Starting the New Year Off Right

Beachcomber Editor Chris Manson with his rescue dogs Tequila and Sangria. This photo was taken by 10‑year‑old Elizabeth Kimball on some sort of newfangled Polaroid‑type camera. We hear vinyl records are making a comeback, too.

Don’t worry, that title does not mean I’m going to start eating properly or exercising or any of that nonsense. What it does mean is we’ve got some of the coolest people on earth in our first Beachcomber of 2016.


First, there’s Gretchen Peters, part of Martin Luther King Jr. weekend’s 30A Songwriters Festival (see page 8). She and her husband Barry Walsh recently moved from Seaside to Seagrove Beach, all the while maintaining their Nashville base of operations and touring the rest of the world.


After David Bowie’s passing Jan. 10, it seemed like every Beachcomberland musician had wonderful, poignant things to say about the man. But as someone that actually checked out Bowie’s new album Blackstar just days before his death, I found Peters’ tribute particularly share-worthy:


I’m completely in awe of his new record, which we just listened to in its entirety. A beautiful, strange and entirely intentional goodbye to his fans and the world. What a great artistic gesture, and a perfect coda to an incredible career. What an artist. What a loss.


Second, Juan Francisco Adaro is back on our cover. This isn’t the last you’ll see of him in The Beachcomber in 2016. He’s come up with one (actually two, and I’m still trying to make up my mind) hell of a great design to tie in with the upcoming Beachcomber Music Awards (nominees on page 7, vote now at Not sure if we have the time or resources to roll out t-shirts, posters and beer coozies, but Adaro’s stunning art will be on our Feb. 25 cover for sure.


Third, Northwest Florida State College’s Dr. David Simmons shares his picks for the best films of 2015 (page 16). I’m particularly grateful when someone—in this instance, a bona fide subject matter expert—steps up to do something I couldn’t, since I saw a grand total of one movie in a theater last year. (The first person to guess which movie will win a limited edition Chewbacca Pez dispenser, minus the candy.)


Finally, I’ve been reading these great stories on Facebook by Sean Dietrich. I was surprised that I didn’t have to beg him to allow us to reprint some of them (page 18). In fact, he sent us more than three. A lot more. I’m hoping I can stay on his good side long enough to share them all on our pages.





Congratulations for recognizing two talented and influential forces on the Florida Music scene (“Do You Feel Lucky?” by Nikki Hedrick, Dec. 17, 2015 Beachcomber). Lucky Mud is great!

­– Frank Julian



Hello from Nova Scotia, Canada. We have known Mike and Maggie since 1993, when we first met them at the Panama Java, and have loved them ever since. They have come to Nova Scotia, and it made us proud to show them around. The Lord made the earth and the earth was Mud and the Mud became Lucky, and we are Lucky to have them as friends.

­– Moose Abbott


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