Tuck Tucker's Smuggler's Notch... A Review by Ron Johnson

Greetings Friends and Music Lovers!

Once again we are delighted to share a wonderful review. This time it's Tuck Tucker's new recording, Smuggler's Notch, recorded here at Gatorbone Studios. It was so rewarding for Lon and I to work with Tuck and Gabe on Tuck's original tunes. We are grateful for that opportunity and very happy for our pal! 

Congratulations Tuck Tucker!!

Recent review by Ron Johnson for the Florida Times Union, Jacksonville, Fla.

“Smuggler’s Notch” 
James Tuck Tucker

     James Tucker, more commonly known to friends and fans as “Tuck,” is one of the best session musicians on the planet, bar none. His mastery skills of the dobro and slide guitar are unmatched from here to the hallowed halls of Nashville and beyond. As a slide guitar player, he is simply the best I’ve ever heard.
     On Tuck’s new CD, “Smuggler’s Notch,” he highlights his playing talents with beautiful songs that lift the spirit and calm the savage breast. Tuck authors all 14 songs and he quickly settles into an easy pace on the CD, music equally at home on an ipod or in a rocking chair on the porch, and his lyrics seem timeless and personal.
     Highlights include “River Styx,” “Back to the Country,” “Walking The Wire,” “Jesus On The Mountain,” and “Corkscrew.”
     Tuck shows off his country roots with some fine picking on “Hey Mister,” “Made For Only You,” “Never Was A Child,” and “Cold, Cold Tears.” His voice is subtle and easy listening, with an ageless quality to it.  
     “Smuggler’s Notch,” is a light, swinging tune that makes it impossible not to move your feet. The musicianship on the CD is excellent. Gabriel Valla plays guitar and mandolin, with Lon and Elisabeth Williamson doing harmony vocals and guitar. Lon Williamson is one of the best bass players around and he is in good form here.
     Tuck Tucker’s CD “Smuggler’s Notch” is a standout recording and we highly recommend it.
    There has been a string of wonderful recordings coming out of Lon & Lis’s recording studio, Gatorbone Studios, in Keystone Heights, and the Williamson’s have quickly established themselves as the premiere recording producers for folk music in the state of Florida.
For more information on this CD, go to www.jamestucker.com and for information on Gatorbone Studios, go to www.gatorbonestudios.com


More Okra Please...

Gatorbone Records is mighty pleased to report 
that recording artist, Grant Peeples
has really done it this time. He, along with his producer extraordinaire, Gurf Morlix, of Austin, Texas, have made a hit record. Yes, Okra and Ecclesiastes is making headlines this month as a top pick among listeners, radio stations and reviewers across the country and across the pond for 2011. Here are a few of them ...

Americana Music Association Top 100 Albums of 2011   www.americanamusic.org

Freeform American Roots Chart Top Ten Albums of the Year (#10)

Freeform American Roots Top Male Artists (#7)

Freeform American Roots Top Songwriters (#6)

John Conquest of 3rd Coast Music Magazine 
Album of the Year

International Folk DJ Chart-Top 50 Albums of the Year

International Folk DJ Chart-Top 100 Artists of the Year

KZMU (Moab, Utah) Amarillo Highway Best of 2011

WMBR (Cambridge, MA) Lost Highway Top 20

WMNF (Tampa) Cameron Dilley Best Music of 2011

WTUF (Thomasville, GA) Donna's Americana Best of 2011

My God. It's so wonderful. We hope you'll be inspired to pick up a copy yourself. :) Stay tuned for Prior Convictions, the latest collaboration of these two luminaries due out in the late spring. It's another knockout.
Thanks folks and, as always, thanks for listening and supporting live music.

Love, Lis



Where Was I?

Oh yes! The fall tour...

Happy New Year to you all by the way and may it be a superb year in your lives.


