Share this post

By Rachelle Flava Rae Greenberg, photos by Raul Toro

When the 4th of July comes around we all think of fireworks, parades, cookouts with friends & family and of course concerts!!! As we all know, on July 4th we celebrate our independence. However, this year is special, because this year we are also celebrating a different kind of independence, that is the independence from Covid! The city is buzzing with the looming Stanley Cup playoff and everyone is thrilled to be out again at a concert, among people, seeing these bands. Setting the scene is a beautiful night in Ybor City at the Cuban Club with The Brummies, Tonic, and ending the night with a bang, Sister Hazel.

The Brummies started the night off. This band, from Birmingham Alabama, gets their name from the UK’s slang for a resident of Birmingham. Bringing a 60’s psychedelic rock vibe intertwined with soft folk of the 90’s, it was a perfect introduction to a great night of music. Check out their debut album “Eternal Reach”.

Tonic was clearly ecstatic to be back playing live gigs again, especially with their good friends Sister Hazel. Tonic entertained us with their lyrics and stories, not to mention a fantastic version of Fleetwood Mac’s, “Go Your Own Way”. Don’t worry, they managed to slip in some of their hits like “Open Up Your Eyes” and “If You Could Only See”. This would have been a great end to a great night, but when Sister Hazel walked on the stage, the crowd that was already up and dancing seemed to get a 2nd wind. For more info. visit

Closing the night was Sister Hazel. During my interview with Ryan Newell (Sister Hazel’s guitarist) I learned much about this Florida band. Primarily, they care for & have 100% devotion to all their fans. “We try to keep a relationship with our fans” Ryan told me. The Grateful Dead have their “Dead Heads”, Jimmy Buffet has his “Parrot Heads” well Sister Hazel have their “Hazelnuts”.

They don’t just answer fan mail or pose for pictures, they hold events for them. The Hazelnut Hang is annually held at the Isle of Palm. This was created by the band strictly for their fans to come and hang with them (how cool is that?). They BBQ, play volleyball, and they’ll play a very unique concert! In efforts to stay connected with their fans during the pandemic they held 3 live stream events, performed 2 drive-in tours, and came out with 4 EP’s titled Element.

In 2001 after their first record they wanted to do something special for the Hazelnuts so they took them on a cruise along with 30 other bands. Ryan told me that “it felt right, so it felt like something we should keep doing”, and ”The Rock Boat” was born. They continue this tradition which is still going strong after 20+ yrs.

A year later, they started the charity, Lyrics for Life. Ryan’s enthusiasm couldn’t be contained when he explained the concept of this charity. “We get artists to write down lyrics & auction it off where all proceeds go to children’s cancer research”. When I asked about the origin of this, Ryan explained “everyone in the band had a family member that has dealt with the battle against cancer”. Edwin McCain for example, also being a pilot sent in his lyrics written on a propeller. Paul McCartney & Elton John have participated in this charity as well. So far they have raised millions of dollars!

As bands re-emerge from their Covid hibernation, rest assured that TBMN will continue to bring you local coverage because I’m Flava Rae and Rocking Out is What I do!