Tuesday, December 7, 2021

JRobert’s Showcase Proves Musical Dreams Come True

Ray Cerbone invites audience members to sing along. Organizer JRobert looks on. Photos by Scott H. Shook

Ray Cerbone invites audience members to sing along. Organizer JRobert looks on. Photos by Scott H. Shook

By Scott H. Shook

Marco Island’s JRobert is giving Marco Island residents a musical gift with his 13-week-long Florida Songwriters Showcase, held every Monday night at the Marco Players Theatre.

The latest artists to entertain the locals were Ray Cerbone on July 24 and Captn Jac on July 31. Chances are you haven’t heard of either of them. But their musical story is worth telling—and witnessing live. And that’s exactly what they do…sing original songs and tell stories about how those songs came to be.

The Florida Songwriters Showcase uniquely presents the artists—accompanied by JRobert, Marco’s Artist of the Year for 2016—in an hour-long set of their original material. Much of the artists’ original material is either written in—or about—Florida. The stories told often tell familiar stories of Midwesterners finding the courage to make the move to South Florida—then wondering why it took them so long. Another common theme is to ruminate about the plethora of subjects that make living the Florida lifestyle so appealing.

Cerbone shared with the audience how he began his musical exploration by learning how to play Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind” as a teenager in the 1960s. Little did he know that 50 years later a group that has sold over 20 million albums would be inviting him to be their frontman.

That’s exactly what happened for Cerbone when Godsmack leaders decided they liked his style. Quite a leap for a guy whose previous musical highlight was cofounding the American Community Music Association in Fort Myers. Cerbone and his Godsmack bandmates have

Captn Jac entertained the Marco Players Theatre crowd with his infectious brand of Trop- Rock music

Captn Jac entertained the Marco Players Theatre crowd with his infectious brand of Trop- Rock music

formed a blues band called The Blue Cross Band. Shannon Larkin of Godsmack latched onto Cerbone because he heard Jim Morrison of the Doors in his voice. Attendees at the Florida Songwriters Showcase walked away with an understanding of what Larkin saw in Cerbone.

Captn Jac was the latest to entertain the Marco Players Theatre crowd. Captn Jac has been doing his Jimmy Buffett tribute show for years—but his performance Monday July 31 showed that he has plenty of Trop-Rock chops himself.

It’s hard not to think of Jimmy Buffett— who wrote the Tiki Bar song to end all Tiki Bar songs, “Margaritaville”—when listening to Captn Jac. And Captn Jac doesn’t hide his affection for Buffett, wearing a Margaritaville ball cap to top his unusual jacket that looks like a prop from a bygone pirate movie. Captn Jac even performed at Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant in Key West.

Captn Jac’s set of originals had the audience clapping their hands and tapping their feet as the hour seemed to slip by quickly. But there was more for the audience after a get-together provided the audience an opportunity to enjoy a drink, conversation, and pick up a CD or two. Following a question and answer period, Captn Jac joined JRobert and friends for a jam session that many feel is a highlight of the Florida Songwriter Showcase.

Tampa Folk Radio show host Pete Gallagher and Pat Barmore will take the stage August 7, and Andy Wahlberg will show some fancy moves on his harpguitar on August 14. Tickets are available at TheMarco- Players.com and 239-642-7270.

2 responses to “JRobert’s Showcase Proves Musical Dreams Come True”

  1. Linda Ickes says:

    Scott, Great article! Thanks for capturing the essence and purpose of the J.Robert Florida Songwriter Showcase. We appreciate your work, The Marco Players Theater

  2. Keith Klipstein says:

    The depth of J Robert’s talent, his vast collection of Florida’s musical heritage and his network of exceptional singer songwriters make his Showcase a “must go and enjoy” event. I think Garrison Keillor would approve heartily… actually J Robert would be his very capable successor. Perhaps it’s time for the Prairie Home Companion to relocate to Marco Island from edge of the very cold Minnesota Prairie.

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