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Opening Remarks

They Came, They Played… And We All Rocked

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Editor Manson with Kickstand Jenny, local finalists in the Next2Rock band competition. The Beachcomber Music Award winning band will compete nationally in the very near future, and we wish them the best of luck.

I was fortunate to be asked to judge the local rock radio station’s regional finals/semifinals in the Next2Rock competition. Joining me were Cole Huffer, the young man behind Downtown Fort Walton Beach’s new hot spot, Enlightened Studios; and FoWal’s own Brian Marshall, bassist and co-founder of the bands Creed and Alter Bridge.


Woofy Ramone from 99ROCK asked me to arrive at John Wehner’s new Village Door location at Miramar Beach’s Seascape Resort by 4:30 PM, as the event would kick off at 5. It didn’t start on time, of course, but since Woofy was taking care of the bar tab…no complaints.


I also got to meet Jessie Ritter, the wonderful singer-songwriter featured in last issue’s music feature (she’s also in this issue’s Record Roundup). I caught up with Christian Mayes and Hope Given from Q’werty, who were just there to watch.


Hope is the only person on earth who has ever written a song about me, and I will cherish her until the day I die.


Anyway, there were five bands in the lineup playing three original songs apiece. Jumping the Gun, with its intriguing father-daughter component, took the stage first. They were followed by Action Doug, who, visually and sonically, resembled a mashup Black Sabbath and the Blue Man Group (gotta Google Images that one).


Another band that impressed me was Gone with the Flesh, a metal outfit with something to say. You’ll be seeing more of them in an upcoming issue of Beachcomber.


Kickstand Jenny—2017 Beachcomber Music Award winners for Best Band, etc. etc.—showed remarkable professionalism, which is what happens to most musicians that spend a lot of time with Chas Sandford. They even gave a shout out to Beachcomber in the introduction to their 2017 Best Song winning power ballad “Why.”


That didn’t influence my judging in any way, shape or form.


Anyway, congratulations to Kickstand Jenny on being named the local Next2Rock champions!


And congrats to everyone that played and kicked ass and left us all doing that horn thing with our hands. You’re all invited to play at the next Beachcomber Music Awards.


Everyone, that is, except Kickstand Jenny, who most likely won’t be returning my phone calls after they take the nationals.

Editor Manson



Like every other reasonable person on earth with a pair of ears, my life was forever improved by the music of Aretha Franklin. I’ve been listening to The Atlantic Albums Collection all week, and I’m still nowhere near through it. Nor do I wish to be.


This mammoth set represents the Queen’s artistic and commercial peak, even though she did some fine post-Atlantic work on Arista (Freeway of Love, in particular.) The pre-Queen sides she cut for Columbia are worth a listen, too, even if John Hammond didn’t know what to do with her.


I’m grateful to Clay Jones for his tribute cartoon in this issue. It seems to say it all, at least until you put on one of Ms. Franklin’s records.



Thank you so much for running our story on Big of the Year Mike Duhart (News from Beachcomberland, Aug. 9-22 Beachcomber). He’s a wonderful volunteer, and it means a lot to us that we could recognize him in such a public way.


We appreciate your support. We could not help over 600 kids a year without our media friends to help spread the word!

Maura Little


Maura Little is the marketing and communications coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida. Learn more at

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