In 2018, 2500 fans voted in the Trop Rockin’ Magazine People’s Choice Awards! Jerry Diaz was honored as the Trop Rock Legend. This award was sponsored by the Trop Rock Music Association, one of the first groups to step up and become a sponsor. This newly reorganized group of musicians and fans is an important organization in the Trop Rock music genre.
2018 People’s Choice Award Trop Rock Legend
Jerry Diaz has a mellow voice, an easy way with an audience and has penned an abundance of original Trop Rock songs. But he’s a true Trop Rock legend for many other reasons and the top choice is that he started the annual Parrot Head convention, Meeting of the Minds.
From Nederland, Texas, Jerry still has a “day job,” yet he’s always managed to maintain a full performance schedule, bringing joy to thousands throughout the years with his music.
Jerry started Meeting of the Minds (MOTM) back in 1992 and the original location was not Key West, but New Orleans, Louisiana. It was the first of it’s kind. Parrot Head clubs were beginning to form and Jerry envisioned a live music festival to bring them all together.
His first band, “Key West, The Band,” has the distinction of being the first band to ever play MOTM! In 2002, “Hanna’s Reef” was formed and Jerry’s music began to really take off.
Jerry calls his music collection “Texas Beach Music” and he likes to hug the Gulf Coast with performances from South Padre Island, Texas all the way to Key West.
Parrot Heads in Paradise, who now runs MOTM, honored Jerry with a Lifetime Achievement award in 2012 for the event’s 20th anniversary. He is a mainstay performer at MOTM and it’s time well spent to listen to him and his talented band.
Jerry was voted “Songwriter of the Year” by Trop Rock Music Association (TRMA) in 2013 and 2014. He also won TRMA’s “Song of the Year” with his tune “Beer in the Cooler.”
Recently, he was honored as “Trop Rock Legend” at the 2018 Trop Rockin’ Magazine’s People’s Choice Awards in Key West. A well deserving award recognizing Jerry’s superior contributions to the Trop Rock genre.
“Rum Drinks and Sandy Beaches” is the fifth CD Jerry has recorded, and it’s predictably terrific. His music is filled with fun and he credits Jimmy Buffett’s album “You Had to Be There,” in addition to Texas Outlaw Country as big influencers in his songwriting.
And what about the beach music theme? “I realized how much I loved the Beach Boys as an adult,” he relayed. “They’re also a major influence in my music.”
Back to Jerry’s day job – I’m amazed that he travels and performs as much as he does and still works with Pepperidge Farms in southeast Texas. But then, he’s a hard-working fellow, as is the rest of his family.
Jerry and his wife, Mary Diaz, along with their daughters, Danielle and Casey, started Pardi Gras back in 1997 in New Orleans. This Trop Rock music festival has won TRMA’s “Event of the Year” multiple times and is a great place in which to hear new up and coming musicians.
Where else can you also participate in a Bourbon Street Pub Crawl, a Second Line parade, and an afternoon street party that rocks a whole block of Bourbon Street? We also talked about the “family feel” that is pervasive at Pardi Gras. “My hope is that more events can be that way,” Jerry related.
Jerry is always known to be a gracious host and organizer, and I’ve heard from many Trop Rock musicians how he personally helped kick-start their career. “I’m trying to make them have the best show they can, and they help me out, in return,” he said when told of the credit given to him.
Ever expanding opportunities for fans to enjoy great music, Jerry will be leading a March cruise to the BVIs, along with Donny Brewer on the lovely Windstar line.
Then July 12-13, he’ll be back in New Orleans for “Gulf Coast Days.” He described this event as quite different from Pardi Gras, in that many local NOLA musicians are featured. There is still a Pub Crawl included, but they visit more bars off Bourbon Street.
Jerry has been at the forefront of Trop Rock since the beginning and his songwriting, events, guidance and influence continues to shape this ever growing genre. Truly a “Trop Rock Legend.”