Island Hopper: A tribute to an unforgettable Crandall

Some artists find a way to reach people that goes beyond just their art.

It seems like no matter where I go these days, people want to come talk to me about Tim Crandall, the singer and guitarist who passed away suddenly last month.

Maybe they used to spend every weekend at a Tim Crandall show, and still can’t believe he’s gone. Maybe they were there twenty years ago when Tim first started playing regularly on Marco, and want to reminisce. Some want to tell me about the first time they saw Tim. Some have stories about the last time.

It’s quite a tribute to Crandall—to his career, to his music. To the effect he had on people, the way he touched them, the way he is remembered.

The owners and employees of the Snook Inn, where Crandall was a regular feature ever since the 80s, are among those who haven’t forgotten, who miss Crandall still, and who want to continue to keep his memory alive.

Pictures of Crandall playing are hung on the wall behind the outdoor stage where he held court so many times.

Behind the tiki bar outside is a plastic container filled with pebbles. It serves the purpose of raising money for the music fund that bears Crandall’s name, to benefit the music departments of Tommy Barfield and the Charter School.

This Saturday, the Snook is having an all-day event in honor of Crandall’s memory to continue to raise those funds in his name, featuring performances from local artists Duncan Wheeler, Merrill Allen, Terry Cassidy, Ray Nesbit, Frank Carroll, J. Robert, and Ray Nesbit.

There’ll be a silent auction, raffles, and prize-filled balloons you can pay to pop and win, as well as the Nintendo Guitar Hero game you can play on a large-screen TV to win prizes.

Come out from 4 to 10 p.m. to share your stories of Tim, to remember his life, and—even if you were never fortunate enough to see him play or know him personally— to celebrate the music that was his calling.

An attention-grabbing new show

The Snook has added another worthy musician to its ranks of those it considers family in singer/guitarist Beck, who played this past weekend.

I happened to arrive just as the tall Beck was taking the stage for his second set, and he grabbed my attention right away with a dramatic, dark-tinged acoustic song with intriguing, thoughtful lyrics: Give us any chance, we’ll take it; Give us any rule, we’ll break it.

It took me a minute, but I finally recognized the strangely familiar, haunting little tune. It was “Making our dreams come true”—yeah, the “Laverne and Shirley” theme song!

That was it—Beck had me hooked. Any guy who began a set with a cheesy seventies sitcom theme presented with all the seriousness of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer won me over for personality, talent, and originality right off the bat.

He can play—he’ll show you that by doing, say, a driving version of the Violent Femmes’ “Blister in the Sun” with nothing more than his acoustic guitar, or with Elvis Costello’s “Peace, Love and Understanding,” or Local H’s “So Pathetic.”

He can sing—one minute he’s got the airy, bouncy tone of Squeeze’s Glenn Tilbrook; then suddenly he’s delving into the rich, dark-chocolate sound of Dead or Alive’s Peter Burns.

And if it’s versatility you’re looking for, Beck scores again: a smooth transition from Pink Floyd to Lynyrd Skynyrd; from Tom Petty to—I kid you not—Britney Spears (the latter in a very funny, very portentous version of “Baby One More Time” presented with all the pomp and importance of “House of the Rising Sun”).

The musician is having a great time up onstage, too, which always makes for a fun audience experience. He seems to have too much energy to sit, opting instead to play standing up, striking rock-star poses that can’t be perceived as pretentious because Beck will immediately make fun of his stance himself.

He’s almost constantly smiling. A particularly warm audience reception for a song yields an even wider grin and a very sincere-sounding, “Thanks a lot, you guys!”

A Beck show—at least, the one I saw—is just a blast, filled with songs you haven’t heard a thousand covers of, generous on good spirits and fun, and rife with his talent as a musician.

© 2007 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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