Tak­ing It Blow by Blow

Sax player en­ter­tains for al­most fifty years

RSWLiving - - Entertainm­ent - WRIT­TEN BY CRAIG GAR­RETT Craig Gar­rett is a free­lance writer re­sid­ing in Cape Coral, Florida.

It is early Sun­day evening at the Sun­shine Grille in Fort My­ers. The air is filled with the rich smell of a wood- burn­ing pizza oven, and golf and col­lege basketball games ap­pear on the TV screens over the bar. The TV sound is muted, re­placed by the hum of happy con­ver­sa­tions. Other than the bar­tender who is shak­ing mar­ti­nis, the en­trance of an el­e­gant woman in sil­ver se­quins is the only move­ment. A few feet

IT HAS NEVER BEEN AN OP­TION NOT TO PLAY.”

be­hind them, a man, dressed all in black, plugs a cord into an am­pli­fier. He seems to be ner­vously en­er­gized. With a wiry frame, gen­tle eyes, and a gray­ing beard, he wears a cap on his head that would have once been de­scribed as be­ing “hip.” The man is lo­cal sax­o­phone player Char­lie Sher­rill. As he steps onto the small stage, the bar talk hushes no­tice­ably.

Tonight, as it has been for nearly five decades, it is Char­lie Sher­rill’s turn to en­ter­tain. In a few more min­utes, a float­ing sweet­ness will emerge from his in­stru­ments. “I’ve been very for­tu­nate to have had the life I’ve had,” says Sher­rill, plac­ing a sax­o­phone, an elec­tronic sax, and a flute on­stage just be­fore his Sun­day set. “It has never been an op­tion not to play.”

Sher­rill has been per­form­ing in Florida since the 1970s. How­ever, at age six­tytwo, he still re­tains his Vir­ginian roots, us­ing “cee- ment” to de­scribe the bot­tom of an empty swim­ming pool where he first played pro­fes­sion­ally at age six­teen.

From Sher­rill’s soul flows orig­i­nal, solo mu­sic that is so clean and en­gag­ing that it prompted Sun­shine Grille owner Sandy Stil­well to con­tract Sher­rill. “So many en­ter­tain­ers zone out,” Stil­well says. “Not Char­lie; he truly has a love for the guests.”

His love for mu­sic and for his au­di­ence is ev­i­dent in Sher­rill’s sim­ple per­for­mances. Fame and for­tune may find some mu­si­cians, but for oth­ers like Sher­rill, it seems enough to just en­joy what you do.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Char­lie Sher­rill, visit him on­line at char­liesh­er­rill. com.

IF YOU GO The Sun­shine Grille Weekly en­ter­tain­ment, along with ex­cel­lent food in a unique at­mos­phere. 239- 489- 2233, sun­shine­grillefm. com

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