Captain Quint bumps buffet in Bethany

If the Bethany bandstand sounds a little more tropical than usual this Sunday, don’t be alarmed. For their fourth year, the now eight-piece Maryland band Captain Quint will be gracing the stage to bring some island flavor to southern Delaware.

Headed by founder and keyboardist Kevin Johnston, Captain Quint has been mixing sounds of rock, reggae, calypso, Americana and Latin flavors since 2000, though they’re most notably recognized for their impeccable homage to barefoot guitar-strummer Jimmy Buffett.

The group originally began as a tribute band for Margaritaville man and has since hit the studios with their original music. In addition to recording their ownl tracks, compiled on two albums, Captain Quint has opened for Buffett himself eight times.

“It’s a wonderful feeling when we’re playing with him,” said Johnston. “We’re playing in front of our market, and it’s always a great response.”

The band hails from towns throughout the state of Maryland, from Bethesda, Colesville, Baltimore and Annapolis. In addition to Johnston, members include Dennis Grochowski on lead vocals, Eric Thompson on drums, Chris Steiner on bass, John Patti on steel drums, Mike Bearry on guitar and Kaare Wieneke on harmonica. They frequent clubs and restaurants throughout the state, including venues in Ocean City and the popular Springfest.

Their music might conjure up images of coconut daiquiris and Caribbean dreams, but Johnston said there’s a lot more than that to their songs.

“We’ve got a pretty unique sound,” he said, claiming they’re not just your everyday tropical band. The group melds Buffett’s sound with influences from Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Marley and Paul Simon to develop a style that has been appropriately dubbed “tropical and nautical rock-and-roll,” or simply, “trop-rock.”

Starting up the group seven years ago was a simple decision for Johnston, who took a liking to music 20 years prior.

“I started in the international transportation business,” he said, “but music was a big part of my life. I went for a huge career change, and it just took off.”

The Bethany bandstand overlooking the Atlantic is one of Johnston’s favorite spots to play.

“There’s always an excellent crowd there,” he said, “and everyone’s really receptive. What makes it the most fun, though, is that when we’re playing there, it’s the closest you can actually get to the ocean. It really gets you into the music.”

The tunes will kick off on Sunday, July 1, at 7:30 p.m. at the bandstand. Listeners can expect relaxing tunes, including Buffett favorites, said Johnston, such as “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Come Monday,” and “Fins.”