Archive for December, 2012

TROP ROCK NEWS From the Trop Rock Junkies

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From the Trop Rock Junkies


Merry Christmas

The Trop Rock Junkies wish all of you a happy holiday season.  December is here and so are the holidays and the parties.  This Saturday December 15th we will be at the Sunset Grill for our own little Christmas Party.  We will be giving out prizes, CD’s and merchandise.  Wear your TRJ tee shirt or your TRJ Backstage Pass and get extra tickets for the prize drawings.

November had us traveling from Key West to The Yard in Tampa and Ribfest in St. Petersburg.  In Key West we played at the Hog’s Breath Saloon for the Tampa Bay and Key West Parrot Head Clubs, T’s Bistro, Island Dog Bar, Rum Barrell, Willy T’s for the Virginia Parrot Heads.  Kelly McGuire and Rob Mehl were both gracious enough to let me sit in at their events at the Lighthouse Inn and Hog’s Breath Saloon. Colin Ward (TRJ Lead Guitar) and Greg Sabol (TRJ Bassist) joined me in Key West on Thursday for the Tropical Songwriters in Paradise event at T’s Bistro.  From there we went to Sam Densler’s Songwriter’s Island Radio Party at the Island Dog Bar and played a 30 minute set, left there went across the street to the Rum Barrell where Mike Mangum was hosting an event.  Mike turned the stage over to us for another short set.  On Friday we started playing early for an event called Mimosa Morning at 10AM.  Surprisingly the place was packed for so early in the morning.  All of this was for the annual Parrot Head event called Meeting of the Minds.  We met lots of friends from around the country and made some new friends.  We reluctantly left Key West to get back up to St. Petersburg for the annual event called Ribfest.  Trop Rock Junkies played in the afternoon to a great audience that included some friends that drove all the way from Ft. Myers to see us.  We stuck around for Ann and Nancy Wilson and Heart later in the evening.  The following week we were back for our second performance at The Yard in Tampa.  This time the weather cooperated and we had a great time with all of our friends from the Tampa Bay Parrot Head Club.

Upcoming Shows

The 2013 schedule is starting to fill in nicely with some great events including Music On The Bay March 1st, Fin Fest June 22nd and a possible Midwest tour up to Indiana in June.  We will be back at the Nav-a-Gator in Lake Suzy, FL on February 1st and at Whiskey Joe’s on February 8th.  More dates and an updated schedule to come.

Thanks to everyone who have been coming to our shows, buying our CD’s and merchandise.  For any band having people that enjoy your music is what it’s all about.  Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year.  We will see you in 2013.


Just a quick note from the Tropigal

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I know I just sent you an email and I hope this isn’t too soon but I just wanted to let you know a couple of things:

First, my final installment of my MOTM adventure in my blog is done. You can read about it here:

Second, I’ve been nominated for, thanks to you, some categories in Beachfront Radio’s Top of the Trops. This is the final vote and you can vote for me for Female Vocalist, “TropiGal” as album of the year and either “TropiGal” or “Drunk on Mallory Square” as song of the year:

You may vote once per device, so you can vote on your home computer, work computer, your phone, your tablet and it all counts! The final winners will be announced on Beachfront Radio December 26 and 27 each day between the hours of 2pm-4pm during the Amish Beach Party with DJ Jeff Allen. You can listen on your computer and via a phone app such as Tune-in or Live 365. Thank you for voting for me and helping me promote my music!

While you’re visiting Beachfront Radio, you can download the CD “TropiGal” for only $7.99 from the Music Hut.

Music makes a great gift. If you want to order “TropiGal” the CD and not the download, visit my

Well, that’s it for now! In about a month I’ll be heading to Southwest/Central Florida for a short tour.

Thanks for your support again and see you at the End of the Road some day,


John Friday catalogue of albums, the “Teddy Bear Collection!”

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Looking for a great gift idea for that music lover in your life? Get ’em the entire John Friday catalogue of albums, the “Teddy Bear Collection!”

Available at the Beachfront Radio Music Hut for only $15, you’ll get all three of John’s full albums, Coastal Dreamin’Tropicalized AND the brand-new Coastal Cowboy!

Here’s the link:

Thanks, and may your holiday be the best ever!!

John Friday

Destin Holiday Weekend Celebration

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What a fun, crazy and hectic weekend it was. It started on Thursday. I dropped my boss off at Docie’s bar in Staff’s Restaurant in Ft. Walton Beach as his car was in the shop. Since the traffic was backed up I went in to have a few beers. This is a real locals place. I had a good time chatting with the folks there including Art who used to own Art’s appliance for 55 years. I don’t get there often enough.

