Hold on Jimmy Buffett, I’m almost ready for big time
I have this dream. Red Rocks amphitheater is packed solid with Parrotheads. Legendary singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett has just finished belting out his signature tune, “Margaritaville,” and the crowd explodes with applause.
There is a long pause to allow the fans to show their appreciation, and then Buffett’s steal drum player starts up with some island background music.
“And now,” Buffett says with a huge grin crossing his face, “I’d like to introduce the newest member of our little band. Please give a warm Parrothead welcome to ukulele virtuoso, Mr. Hurricane Andrew Gmerek.”
At first the response is just polite – after all, everyone is there to see Buffett and not some unknown musician – but then I start to play, and the beach music I create is so rare and beautiful that every member of the audience falls under its spell.
When I finally strum my last chord there is another brief pause as Buffett’s fans catch their collective breath, and then thousands of cigarette lighters spontaneously rise to light the night sky.
I bow while Buffett cheers, and suddenly all is right with the world.
OK, so I know there are at least two problems with my ultimate beach bum’s dream. The first difficulty being that I’ve never met Jimmy Buffett. But I figure this hurdle can be easily jumped with the use of simple, everyday, ordinary celebrity stalking techniques.
The second problem, I’ll admit, is a bit more of an obstacle. You see I don’t really know how to play the ukulele, and with my track record with musical instruments, I might never learn.
I do, however, own a nice ukulele, which I recently purchased at the annual feeding frenzy known as All Music’s local’s appreciation sale, and that’s a start. Or at least I thought it was a start.
After I bought my uk I discovered that the guys at All Music don’t currently know anyone giving lessons, and even though I understood that finding someone to teach the ukulele in the Rocky Mountains is probably hard to do, I was devastated.
I promised myself I would not let another instrument end up in the musical instrument graveyard, and I plan on keeping that promise.
Over the years I’ve tried playing various instruments, from the lyrical piano to the bluesy harmonica, and I’ve failed miserably with each and every try.
To cover up my shame, all of my past musical failures have ended up in my basement along with other past embarrassments like my platform shoes and silk disco shirts from the 1970s.
If searched, my basement might give up an old saxophone remolded into a five-story hotel for mice, a harmonica currently housing a family of spiders, guitars masquerading as doorstops, and I even think there is a set of bongo drums that haven’t been bonged on in 20 years.
About the only instrument from my past not forgotten in the basement is the first piano I ever tinkled, and that’s because it went the way of Vail Resorts’ medical benefits package a long time ago.
So here is my plea. Maybe there is a music master/teacher out there in Summit or Park County looking to make a few extra bucks teaching a frustrated but serious student the art of coaxing visions of palm trees, sun and sand out of the body of a ukulele.
If you’re game drop me a line and save another poor instrument from a lonely demise. I promise Jimmy Buffett will thank you in a future show.
Andrew Gmerek writes a Friday column for the Summit Daily News. His fingers sing across his computer keyboard, it is reported. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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