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Noted musicians gathering for Low Key Tiki Song Writers Fest in St. James City

By Staff | Jan 2, 2013

A large get-together will be held at Low Key Tiki, which the public is invited to attend, this month of music writers, performers and producers who have known each other for almost a half of a century.

Joe Sun, Brent Moyer, Austin Church, Nick Branch, Jimmy Louis, Jimmy Jensen, Downtown Larry Brown, Tumbleweed Ted Handley, Craig Stranger Terry, Bo Roberts and Chris Newbury are all expected to participate in the Song Writers Fest.

Louis, a resident of St. James City, said those who are performing have been in the business for more than 40 years and all know each other quite well.

He began in the music industry when he was 15. Louis, now 65, had the pleasure of being the songwriter for Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings during his career.

For the past 27 years, the Flora-Bama Lounge Package & Oyster Bar has held the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival where many of them play together.

“We have known each other for years, passed each other on the road, worked in studios together,” he said, adding that it is quite an array of people who are all veterans in the business. “Cream of the crop of people that I have known for 50 years.”

The Low Key Tiki Song Writers Fest, Louis said, is being held during a time when everyone decides to head south to escape the cold climates and see old friends.

Although this is the first year the festival will be held at Low Key Tiki, the gathering of artist has been done for many years at Jensen’s Marine on Captiva Island. Louis said many Pine Islanders could not get over to Jensen’s, so they decided to hold an event on Captiva Island, as well as St. James City.

Louis said another reason they are all gathering is to finish a song “Viet-Vets,” which has been in the works for the past 15 years. Once all the musicians are in town, he said approximately 20-30 of them will all go into the studio the Monday after the Song Writers Fest at Low Key Tiki to finish recording the song.

A video is also in the works for the 10-minute-long song, which is being donated to the Vietnam Veterans Association. Louis said he is going to turn the rights over to the association once everything is completed.

“We want to give it to them,” he said.

The inaugural Low Key Tiki Song Writers Fest is a gift to the community from the musicians, Louis said.

“We did this because we love it,” he said.

Although original songs will be performed, Louis almost guarantees that some songs will be written on stage because when a bunch of them gather together the music always grows.

“We would like to make it an annual thing,” he said of the festival.

Jensen, who plays with Corky and the Trouble Starters, said the festival will be a great afternoon of music from musicians who live in the Panhandle, east coast of Florida and Nashville.

“It’s great that we have so many great songwriters in the area at the same time,” he said, adding that it will be a great show with so many different people.

The Low Key Tiki Song Writers Fest will be held Jan. 13 from 1-5 p.m. in St. James City.