In the meantime Sunshine Cindy and her daughter went to Miller’s Ale House where they ate and talked to some folks there. We all met up at Sago Sports bar later in the evening. As I walked in I thought I had been transported to some Disney TV show. There were kids all dressed to the hilt running around one of the ballrooms. Turns out Destin middle school was having a dance. You could tell it was Destin kids because of the clothes they were wearing. The parents spared no expense. We talked to Tommy and watched some of the football game. Sunshine Cindy and I then hit the Waffle House for some late night food before heading home.

Friday we met Sunshine Cindy’s parents at TGIFriday’s in Destin. Rick waited on us and was in rare form. He had us rolling with his jokes. Friday night we stayed in and I actually watched some college hockey games. Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day with temps in the upper 70’s. My company Christmas party was in the evening at the Emerald Grande. We got to the harbor early to have a few drinks at the Crab Island Cantina. As we walked up we saw Alan and Jackie sitting at the bar. We joined them. Craig was waiting on us and took good care of us.

While we were sitting at the bar it sounded like a war broke out across the pass at the AF officers club on the island. They must have been having some type of maneuvers as we heard all kinds of explosions and saw types of tracers flying around. It lasted about 10 minutes. We have not seen that activity there before. The party was fun and we ended up at Harry T’s for a while afterwards. The place was packed with a lot of younger folks having fun.

Saturday and Sunday I went out for bike rides. Saturday I went to the beach. I love living here! LOL  Sunday evening was the Destin Holiday Boat Parade. We met up with a bunch of friends at Harry T’s to watch it. Sunshine Cindy even brought Precious along. She had a great time. The boats were decorated great this year. It was topped off with a fireworks show. Again the weather was perfect.

I have heard through my sources the plans for Margaritaville are supposed to be finished this week. They should be officially announcing it soon. The hope is to have it open before the summer season. From what I am being told is it will be a top notch destination restaurant. That will be a great addition to the Destin harbor party scene.

Have a great week. See ya Thursday!

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Key West Music

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KEY WEST MUSIC – The Foundation


KEY WEST MUSIC – The Foundation

If one takes a trip and goes, say to Jamaica, you’ll expect to hear music from that island. Likewise you expect the exact same thing with Trinidad, the Bahamas, or Cuba; music indigenous of each of those islands. As no doubt for anyone who reads this blog has seen, here in the Conch Republic, we consider ourselves a country unto itself, and an island at that, albeit part of the United States. Having stated that, wouldn’t anyone visiting here expect a music which is native to this island?

The name of this blog is Key West Music and Happenings. So, let’s look at Key West music specifically for a moment. What exactly is Key West music anyway? There are certainly a lot of musicians and writers who hail from all over the United States, who come, visit, go home and write about Key West. I recall back when I wrote one of my first songs about Key West, ”Mile Zero”, the thought of writing about drinking on Duval was immediately dismissed because way back then, in 1996, the subject of writing about getting hammered on Duval was really worn out. Consequently, Mile Zero was a song about other goings on here, highlighting the virtual circus atmosphere found in Key West. Besides, my quest was to emulate the vibe of the locals, not the tourists. We hear from artists from all over writing about Key West. Why? Because it’s so inspirational! It’s often funny to hear someone from out of town write about Key West. Often they’ll make a slip and mentions something like “Sunset Key”… of course everyone who lives here knows that there is no such thing as a Key named ”Sunset Key”, is there? If there is, please be kind enough to point it out on Coast Guard Chart # 34.

However when writing about Key West, and I’m not talking about any of the other islands in the Conch Republic, as great as they all are, but specifically, Key West, in this case; if one wants to get a feel for the life’s blood and the SOUND that emulates from the island itself, it’s vital to look into the roots of what we have here. In order to write music about this town… the true music of this town, one has to live here day to day really. It’s an entirely different thing if one lives in Albuquerque and travels to Key West for one week out of a year, then goes home with the same preconceptions they came with and writes a song about it. Nothing wrong with that at all, however, it’s more of a fantasy of their idea of a status quo of the town, where reality is quite a bit different.


I’ve also stated before that Key West has its own creative energy; a force which has attracted well known artists and writers, all of whom have some of their finest works created here. These artists and writers didn’t come here for a day, a weekend, or a week’s safari blow out. These artists and writers lived here. The artists, who set the tone for this island’s music over the years, are no different. They live here on a day to day basis. They are the writers and performers who live the island life on this creative focal point of artistic energy we know as Key West. They made their life here, many raising families and became fixtures, not only of the town itself, but of the core of what we call our own island music.

