Rock “n” Blues with an Island Attitude: Tavana McMoore & Leon Mobley


Grab the Reef Entertainment is at it again! Ritchie Ward, his team and Doug Sobaski the manager of Laverne’s, have been bringing fresh talent to our Big Island, and what great talent it has been! Citizen Cope in December, KY-Mani Marley in February and now, Tavana McMoore & Leon Mobley.

Ronnie V

Kicking off the night was our own local musician and longtime friend of Tavanas’, Ronnie V. Ronnie opened as a solo with his original song “Big Martha,” a takeoff of The Allman Brother song “Little Martha.” Ronnie was joined by a fiddle player and member of his group, The Family Band, Ms. Shaun Elise. Shaun is a classically trained violinist, but has now found that “Fiddle Sound” playing with Ronnie and the boys. Ronnie and Shaun played a couple of songs as a duo for the first time, but you would have never known. It wouldn’t have been a Ronnie V performance without his partner in crime, (never convicted) Dave Lawrence. Dave joined Ronnie and Shaun on the song “Working Man” and finished out the night with the Willie Nelson hit “Whiskey River.” Dave and Shaun took turns soloing, showing off their talents. Radio by day and gigging at night, the boys are showmen and always jive when on stage together.

Tavana McMoore

The time had come for Tavana McMoore & Leon Mobley to take the stage. Tavana is a singer/songwriter/guitarist from Honolulu and is known for his slide guitar and unique use of drum triggers to give himself that full band sound of Rock-n-Blues with an island attitude. Leon Mobley, a percussionist/drummer who is also a member of the band Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals. Leon is the founder and musical director of Da Lion and Djembe West African Drummers.

Leon Mobley

Opening their set with a bang, heavy kick drum trigger, Leon with his signature Remo Djembe strapped on and Tavanas’ power strums drew the audience to the front of the stage. Not prefacing his songs with titles made it hard to keep up as a journalist but made it much easier to focus on the sounds of the music.

The duo broke into their own version of the rock classic “House of the Rising Sun”, giving it a Latin sound, with powerful percussion. Watching the duo perform, you could see comradery between the two accomplished musicians as they grooved their way through originals and covers. The duo rocked a version of Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California,” showing Tavanas extreme guitar skills. Walking out at the end of night, I wasn’t only impressed, but became a new fan of Tavana McMoore and Leon Mobley.

It’s shows like this that bring the musicians and LIVE music fans together as a community. Get out and support LIVE music, the promoters and the musicians who bring it to us!

Follow Leon Mobley on Facebook.

Visit Tavana McMoore’s official site:

Gary Hicks has a true passion for music! He works as a talent scout, artist management & development, musician, studio manager, executive producer, music journalist, and radio personality.

Photos: Gerald Besson of I Shoot Music Hawaii.



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