Friday, October 19, 2018

JRobert’s Variety Show Marches On


Pat Barmore, JRobert and Peter Gallagher jam during the Florida Songwriters’ Showcase. Photos by Scott H. Shook

Pat Barmore, JRobert and Peter Gallagher jam during the Florida Songwriters’ Showcase. Photos by Scott H. Shook

Week after week Marco’s music impresario JRobert takes the stage at the Marco Players Theatre with a musical act that keeps the crowds coming back.

On August 7 Renaissance man Peter Gallagher shared the spotlight with JRobert and Pat Barmore, to the delight of the receptive crowd. On August 14 Andy Wahlberg drew a good crowd to hear him play his beautiful original songs—many about Florida—while playing his guitar-harp.

Gallagher was one of the most unique acts JRobert has brought to his 13-week Florida Songwriter’s Showcase. A former St. Petersburg Times reporter, Gallagher’s work has been nominated for Pulitzer prizes on three occasions. Listening to Gallagher’s songwriting one can see how his newspaper work would draw such respect.

Andy Wahlberg, playing a unique guitar-harp, gives the crowd two thumbs up after his triumphant performance.

Andy Wahlberg, playing a unique guitar-harp, gives the crowd two thumbs up after his triumphant performance.

The soft-spoken Gallagher, who hosts a Florida Folk radio show in Tampa, was content to accompany his longtime sidekick Barmore on bass for the first half of his set. But Gallagher’s true talent showed through when he strapped on his acoustic guitar and played a number of his own songs.

An audience favorite was a song called “Bobby Hicks,” where Gallagher had the audience shout “Bobby Hicks” every time he sang Bobby Hicks during the song. The audience loved it.

Songwriter and Renaissance man, Peter Gallagher, hosts a radio show and is vice president of the Jack Kerouac Foundation. As a reporter he was nominated for three Pulitzer prizes.

Songwriter and Renaissance man, Peter Gallagher, hosts a radio show and is vice president of the Jack Kerouac Foundation. As a reporter he was nominated for three Pulitzer prizes.

Another favorite was a song about Chokoloskee, an island by Everglades City. “There’s 10,000 islands, but only one Chokoloskee,” Gallagher said.

Wahlberg had a totally different vibe altogether as he had the audience spellbound while playing his guitar-harp—which likely was a foreign instrument to everyone in attendance.

Wahlberg assured the audience that the guitar-harp has been around for a long, long, time. And his mastery of the instrument should be enough to assure it will hang around for at least a few more decades.

The instrument is an acoustic guitar and bass wrapped into one. Wahlberg did a great job of laying down the bass line by thumbing the harp strings while making beautiful acoustic guitar music at the same time.

The Florida Songwriter’s Showcase marches on with Sawgrass Cindy Hackney starring August 21 and Joerey Ortiz taking center stage August 28. Tickets are available at TheMarcoPlayers.com and by calling 239-642-7270.

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