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Music legend Charlie McCoy lifts Lover’s Key

By Nathan Mayberg - Editor | Feb 12, 2020

Charlie McCoy hums away on the harmonica during a free “Songwriters at Sunset” concert at Lover's Key State Park on Fort Myers Beach Feb. 6. NATHAN MAYBERG

Charlie McCoy is in the Country Music Hall of Fame in large part for his harmonica but as his performance at Lover’s Key State Park Feb. 6 showed, his voice and guitar are not exactly second-fiddles.

At 78, the Fort Myers Beach resident showed he still has his chops while performing with Kim Mayfield and Roy Schneider during a show put on by the Friends of Lover’s Key.

McCoy, who has played with the mammoths of American popular music from Elvis Presley to Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison, showed the skills of a man whose talents have been in demand for more than six decades and used on thousands of recording sessions.

McCoy, who has a condo that overlooks Lover’s Key, performed his song “Lovers Key” from his album “Over the Rainbow,” while also playing songs by Hank Williams, The Drifters and Kris Kristofferson.

While you could hardly find a song more appropriate than one you wrote for the place you were singing at like “Lover’s Key,” McCoy’s soulful impression of The Drifters’ hit “Under the Boardwalk” was particularly well-timed.

The performance by Charlie McCoy at the “Songwriters at Sunset” concert at Lover's Key State Park few a crowd of between 400 to 500 people. NATHAN MAYBERG

The West Virginia native who grew up in Miami, played with a fervent energy as a crowd of around 400 to 500 people watched the performance in seats at the gazebo and from chairs on the beach during a cool and breezy day.

The crowd stopper of the night was McCoy’s rendition of the 1940’s Louis Jordan song “Choo Choo Ch’boogie,” which the musician said was one of his favorites. “Heading for the station with a pack on my back. Tired of transportation in the back of a hack. I like to hear the rhythm of the clickity-clack. And hear the lonesome whistle, see the smoke from the stack. And pal around with democratic fellas named Mac. So take me right back to the track Jack,” McCoy sang. “Choo choo, choo choo ch’boogie.”

Along with Charlie McCoy, Kim Mayfield and Roy Schneider, the “Songwriters at Sunset” show Feb. 6 featured a dazzling sunset. NATHAN MAYBERG