Archive for May, 2010

Durf, Gary Ek, Dan Simpson, KONKAM, Walfrido

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Well, this week was Durf’s X-Cellent Artprize Adventure fundraiser held over at Harpoon Harry’s on Wednesday. For those not familiar with Durf, he is a solar artist based in Key West. Okay, so your next question is “What is a solar artist?” right? Well, what Durf does is hang out in the sun with a piece of plywood and a magnifying glass. From the rays of the sun, via the magnifying glass he burns the image into the wood. It’s quite remarkable. Doesn’t take but a second either. Durf even lights his cigarettes with the damn glass!

So, in effort to help spread the word, I posted notifications on my Facebook page and stated it was held at Harpoon Harry’s, The Blue Bird Cafe of Key West. This is the truth. Every Monday night, the open-mic draws songwriters, both local and from afar. It’s not exclusive to songwriters by any stretch, but every Monday songwriters congregate there and play their songs. So, I just came up with the moniker of The Blue Bird Cafe of Key West, in a salute to the Blue Bird in Nashville. Imagine my surprise when I got there for Durf’s event and the manager (and excellent songwriter) Dave Aaron is wearing a Blue Bird Cafe T-shirt!

Durf’s event went very well. A good turnout by a lot of fans and players. Durf’s off to Michigan for a few months and it looks like he may have another Artprize Adventure on his return! Can’t wait!

Walfrido, the amazing artist out of Hawaii, once again is visiting Key West at the small Wyland Gallery at 102 Duval St. for the Memorial Day Weekend. Be sure to stop by and say “HEY”!!!

On Friday night it was Gary W. Ek’s birthday party which started at 10pm. The party was peppered with food, Yuengling on ice, and Mt. Gay Rum. A great time was had at Gary’s new location with his new girl Sherrie. All sorts of people showed up from Gary’s Key West based internet radio station, and as well as Sherrie’s day gig at Southernmost Tattoo where she’s the office manager. A great time was had by all!

Before Gary’s party or Durf’s Artprize event, I had the honor of being a guest at local Key West radio station KONKAM as a songwriter. Thanks to Deedee Infinitee and owner Guy DeBoer. Had a fun time there and with my up coming album expected to be recorded with Dan Simpson’s Private Ear Studios this summer, it was the perfect primer to get that engine started. Dan Simpson is a great guy and is a joy to work with. I’m excited!

Alcohol libation of the blog would have to be The Doctor Shot of Mt. Gay in a shot glass stethoscope!!!!



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The Speakeasy Inn

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Well, this week seemed to focus somehow around The Speakeasy Inn on 1117 Duval St. for me. I say somehow because I’d never been there before and by spontaneous draw, on a whim, I thought it was high time I checked out the Rum Bar, which is in The Speakeasy Inn’s first floor. Being a Rum Bar (they have everything else however) I tried a rum I’ve never had before, Zacapa, from Guatemala. Indeed, a beautiful, top-flight rum! Highly recommended. I had it on the rocks with a slice of lime. Perfect!

After I was there for a few minutes, a couple from Orlando came in and sat next to me at the bar, Will and Jenna, a fun couple in for a few days. This is one of the fun things about living in a tourist town. New people are consistently flowing through and everyone has it on their mind to have a great time. I mean, who wants to go on vacation and complain? Seriously. Will and Jenna were no exception to this rule and were a very fun couple to hang out with.

Then, as it turned out, a guy shows up at the bar that they had traveled to Dublin, Ireland with previously. No planning of this rendezvous, it just happened! Welcome to Key West, where stuff like this happens all the time.

There was a marathon this last weekend from Marathon (no pun intended) to Mallory Square, in Key West. That’s 50 miles! My facebook friend, Chuck Hargrove, out of Nashville, is a marathoner and a long-time fan of the island, ran in it. As it turned out, he was staying a block away from me at… you guessed it, The Speakeasy Inn! I met with him and his friends over at Blue Heaven for lunch on Tuesday. His friends were J.P., Nancy, and Holland, all from the Nashville area. Had a great lunch at Blue Heaven, Jerk Chicken and a Southernmost Wheat Beer(s) while enjoying Nashvillians for the second time in a few weeks! Later, I again met Chuck at The Speakeasy Inn, in the bar…. The second time in less than a week I was there, having never been there before. Nice, cozy little bar. Seating maybe ten at the bar, with a few side tables. Recommended!

Well, yesterday the city overwhelmingly approved to allow dogs in open air restaurants! It still must have a second public reading, before being ratified. The Citizen didn’t say when that would be however. No doubt, all the fans of Schooner Wharf Bar are happy today, but will be jumping for joy after the second public reading.

