Mayfest on Main brings in Beach Boys, country singer Ross Coppley

Al Jardine likes to measure traveling distances in the number of planes he boards to reach his destination.

A founding member of the Beach Boys, he said going coast to coast, from home in Big Sur, Calif., to Myrtle Beach, usually entails “a three-plane ride,” a few more connections than say, a direct, but longer distance, trek on one jet from Los Angeles to Tokyo.

Jardine is glad to return to the Grand Strand on Saturday for North Myrtle Beach’s annual “Mayfest on Main, which opens at 10 a.m. and includes three concerts starting at noon, culminating at 4 p.m. with a “Legends of Surf Music” show by Jardine and another fellow original Beach Boy, David Marks, as well as Dean Torrence from Jan & Dean, and the Surf City Allstars, who come with son Matt Jardine as special guest.

Speaking by phone at the end of April, Jardine called the Beach Boys 50th anniversary tour in 2012 with Marks and the other three surviving group members – group leader Brian Wilson (brothers Carl and Dennis Wilson died in 1983 and ‘88, respectively), lead singer and Wilson family cousin Mike Love, and keyboardist Bruce Johnston, who joined the group in the mid-1960s – “a big deal.”

“That was nice,” Jardine said. “We went all over the world. We traveled all the way to the Orient, Europe, Australia, and back to the United Kingdom. It was quite a long tour.”

He finds that singing Beach Boys music for decades of fans – as immortalized since 1988 in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland – “the memories get more and more important, as life flies by.”

Known for his lead on “Help Me, Rhonda,” Jardine said performing Beach Boys classics for occasions such as this weekend with the Surf City Allstars, he enjoys borrowing the microphone for other songs such as “Little Deuce Coupe,” and that Marks fronts the band for “409” and “Surfin’ USA,” all of which Love had lent his voice to lead the original recordings.

“It’s just fun to branch out a little bit and sing other leads,” said Jardine, who turned 71 in September.

Love and Johnston performed Beach Boys concerts last year at Brunswick Community College in Supply, N.C., and at the Florence Civic Center.

Son assisting Brian Wilson

A father of four sons, Jardine said Matt Jardine, joining the Surf City Allstars on stage this weekend, is recording with Brian Wilson to help finish his solo album.

“It’s great that Matt has risen to that level of responsibility,” the happy dad said. “Brian loves his voice.”

Al Jardine said with his son in the Allstars, “we all work well as a team together.”

“He can sing almost any part that you give him,” Al Jardine said, eager to hear the results on Matt’s own forthcoming CD.

Having grown up with buddies in the Beach Boys and as a fan of the Electric Light Orchestra and Pink Floyd, Matt Jardine also has “his own music,” his father said, “and a lot influences when he was growing up.”

“He’s all over the map with music,” Al Jardine said.

Asked about arranging the background harmonies to the group Chicago’s recording of “Wishing You Were Here” for its seventh album, released in 1974, Jardine he relished that role and singing on that number with Dennis and Carl Wilson.

“For some reason, Mike Love wasn’t available,” Jardine said of that day, when the trio met the members of Chicago and their producer, James William Guercio, at the Caribou Ranch in Colorado.

“We just got a feel for it,” he said. “That turned out to be a wonderful song.”

Jardine joked that he and the late Wilsons “didn’t see one nickel of royalties,” but that “it was not a Beach Boys song; it was a Chicago song – and you did stuff like that” in adding a touch on other artists’ works.

He said he had not thought of that airy, relaxing ballad “for a while.”

“We should do that on another Beach Boys album,” Jardine said, “and do our own arrangement of it.”

For any trivia lovers’ sake, note that Jardine is the only original Beach Boy not native to California. A Buckeye born in the city of Lima, whose family later moved to Hawthorne, Calif., Jardine quoted his father’s ribbing him.

“I had an Ohio twang, he used to say,” Jardine said. “I had no idea what that means.”

Ross Coppley in concert

Ross Coppley has opened on tour for big names in country music, such as Luke Bryan, Billy Currington and Joe Nichols, so performing at 2 p.m. Saturday, before some surfin’ music luminaries, fits right in as he returns to Mayfest on Main for a second straight year.

This country artist, who just moved to Nashville, Tenn., from his hometown Lexington, N.C., south of Winston-Salem, continues riding more success from his latest single, “What I’m Looking For.”

Coppley also has been a repeat headliner on country nights in the past couple of years at The Boathouse Waterway Bar & Grill, just west of Myrtle Beach. His next date there is Oct. 3.

“It’s a great area,” he said, also pointing out its proximity to Coastal Carolina University.

He said “super nice people” make up “that whole area” across the Grand Strand, where he grew up with escapes to his family’s condominium in North Myrtle Beach, and where he still stays on visits.

Coppley said he plays “many beach towns” up and down the East Coast, but that the Myrtle Beach area stands out for its vacation feeling, yet it still “feels like a home.”

Having warmed up stages more recently for the duo Love and Theft – Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson – and Eric Church, Coppley said such “big acts” who have climbed from “up and coming” ranks have been “really supportive” as he plies his own road, “working my own way up.”

That prompted his move to Music City, for networking and hitting the studio on a new project, a follow-up to the eight-song “Feels Good To Me” EP released last July on the Redline Entertainment label.

“This one,” Coppley said, happy that fans have found his music on iTunes, “it’s more the next step in my musical career. ... These songs are the strongest material I’ve ever had. You go through all these phases, coming into your own as an artist.”

Calling last week while packing for some Georgia shows, starting in Macon, he said he’s ready for another Mayfest on Main, where “I had a ball with it” in 2013.

“Festivals are always fun, he said, “because people come from all over. They might be walking by, then they stick around.”