James “Sunny Jim” White was born in San Antonio, Texas. His earliest memories of live music are steeped in the sounds of the Texas swing bands to which his parents danced. The Texas twang of his guitar is part of his sound even today. James spent part of his adolescence on the Texas Gulf Coast in Corpus Christi, which sparked in him a love for the beach, surf music and the mystery of the eternal sea.
The White family moved to Southern California during the height of the Psychedelic Era (1969) where he soaked up the FM radio sounds of the times, with Motown, Memphis, the LA sound, and of course the San Francisco sound adding to the mix. Around this time James first picked up a guitar, and soon developed a passion that turned into a career.
Several years later, while pursuing music in Nashville, TN, he joined a band headed to the Cayman Islands for a year-long gig. The band left at the end of the contract, but James White had discovered his Caribbean soul and stayed.
He landed a gig at the world-class Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman and Britannia Resort where he was artist-in-residence for more than a
decade. Life in the Caribbean was good! “Sunny Jim” soaked up the sights and sounds of the West Indies and put them in his music, and he even taught himself to play the pan (steel drum).
The Cayman Islands is a crossroads for travelers from all corners of the world, and real characters ended up in his songs. Friendships forged there remain strong today, so his circle of friends extends to several ports of call in the islands. In 2000 Sunny Jim left the expatriate life and moved to Florida’s beautiful Suncoast, where he is now at home.
He is a regular on Jimmy Buffett’s Radio Margaritaville, broadcasted on Sirius Satellite radio. Sunny Jim’s relationship with Radio Margaritaville began in 1997 when Radio Margaritaville broadcasted his show live via the internet from the Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman on Seven Mile Beach.
For the past ten years, Sunny Jim has been an invited performer for “Meeting of the Minds,” the annual national Parrot Head Convention held in Key West, FL. He has also hosted fellow tropical troubadors at his yearly Sunday Songwriter’s Showcase at Blue Heaven, which has become a “must-attend” event for many wrapping up a wild weekend in Key West. Sunny Jim is also host of the annual Six String Music Festival in New Orleans.
He enjoys performing for purveyors of the island lifestyle from coast to coast. His schedule takes him to cities such as New York, Seattle, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Atlanta, Key West, Houston, Richmond and Phoenix among many others. His travels have also included going back to the Caribbean to perform in St.Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, the Bahamas and of course his old home, the Cayman Islands.
A versatile performer and musician, Sunny Jim is available as a solo act or with a full band, for events large and small. From wild Parrot Head parties to intimate backyard concerts, he is “living what he loves and lovin what he lives.”
|Fifty years ago, if you wanted a special night out, you may well have headed to a tiki bar. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, following the lead of Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic’s, tropical joints popped up all over the country, offering fruity rum cocktails (many of them with flaming garnishes) and pu pu platters of faux-Polynesian and -Chinese food. That’s not to mention exotic décor and entertainments from indoor rainstorms to hula girls.
Though tiki is again trendy today, these original palaces are a dying breed. However, there are some still around, which are definitely worth a visit. We asked New York bartender Brian Miller, who organizes weekly Tiki Mondays events and who will also be leading the sold-out Suburban Tiki Safari during next month’s Manhattan Cocktail Classic, for his seven favorites. Here are his recommendations. Just don’t forget your Hawaiian shirt!
Mai-Kai, 3599 North Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,954 563 3272:
Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar, 950 Mason Street, San Francisco, 415 772 5278:
Check out our complete guide for five more great tiki establishments.
A Quick Note from Loren Davidson
I know we’re all about the escape here, but I want to take a moment for current events. As I write this, I’ve spent a bit too much time watching the footage out of Boston during yesterday’s Marathon. Let’s take a moment to send our best wishes, and prayers if you do those, for all of the victims and their families, and for all of the first responders whose first impulse was to run *toward* the trouble. If it turns out there’s a way you can help these people, please do so.
And take a moment for yourself, to be grateful for what you have…your life, your health, your friends and family.
On the Road…to Florida!
