In 1985, Bob Gatewood and Calabash started in the Flats of Cleveland and quickly became the house band at several clubs, most notably Fagan's. Within a year, they were also playing the Round House on Put-in-Bay and Sloppy Joe's in Key West. They were to become the benchmark in all three markets. They set sales records and then broke them the following year. Playing a blend of their own songs and lots of favorites, 150 shows a year turned into 300 as they added the Virginias, the Carolinas and Georgia. Calabash, always a top notch band, has in it's alumni Chad Szeliga of Breaking Benjamin, and 4-time Academy of Country Music Best Guitarist, Tom Bukovac.
But things changed. They tore down the Flats. Three 1,500 mile trips a year to Key West turned into just one. And, there was one place tugging at Gatewood harder than all the rest. So much so, he moved the whole operation up there. It was the place where they always wanted to hear him sing that song he wrote when he was a kid, "Friends-of-the-Bay". You guessed it. Put-in-Bay.
Since then, Gatewood still plays solo and and tours with Calabash, but mostly just to the other side of the island. The tour bus is mainly a golf cart, but he still kicks out great rock'n'roll, some his own and some not. He leaves the island for an occasional festival or yacht club gig, but mainly kicks out about a hundred shows a summer on the beloved island community he calls home. In winter Gatewood leaves to write songs and work in Florida or Mexico with his wife, then records the songs in Nashville with some of the best in the business. His 2001 effort, FINALLY HOME, garnered a Best of the Year Award from the Cleveland Scene Magazine, and the Plain Dealer nodded him as a local legend.
In 2011, Gatewood returned to Nashville to record his much anticipated follow-up.
The cast of players have over 300 gold and platinum recordings, and number among Nashville's best. The participants included current ACM Best guitarist Tom Bukovac, the legendary drummer, Joe Vitale, and Billy Joel's bassist, David Santos.
The album, Be Good to Yourself, has gotten heavy airplay in Ohio, and charted in Cleveland in the top 40 with three songs, most notably a #1 song on V107 FM with "No One Knows".
The latest album is in the works and scheduled for a 2017 release.
As a last note, Gatewood's solo shows are a must see. He combines what is called "live looping", whereby many parts are recorded and played back simultaneously on the spot to create a full band sound that is to be seen to be believed. Often the arrangements take on a life of their own as he blends guitar wizardry with a huge vocabulary of popular songs and his own material.
Oh, and what about that song he wrote way back when he was a kid, "Friends of the Bay"? It's now the official song of the island!