wednesday, January 27 edition, which it headlined on page 1 anyway and still managed to screw up. In her lawsuit, which was scheduled to go to trial Feb. 22nd, Ms. Marley contends that she was fired after bringing concerns about “gross mismanagement” within the city’s fire department to former City Manager Joe Gerrity’s attention. And while Gerrity fired Ms. Marley with Ms. Bach’s blessing, by the end of November, the city said it had spent more than $46,000 on legal fees with the Miami law firm of Bryant Miller Olive, where City Attorney Tammi Bach farmed out the case. The News-Leader incorrectly identified the city’s free-lance lawyer as being from a Jacksonville firm instead of the Miami firm. The paper also got the name of his firm wrong. And if any of the news outlets had done a little digging they would also have discovered that David Miller, who handled the city’s case for the Miami law firm, graduated from Stetson with a law degree in 1998 the year before Fernandina City Attorney Bach graduated from the same school with her law degree. There’s nothing wrong with that I guess, but it does seem odd that Ms. Bach would have to go all the way to Miami to find an attorney to handle this case. Or am I missing something here?


White Oak A White Knight For A Black Panther? On the Nassau County Rants, Raves & Review Facebook site Cari Cahill, who says she is District Coordinator for the Nassau Soil and Water Conservation District, gave a thumbs up to White Oak Plantation for their prompt response to an inquiry she made regarding a Florida panther. On the site she said: “I often receive misdirected calls that don’t have anything to do with what we actually do. I usually refer them to the proper place but when I received a call yesterday from a man in Baker county who has a problem with a panther who suddenly isn’t afraid of humans, I knew I had to personally handle it and call the appropriate people before something unspeakable happened to either the folks in his neighborhood or to the panther. He had already called fish and game as well as a few other state agencies and somehow ended up with my number. I called White Oak and their big cat specialist immediately responded. Hopefully I’ll hear more about what happens with the panther but I just wanted to send a shout out to White Oak Plantation. They’re a first-class organization that Nassau County is extremely fortunate to have.” I hope to hear more about the outcome of this and good for Ms. Cahill for calling it to our attention.


Mark Your Calendar: Nan Kavanaugh, editor of First Coast Magazine, will be the speaker at the next meeting of the European American Business Association (EABC), Tuesday, February 9 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Amelia River Golf Club, 4477 Buccaneer Trail. The EABC is a group of like-minded folks from various parts of the globe who live on Amelia Island and meet to share ideas, drinks and hear from invited thought leaders but you don’t have to hold a foreign passport to join in, as all are welcome for a fee of $12 that covers the cost of food served buffet style at these events. There is also a cash bar. By the way, Ms. Kavanaugh, who now lives in Jacksonville, is a seventh generation Amelia Island native and was instrumental in creating the glossy First Coast publication that has featured a variety of area people, businesses and attractions the past few months. She is also the daughter of proud dad, Clinch Kavanaugh, local island attorney and gadfly.


Happy Birthday! Really? A friend told me that one of his favorite breakfast places, is Denny’s, which has a slogan: “If it’s your birthday, the meal is on us.” Well, if you’re in Denny’s and it’s your birthday… happy is probably not what you must be feeling.


Voluntary Giving: Americans are the world’s most generous people, according to the new Almanac of American Philanthropy. And the wealthiest 1.4 percent of Americans are responsible for 86 percent of charitable donations made at death. Further, by 47-32 percent, Americans believe charitable groups are better than government in solving the nation’s social problems. — Georgia Public Policy Foundation.


So That’s Where Government Employees and Politicians Came From: In the sequel to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy titled “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe,” the late literary genius Douglas Adams mentioned a race called the Golgafrinchans. The Golgafrichans had been in a world faced with overpopulation and solved this problem by convincing a third of their population to embark on a space journey to colonize other worlds, telling them the world was going to end and the rest of the population would be along shortly. This third of their population included such “useless” people as middle managers, public relations executives and telephone sanitizers. Ironically the two-thirds left behind on Golgafricha are killed off by a phone spread virus while the useless third fly off and eventually become the human race on Earth.


Random Thoughts: I have never met a wealthy person named Spike, Spider or Slick? *** While driving through south Georgia I’ve always wondered what it is about abandoned cars that make folks there use them as landscape ornaments.


So Who Investigates The IRS? According to Theo Caldwell of the Washington-D.C.-based Daily Caller “Lost” emails should be the end of the IRS.

In his article Caldwell says: “The most officious, militant and corrupt tax authority in the world, the IRS, maintains the threat of force against citizens. But that is all it has. How can anyone – left, right or indifferent – respect them again? Transparent dishonesty and blatant corruption have stripped the IRS of whatever legitimacy it once possessed,” he writes.

“This president has proved impervious to scandal, or even basic scrutiny – because the bureaucracy and the Left are one.”

According to Caldwell, claims by the Internal Revenue Service that they’ve “lost” emails from Lois Lerner and a half-dozen other employees pertinent to the agency’s targeting of conservative groups represent just such dual scorn.

He blasts the IRS’s claim that Lerner’s emails are lost saying: “As is well known to anyone who runs a business – or, anyone who’s rushed their laptop to a strip-mall repair shop – there is almost always some way to recover emails and hard drive data. This is especially true of networks with backup protocols and storage requirements, such as the IRS requires of the private entities and individuals they audit.”

