Musicians Help Provide Fun Filled Nights at the Cabana Grill
By Renee Burrell
If you are up for a night of top-shelf dining and dancing, head over to the Cabana Grill on Sand Key. You may have heard about French Chef Alain's menu there, but did you know about the live music and dancing? A musical duo comprised of vocalist Carol Mitchell, who many remember from the Clearwater Beach Hotel, and talented musician Eric Enfield, who sings and plays keyboards, guitar, and drums, make up "Two for the Show". Mitchell and Enfield play a variety of pop, blues, jazz and R & B standards nightly from 7-11 p.m.
Since forming Two for the Show, the duo has also played for weddings, banquets and private dinners, and other special occasions. "If you were married along the beach, I probably played for your wedding," Eric mused.
Two for the Show's musical repertoire can be enjoyed by all ages because the duo take requests and play countless crowd pleasers and dance numbers.
Both are veterans of the Midwest entertainment circuits. Being in the same profession, it seemed inevitable for the two to find out about each other. "An agent named Earl Hagan told me about Eric," said Mitchell. "It's funny, too, because Eric and I are both from the Chicago area and though we didn't know each other then, our paths must have crossed many times as we played at many of the same venues, but never met. It's been interesting to list of all of the parallels. Both of us ended up moving from the Midwest to Tampa Bay to work on cruise ships."
"Eric can play hundreds of songs and knows all of the facts about who composed them and who sang what," said added. Enfield has performed in concert and recorded with some well known musicians such as David Ruffin & Eddie Kendrick, Chaka Khan, The Chi-Lites, Bobby Blue Bland, Peaches and Herb and REO Speedwagon.
"Carol is very easy to work with and knows the lyrics to so many songs," said Enfield. Mitchell began singing professionally in the San Diego area after relocating from her native Chicago in her teens. Her vocals lean in style towards other songbirds like Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, and contemporary singers Madonna and Nora Jones and range from country, rock and blues, to show tunes and torch songs. Starting promptly at 7 p.m., I was there Friday evening and heard their first set. "Carol sounds like Barbra Streisand," remarked a Cabana Grill regular who has been following Eric's performances for 20 years. "The whole place is terrific. Michele is wonderful!"
Cabana Grill's manager, Michele sang Two for the Show's praises. "I love them both. It's so nice that they got together. It had nothing to do with me. They make a nice duet and are part of the restaurant's ambience, along with the menu and the view."
The musical duo and Michele have known each other for years. "I worked with him for 19 years aboard The Starlight Princess when he was the manager there," said Enfield.
Carol was their competition. She worked across from them in John's Pass aboard the Europa as the cruise director, but later worked with Michele at the Clearwater Beach Hotel.
Concerning the upcoming and much anticipated renovations for the Belleview Biltmore Resort and the Cabana Grill Mitchell said, "We're excited. I don't think it's going to be happening for awhile, but it will be well worth it when it's done." Enfield added, "Of course we'll be here doing business until then, taking it one day at a time. We hope to be back when the renovations are complete. We really enjoy working with Michele."
Manager Michele explained that though Cabana Grill is a premium for guests staying at the Resort, the heart of the business are the local people who come for dining, dancing and to hear Mitchell and Enfield. "Eighty percent of our customer base is comprised of locals. Many come to dance and many just to watch and enjoy the food and view." The Cabana Grill and Bar is located at 1590 Gulf Blvd. Call 595-2491 for more information.
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