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Yard Dogs member to play at Memorial Day celebration; Kuchler, band comes off major U.S. tour

By Staff | May 19, 2008

Most Pine Islander’s know Charlie Kuchler as the barefooted accordion player who helps keep the audience on its toes with his up-tempo performances with the Yard Dogs. While still an important element of the popular trio, as of late, Kuchler has struck out on his own to do some solo performances.

As the headliner at Mardi Gras Mondays hosted by the Hogfish Grill in St. James City, Kuchler draws a crowd from near and far to enjoy his fun-filled performances, and once again, he will be at the Hogfish for a special Memorial Day Picnic.

The “All-American Memorial Day Barbeque and Picnic” will take place on Monday, May 26, with a performance by Kuchler from 2 to 5 p.m., and will feature ribs, barbecue chicken, burgers, corn on the cob, baked beans and potato salad — all for a reasonable cost.

In addition to playing the accordion, Kuchler also is famed for his mastering of the keyboard as well. A lifelong musician, he has performed with the likes of legendary great C.J. Chenier, Buckwheat Zydeco and Jimmy Buffett. During his long career, Kuchler has performed at the House of Blues, Milwaukee’s Summerfest and in Ohio at Put-In-Bay.

With the Yard Dogs, not only has he performed regularly at Bert’s Bar and Grill in Matlacha, but the group is also a frequent headliner at Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa, Pinchers Crabshack in Fort Myers and at the Green Parrot and the Schooner Wharf Bar in Key West. Recently returning from a tour in the Midwest, the Yard Dogs have spread its fun near and far with stops in Milwaukee, Madison, Iowa and along the Mississippi River. Other venues include the Cajun/Zydeco Festival in Deerfield Beach, the Watertown Riverfest in Watertown, Wis., and more. Specializing in blends of zydeco, blues, bluegrass, Cajun, country, folk and rock, the Yard Dogs have sold thousands of copies of its first CD, “Live at Bert’s Bar,” which was followed by “Welcome to Paradise” and a third CD, “Matlacha Reeboks.” The latest CD released by the trio in November 2007 is called “Are We In Canada Yet?”, which was recorded live at the Wisconsin State Fair.

The Hogfish Waterfront Grill is at 3135 Stringfellow Road in St. James City. For more information about the All-American Memorial Day Barbeque and Picnic, call the Hogfish at 283-5300.