Our beer for the day is “Native Lager”. A very nice all malt beer from Ft. Lauderdale! A very nice medium body beer with a refreshing and quick finish. Great beer for a tropical climate.

The only way to get around Key West sanely, is by bike. Cars are way too much of a pain in the ass to park, pay meters, and subsequent tickets. Bikes are the only way to go. Gives you exorcise, no pollution, and with baskets, you’re all set!

Having said that, we do have some fantastic cars both visiting and residing here. Today’s Key West Car of the Week is a 1966 Chevy Impala Convertible SS396! Hello!

A rainy day here in Key West today… hummmm… sounds like a good day to walk over to The Speakeasy Inn and enjoy a rum at happy hour…. They have a Real Estate sign on it too. What a fantastic opportunity.

All The Best From Key West!!!



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Key West Songwriters Festival 2010

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The Key West Songwriter’s Festival celebrated its 15th year last week and what a great event it was. For those unfamiliar, so many of the songs we hear, are not written by the performers who make them famous. Let’s take “Angel From Montgomery” as an example. When mentioned, the average Joe on the street knows it as a Bonnie Raitt song. John Prine in fact, wrote the song. Up in Nashville there is a very big demand for songwriters. Music row is always looking for a song that will fit an artist and that’s where the… pardon the pun, but it’s irresistible.. un-sung hero’s come into play. J Well, this year those songwriters headed to Key West for their annual pilgrimage where they are showcased. Over 100 came and performed at various venues about town from April 28th through May 2nd. As always, sponsored by BMI. In addition, this year carried associate sponsorship from the Better Angles Publishing Group, as well as Muzak Heart and Soul.

Performances went on all over town from established venues such as The Hog’s Breath Saloon, The Green Parrot, Sloppy Joe’s, San Carlos Theater, to cruises on sailing ships and outdoor venues such as The Southernmost hotel group.

Naturally, with all going on, being able to catch everything is just flat out impossible, as may events are going on simultaneously. Of the events I caught, I liked the Robert Earl Keen show at The Green Parrot quite a lot. Earthy, gritty, and fun! I must say however, that I really liked the outside events a lot as well. The Southernmost Hotel poolside event on Saturday may very well have been my favorite of all. The highlight of the event that day, and perhaps the whole event itself, was Misty Loggins. Misty plays not only from the heart, but also with true fortitude. Not only does she write a great song, but she can make her Taylor sing, on her quiet ballads, yet growl, and snarl with emotion on her more earthy songs, like “Red Georgia Mud”. Keep an eye on this woman. She’s the real deal.

One spot that’s a great place to go late night is The Bottle Cap Lounge during the Songwriter’s Festival. So many of the performers come here for the “ASCAP Late Night Hang”. I was there on Saturday night and it was a virtual open-mic for performers in the overall event. Kudos to ASCAP as it didn’t matter if the performers were ASCAP or BMI writers, they had them all up for two or three songs each. What a great event this was! So many folks got to play in an atmosphere of true friendship. One performer would be playing and, out of the blue, call up a friend in the crowd to help them out on the next song. Even the ASCAP rep who was running the event at the Bottle Cap, got up and sang with one of the regular performers! This was FUN!!! It went on and on like this all night long. All of the performers let their hair down to the point that the ASCAP host got on the mic and asked the locals if this was the wildest thing we’ve ever seen. While it’s clear that he may never have been here for Fantasy Fest, the ASCAP event at The Bottle Cap was clearly a wild event music-wise. A truly fantastic time was had by all and experience I’ll never forget! I only live two blocks from The Bottle Cap Lounge, so heading home was easy to put off! However, I did so at 4:10 am and the place was still packed.

One funny thing was almost at every event I attended; you’d hear a performer or three say something like: “Yeah! It’s good to be here in the Southern most part of the South”
It inspired me, as a songwriter myself, Key West resident, and sworn in Conch Republic citizen, a to write a new song, albeit a bit tongue-in-cheek of course, living up to my Conch Republic oath, “The South, is North Of Here” J

The sad part of the Key West Songwriters Festival 2010 was the severe flooding Nashville went through and what so many of these folks who came down here from there, were heading back to on Monday. Our hearts go out to you and we wish you all the best of fortunes in the aftermath of this national disaster. First and foremost we wish you safety to y’all and your families and likewise to your homes and possessions. Thank you for coming to Key West to share your wonderful talents with us. We’re thinking and praying for you.

“All The Best From Key West!”

Misty Loggins, below, playing her song “Red Georgia Mud” at the ASCAP Late Night Hang at the Bottle Cap Lounge, Saturday night.


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