The Gulf Coast region is a great place to be a musician. There are a lot of venues and restaurants that are looking for live performers, and there is a progressive free spirited community that simply loves life and all it has to offer while maintaining the charm of the south. A group of these free spirited musicians can be found playing in all sorts of places. One band in particular can be found not only performing to the general public, but in nursing homes performing for the elderly.
When I first encountered Rhonda Huete, front woman of the band Gravity Blinks that is based in Daphne, Alabama, I was struck by how much she was attempting to do for Gulf Coast musicians. She started a playlist, blog, and even had events featuring them. I had just started in songwriting, but I know I wanted to be supportive and kind just like her. Aside from her kindness, there is remarkable talent behind Rhonda and her band which consists of her daughter Kristen, her husband Chip, Scotty Wig, and Jack Rodenbaugh.
Gravity Blinks is extraordinarily unique because they blend rock, jazz, folk, and spiritual music from the past and present. Rhonda gets her inspiration from a wide variety of artists:
"Ah, I have so many. As a child in the 60's I remember hearing The Doors and The Beatles becoming legends on the radio, as a teenager on the Gulf Coast I was into The Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffet, and a lot of 70’s rock. I listen to a pretty wide variety of music, with some of my favorites being the Foo Fighters, Shinedown, Paramore, 21 Pilots, The Killers, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.......As an artist, I’ve been most influenced by artists who write meaningful lyrics and relatable music, like Simon & Garfunkel, Fleetwood Mac, and Sixpence None The Richer. I’m also inspired by strong female fronted bands like Paramore, Heart, and Jefferson Airplane."
Rhonda began playing guitar at 13 and singing in high school, but as she gained a career and family. Music began to melt away until her daughter began playing the drums. This sparked the music that had been laying dormant inside Rhonda to become active. The band formed out of a nursing home outreach program they started 5 years ago, so it is no wonder that Rhonda has come into music helping as many people as she could.
Rhonda said of all the things to learn on her journey is to have humility, perseverance, and gratitude. "The process is a roller coaster. Like weather on the gulf coast, you can go from being on fire to frozen out in one day, and vice versa. I’m learning/striving to learn to take it all in stride, keep perspective, and remember to have fun with the incredible gift to be part of this world." Rhonda's beautiful spirit is one that can be felt through her music and her actions.