Friday, July 13, 2012

A Q&A with musician Robbin Thompson

Robbin Thompson and Blue Crab Bay Co. President Pam Barefoot were regulars in Richmond, Va.'s Fan District scene of the early '70s and reconnected on Facebook a few years ago.
Our company president, Pam Barefoot, asked,
and Robbin Thompson said yes!

On Saturday, July 28, Robbin of “Sweet Virginia Breeze” fame will return to Onancock, Va., after a sold-out performance last year at Historic Cokesbury Church. This time, the mesmerizing musician, who has shared the stage with Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Hornsby, and longtime friend Bruce Springsteen, will play Onancock’s Roseland Theatre, the first live performance there in nearly 50 years.

The concert, hosted by Blue Crab Bay Co.'s Relay for Life team, the Blue Crabbers, will begin at 8 p.m. Doors will open at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $20, and proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society's Relay. For more information, call 1-800-221-2722.

 A few questions Robbin took the time to answer for us:

When you first became a performer, who was or were your musical inspiration(s)? I would have to say that Ricky Nelson and Dion were big inspirations to me at first, but the Beatles, the Beach Boys and a lot of British Invasion groups were as well. I think the die was cast when one of my first bands in Florida got to open for the Beau Brummels. They needed a place to practice so they practiced at our house!! The lead singer, Sal (Valentino) and guitarist Ron Elliott took me aside and said I should keep singin' and writing. You really never stop being inspired by someone out there.

We know you’ve toured Europe quite a bit. What has been your favorite place and why? That's a tough question because there are many, but if I had to choose, it would be Murten, Switzerland, just because I have made friends there and like the venue so much.

How have your musical tastes changed through the years? They really haven't changed all that much. I always seem to be drawn to the lyric and the melody. What changes is your age. As you get older you tend to listen harder, and you get more knowledgeable - hopefully. I have a tough time with putting my arms around popular music these days, but I know it's because of my age.

Who was the most surprising performer with whom you’ve played and why? Saying Bruce Springsteen or Timothy B. Schmit would be easy answers, but to tell you the truth they weren't all that surprising. They were and still are just freakin' great artists that are nice guys. I would have to say Steve Cropper. Steve played on my first album, and I was in awe of him. Days after the session, he called me up and asked if it would be OK if he came back to re-do his lead on a couple of songs because he'd been thinkin' about them and thought he could do better. That was surprising. I'd have to say that it's amazing to me how totally normal and gracious people are in this business. The surprises are the ones that you think would be and aren't.

Which up-and-coming artist(s) would you like one day to say, “Robbin Thompson really influenced my music”? I'd have to say "anyone" to that.

What inspired you to perform at the Roseland? The sign on the building. I think it's right out of ... a movie? I've never really been in it, but the first time I sailed to Onancock, I took a photo of that sign.

Because this event benefits Relay for Life, tell us about anyone particularly close to you who has dealt with cancer or is dealing with it now. That would have to be me. I've been living with cancer for more than 11 years.

If you could leave one piece of advice in a time capsule, what would it be? Don't waste your life doing something you don't enjoy.

The Eastern Shore of Virginia is ready for your return, Robbin, and Pam wants another photo like last summer's!

Pam and Robbin in Onancock last July

Friday, July 6, 2012

From trade show to Roman mythology

From left to right: Pam Barefoot, Paul DiPasquale, and Linda Gayle in 1986

An old friend - and we mean old in the best possible way - visited Blue Crab Bay Co. recently. Artist Paul DiPasquale debuted his "peeking" ducks with Blue Crab Bay Co. at the company's first trade show in 1986 in Washington, D.C. (see picture above). Paul has thought bigger in recent years, though. He is the designer of the King Neptune statue that rules at 31st Street in Virginia Beach at the gateway to Neptune Park and the threshold of the sea. The bronze piece stands 34 feet high, 12 feet across, and weighs 12.5 tons. The statue of the Roman god of the sea was dedicated in September 2005. It was paid for entirely from private contributions.

Surrounded by sea creatures, King Neptune reigns over Virginia Beach.
Paul also designed the statue of tennis legend Arthur Ashe on Richmond's Monument Avenue. Paul lives in Richmond with his wife, Kelly Kennedy. They recently came to the Eastern Shore of Virginia to spend the Fourth of July with our president, Pam Barefoot, and her husband, Jim Green. While they were here, Pam brought them to work for a tour (see the couple below in front of our retail shop). They reminisced about pictures and articles that adorn our walls at the office.