I’m just a bit over a week away from hopping onto a Southwest 737 to Tampa to kick off a week of shows and good times with friends in southwest Florida. With shows in Tampa, Holmes Beach, and Port Charlotte, it’ll be a fun trip. If you’re in that part of the world, I hope you’ll come out to say hi. Check the show links below for more information.
Songwriter Showcase in San Rafael!
It’s that time of year again. My songwriting group is holding its annual showcase at the Belrose Theater in San Rafael on Saturday 5/11. We’ll have a dozen of the Bay Area’s best up and coming songwriters, including me, playing their best stuff in a really cool old playhouse/theater in downtown San Rafael. You can get your tickets here. The ticket page has links to the home pages of most of the musicians, so you can hear what we do. If there are any left at the door, we might be able to squeeze you in, but I really recommend buying them now.
Drink of the Month
And now, to answer this month’s question: What *is* blue and orange and tastes good? The Orange Bluetini! It’s colorful *and* tasty – sort of like a creamsicle, if you remember those. Check it out.
Here’s looking at you!
Behind the Drink: Rooster-Tail
Contributed by David Wondrich
It was during the darkest days of the Civil War. The spring of 1863. With the Union Army still licking its wounds from its disastrous defeat at Fredericksburg the previous December, President Lincoln had just been forced to institute a draft, a measure that did nothing to help his popularity. Meanwhile, Robert E. Lee’s army was cold and hungry, and he couldn’t see a way to actually win the war. With both sides dispirited and demoralized and no end to the slaughter in sight, you’d think they’d try again to get together to talk things out.
They almost did. On April 1 of that grim year, two men happened to ride up at the same time to a rural tavern in one of those corners of the Maryland countryside that no army particularly wanted. Neither of them young, they shared the hard-bitten look of men accustomed to tough decisions and issuing orders that did not make them happy. Neither, however, was wearing any sort of uniform. The strangers exchanged simple courtesies, tied up their horses and stepped inside. The owner—one Geoffrey Morningvale, if his sign was to be believed—leaned forward on the bar and spoke the eternal phrase, “Gentlemen, what will it be?”
“I’ll trouble you for one of those, brother barkeep,” said the taller of the two men in a reedy voice that echoed the forests of Kentucky. He pointed at the little paper placard hanging behind the bar. “Morningvale Rooster-Tail, 50¢” it read. The other man, whose soft tones carried the warmth of the Mississippi sun, ventured that he might as well try the same.
Bottles were uncapped, liquids poured in rainbow arcs, ice chipped, mint spanked and bitters dashed. There was a mighty shaking, a gurgling through a silver strainer and before long the two travelers were sipping their Rooster-Tails with much smacking of the lips and sighs of satisfaction. Another round was ordered. Their conversation turned to the war. Couldn’t see any point in continuing it, really. Neither one of them. It was remarkable the extent to which they agreed. The more Rooster-Tail they drank, the more their ideas harmonized.
Get the rest of the story and David Wondrich’s recipe for a Rooster-Tail on Liquor.com.
The Doc Is In – The Island Doctor
Hi friends, allow me to introduce myself…. Most folks know me as the Island Doctor, but just for the sake of relating, let’s assume we’ve known each other for sometime now. We’ve weathered a couple of hangovers, we’ve danced the night away at a few tropical island parties, we were even shipwrecked once on a deserted island. On top of that, you told me your most fantastic dreams and I shared with you my most deep and darkest secrets. Ok ? So we’re old mates, which means from here on out you can refer to me as your long
time friend, “The Doc.“
Here’s a few other things I’ve been meaning to share with you………….
I make my living as a traveling minstrel , performing, entertaining and mostly just enjoying those who have embraced the tropical mind set. Consider the Doc, as someone who likes to cure all the ailments of his fellow partiers with the likes of his upbeat island theme melodies.
Simply put…. I like my friends to forget about their daily grind, sip on a tropical drink at the tiki bar and then dance the night away to the sounds of the Island Doctor sending you on a well-deserved tropical vacation.
Maybe you belong to a yacht club, a marina or are just planning a party with friends down at the dock….. Shouldn’t you call the Doc?
Country clubs and resorts have island parties too.. I’ve been to a few…. Hotels, restaurants and bars with patios and decks……. what the heck!
