Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

The Day The Music Died On Amelia Island

A long long time ago
I can still remember how
That music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a while

But January made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
Something touched me deep inside
The day the music died

Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Don McLean

Early Monday morning the music died on Amelia Island.

Popular local musician, my friend, and friend to so many more, Dan Voll (60), passed away following a stroke suffered almost three weeks ago.

A native of Baraboo, Wisconsin, Dan moved to Amelia Island in 2010 and immediately picked, sang, grinned and charmed his way into the hearts of locals and visitors. He was quickly offered a regular Friday evening slot at downtown Fernandina Beach’s Green Turtle where he, bassist/vocalist Michelle Anders, and drummer/vocalist Nico Findeisen, became regular performers with an always enthusiastic standing room only audience.

As word of this incredibly talented guitarist’s talent spread, he was in demand by every musical venue on the island including a regular Tuesday evening slot at PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden, Sunday evenings with Michelle on the Salty Pelican’s balcony, Wednesday’s at the now shuttered Alley Cat, regular performances at Sliders, The Surf, Ritz Carlton, Amelia River Cruises sunset sailings, David’s, Sandy Bottoms/Sandbar, the Omni Plantation Resort, Falcon’s Nest, The Patio and many more. He also performed with the popular local Beech Street Blues Band, and appeared many times at the local farmer’s market, the annual Sounds on Centre sessions in downtown Fernandina Beach as well as many other local events and concerts. He was in huge demand outside of his island home as well with numerous requests to perform at venues as far ranging as New York and California.

Dan & Michelle at the Green Turtle

He may have been the best guitarist in northeast Florida as his exceptional talent drew praise from professional musicians as well as appreciative audiences. He combined that extraordinary skill with an “Aw shucks” stage presence that made every person in the audience feel he was singing directly to them. Without missing a beat he would call out audience members names, sing one of his many versions of happy birthday to them, or point to someone in the audience and say “this one’s for you (name)” and then break into a song they had requested days ago or through an email to him. Dan’s versatility was obvious as he effortlessly blended genres ranging from rock, pop and blues to jazz, country and Latin music.

He sported a dry wit and an unassuming, easy-going nature that brought out the best in his audiences and those that were fortunate enough to be called his friend. He was free with praise for those close to him and if he disliked anyone he kept that to himself, as none of those that knew him well can recall him uttering a harsh word about anyone, a rare quality indeed. He was rarely seen — indoors or out — without his trademark straw fedora and could be spotted often biking around the island.

Dan began playing guitar when he was nine, studied in Los Angeles with recording artist Ted Greene and is the recipient of a number of music awards. He happily transferred his guitar playing skills by teaching local primary school-age pupils and performed many times for grateful crowds at the island’s two senior facilities.

His last performance was with the drummer/vocalist Les DeMerle, singer Bonnie Eisele and keyboard player Doug Matthews on New Year’s Eve at the Amelia Island Club.

In an article in Jacksonville’s “First Coast Magazine” last year Dan summed up his career saying that his self-image and objectives have evolved with age and experience. “Originally, I wanted to be an ‘important’ guitar player. Now I just want to make someone smile,” he said. He said he wanted his music to “make everybody feel like somebody, at least for a little while.” He accomplished that and more. On Tuesday Fernandina Beach Mayor Johnny “Sunbeam” Miller and Dan’s close friend, Pajamadave Voorhees, lowered the flag flying in front of the town’s marina to half mast to honor one of the island’s most beloved residents.

Following the airplane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. Richardson (the “Big Bopper”) in 1959 many of us listened to the words to Don McLean’s song “American Pie” and thought we understood what he meant. However, when the words are put  together with pictures and film clips the song takes on a new meaning for those of us that knew Dan, and with his passing the song may be even more fitting. Watch the video here and judge for yourself:

Dan is survived by his immediate family in Wisconsin including his Mother Shirley Churchill Voll, brother Jeff Voll, sister-in-law Cheryl, sister Lisa Johnson and nieces Arielleela Flores and Ashley Voll, as well as girl friend Donna Carine, close friends PajamaDave Voorhees, Zan Maddox, Susan and Flip Gallion, Jeff Malone, “Shel” Anders and many, many more. He was preceded in death by his father, Carl Voll in 2016.

