EDITORIAL/OPINION – It’s been a long time since I went to an Open Mic or a Jam Session in Sebastian. So, on Monday, I visited the Tiki Bar & Grill, and then on Wednesday, I went to the Pareidolia Brewing Company to watch local musicians perform.
Most of my time was spent in awe, realizing that we are fortunate here in Sebastian. There was a fantastic turnout at both venues, and at times it reminded me of one of the episodes of Andy Griffith when families and neighbors used to sing on their front porch in Mayberry. It’s a reminder that we still live in a small town, regardless of the recent population explosion.
You don’t have to be a perfect musician to participate in the Open Mic or Jam Session. We have a lot of great talent here in Sebastian, making it extraordinary.
Then, suddenly, it hit me that no one was discussing politics. Instead, people I know who are both Republicans and Democrats put their views aside and shared instruments and a microphone. There was no talk about all the current problems in our country or the world. Instead, people choose to live their lives and have a good time. Even if it was only for a couple of hours, it felt like a blessing in a society that’s been politically supercharged.
And while there are people with different political views, the Open Mic and Jam Sessions build respect for one another on both sides of the aisle. Music is the universal language. People can be as passionate about their music as their political views. But, in the end, we are all the same people living in the great place called Sebastian. It’s our home, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else but here. It’s no wonder why my family moved here 50 years ago this year.
Last night, I saw a guy get on stage at Pareidolia with a banjo-style instrument. He started a little sing-along, and before you knew it, everyone was singing. Next was a lady who used to live in Sebastian but moved more inland in central Florida because of the hurricanes. She made the drive to Sebastian and sang her heart out. Then, after two songs, people wanted to hear more, and she delivered. What a great time we all had.
All the songs were either country or oldies. You might hear someone singing a Doobie Brothers song, followed by somebody else singing an old Hank Williams song. It was a steady pace of songs throughout the sessions. Voices got louder when someone got on stage and sang California Dreamin’ by the Mamas & The Papas.
But they also do old Rock and Rock, such as the Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, etc.
Some musicians are retired or had success with other bands while touring. Some locals get a chance to sing with an entire band, as they often do during the Jam Sessions at the Tiki bar & Grill with Dave Scott and Lee Miller. I also witnessed musicians teaching others the chords of a particular song on a guitar. It’s just a fantastic atmosphere.
I also got a chance to meet many people, especially our snowbirds, who said it was their last Jam Session until they return in October/November. You can see it in their faces, the disappointment of going back home up north, wishing to stay another week in Sebastian.
The Jam Session is at the Tiki Bar & Grill on Mondays, starting at 6:30 p.m. The Open Mic is at the Pareidolia Brewing Company on Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. In addition, there are nights when Mash Monkeys Brewing Company may also host Jam Sessions, but you’ll have to contact them for more information.
If you are a musician and want to participate, show up and put your name on the list. Everyone is friendly and very accommodating.
Many people I talked with at the Open Mic and Jam Session say it’s better entertainment than being home watching television. But, of course, you never know what to expect, and it’s never a dull moment.
It doesn’t get any better in Sebastian than singing with your neighbors and friends, regardless of their political stance. And you might even see a pelican or two to help compliment your evening.