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Tampa folk duo Halcyon trades touring for a new Ybor City music venue: PLAY




Skipper's Smokehouse has been like a second home to veteran Tampa folk-rock duo Halcyon, who host popular shows there on a regular basis. You may have caught them there last weekend for member Stephanie Callahan's 40th birthday bash.

But if all goes according to plan, Halcyon will soon have a new home in Ybor City.

Callahan and Deb Hunseder are planning to open PLAY, a new artist-oriented bar and venue in Ybor City. It sits at 1701 E Eighth Ave., the former home of Spurs, La Cueva and the Green Room, among other venues.

"We knew we would eventually open a venue like this, and since the offer came to us, we felt like the timing was right," said Hunseder, who along with Callahan are the business' sole owner-operators.

PLAY is designed to be not only a home for Halcyon, but a venue for local performers, with professionally lit indoor and outdoor stages. Among the artists lined up to perform so far: Cathy Richardson (May 8), D'Visitors (May 14) and Elysian Sex Drive (May 15), Black Blondie (May 16) and Andy Irvine Group. Halcyon will play during the venue's grand opening on May 1.

"We'd like to think of ourselves as sort of a 'human mix tape," Hunseder said.

PLAY will also have food and drinks -- wines, craft brews and frozen drinks at an outdoor tiki bar -- plus a neat little musical Happy Hour twist: Custom guitar picks will serve as tokens for free 2-4-1 drinks.

What will opening a bar mean for Halcyon, who've been playing together and touring for 20 years? Well, the duo is using PLAY's opening as a chance to get off the road, maybe for good. They have no shows planned after May 1, and with a career that has taken them across the country, they're looking for an opportunity to stay in one place for a while.

"We know we'll have our hands full for awhile making PLAY successful, and will give it all we've got to do so," Hunseder said. "We never say never, and I'm sure we'll hit a few places out there in the future."

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 3:18pm]


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