A local band, The Applebutter Express, is drawing in crowds from all over the bay area. Kyle and Shannon Biss started the band as a vocal duo back in 2004 when they met in high school before getting married in 2011. Since then, they added Joe Trivette as a fiddle player and Matt Desear as the bassist to complete the band.
“I always knew that Shannon could sing because she was in chorus, but she wanted nothing to do with it at first,” Kyle said. “She didn’t want to sing in front of a bunch of people. Once I finally got her up there the first time, she was fine and I realized we had this chemistry on stage together.”
The Applebutter Express has a unique soundgiven to their use of stringed-instruments like the ukuleleplayed by Kyle. Their folk-like, bluegrass styleis more uplifting than most music played today. What first started as a hobby for the band, has led to performances allthroughout Florida and even to other states for festivals such as Bonnaroo.
“We would start to go to local festivals and campsites, walk around and perform for people around there by singing and playing around,” Shannon said. “We didn’t think of doing anything professional yet. We decided one night after so many positive responses from people that maybe we can do something with this. That was enough encouragement to go to open mics and tryout for local gigs and now it’s a whole thing.”
The band members do not focus on a certain niche when it comes to their audience and their eclectic music has drawn in a variety of listeners from children to seniors.
“What’s really funny to me is that kids just take to us,” Shannon said. “I guess that we are good dancing music for kids. Really we get crowds of all ages because we do a lot of 60s and 70s covers and that kind of thing. That’s the music that we are really into, Allman Brothers and Grateful Dead, so we get a lot of older fans from that. But we get a little bit of everybody. A lot of people you wouldn’t expect.”
The Applebutter Express already released two CDs and plans to have more.Their recently signed publishing deal and featured song “Hey, my brotha” in Ron Howard’s film “The Good Lie” foreshadows they have nothing but a successful future to look forward to for years to come.
Angela Spirou and Katerina Spirou are working with the rest of their family to run a new Greek restaurant, Spirou’s Cookhouse and Desserts in Tarpon Springs. Katerina moved from Greece years ago and opened the business here.
“It’s different here,” Katerina said. “I try to bring the Greek tradition here with my family and keep it up. I met my husband while he was on vacation in my country, and it was sort of like an arranged-marriage kind of thing.”
Katerina’s mother-in-law, Angela, helps run the business and says there are many benefits of working with family members. She could not think of any negatives when working with each other. The business runs successfully because the family works as a team.
“I have been blessed to work with everyone,” Angela said. “Each family member has something to offer the restaurant, whether it is cooking or serving tables. It is all about communication. If there is some sort of problem that occurs, then we discuss it with one another.”
Spirou’s Cookhouse and Desserts is open seven days a week and focuses on preparing food from scratch. They serve a bit of everything from traditional Greek dishes to homemade pastries and desserts.
More people are becoming health-conscious and concerned about what foods they are putting into their bodies.
Monique Frisco has been busy in the kitchen since her organic, GMO-free and natural date bars are selling in health food stores around Tampa. Let’s Date Bars have been flying off of the shelves.
“When you are consuming products that are genetically modified, our bodies are not necessarily made to adapt to that,” said Frisco. “We are wonderfully made, but our bodies are can only handle so much chemicals and those kinds of things. Today, it’s more straight-cut to the table and there’s a lack of preparation in our food that tears up our intestinal tracts, thus leading to things like fibromyalgia and gout that people come across.”
Adults and children alike enjoy the tasty flavor of Let’s Date Bars over typical processed foods, Frisco says.
“I have one friend that gets a bar every weekend and tears it up in less than a minute, then it’s completely gone,” said Frisco’s son, Everett. “He thinks they are delicious.”