Slowly but surely checking south east islands off his list
In 2011, after playing a few gigs in Hilton Head, SC, musician Michael Hammond had an idea. A few weeks later, he was playing his guitar and singing in Edisto Beach and Hunting Island, and after a few more weeks, in Tybee Island, GA.
“That’s where the idea occurred to play on all the islands on the southern East Coast,” he said while on break between sets at Bahia Honda State Park and playing at Lulu’s Grill in Marathon. “I’m just going to keep trying to hit them. I’m not really sure how many there are, but I’m in no rush.”
Bahia Honda marked the sixth Florida Keys island he’s played on, including playing at bars like Caribbean Club, Snappers, Blue Heaven, Springer’s, The Hurricane, and Dockside. Next on his list: Ramrod and Little Torch.
“It just seemed like a cool idea, and I’ve been going with it ever since,” he said.
His music is versatile. He appeals to biker bar patrons to folks in nursing homes, where he started playing solo acoustic sessions while visiting his dad a few years ago. From there, his musical career has snowballed.
Hammond is no stranger to the Keys either. He spent his winters in the Middle Keys from upstate New York. “I actually went to Marathon High School,” he said. “I’ve been coming to the Keys since the 60s, and used to drive across the old bridges, like Bahia Honda and the Old 7-Mile.”
After his parents relocated to Miami, there was a 27-year-gap where he didn’t make it past Florida City. A fate-filled vacation in 2007 with his son rekindled his admiration for the island chain, sparking his hopes to soon relocate to the Keys in the near future.
Hammond is stationed out of South Carolina at the moment, but will be back playing more Keys islands in May, if not sooner. To follow his island hopping, Hammond said his Facebook page is the best way to keep up with him, fb.com/michael.hammond.3597.