Wandering the streets of downtown or on the beach near Humiston Plaza on a lazy afternoon, you may have heard the soulful, '60s-style voice of Gary Moore.
With a slight frame, bushy eyebrows, and gray streaking through his hair and beard, Moore, 64, is armed with only a portable speaker, a PA, and a microphone.
He is becoming a local rhythm-and-blues sensation singing classic hits like "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" by Jackie Wilson and "My Girl" by the Temptations all over town.
Being a showman for four decades, Moore has traveled the country including a stint locally, 8 years ago, entertaining as a Sammy Davis Jr. impersonator. His time on the Treasure Coast was short-lived, but he was fueled by the optimism he’d land somewhere that would allow his talent to blossom.
Moore says he came to Vero Beach recently after settling up some personal business in Fort Pierce. He thought Vero Beach was a great place to get his name out and with no real plan decided this time, to stay.
“I am a remnant of an era gone by,” says Moore. “I represent the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s and I think the people here really appreciate what I do. I love Vero Beach.”
The former Sammy Davis Jr. impersonator may have aged a few years, but his voice is just as soulful as ever. (Photo: Jim Wilson)
Moore’s story begins in Chicago where he was born and raised.
“I went to grammar and high school in Chicago, then I went to the Art Institute of Chicago and got a degree in design and education,” he says, “after graduating I taught art education and a little K-12.”
After college, Moore married his wife Fayette in 1979 and had seven children. All of his children are grown and Moore’s wife is currently in Chicago taking care of her mother. She’s been rooting him on from 1,000 miles away.
“She continues to believe in me and my efforts,” he says.
Moore has been looking for ways to be heard, often busking on the beach or downtown. He even wrote a song called “Humiston Park” and is planning on including it in an album he’s been writing.
“The album will sound like it came from the '40s. It’ll have that sound if you know what I mean,” says Moore.
Gary Moore singing in front of the Flametree Clay Art Gallery during a First Friday Gallery Stroll in early May. (Photo: Jim Wilson)
His local supporters include Leah Cady of Flametree Art Gallery and Scott Kelly, who owns Island Images Photography Studio.
“He just showed up in the gallery one evening and started singing. It was incredible,” says Cady. “I immediately called my husband and had him come down to hear him. We started asking him if he’d sing for our First Friday Art Gallery Stroll and he did so with pleasure.”
“He’s been a hit around here.”
Moore has since sung at two gallery strolls winning fans with each performance.
“He popped into my studio one afternoon and started looking around,” Kelly says. “He had such an intriguing look that I asked him if I could do some head shots. They came out great!”
Jim Wilson, an amateur photographer in town and frequent contributor to Vero Beach-themed Facebook pages, has been photographing Moore in the streets during some of his performances.
“I first meet Gary Moore a couple months ago at Scott Kelly’s art studio,” says Wilson. “Gary looked at me and asked if I was a true Vero man? I said, ‘I sure am.’ I grew up a block away from the studio on 15th Ave.”
After Moore sang a song titled ‘Springtime in Vero Beach’ for him, Wilson said his eyes began to tear. “I was totally taken aback by his performance. I was instantly intrigued by this man and told him that I was going to be his new best friend.” says Wilson, “Gary has a presence about him that we used to call ‘great vibes.’”
Moore has sung in all types of settings, in fact, he was hired to sing at a wedding an hour before the ceremony began.
“I was singing over at Humiston Park and this guy came up to me and said his daughter was getting married that afternoon and asked if I’d sing there,” says Moore. “I said, of course!”
Asked what he did after the gig, he replied, “I went back to Humiston and kept on singing!”
Moore is available for hire for all types of events. You can listen to some of his work by visiting YouTube and searching for Gary Lenard Moore. You can also contact him by calling 561-542-4330.
Gary Moore can be found singing in front of Ocean Grill at Sexton Plaza on many weekend afternoons. (Photo: Jim Wilson)