Miami gets a taste of the Soft Rock Vibe
Casino Miami is host to a variety of events during their week. This last Sunday I was privileged to spin on " Smooth Grooves Sundays" A popular local Jazz event. The event starts at 4pm and showcases talent from around the city including Award winning saxophonist Ed Calle. On this particular Sunday I was on the decks on DJ duty . Jazz of course was the focus, and I was surprised on how well it was complimented by Yacht Rock. The crowd was very enthusiastic requesting many songs of the period, some "Certified " Yacht and others not. What struck me the most was that there is a audience for this music in this town dominated by Electronic Dance Music and Caribbean Flavored Dance rhythms. Of course Michael McDonald was high on the list of requests for the afternoon , but I also discovered a taste for Jim Photoglo " Fool in Love with You" " his most successful song, reaching number 25 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
It was an interesting collection of fans of Soft Rock. I was joined by Captain Juan Luv of www.yachtrockmiami.com and Alex Lopez ( DJ Tattoo) Nelson Castillo and Corky Zeledon all avid fans who contributed input on the evening's selection. Overall , it looks like we are on to something , breathing life into a genre we thought had faded. The Fans are there in South Florida , now our next task is to spread the word and find those fans that want a musical alternative. Find the Yacht Rock Party Miami Group on Facebook and Instagram
Soft rock singer/songwriter, guitarist, pianist, and producerKenneth Clark Loggins was born January 7, 1948 His early songwriting compositions were recorded with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1970, which led to seven albums, performing as the group Loggins and Messina from 1972 to 1977. As a solo artist, Kenny experienced a string of soundtrack successes, including an Academy Award nomination for "Footloose" in 1984. His early soundtrack contributions date back to the film A Star Is Born in 1976, and for much of the 1980s and 1990s, he was known as "The Soundtrack King". Finally Home was released in 2013, shortly after Loggins formed the group Blue Sky Riders with Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman. His hits can be found on virtually all Yacht Rock Music lists.
We just docked after a long day of taking in a beautiful south Florida day on the Yacht. At first we we thought we wanted to fish a little , but the chef had prepared a delicious Seared Tuna Ahi Steak and his special Black Forest Ham Croquetas and we decided to stay on deck and listen to a little Christopher Cross . Capt. Luv and myself had a brief discussion as to Christopher Cross's Best song , he favored " Sailing " and I was partial to " Arthur's Theme " although at the end we played both while enjoying an Arturo Fuente Opus X BBMF . The conversation quickly turned to Captain Luv's pet project " Future Yacht" as he introduced me to the music of one it's brightest stars ,Benny Sings The terms AOR and Yacht Rock are often used to define his sunny 70’s and 80’s melodies. But it’s not all retro: Benny’s happy-sad songwriting, late ‘90s R&B beats and buttery production shape a sound bringing to mind the soundtrack to a just released indie comedy. Click on these links to Discover his music. Benny Sings - Realize Loving is Easy
We are fans of the genre, we adhere to the Yachstki Scale and we also listen to the Eddie Ganz Podcast " The Yacht Rock Show" We both grew up in South Florida , where we have our share of beaches and of course Yachts , lots of them . As DJs we have done many events on these floating homes and have been up close and personal with the Yachting lifestyle here on the east coast. We noticed that the sound and feel varied slightly from the culture that has been portrayed on the sites of those who coined the phrase " Yacht Rock" Beyond Yacht Rock While discussing the music of the period 70s , 80s and early 90s we realized the sound here on the east coast specifically South Florida , a melting pot of ethnic cultures, While containing many of the tracks identified today as " Yacht" contained many other songs that were staples of this local scene. There were many influences in what we played , a growing Hispanic community, The Drug trade and it's dealers that were just coming into big money and having huge parties throughout the city even on their shiny new yachts. The Disco scene, New Wave ,many styles influenced the music that was happening locally.
We are using the " Yacht" description because it conveys an affluent ,successful image that captures the essence of those that enjoyed our unique mix of styles here in our area as well as staying true to the original vision of Yacht’s pioneers.
After a few more mojitos we decided on two sub-genres to the Yacht Rock sound.
MYacht ( M=Miami) was the first . Our task was to musically describe these decades with the songs that were popular and captured a laid back, tropical mood that was present in these circles ( At this point we had to make a Rum Run if the mojitos were to keep flowing ) The songs were smooth , sexy ,RnB and Disco influenced in some cases ( That's the way of the World - Earth Wind and Fire) serene and dreamy ( Time after Time - Cyndi Lauper) and straight on Pop Songs ( The Tide Is High - Blondie) artists such as Sade, Phil Collins, George Michael ,Sting would showcase their lighter side in the songs we selected. They were never really intended to be " dance " songs but there was always a certain " groove" element to many of the tracks that allowed the listener to bounce the head a little. The subject matter like it's " Yacht Rock" counterparts was always Love themed . Positive and uplifting to reflect the times.
Did Weezer an American Rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1992, Do us any favors by covering Toto's classic song? Well...Yes and No. At least they shed some light on the genre that could stimulate curios millennial to delve deeper into other artists of the era. Otherwise it's a straight forward remake.
One Of My Favorites is "Sweet Freedom" a song by Michael McDonald, and his last Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. One of the more energetic tracks to fall under the Yacht Rock umbrella ( almost a Dance Track) The single's music video featured McDonald, along with actors Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines, in the film Running Scared. Released June 1986 on the Label MCA Records Producer(s)Rod Temperton, Bruce Swedien, Richard Rudolph(credited as Dick Rudolph) A very uplifting and happy song , wouldn't mind being stranded on an island and having to hear this forever.
According to WIKIPEDIA ................Yacht rock (originally known as the West Coast Sound] or adult-oriented rock is a broad music style and aesthetic identified with soft rock Its name, coined in the 2000s by the makers of the online video series Yacht Rock, was derived from its association with the popular Southern Californian leisure activity of sailing. The term describes one of the commercially successful genres of its era, existing between the late 1970s and early 1980s. Drawing on sources such as smooth soul, smooth jazz, R&B, funk, and disco, common stylistic traits include high-quality production, clean vocals, and a focus on light, catchy melodies.
Yacht Rock Party Miami offers a faithful representation of the genre as defined by those that coined the phrase while infusing our own flavors over here on the East Coast. Our Yacht Rock Party mixes do not follow the traditional beat blending of club DJs ( which we are as well ) but are more tailored to create a mood both emotionally and musically allowing the listener to experience " ups and downs" in tempo changes to simulate the movement of the waves and the changing positions of the sun. It is with great care and devotion that we construct these productions. A well deserved mention to one of my close friends who has influenced me to do these mixes and immerse myself in the world of Soft Rock Mr. Alex Lopez ( DJ Tattoo) an ardent fan of this genre.