Just as in traveling to any foreign destination, Key West has its wonderful little secrets. Sure, some tourists are content with going to some shithole and listen to someone play “Brown Eyed Girl” or “Margaritaville”. However, there are visitors who come who want to feel the real pulse of the town. They want to know what makes it tick. They want to feel the town’s real rhythm in the floor where they’re standing, feel that vibration in their chest and consequently, in their soul. They’re not looking for what the rest of the tourist brigade is in search of, which they can and will find in every city and town in the United States. They want to find the real deal. It’s just like commercial cuisine versus local. The tourist will go eat a burger, while a true travel explorer will seek out the local treasures that are unique, in every port of call. Here in Key West the seasoned travel explorer will find that in the Keys, a local fish is known as by its true English name of “Dolphin”, rather than its Polynesian name of mahi-mahi, for instance. Likewise, music is unique and very special. Both are essential in feeling the rhythm of the island. It’s all about the sights, sounds, and the flavor!


An interesting note: Often when hearing songs about Key West it’s very easy to see who the weekend visitor was and who is the local is. The weekend visitor comes to Key West, gets that creative vibe found here, goes back to Peoria and writes a song about coconuts and palm trees. The great local songwriters write about the day to day and night to night life found here and the things they encounter, both crazy and benign. While it may mention a coconut, or a palm tree, the song is about something else, for the most part. Having stated that, I’d doubt that if a Key West songwriter went and visited Peoria they’d write about a sycamore tree.

Key West, Is Key West however!


For anything to be truly geographically established as its own genre, it has to stand the test of time and likewise, be unique, for the beginning is the foundation of all that is to follow. Without a solid coral rock foundation, the genre will dissolve. These are the core of what we will be looking at here, which is Key West music.


Din Allen arrived in Key West in 1978 and remains here playing local establishments on a daily basis. He started The Survivors and wrote all of their songs with his brother Woody. The Survivors are magnificent band which combines a mixture of Samba, Calypso, Afro/Cuban, Reggae, Rock, Jazz, Fusion, and Bossa Nova, all with a tropical flavor. Within this context there always seem to be room for improvisation for whichever musician is taking the solo. What this does is make every performance unique. In short, the music is alive! It is truly a living organism. To add to this, the musicianship of The Survivors, as well as the songwriting, is top level. I’m not talking second tier, but top notch indeed, not forgetting progressive. Always expect the unexpected with The Survivors. They might very well go from something funky to a Bossa Nova, complete with lyrics sung in Portuguese. For thirty years The Survivors packed every venue they played in Key West. They are a Key West institution. These days they get together every year for the Benefit for Womankind, the last three years held at Salute on the Beach, with everyone dancing in the sand.

Bill Blue and the Nervous Guys.

Bill Blue. The name says it all and it’s not a stage name. Bill is a purveyor of the Blues. However Bill’s Blues isn’t just, as musicians know it, your 1- 4 -1-5, Blues progressions. Bill is innovative and progressive. Additionally, every song Bill does sounds different from the last. Bill Blue’s been kicking ass in Key West since moving here in 1980 from Virginia. His song “A Pretty Girl, A Cadillac, and Some Money” just about sums up Bill’s story about moving down here in 1980 and does it with both melody and narration. Bill’s music is upbeat, for the most part, and the crowd is dancing throughout his gigs, which are always also packed. Bill plays slide guitar (in open E) and always has an additional guitarist with him, plus the band, which is a big one, often as large as eight, which can include as many as three of the Nervettes as backup singers. These days Bill pretty much plays the Green Parrot’s Sound Checks, which run 5:30 – 7 on Fridays and sometimes Sunday. If you’re in town check the ‘Parrot’s schedule! You will be very glad you did!

Michael McCloud

Mike arrived here somewhere around the early-mid seventies and has been here ever since. McCloud’s a great songwriter and writes about some of the day to day experiences he’s lived through herein Key West for nearly forty years. Michael’s first two albums are his best works. “Greta’s Tits” and “Ain’t Life Grand” are superb examples of of what a great songwriter he is. His next two releases are, for the most part cover songs. His latest is a live recording, which is about five years old or so. Mike’s originals capture Key West culture and lifestyle. Songs like “She’s Got A Butt”, “Closin’ the Bars”, “Pool Shootin’ Woman”, “Tourist Town Bar”, “Fishin Fool, “Pease and Quiet”, to name a few, capture Michael’s life here. Either that or he’s a hellova good story teller. Knowing Michael, most likely a bit of both! These songs are not about wanting to come to a mental image of Paradise, but rather the day to day existence in this crazy little island. I wish he’s make a full album of brand new originals, although his covers are second to none. He really captures the feel and shares the experiences, often in a very comical way that never gets old. Mike can be found at the Schooner Wharf Bar on Key West Bight six days a week, excluding Tuesday, from noon to five.

