Straight from the Beach

Any guy with the nickname “Foot” has got to have a sense of humor. George Nowak — musician and singer/songwriter, a.k.a. “Barefoot Man” — has one of the best. Years of shoeless beach bumming and strumming his guitar has been fodder for Nowak, and resulted in a reputation that spans the Caribbean islands all the way to Hollywood. John Grisham wrote about “The BareFoot Boys” in his novel “The Firm” resulting in a solid 42-second cameo for Nowak, appearing with Tom Cruise.

German-born, Nowak came to the United States at 8 years old and couldn’t speak English. While some may wish they could put that genie back in a bottle, Nowak uses his words to weave hilarious stories whether in song or in print. He has written more than 2,000 songs, a couple of books, and writes for his hometown newspaper in Grand Cayman Island. A former resident of Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas, with daughters and granddaughters still living there, Nowak considers it a second home. He happily answered the call to perform for the Island Roots Heritage Festival this week.

“What I love about the Bahamas is the freedom thing,” said Nowak. “There are so many islands, and water everywhere; it’s like going back in time.”

Often compared to Jimmy Buffett, mainly due to the “island songwriter persona,” The Barefoot Man is different. “(Buffett) doesn’t do our songs and we don’t do his,” joked Chuck Quappe, band member. Growing up in North Carolina, Nowak has the country music story-telling style to his music. Calling himself a “simple three-chord guy” he is self-taught “by bumming around the beaches, getting a free meal and having to pay it back by playing.” He’s funny, he’s entertaining, but watch out — the jokes will fly. (And regardless of what he says, he has NOT won a Grammy.)

The Barefoot Man and Band (musicians Barrie and Chuck Quappe) will be playing Friday night at Two Friends Patio and Saturday night at The Truman Waterfront with The Island Roots Heritage Festival. Nowak is hoping to get a new, wrinkle-free shirt before both events. He may not wear shoes but he does have SOME standards.

The Barefoot Man, George Nowak, a longtime resident of Green Turtle Cay, is here to play for the Island Roots Heritage Festival.

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