Troubadour leaves the East to bring Monterey good will.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Hank Rhodes sits outside Monterey Live on Alvarado Street with his sunburst 12-string guitar just about every night.
He busts out heartfelt renditions of David Bowie, Crosby, Stills and Nash and Grateful Dead tunes. His rich sound resonates from the night sky to the gutters, often drowning out the raucousness around him.
Before long, a small crowd of onlookers cannot help but smile, dance and sing along as Rhodes’ long silver hair whips around like a weeping willow caught in a tropical storm.
Along with his unofficial duty as the show outside of the show, Rhodes plays every Tuesday in front of Live during the Farmers Market.
“He’s great. Everybody enjoys listening to him,” Monterey Live owner Gary Smith says.
Until recently, Rhodes – who grew up in Pacific Grove while his father attended the DLI – had not been back to Monterey since he was a child. Rhodes says most of his childhood was spent “everywhere in Europe and all over Japan.” Three months ago, Rhodes left his wife and life in Charlotte, N.C., and drove to Monterey to live in his RV. The 50-year old troubadour says his motive was to “bring good cheer to the Peninsula and volunteer my energies. I am the Peninsula’s emissary of good will.
His wife supports Rhodes’ journey and plans to move to Monterey soon.
“Music is just a vehicle,” he says, “a flower to get people’s attention.
“I want [Monterey] to be the same place it was in the olden days, a ‘Hometown U.S.A.’ ”
It’s not all abstract daydreaming. Rhodes has been a proactive spirit, picking up litter on beaches and meeting with city bigwigs, including mayor Chuck Della Sala, to discuss what Rhodes calls “bringing the community together through the arts.”