Barry Cuda


Barry Cuda gets an honorable mention here, because, for the most part, Cuda isn’t so much of a writer himself. What Cuda does do so well is capture the ambiance of Old Key West. You’ll see him pushing his piano down the street from gig to gig. In my opinion the best place to see Cuda is B.O.’s Fishwagon, where he plays Friday nights from 6 – 9 with his band, formally known as “The Sharks”, and then revised to “Bong Hits For Geezers”. Back aver a dozen years ago I was writing for Southeast Performer Magazine and I stated that his album “Fish Nuts”, recorded live at B.O.’s Fishwagon, was the best live bar album ever made. Not of his, not of Key West, but in the history of recorded music. I still stand by that to this day! Excellent musicianship (fellow Sharks at the time Steve Mello – Drums/Vocals and “Chief Billy Two Beers” – Bass and harmonica), fantastic atmosphere with spontaneous interaction with the crowd, extremely funny, great songs that fit the venue, guest artists who fit the band like a glove, plus an incredible recording by Dan Simpson of Private Ear Studio in Key West, that captured absolutely everything. Barry Cuda is The Pianamal

So there you have the core of what native grown Key West music is really like…

You know the saying….
“When In Rome…”
And never forget the motto of this town and this blog:



For Key West Chris’music for samples and purchase:

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A Spirited Chanukah Celebration

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A Spirited Chanukah Celebration
Turn images on to get the full picture.While there are many Chanukah traditions, such as lighting the menorah, playing dreidel and making latkes, we’ve never heard of any kind of special cocktail.

Though the Maccabees were fond of wine, we think the holiday deserves its own festive and spirited drinks—and no, Manischewitz doesn’t count. So we turned to talented New York bartender Nick Mautone for some help. He has created recipes for top restaurants and bars around town, including kosher tipples for Manhattan bistro Jezebel. (You can also thank him for the wildly popular Honey Deuce enjoyed by tens of thousands of tennis fans at the US Open every year.)

During any of the celebration’s eight nights, we suggest fixing his vodka-based Holiday at the Hive (pictured above), which features a range of citrus ingredients and is sweetened by honey syrup. It has an unexpected pinch of star anise powder as well.

Another of Mautone’s favorite Chanukah concoctions is the simple and elegant Pom-Blood Orange Old Fashioned that incorporates pomegranate arils and orange twists.

And tomorrow evening, even if you don’t win the driedel game and the big pot of gelt (or you don’t celebrate the holiday at all), you’ll still feel like a winner after a few sips of either of Mautone’s elixirs. Happy Chanukah!

Get the recipes for Nick Mautone’s Holiday at the Hive andPom-Blood Orange Old Fashioned on

Slow week in Destin

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This week Sunshine Cindy and I have been laying pretty low but we did get out Wednesday evening to Landshark Pizza for their wing special. As we pulled up into the parking lot we could tell the place would be crowded as the parking lot was full. Sitting outside was Brian and Sue with another Brian. Kirby was also outside enjoying the balmy evening. We all chatted for a while. When we walked in the place was packed. We had never seen it that crowded.

Miss Norma and Brian (yes, a third Brian) were sitting at the first stools at the bar. Pops, Turtle, Mom, Missy, Schoie were all sitting at a table. Steve was there. Sunshine Cindy’s hairdresser and her husband were at the bar. James was there….you get the picture, the place was packed. Matt, Haven and Paige were working. Everyone was having a good time but they kept the crew busy waiting on everyone. We had wings, chips and Sunshine Cindy had a salad. It was a fun relaxing time in there.

The changes continue in Destin this winter. Two new places are going to open on the bayside of town facing Crab Island. Scallywag’s Pub and Grub and Yellowhouse restaurant will be opening in an area that currently only has the original Dewey Destin’s restaurant. They should have good views. La Famiglia has opened their new place at Harborwalk above Crab Island Cantina. We will have to check it out to see if it’s as good as the original.

A few weeks ago I mentioned there was a report of some type of celebrity backed theme place on a large track of land on Commons Drive might be in the works. The rumor has it Dolly Parton is going to open a mini Dollywood. She has sold her interest in the original so I don’t know how real this rumor is but you never know. We are also hearing a “Beers Around the World” is going to open someplace in town. And finally we hear some people are thinking of opening a comedy club in the old Calhoun’s. We shall see if any of this happens.