Why not create the perfect island party ….
It’s all great fun….. When you provide the rum. So when you’re planning your next party……
How about considering entertainment that’s fun and exciting? Even better, how about an entertainer that actually encourages your guests to get involved in the party and the evening’s festivities. This is what the Doc is all about.. I provide my own unique island style party music by recreating some of the more popular island tunes along with my own tropical melodies creating the perfect beach party, luau and Caribbean party all wrapped up in one..
I’m able to customize my evening of entertainment to suit your needs and would be more than happy to accommodate your ideas and special requests. So to all my good mates and old salts that love to have parties and jam to the sounds of island style party music….
Isn’t it time for the Doc to make a house call ?……
The next time you’re planning a special event of any size…. whether it be a tropical theme party, business function, convention, grand opening, wedding reception, rehearsal dinner or any other type of special occasion that requires island style party music or any other style of music. Make an appointment with The Island Doctor…you’ll be glad you did.
* Doc’s musical remedy *
* Reggae * Soca * Calypso * Merengue * Ska * Island favorites
The Doc has played just about every style of music over the years but has always remained faithful to one of his truest loves:
“The music of the Caribbean“
You’ll enjoy the Reggae sounds of Jamaica from artists such as Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff to the Soca and Calypso sounds of Trinidad from artists such as Byron Lee, The Mighty Sparrow and The Troubadours. Let’s not forget the music of Harry Belefonte and a large variety of other Caribbean known artists. Jimmy Buffet ?…Too many great songs not to cover some of them..
February 18, 2013
Yesterday, we spent most of the day at Spiaggia di Santa Lucia a wonderful beach. And for this time of year it was not all that crowded.
We woke up around noon and hung around in the room for an hour or so and then went for fruit, a salt fish sandwich and a Piton beer. A great night and a better start to a new day yesterday invigorated us and got us on the road to new places. There are so many places on St. Lucia that I love I want to show her every one of them. Spiaggia is a great place to do nothing on a Sunday afternoon and we did a lot of that. The weather was fabulous and we spent the entire afternoon with our feet in the water, holding hands listening to a mix of Buffett, John Reno, Jambo Joe Bones and a little bit of Hugo Duarte.
As the sun went down we switched to Marley and we lay there on our beach sheet as the stars filled the sky. Soon we were alone and a warm breeze covered us like a blanket. I don’t really know how long we were there, but I do know it was long after the last person left the beach that we left. We found a small local place to eat and enjoy a bottle of wine and each other’s company as the night went on. Last night was not nearly as long a night as Saturday night was but it was enjoyable and very quiet.
As for today we headed north to a place I have written about before…Rodney Bay. We went to one of my favorite places for lunch in Gros Islet. The Eagles Inn has to be the model for every Caribbean hangout wannabe restaurant along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast. It is a place to remember. I guess you will have to forget everything I ever said about me not liking touristy places. Eagles Inn is a tourist destination but it is still a fun and interesting place. There is a cross section of world humanity in there. If I were a betting man I would bet more than twenty countries were represented in the restaurant today for lunch. Each table was its own little socio-economic micro-nation. We enjoyed the company as usual and the food was great, though we really only ate appetizers as we watched the traffic on the water just feet from our outdoor table. On your next trip, find your way here. I am sure you will enjoy it.
St. Lucia never seems to be as touristy as other islands but this year it really seems less so than others. I don’t know if the economy has slowed the travel or if people just aren’t here. What ever the reason, I am happy to have more space and less snow birds.
We decided to celebrate a week of Valentines’ this year so we are heading to the beach to work on our tans but I think we plan on heading back to The Eagles Inn around dark to pick up where we left off with an entrée and a little more celebrating before we go to our room.
William Fair Roberts…on island time in paradise.
|We had some lovely weather last week, here in the Bay Area; today winter has reasserted itself with chilly winds and rain. Still, I’m thankful I don’t live where it snows.
