Special to the Parade
Local songwriter J. Micheal Laferty will be performing with his full band at 1 p.m. Saturday, February 16, at the Hilton Garden Inn and Suites on South Padre Island in conjunction with the SPI Parks and Recreation Department as part of its Monthly Concert Series and its Annual Senior Prom. The show is free of charge and is open to the public.
Laferty, who hails from Laguna Vista has once again penned a song that has placed itself firmly on radio airplay lists nationwide as well as internet radio and European markets. “All Over Tan,” a song he wrote about the short quiet period on the Island in the early fall, has become a certified cross-over hit, garnered attention and airplay in three separate musical genres simultaneously; the Cashbox/Americana Music Chart, The Roots Music Pop Country Chart and Spin Tracking Systems Mainstream Country.
“These days,” says Laferty, “it’s a balancing act. Cathy is really busy and hands on at the restaurant (Cathy, his wife of 35 years is the majority owner and creative mind behind PadreRitaGrill on South Padre Island), and I try to be as supportive as I can in the back office and such, but in reality…I’m a saloon musician who happens to be pretty lucky at putting ideas to music. It’s just in my nature to try to entertain folks and make ‘em happy; I’m not really a detail oriented guy…anyone who knows me will tell you that planning and organization are not my strong points,” Laferty laughs, sitting in the back dining room of PadreRitaGrill during an afternoon lull recently. “But you know” Laferty continues, “Seneca, sitting on a hill above Rome back in 90 something A.D. said that ‘Luck is where the crossroads of opportunity and preparation meet.’ My Dad… sitting on a Douglas Fir stump in the Coast Range of Oregon around 1970 told me: ‘The harder you work; the luckier you get’… that pretty much sums it up for me,” adds Laferty; “2012 was a pretty lucky year!
“I finally finished the new CD late last summer and got it officially released in October 2012 (Hot Sun, Cool Water and Sandy Boots, Umpqua Records 2012); it was only eight or nine months late. “All Over Tan” is not the song I would have thought would hit, but my radio people in Nashville felt really strongly about it…and as usual they were right and I was off track. It’s doing real well and I’m getting substantial airplay from it…so we’re pretty happy about that. It’s really helpful to have a solid single come off of it right out of the gate, I don’t really keep up on it on a weekly basis like I should…it’s kind of embarrassing really, last week I was sandwiched in between Blake Shelton above me and George Strait below me; industry people who pay attention to that stuff must be looking at that and saying ‘J. Micheal Who?’ I mean, I’m really grateful to my fans and the DJ’s and my promotion people for putting me up at the top of the charts…but at the end of the day I have to wait in line for my nightly Whataburger just like everybody else! Really, the only change in my routine is that for the next three or four months or so I’ll be spending my time going to the airport with an overnight bag and my guitar bright and early Monday mornings; I’ve got 100 or so radio stations and program directors that I need to get to know and thank face to face because the CD’s been submitted for a Grammy nomination for 2014…and it’s still all about networking, and then get back on Wednesday afternoon to the restaurant in time to be on stage for Cathy Wednesday evening. Thank goodness for Southwest Airlines!”
“Living down here at the end of the road, we’ve pretty much got to travel if I’m going to expand my fan base, says Laferty, “the accolades are really validating, but there are only so many performance opportunities to go around, and when you’re the local guy that everybody can see for free on any given night of the week…it keeps you pretty well grounded. But we’ve had some great opportunities last because of the success of the CD; we were invited out to Tampa Florida and did four shows at the Republican National Convention; Mike Huckabee sat in with the band for a 40 minute set that was totally cool! I’ve heard that Cathy just signed the contracts for us to go back up to Missouri again this year for the Red Neck Country Club / Tiger Jack’s Music Festival. This will be my third year, the second for the band; it’s an honor to have an organization build a two day festival event around you…but on the other hand you kind of pinch yourself sometimes and wonder; have these folks lost their minds? We certainly don’t feel like headliners, but we find ourselves in that situation more and more these days. Austin is finally starting to open up to me; I’ve got a couple of high profile shows scheduled up there later this year. I’ve been invited to open a show in New Braunfels at Gruene Hall for Sarah Pierce on February 28 which is an unbelievable honor…so we just work hard, pay our dues and bide our time.”
Laferty will be performing material from his latest CD, “Hot Sun, Cool Water, Sandy Boots,” as well as selected tunes from his previous four CDs. The show starts at 1 p.m. on the Beach Deck. He will also be on hand at the SPI Parks, Recreation & Beautification Senior Prom from 7-10 p.m. on Feb. 15 at La Quinta Inn Ballroom, where he will be performing for the crowning of Senior Prom King and Queen.