Finally I have starting hearing about a new trend in weddings that is hitting Destin. It is called, “Trash the Dress.” This is where brides destroy their wedding dress after the ceremony. Here in Destin it is usually by jumping into the Gulf of Mexico. The report said the brides would rather have a memory in pictures and video’s than try and hold onto a gown for years that might never get used. Okay then! lol

Have a great weekend. We have Christmas parades, boat parades and other fun planned in Destin. See ya Monday! 

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Holiday Gift Guide: Rum

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Holiday Gift Guide: Rum
Turn images on to get the full picture.While the Caribbean may now be synonymous with rum, Americans have been drinking the rich and complex alcohol for a long time—we’re talking hundreds of years. Back in the colonial era, there were even dozens of distilleries in the Northeast producing the stuff.

So if you’re looking for a traditional holiday present, we suggest picking up a bottle of the liquor. And to make your shopping experience easier, we got Michael Neff, co-owner of acclaimed New York bar Rum House, to be our Holiday Gift Guide rum expert. He narrowed down the burgeoning selection to just five favorites, any of which we’re sure your friends and family will appreciate.

And to help them fully enjoy their spirited gift, fix them a few rum-based cocktails. The Daiquiri, the Mojito and the Dark ‘n Stormy are, of course, crowd-pleasers.

But if you really want to impress, whip up a big bowl of the Puerto Rican seasonal staple (and Eggnog cousin) Coquito. Our recipe comes from talented New York bartender Giuseppe González. It calls for coconut cream, warming spices and, naturally, rum.

Get our full Rum Holiday Gift Guide on

Destin winter weekend

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It was a fun weekend in Destin. The weather was perfect. Thursday night Sunshine Cindy and I stopped at Buffalo Jack’s in San Destin to check them out. The food was good and the beer was cold. They had a decent crowd in there for a Thursday night out of season. I heard they are getting bigger crowds now that Beef’s closed in San Destin.

From there we stopped in at Sago to catch some of the Falcons/Saints football game. A big crowd was there to watch. Tommy was there and we got to chat with him for a while as he ran around making sure everything was going smoothly. A Cajun guy named Kim started talking to us and ended up partying with us. The Falcons scored early and all the Saints fans were crying it was not their night. Turns out they were right! LOL

Friday Sunshine Cindy and her parents took Tiffany out for lunch at Harry T’s to celebrate her birthday. They had a good time. When I got home I headed to Landshark Pizza. Matt and Paige were working. I had some wings and a few beers. Tony and Amy, LD and Kirby were all there too. It was fun. I left and stopped in at Lucky’s Rotten Apple. Rose was working and there was a good crowd there too. You get all types in there. A young couple were decked out in Goth style. I don’t get it but to each his own. From there I went home to watch some college football. Sunshine Cindy was about to sleep so it was a quiet night.

Saturday was a fun day. The weather was perfect. I went for a bike ride and in rapid order I saw Alan and Jackie as they were heading to the RV park on the island, Matt was a passenger in a car and Bob at the post office. I then stopped for a haircut at Tim’s place. The girl inside looked at me kind of weird as I rode up probably thinking I was one of the homeless drunks or something. I will be back. I love to give the local places my business.

In the afternoon Sunshine Cindy and I went to the Crazy Lobster to watch the UGA/Bama game. I had a taste for some Abita beer and oysters. I had both and they were good. Alan and Jackie, Julie and Loujean and Jan all joined us. We had a fun time. After the game Sunshine Cindy and I went up to Harry T’s for a while. They didn’t have any live music, just football so we headed back home.

Sunday Sunshine Cindy was not feeling so Sunshiny. She was coming down with a bug so we stayed in all day. The weather was perfect so we sat on the patio for a bit but most of the time she was laying down. She is doing better today.

Looks like a warm week here in Destin. We will enjoy it. See ya Thursday!

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A vote for Dani is a vote for… DANI!

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Hey there!

I have to get a letter out to you all about my experience in Key West about a month ago. Suffice it to say it was phenomenal! I’ll give you a lot of the details soon.

In the meantime, before I head to Ohio and forget to mention this, Beachfront Radio is doing their end-of-the-year Top of the Trops Countdown. This is where I need some help from my friends. Go to this link:

And vote for me in the song (TropiGal, Meet Me on the Boardwalk or Drunk on Mallory Square), album (TropiGal) and female Trop Rocker (Dani Hoy) categories. You can also vote for me for album cover, if you wish. If you don’t know much about Trop Rock, you can visit the Beachfront Music Hut:

and listen to some! Fill in as many blanks as you can and submit it! Plus, if you want to download my CD, it’s only $7.99 per download through the holiday season!

That’s it! Next week I’ll have a newsletter chock full of info about Key West and what’s coming for the next year.

Best wishes and TropiGal kisses (mwah),