Charles Albertson has been visiting the area for decades

TOPSAIL ISLAND -- A mishearing at the barber shop led North Carolina's "Singing Senator" to write an ode to Topsail Island.

While getting a haircut, Charles Albertson asked his barber what he'd be doing with the upcoming weekend. The barber told Albertson he was heading to Topsail Island to make some food and maybe have some wine with friends.

"He said, 'I'm going down to Eighth Avenue.' I thought he said 18th Avenue, and I could tell he was really excited about it," Albertson said.

Pender County Tourism has compiled a series of photos and video clips from Topsail Island's history into a music video for Albertson's new song, "18th Avenue," which is featured on his album of the same name.

Tammy Proctor, Pender County's tourism director, said in a release, "His song demonstrates what every resident and visitor to Topsail Island knows -- it's a great place to kick back with friends and family."

Albertson, who retired from the N.C. Senate in 2010, has visited Topsail Beach for decades, starting with fishing as a young man and watching the island grow over time. He now visits his son's house on the island.

"I just always thought of Topsail Island as a good family place," Albertson said, "a place where family and friends got together and, like the song says, have a good time."

The image of his barber enjoying the island stuck with Albertson so strongly that he started writing the tune on his 20-mile drive back from the barbershop. It was recorded about two weeks later, when he made a long-planned recording trip to Nashville.

"I wrote the song real quick," Albertson said, "and we recorded it real quick."

Reporter Adam Wagner can be reached at 910-343-2389 or