Nothing says you’ve jumped to Island Time like the steel drum, or as “steel pan” as it’s called in the Caribbean. Something about those high, hollow-sounding notes just flips that much-needed relaxation switch. Suddenly you’re feeling sand between your toes and imagining a huge expanse of sky and ocean.
In terms of steel drums/steel pan (pronounced “pon” if you’re West Indian) Zickie and I have heard the unbelievably good to the strictly amateur, so it was excellent to discover a talented musician, Lightning Jack, and his band, Tropic Thunder, jamming out in our home base of Florida.
(You’ll catch them primarily in the Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater-Sarasota area, playing gigs from Treasure Island to Siesta Key.)
One impressive fact: Lightning Jack’s steel instruments were made in Trinidad, the world capital of blow-your-mind steel pan, at Merlin Gill’s Pan Shop. (This dude ain’t kidding around, as they say.) So when he performs, especially at a beach bar, you’re immediately transported to that happy island place.
Interested in a couple of free songs? Click on Lightning Jack’s Facebook page for two FREE Mp3 downloads (look on the left side under Apps). My personal favorite is “Camille,” because the upbeat lyrics and catchy melody get wedged in your brain.
“To spend my life with you,
Like my wildest dreams come true.
Wake up next to you each and every day…”
If you dig his stuff, you can find a link to purchase his two recorded albums, Treasure Island Blues and the awesomely beach-y Christmas in Florida, on the Lightning Jack website. Hope you enjoy!
Do you have a favorite island band or musician we’ve never heard of? Leave us a comment or shoot us an email at email@example.com.
One thing is certain: in life, you can never have too much music.
(All photos courtesy of Lightning Jack/Facebook)