There we were driving north from the Low Country on our way to Little Switzerland via Black Mountain for a concert with Barbara Lamb and Julia Weatherford, two multi-talented womenfolk. Twas a great show and a beautiful venue, The Iron Horse. A bonus was meeting up with our longtime pals, The Higgins and also seeing our dear fairy god-daughter and her beau, Vergil. All in all a most special evening, then off to Little Switzerland.

A charming town and the home of our host, Dan Downs. See those clouds? Snow clouds. Yes, it snowed on us a bit during the concert but we were incredibly well cared for by a team of snow pros and the concert went off without a hitch. Dan and Theresa and company could not have been sweeter nor more fun. Tim Higgins was a fiddle marvel in what seemed like subzero temperatures and an opportunity to play with him is always a treat. Thanks everyone for a beautiful time! 

The morning of our departure... a mama bear and two cubs. 


On to Sparta and the home of dear friends, Robin and Donna deep in the mountains of northernmost North Carolina, on the top of Turkey Knob, a remarkable landmark where you can see three states and a plethora of counties for 360 degrees.  

Here is the lovely fire that they had laid for us and the incredible cabin for us to lay our heads. 
How enchanting can you get? 

We were here with Donna and Robin for a couple of days and it was just heaven. The home of Mangum Pottery where master potter Robin and his trusty assistant, Ms. Donna and company, create some extraordinary world class pottery of every description. I mean really... check this out.

The concert that they hosted for us was delightful and we met a boatload of interesting folks. Great jam afterwards as well. It was a most special evening in every way. We had a wonderful time cruising around the area...

until once again, time to bid a fond farewell to our pals and hit the road, on to Floyd, Virginia and the home of our beloved Christina. 

Here's our final shot of the view from The Knob.


Tina is a medicine woman, a healer, a priestess and mentor to many in our home community of St. Augustine. She is much beloved far and wide and weaves magic wherever she goes. 

It's hard to believe it was snowing just a couple of days before this down in North Carolina! She has a lovely home full of warmth, charm and amazing foods that she had been putting up all summer. 
Mon Dieu. 
Here is she and Lon working on a fine lunch. 

We just loved seeing her grandchildren and her daughter, Shannon, whom we had not seen in years. 

Talk about an amazing cook. It runs in the family. Shannon creates cakes, pies, pastries, cookies and savory treats as well for the Floyd Country Store, a musical and otherwise hot spot in town. 

We all took naps and then we were off to the gig in Floyd. Here's the room where we played, Oddfellas.

 That's not us up there, but I really wanted you to see this lovely stage. It was so sweet. A bunch of Tina's friends came down and it was a sweet evening. Home to our little camper heaven. 
We slept like babies.

The next day, off we went. Hated to leave our girl and her family. Next stop, Philly


Just a slightly different scene! Longtime friends that we once again hadn't seen in quite a while... the Landrys. Coolest cats, as ever and both incredibly talented artists. They live right in the downtown area in a super swank little house that they have decorated in the most posh way. 
Three stories of elegance and art deco delight.
 Martinis were in order.

Right around the corner, a really good local tap room with micro brews and IPA's and the like. Hard ciders and more. We had a great brewsky or two, some fine food and back to the hacienda for a little catching up and a fine night's sleep in the big city. Hospitality to the third power.

An all too brief visit and then on to our northernmost destination, New Hampshire. 


An incredible drive up through Connecticut. What a beautiful state. We finally made it to the home of our pals, the Bascoms. An incredible place there on their land and in their farmhouse. So dear. Angie had made every kind of healthy snack and beverage until we were 
healed of all road weariness and cares. 

Here was our journey to visit The Old Man of the Mountains. Poor guy. He fell off a few years back. No one seems to care though, the place was packed. 


The White Mountains rock.

Our show there was also really fun and was attended by a great group of folks. A beautiful venue, The Stone Gardens, were offered by the Bascoms sweet and generous friends and twas another wing-dinger of an evening. Great food along with several home brewed wines and beers were on the menu and were most special. I tried the apple wine. Wow, it was good.

