11/15/2012 6:32:00 PM Lilly, fetch the blender!: Mike Broward & 'Trop-Rock' are coming to town
By Cindy Barks
Mike Broward vividly remembers the day that guitars became magical for him.
It was Christmas circa 1961, and he was a seven-year-old gazing admiringly at a friend's gift - a three-color Sunburst electric guitar.
"It was the most beautiful thing I ever saw," Broward said in a telephone interview from the road this week.
After that, there was no stopping the Southern California boy. "I just begged my parents non-stop for a guitar," he said. "They said, 'get a bike; guitars are evil.'"
They finally relented, though. "We were living in the Mohave Desert at the time, and we drove to the nearest Sears and Roebuck to get that guitar," Broward said.
The coveted instrument set Broward on a musical course that ultimately ended up in the world of tropical rock (Trop-Rock), where the songs extol the attractions of island getaways, margaritas, and love-at-first-sight.
That world will be coming to Prescott this weekend, when Broward stops by Hooligan's Pub on Whiskey Row for a Sunday evening show.
Nancy O'Brien of Hooligan's said she loves the laid-back vibe of Broward's Trop-Rock music. Comparing it to popular Margaritaville singer Jimmy Buffett, she added, "Who doesn't love Jimmy Buffett?"
O'Brien's connections with Broward date back about two decades. She remembers meeting the musician briefly about 20 years ago when both lived in San Diego. Recently, she learned that a friend from San Diego, local musician Jack Hill, also knew Broward.
Hill and Broward played in the same music scene in San Diego and then lost touch for years, before reconnecting recently on Facebook.
It turns out that Broward also has another local connection: He owns a house in Chino Valley.
"I bought the house six or seven years ago with the idea of moving up to Prescott," Broward said. He ended up moving to Nashville instead, but he still likes to return to Arizona.
After booking shows in Scottsdale and Tucson for this weekend, Broward said the performance at Hooligan's was a perfect opportunity to get back to Prescott.
Broward's performance is just one of many that Hooligan's has conducted through the years, O'Brien said, adding that she hopes to expand on that in the future. "It is my intention to get more special events and celebrities," she said.
Through the years, Broward has made a name for himself in the world of Trop-Rock, and he has recorded a number of CDs. His latest, Island Getaway, is "centered in the theme of escape and the tropics," according to the musician's website.
The genre also has allowed Broward to do some getting away of his own.
"I'm lucky, because I get to play in a lot of gorgeous places," he said. After leaving Prescott, he plans to drive to the Sea of Cortez community of San Carlos, Mexico for two performances.
Although he lives in Nashville, Broward has a strong bond with the south Florida island community of Key West as well.
"I've played there for 14 years," he said. "I like the weather, and it's beautiful."
The main draw, though, is the opportunity to visit with longtime friends.
In fact, it was through some of those friends that Broward penned what has become his signature song.
He remembers partying in Key West with friends, including three sisters, in about 2004.
"Everyone was there for the annual 'meeting of the minds,'" Broward said. "I was there with some friends, and we were whooping it up."
At one point - playing off the then-popular catchphrase "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" - one of the sisters looked at Broward and said, "What happens in Key West never happened."
"I said, 'there's a song,'" Broward said.
After that, it became a joke between friends. "Every time I saw her, she would ask, 'where's my song?'"
By 2005, the tune had become a reality. Broward recorded it with Stars on the Water, a group he was playing with at the time. Since then, "What Happens in Key West Never Happened" is among his most requested songs.
Local guitarist Jack Hill has known Broward for more than 30 years, and he is complimentary of his friend's musical talents.
"He is one of the most incredible guitar players I've ever known," Hill said this week.
Also lauding Broward's ability to "turn a phrase into a song," Hill said "people are in for a real treat this weekend."
O'Brien agreed. "I have a feeling Mike Broward will really get the crowd involved," she said. "We have a good-sized dance floor, and it's right in front of the stage."
There will be no cover charge for Broward's show, which will start at 7 p.m. Sunday, with first-come-first-served seating. Hooligan's is located at 112 S. Montezuma St.
More information about Broward is available at his website at www.musicmike.net.