When we were first invited to the Blast on the Bay Songwriters Festival, we did not know what to expect! However, within just five minutes of the opening act, we were hooked and knew this would be an event we forever wanted to be attend. We unfortunately could not make it for the Thursday night opening event that was held at Windmark Green. At 6pm, the VIP attendees were invited to a dinner that was followed by the 7pm Kick Off Party featuring Vinyl Radio. We started at KrazyFish Friday night watching Sherrie Austin, Brooks Huntley, Will Rambeaux. Sherrie’ was discovered at age 14 and went on to be Johnny Cash’s opening act on his Australian tour. Her entire family moved to Hollywood where she joined the cast of The Facts of Life. Brooks was born in Texas and knew he had a knack for songwriting and storytelling as early as 11 years old. Growing up in Lafayette, Louisiana, Will ingested a great deal of Cajun, Zydeco, and classic threads of country and rock. He was discovered by his idol, Roy Orbison and went on to write a number one hit, “Wild One,” recorded Faith Hill.
Later that night, we ventured over to Taproot, a really awesome brewery that also serves wine and food, where we watched Earl Bud Lee sing “Friends in Low Places.” His song went on to be recorded by Garth Brooks and ranks as one of the top five songs of all time.
We ended our first night in Port St. Joe watching Bridgette Tatum, Stevie Monce, and Tyler Reeve. The first sound that came out of Bridgette’s mouth, Dori and I both said she sounded like Gretchen Wilson. The South Carolina native and avid Clemson fan wrote “She’s Country,” that was recorded by Jason Aldean and held the top spot for two weeks and reached two million plays. Stevie Monce has an unforgettable sound that just seems to get sweeter the longer you listen to him. His new EP, Stay on Fire, is definitely taking the music scene by storm. He has played sold out shows and festivals with some of the best in the country industry, including Cole Swindell, Love and Theft, Michael Ray, and Zac Brown. Be prepared to hear him soon on a radio near you. Last, but certainly not least, Tyler Reeve has made his mark over and over on the country music scene. He has several number one hits on his resume, including Brett Young’s “In Case You Didn’t Know,” I Got A Way With You,” from Luke Combs #1 album This One’s for You, and Love and Theft’s “Whiskey On My Breath.” We cannot wait to see what new song Tyler has up his sleeve.
After an incredibly restful night at The Port Inn Cottages, we ventured back to KrazyFish for lunch and the Brett Kelly, Stevie Monce, and Tyler Reeve. We had to explain to Stevie and Tyler what we were doing in Port St. Joe because we saw them at breakfast and lunch. Thankfully they understood that we were not stalking them!
Brett Kelly is originally from Florida and now calls Jackson, Tennessee home. He recently recorded at Blackbird Studio in Nashville. Saturday proved to be our busiest day as we made a quick trip out to The Mill at Windmark to see their mercantile and then out to the Lookout Lounge where we linked up with our fellow Mississippians, Tupelo Honey. We enjoyed an incredible dinner at The Brickwall, where we finally got to see an entire concert from Tupelo Honey. Their unique sound is a mix of blues, country, rock and roll, and even rhythm and blues. Their creativity flows like the muddy water of the Mississippi River with samples of the Delta mixed in. They will no doubt be mixed in with the discussion of some of the best artists from Mississippi in the near future.
We explored a little more of Gulf County Sunday before heading to the Indian Pass Raw Bar where nearly everyone from the event played a last party that kept the spectators on their feet and singing along throughout the afternoon.
If you have not made plans to be at Blast on the Bay Songwriters Festival in Port St. Joe, Florida next year, please go to their website, blastonthebay.com and sign up for email updates. It will one of the best experiences of your life and there is simply nothing like spending time near the beaches of Port St. Joe.