Here’s a picture I took in the Keys just last November, to inspire you:
The view is from the top of the Card Sound Bridge, just after I stopped for a lovely and relaxing lunch at the world-famous Alabama Jack’s. Once I get here, I always start smiling, because I know I’m on my way into the Keys! Just looking at the picture makes me smile.
While I haven’t heard myself on Radio Margaritaville yet, I *am* starting to get some airplay onRadio Free Americana! This is exciting, because it’s one of the first places outside our own cozy trop rock genre where I’m getting heard. For the week ending 2/14, I moved up from a tie from #182 to a tie for #120 on their playlist!
I’d love to do even better, and you can help: Send an email to email@example.com and request one of my songs from my current album, Of All the Rum Joints.
And if you’re feeling ambitious, do feel free to keep requesting my stuff at Radio Margaritaville byclicking here.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t gotten your copy yet of my newest CD (or any other), today’s a good day for it. And once you start listening, your days will get even better.
I recently encountered a new liqueur at Beverages and More, called Agwa de Bolivia. It’s made with coca leaves – you know, the stuff they make cocaine out of. What will they think of next?
I’d love to be able to tell you what it tastes like, but I literally don’t have the words to describe it. It’s definitely a bit herbal and aromatic. You can buy it in “travel size,” so if you don’t like it you’re only out three bucks. Try it as a “topper” with rum & cola; it adds some very interesting herbal notes to the flavor, and the flavors seem to complement one another:
To a “rocks” glass add:
1 1/2 ounces rum of your choice
1/2 ounce Agwa de Bolivia
Cola (or diet cola) to fill the glass
I can’t speak to any interesting pharmacological effects yet. But I’ll research those.
Tours, We’ve Got Tours!
I’m well on my way to booking my “Rum Joints of Southwest Florida” mini-tour, starting on 4/24 or 25 and ending on 4/30. I’ve got three gigs so far between Tampa and Punta Gorda; I’m looking to add one or two more. Each show will be somewhat different from the others, and I’ll have friends stopping by to guest-star as well.
If there’s someplace you’d like to see me play there, or if you’d like to have me in *your* living room for as few as 5-10 people, let me know
I’m also looking for one or two more people in that area to couch-surf with. I’m housebroken and I’ve had my shots, and I’ll play for you.
I’m working on some possible shows here in the SF Bay Area as well, and a couple of other mini-tours for the summertime – stay tuned!
Here’s looking at you!
This is the third time I have written this tonight. i think the beer and wine i have enjoyed may have made my fingers a little wobbly causing me to mistakenly delete what i had written before i could post it. One more try.
Sweet Pea and I spent the day wandering around western St. Lucia on bikes. Tis is one of my favorite places on earth and honestly, I could stay here forever. We found ourselves in L’Anse La Raye by the time the sun was settling into the sea. We made our way to The High Way Restaurant and Bar where we dined on local fair and consumed far too much Piton Beer. The company was great. We shared our dinner, toasted life and all that comes with it. We swapped stories, shed a tear or two, laughed and sang songs until the owner told us it was time to leave. It was long after midnight when we left and Sweet Pea and I decided to sip a glass of wine and enjoy the night air on the second story porch of our little pink hotel. Now we are in bed, she is sleeping and I am going to say good night to you guys so I can curl up under the sheets with her and listen to her soft breathing a feel the wam Caribbean breeze blowing through our room. Daylight will be here all too soon and with it will come the warmth of the day. For now though I have to say good night from Paradise. WFR
|Spirited Cooking: Boozy Cupcakes|
The occasion—and, of course, your loved one—deserves an extra-special confection. We’re talking about making some spirited baked goods. These adult treats combine two of our favorite things, liquor and dessert.
But we wanted to whip up a new dish for the holiday, so we asked New York’s Prohibition Bakery for the recipe for one of their boozy creations. Co-owners Brooke Siem and Leslie Feinberg suggested their A Port in the Storm mini-cupcakes, which call for tawny port and coffee stout, plus dark cocoa powder, milk chocolate and espresso.
After a few of these delicacies, we’re sure your sweetheart will be quite appreciative. You can thank us later.
Get the recipe for Prohibition Bakery’s A Port in the Storm Cupcakes on Liquor.com.