These are some wonderful people. 

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

On to the Big Apple! 

At the suggestion of our friend, John, we took the ferry over to Orient Point on Long Island from Connecticut. What a good idea. It drops you at the tip of the island and then you can drive down through the vineyards and it was right at sunset. Stunning scenery.

We made our first stop in the charming town of Islip to visit John Monteleone in his workshop. John is Lon's mentor and teacher in instrument building and we were 
tickled to get to stop by for an all too brief visit.

 Most inspiring in every way. 


Then Brooklyn! 

What a change of scenery from the rolling hills of New Hampshire. Wow. We stayed in Cobble Hill with our friends, Fran and Leigh and Little Ben, all of whom we adore. 

That was a blast. We also met our pals, Jamie and Susan there from St. Augustine as if it could have gotten any better.

The show was so much fun. The Jalopy Theatre. Delightful venue, great sound man, the sweetest audience, most of which were musicians themselves. We split the night with Fran's band, the Y'all Stars and they were amazing. 

I love this place.

We walked a lot while we were there taking in the sights, sounds and scenes.  We sure hated to leave.

All too soon.. time to ride on. One more stop before our return to the Lower South. 

We headed for the green rolling hills of Virginia.


Once again, Lon and I were rained down upon with good fortune and were hosted here at this beautiful place by our hostess, Caroline Randolph Stalnaker, and her god-daughter and our friend, Carrie. 

A heart shaped mud puddle.

The concert was wonderful and very well attended by a dear bunch of people. Caroline, Carrie and her mother made an incredible dessert buffet. Our music went over well and I think a good time was had by all. It was a most delightful evening in a magical home. A highlight for us was when Carrie sat in on a few numbers, singing and playing the mandolin and guitar. A multi-talented gal! 

Here they are. 

Next morning, once again we were on our way, and this time ... home. 

All in all a truly amazing journey. Wonderful for Lon and I to be out on the road playing our music for folks who like that sort of thing and seeing our dear old friends and making new ones all along the way. Thanks for sharing this adventure with us. 

We are most grateful to all of our hosts and friends and family who made this journey possible.

Wishing you all the best in the new year.


Lis and Lon



The Foolish Frog

Happily, our journey begins in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, one of the most beautiful places on Earth as far as the Williamsons are concerned. A serendipitous opportunity to visit our pals, the Webbs, a couple who define Southern grace and charm. This is their place, The Foolish Frog, located on St. Helena Island where they hosted the first show of what turned out to be our not-so-mini tour. 

Twas a lovely night from the git-go. A big factor in our evening was the mutual friend that we share with the Webbs, David Dowling, a longtime musical pal from St. Augustine, but also a native of nearby Beaufort. We had met a few of David's friends in years past, so there was a small reunion as well as many new greetings and salutations from other longtime and childhood friends of David. 
Most memorable and many stories ensued.

Our friends from Gainesville, Mack and Paula Tyner, happened to be driving through and made our evening all the more fun and familiar. We launched into our first set which was very well received and off we went. A highlight of the evening was when our host, Beek, joined us on mandolin for a few numbers. Sweet! 

Here's my extraordinary grouper dinner. Mon Dieu! 

Lon had the fried chicken. Mm mmm! 

I was fascinated with the many beautiful paintings exhibited in the restaurant. 

Here's a chicken that Cathy's sister made of metal... quite cool.

Here I am with Beek, Lon and Stratty. Those are three of the sweetest men in the world.

Our evening was certainly topped off by the cozy and delightful cabin where we stayed at the Webbs. Here's the porch and the view and breakfast. 

Isn't that beautiful? 
 Cathy gave us quite the sendoff and we are more grateful than we can say to the Webbs and all the fine friends who joined us for this great evening and morning.

All was right with the world.

A most fond farewell to our friends in the Lowcountry. 

A thousand thanks!

846 Sea Island Parkway
Historic Frogmore
St. Helena Island, SC