Double-header concert in Winter Park salutes veterans
August 13, 2009
Along with the many other musical acts set for this weekend’s Veterans Rally, Silverado II has put together a special salute to America’s heroes and their families. Its ballroom will be host to two sets of local talent Saturday night, featuring guitarist Mark Shaw followed by band Special Blend, with special parking available for motorcycles.
Mark Shaw, known as “The Eclectic Cowboy,” kicks off the two-part concert with his acoustic six-string. Cowboy through and through and Army veteran who served in Iraq, Shaw has been writing songs since he was 14. His roots stem from bluegrass, Texas swing, and “old country,” with influences that grew from acts like Ernest Tubb and Hank (Williams) Sr. to Ricky Skaggs, Earl Scruggs, and “then kind of whatever after that,” he said.
Local band Special Blend will also be mixing it up as the headliner for Saturday night’s audience, with music ranging from the 1970s to current. Members Robbie Gonzales (electric guitar), “Doc” Tim Connelly (keys, lead vocals), “Texas Terry” or “T-bone” Tompkins (drums), and Warren Ward (bass) brought their talents together almost four years ago “to play stuff that others don’t play,” Connelly said. He misprinted the band name in a newspaper ad and it “just stuck,” Connelly says, but it’s fitting because each musician brings a different flavor to the overall sound. Jokester Tompkins often refers to the band as “Special Sauce.”
Musicians Special Blend pays tribute to include the Allman Brothers and Steely Dan, but instead of oft-played songs like “Melissa” and “Ramblin’ Man” they play “Jessica” and “Blue Sky,” Connelly says. “You’ll know the songs. You grew up with the tunes,” Tompkins adds. Other influences include the Doors, Bob Seger, Traffic, Bruce Hornsby, and old Eric Clapton. Members are no strangers to previous Hawgfest and Veterans Rally stages (or playing in other bands for that matter), and Connelly says the band loves to play for the veterans crowd. “They’re a great audience to play for,” he said. “They like what we do.”
Silverado II is hosting the event, a little-known venue in Winter Park with a ballroom whose acoustics and versatility have already made some waves in the local music scene. Cover is $5, but the Winter Park venue, about a block from U.S. Highway 40, is offering free entry with lodging. Secure, underground parking is also being prepared for motorcycles.