“Trop Rock” hits Van Horn in waves

By Lisa Morton

It was not your typical Monday evening event at the Van Horn Cattle Company, but one that had a couple of gals shaking their maracas. Don Middlebrook played his “Trop Rock” music for a small crowd and took many request for crowd favorites.

Michigan native, singer/songwriter Don Middlebrook, and his band the Pearl Divers, headlined the Street Festival at the national Trop Rock Music Association’s annual convention in Key West, Florida’s “Meeting of the Minds.”  His honors include: 2015 Album of the Year – “Songs from Talespin Bay”, 2015 Songwriter of the Year – Don Middlebrook, and 2015 “I Can” Award, for charitable work with Trop Rock music.

Van Horn locals Steve and Gayla Mitchell are self-proclaimed “Parrot Heads,” and have encouraged many musicians of that musical genre to make the trip to our far West Texas Desert for an engagement or two on their country wide tours.   The couple has also sponsored many house concerts that have been enjoyed by friends and followers, some driving over 250 miles to attend.

Middlebrook’s Monday audience in Van Horn included Shiela Parker, her son Christopher McKillips and friend Reggio Mathis from Odessa. Shiela has been faithful to her genre for over 30 years, raising her son surrounded by the sounds of the island music.   Christopher was happy to make the 300+ mile round trip to hear Don Middlebrook strum his guitar and take him to another place much warmer.

Middlebrook travels with diverse memorabilia, which includes a framed copy of a 1980’s TV Guide which he “came into the possession of”, addressed to Jimmy Buffet himself. This event became the inspiration for his song “I stole Jimmy Buffest’s TV Guide”.

Middlebrook tells The Advocate that he will be back for future engagements representing his “Key West Connection”, hopefully for many years to come. Fans can find all of this information on his website, donmiddlebrook.net.