A celebration of his life will be planned to honor this extraordinary man and details will be announced as they become available.


Hot Air Department: Florida has experienced 119 hurricanes since 1850 but the left says the last one was due to climate change.


Surrender Then Declare Victory: The U.S. Government officially reopened Monday afternoon after a three day temper tantrum from Democrats over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sounded retreat, then declared victory, and announced that Democrats would vote in favor of reopening. The final vote was 81-18.

In forcing a government shutdown Democrats sent a message to American citizens that they don’t care about them, their safety, their jobs, or their culture and that they will stop at nothing to remake our country. That move badly backfired as polling from Harvard-Harris showed Democrats following Schumer’s lead to shutdown the government on the issue of illegal immigration was wildly unpopular among the majority of Americans.

Schumer and his mob of mindless minority minions thought DACA was a certain winner politically, because all of their slanted big media polls have been telling them that. But when it came time to actually act, the public burned their phones with anger.

The entire episode revealed the appalling disregard with which the American people are held by Democrats. For example, California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein issued a dire warning Thursday, January 18 that a government shutdown will lead to people dying and other terrible things. She didn’t care.

“Shutting down the government is a very serious thing. People die, accidents happen. You don’t know. Necessary functions can cease,” Feinstein told CNN. “There is no specific list you can look at and make a judgment: ‘Well everything is going to be just fine.’ You can’t make that judgment. So, I think it’s a last resort. And I’m really hopeful we don’t get to it.”

Her claim is revealing considering the fact she said people would die if the government shutdown and she voted for exactly that to happen.

When asked, “Would you favor or oppose Democrats voting to shut the government down if the continuing budget resolution does not include restoring so-called DACA work permits for undocumented immigrants brought here illegally by their parents?” 58 percent of voters responded with “oppose.”

I didn’t think the NFL’s national anthem kneeling knuckleheads could be upstaged for their ignorance and idiocy but the Democrats in the Senate did just that as 49 of them voted for the shutdown, putting the needs of 800,000 illegal aliens ahead of the 350 million American Citizens.

I’ve never once heard a logical explanation of why Democrats think we should welcome anyone who wants to come to this country illegally, ever. The only reason they could possibly endorse such a wanton disregard for the country’s borders, laws, security, economy and welfare of its citizens is that they are hoping that once Americans stop voting for them, they’ll be importing people who will.


Speaking Of Democrats: I’ll never understand the thought process of a Democrat. Not one voted for the tax cuts that are now incentivizing companies — large and small — to increase wages, provide millions of dollars in employee bonuses, expand their businesses and work forces, and repatriate billions in taxes. Obviously Democrats don’t want us to have the tax cuts we are about to receive, don’t want us to have more money in our bank accounts, and don’t want more and better jobs for us and our families.  Why do Democrats hate their fellow citizens so much?


Things I Wish I’d Said: “It’s been so long since I made love I can’t even remember who gets tied up.” … Joan Rivers.


The Silly Hat Brigade: Thousands of shrill women with time on their hands and wearing stupid hats marched around various cities in the U.S. again this past Sunday screaming at men to stop looking at them. They could have saved their breath as most guys were quaffing beer and watching the New England Patriots beat the Jacksonville Jaguars for a berth in the Feb. 5 Super Bowl as the hysterical harpies shrieked, “You better take us seriously.” Imagine how relieved a husband or boyfriend of one of these gals must have been when she headed out the door announcing she’s going to march for equality as he sighs gratefully, grabs a beer, sinks into an easy chair in the den, and turns on the game.


Popularity contest: According to North American Moving Services, the top five inbound U.S. states were Arizona, No. 1 with 67 percent of moves into the state vs. 37 percent outbound, followed by Idaho (63 percent in, 37 percent out), North Carolina (67-38 percent), South Carolina (62-38 percent) and Tennessee (58-42 percent).  The top five inbound states mentioned above have GOP-controlled legislatures while four of the top five outbound states have Democrat-controlled legislatures. The American Enterprise Institute points out, “Since the top inbound states are relatively low-tax, business-friendly, fiscally healthy and high-growth states and the top outbound states are relatively high-tax, business-unfriendly, fiscally unhealthy and low-growth states, the difference in party control of the state legislatures is exactly what one might expect.” Source, Georgia Public Policy Foundation.