From the outset, the IRS has responded to this matter in ways it would never accept from taxpayers.

Democrats, the party of government, reflexively leap to the defense of the IRS, and left-leaning sympathizers roll their eyes at the suggestion of disbanding it, as though America could not survive without this malignant agency, which has existed for less than half of the nation’s history.

Remove taxation entirely from the realms of income, health, religion, speech, charity, and the myriad other aspects of daily life infected by its touch say some of the Republican presidential contenders. Under a consumption tax, when you buy something, you pay a tax on that transaction, and that is the end of your obligation to finance the federal government and the end of the corrupt IRS.



Mitch Sturges - 30. Jan, 2016 -

Dave, when are you going to write about the corrupt sheriff we have in this county? All of a sudden this individual has trained his sights on our little island and from my own experience, being pulled over for, “not stopping completely while exiting a private business” with no stop sign or yield sign is unacceptable. This has happened multiple times to people I know personally. Then, last night, they had a so-called “narcotics checkpoint” where they arrested more than 40 people and impounded 30 cars. The police state has come to our little island and like myself, the residents here are tired of it. From getting pulled over for laws that don’t exist, to seeing sheriff’s officers posted up at exits of establishments, this overreach has gone too far. I know Leeper personally considering my father in law was a FHP officer killed in the line of duty and he always came across as a slimy bastard. That’s the type of thing that needs to be brought to the attention of your readers, we are seen as nothing but revenue generators anymore…

John Hornsby - 30. Jan, 2016 -

Being a musician and playing many of the local bars I would like to add by saying that their are many bands and musicians that play music, and many who have no business pumping out noise that they believe is music.

tony crawford - 29. Jan, 2016 -

Dave. please forgive me for at least agreeing with you on one point. The music. I have also walked out of many places that were offensive to what is left of my hearing. As usual, an informitive and interesting blog. I do, however, take exception to your knock on Julie. You may not agree with her and her positions on the enviroment, after all you are a Conservitive. I would call you a Republican but that could be offensive in today’s world. Julie has dedicated more time and energy to issues that are passionate to her and to many on our Island and we should all respect that fact. She is a fighter. in many ways both you and Julie are of the same mold, you are both passionate about issues that concern you.

Dave Lott - 29. Jan, 2016 -

Great blog as usual covering a wide range of subjects. The loud music is one of my pet peeves as well and we will turn around and leave if when we open the door and the blast hits us right away. Sometimes we turn away before we open the door as the volume is so loud we start to hear it when we get out of our car in the parking lot.
I hope by the time of your next blog Robin Marley will have been or in the process of being reinstated and moving forward. Just some additional information about Bryant, Miller and Oliver (law firm representing the City in the litigation). Their “head office” was/is in Tallahassee with a similar sized office in Tampa. Their Jacksonville office is only slightly smaller than their Miami office but all of their Labor & Employment attorneys are based in their Miami office. My recollection is that the City has used the firm in previous labor related matters and I am sure that was a primary reason for the City Commission to approving the authorization to retain outside counsel in this matter.
Headed to the Keys for a couple of days celebrating our 43rd wedding anniversary and an early Valentines celebration as well. Hopefully the music will be playing at a reasonable level.

Chris Boelkes - 29. Jan, 2016 -

We just went to the “new” restaurant, Coast, at the Ritz Carlton. No music, but the hard walls and ceiling that replaced the padded cloth walls of the old Cafe, made dinner conversation almost impossible, even at a table for our. Once the noise level reaches a certain point everyone has to raise their voices to communicate, which just increases the noise level resulting in louder conversation, ad infinitum. We will never return…there are too many nice restaurants on and around the island to put up with that.

George Clements - 29. Jan, 2016 -

Couldn’t agree with you more, Dave, about the “noise” that many bands create in places where you still want to have a conversation. One key, for me, is whether the so-called musicians are using amplification. I was sad to see that one of the couples you cited, Dan and Michele, have cords hanging from their instruments. Couldn’t tell about the Macys.

Where I live a young woman started a small jazz club, installed some well-designed acoustic ceilings, offered a limited tapas-like menu, and proved that you can listen to good music and have a pleasant conversation at the same time. No electronics. Just music. And lots of customers.

To quote Yogi Berra, no one goes there any more because it is too crowded!

So, my advice to the many bar/restaurant owners who read this blog: take out the electronics and take a hard look at your ceilings and walls. You can reduce the noise.

Joe Murphy - 29. Jan, 2016 -

Would be wonderful to see a new tax structure here in he U.S. However I’m some what doubtful because of the corruption that exists between the government and industry in general. The PAC. ‘s associations and business that make tons off of the present tax codes.

Jeanne Wyatt - 29. Jan, 2016 -

So tired of hearing music that reverberates my body and heart. I’d like to listen to the sound, the harmonies, the true essence of a song. PLEASE musicians let us come with friends to enjoy and not have to put our ear plugs in.

Also, IRS comment: Pay as we go and save trillions on audits, preparation, printing forms, time, aggravation and misery. This nation is smarter than what is being offered by our government. Complicated tax law is impossible even for the enforcers to understand.

Tom Hughes - 29. Jan, 2016 -

Great Read Dave,

Thank you, thank you for addressing the loud music in bars / restaurants. Won’t go if I cannot hear, or carry on a conversation. Regards, Tom