The Sunday Bonfire, it’s all about music. Resident Leroy Dickson hosts the St. Simons Island Sunday Bonfires. Area musicians, acoustic instruments in tow gather to sing, converse, and wile away some perfect time among friends. The beach, the fire, and music…does it get any better than that for creativity? The Bonfire event characterizes why St. Simons Island was destined to become the home of Golden Isles Records.
One particular bonfire sparked a conversation between Bob Herrin and Rory Knapton about Costa Rica, a song both fell in love with 35 years earlier. Fellow artist Art Booth wrote the song though he’d never visited the country. It was love at first sight as Booth discovered Costa Rica and her people in the pages of National Geographic Magazine. His connection was fueled by talking to visitors to the beautiful country and studying the history.
Herrin and Knapton contacted Booth about his enduring melody and lyrics. They invited him to a bonfire to discuss their interest in recording his song. It was time to share the song they’d admired for decades. Booth immediately made arrangements to come down and meet the "Bonfires" and with his permission, the song was in the hands of the Golden Isles Records' studio. With recording underway, Knapton and Herrin worked on the arrangement changing the beat and guitar giving the song its distinctive reggae style. While structuring the verses and breaks, they found they needed to add an extra verse.
Courtesy of the blazing bonfires, there were distinguished musicians to make up the band. The band's name was voted on by the many bonfire regulars and hosted by LeRoy; hence the band Blue LeRoy and The Bonfires was born. Musicians who recorded the song are: Charles Shearer (Atlanta), keyboards and bass; Michael Hulett, saxophone and trumpets: Bob Herrin, guitar and vocals; Rory Knapton, drums; Don Berg, Rhonda Morgan Carmichael, and Deborah Walker, background vocals; and Adam Poulin (Athens, GA), violin player.
Costa Rica is more than a dance/party song although the upbeat rhythms and arrangement produce smiles. Happy is the state-of-mind that initially occurs as the song opens. The lyrics are an anthem for Costa Rica, her geography and her people. Booth’s lyrics and the music/melody deliver visions of the country and his connection to the sacred ground. Art Booth has yet to visit "his" beloved country, at least not physically, but close your eyes and listen. You will be transported to the cherished Costa Rica of Art Booth and Blue LeRoy and The Bonfires.