They Did What? The chuckleheads that run the NFL requested that the organization American Veterans (AMVETS) submit a Super Bowl advertisement then promptly rejected it because it asked viewers to stand for the national anthem.  Apparently those suffering brain damage in the NFL are not all on the playing field.


Property Rights Vs. Local Busybodies: Last year, Airbnb helped Floridians earn $450 million in supplemental income by allowing homeowners to offer up rooms or entire houses for tourists and travelers, according to Sunshine State News. Two Florida legislators have introduced legislation to reduce local government interference. They say their bills are commonsense solutions for property owners who they believe should have the right to rent their private property. The pair of bills — SB 1400 and HB 773 — would limit the ability of local governments to regulate vacation rentals. The power to regulate vacation rentals would instead be granted to the Florida Division of Hotels and Restaurants, which licenses, inspects and regulates public lodging and food service establishments. Sponsors of the legislation are Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, and Rep. Mike La Rosa, R-St. Cloud. This should cause anti-property rights Fernandina Beach Commissioner Chip “Dr. Strangelove” Ross and his sidekick, Ron “Get Off My Lawn You Little Bastards” Sapp major heat burn and anguish. Good!


Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Some of the best happy hour and food prices I’ve seen in a while are just off the island at Shuckers on Old Nassauville Road. Happy hour there is Monday through Friday 4-7 with draft beer just $1.50 and wine $3.50. But the best deal is all day every Monday and every Thursday when oysters are just $7 a dozen. And Saturday from 5-9 p.m. it’s all you can eat fish and shrimp for $17. I can’t find comparable prices anywhere on the island or off. And Shuckers is soon to be even closer for island residents once its new facility — the old Cotton Eye Joe — just west of the Shave Bridge east-bound lane of Highway 220 is completed.

  • Comment (20)
  • Beautiful tribute to a beautiful man who will be sorely missed. Too bad you had to ruin the post with politics. The whole country would be better off if everyone would try to find common ground instead of the constant criticism and name calling.

  • 1) Dan Voll seemed like a family member because he personally cared for all of us by name. His musicality and goodness reeked from his soul and he will be missed. I purchased 10 CDs when they first came out and listened 3x yesterday. Hard to hold the tears in my eyes.

    2) My husband loves Shucker’s raw oysters (which I think is similar to slimy snot). I like everything else. New location will be just before VFW – VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS, and Down Under. Maybe the road will get paved????

  • Reading the lyrics of Don McLean and thinking about local legend Dan Voll sent shivers down my spine. Your tribute was poignant and heartfelt as well – and changing Johnny’s name (albeit temporarily I assume) to Sunbeam was noticed and a very nice touch.

    So you have a heart after all, Dave. Who knew?

    As usual, we disagreed on most everything else you wrote regarding national politics, but you keep me reading every week and that should count for something. Agree or not, I look forward to Friday morning every week you post.

  • Dave, what a wonderful tribute to Dan. He played at the Nassau County Council on Aging events and was loved by all. You picked the right song … “the day the music died.”

  • I think those two bills are not the solution you think they will be. More than likely, given such control, the state organization will impose licensing requirements on people renting out their property, and rules that will make it next to impossible for them to do so and still make money. The hotels HATE airb’n’b. They aren’t all that fond of regular bed & breakfast outfits either. You’re going to end up with more gummint, not less.

  • Wonderful tribute. Yes, music on this island and Dan Voll (also The Macys)?Synonymous in my opinion. Everywhere I’d go either seemed to be playing the venue that evening. Sail on Dan. Thank you sir for the memories…

  • A beautiful tribute to a beautiful musician. I’m sorry to hear about the death of Mr. Voll. Our community is so fortunate and blessed to have enjoyed his voice.

  • Glad you are back on Island missed your posts.People,Dave’s blog is part politics and local food and entertainment.Deal with it!

  • Excellent tribute. Dan will be missed by everyone that knew him or heard him perform. Guitar master.


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