Archive for December, 2014

Thankful in Destin this holiday season

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Last week was a trying time for Sunshine Cindy and I. She had a minor stroke and spent several days in the hospital. But I am glad to say there was no long term issues and Sunshine Cindy is getting stronger every day.

Thursday was her first day back home. She took it easy and I kept an eye on her. Friday we got out and did some Christmas shopping. We stopped at Wal-Mart then went back home so she could relax. We went back out in the afternoon and hit several stores. We got almost all our shopping done. One of the stops we made was at Belk Department store. I am not a department store kind of guy. I joked that if they had a lounge in the store it would be a money maker as all the guys would gladly go there while the wife shopped. LOL

We stopped at Friday’s on the way home for some dinner. We ran into Suzanne, Ruthie and several other friends. It was nice talking to them. The dinner was good and relaxing.

Saturday we made a stop at Beach Liquor for the last of our shopping. Booze is the universal gift! Our friend Julie stopped over the house to check up on Sunshine Cindy. She brought over some food and a beautiful bouquet of roses. That was so nice of her. In the afternoon Sunshine Cindy told me to get out of the house and go have a beer. I took her up on it and went to Landshark Pizza for some wings and beers. I didn’t stay long and got back home to keep a watch on her.

Sunday I got another pass from Sunshine Cindy to go watch some football. I stopped in at Chip’s to watch the Browns. They lost again…what else is new. Then it was back home. We are not doing any real partying right now. We missed several parties some friends of ours had this weekend. But the important thing is to get Sunshine Cindy back to 100%

Here are couple of things going on in Destin right now. World of Beer will be opening at the Commons on January 19th. This has been a long time coming but they are almost ready to get the taps flowing.

One of the oldest restaurants in Destin recently closed. Sakura’s suddenly shut down. From what I heard they actually removed their equipment in the middle of the night and didn’t even tell their employee’s they were closing. They found out when they showed up for work the next day. That’s pretty rotten.

Sunshine Cindy and I have received so many well wishes, prayers and offers of help that we are speechless. Our friends are the best in the world. Thank you everyone for your support. It means the world to us. As I mentioned above, Sunshine Cindy and I have plenty to be thankful for this holiday season! Merry Christmas y’all!!!!

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2015 Most Anticipated Albums Coming 1/6/15

Posted in Reggae Roots Music | Comments Off on 2015 Most Anticipated Albums Coming 1/6/15

On Tues., Jan. 6th 2015, we will publish The Pier’s 2015 Most Anticipated Albums. This is the time of year we get to anticipate discuss new albums from some of our favorite bands in Reggae-Rock. We’re also getting some information from the bands about their new releases…
When we say Albums, we don’t mean EP’s or singles. We’re talking your good ol’ fashion full length album. While we just got done celebrating some of 2014′s best albums with our 2014 Pier Awards, we look forward to the future to try and anticipate what bands are expected or due for a new album in 2015.

Some notable regular artists that did-not release a full length album in 2014 are: Stephen Marley, Slightly Stoopid, Pepper, The Expendables, Katchafire, Iration, The Green, Collie Buddz, Ballyhoo!, Stick Figure, The Aggrolites, Easy Star All-Stars and that’s just scratching the surface to what could be in store for us in 2015!

Some of the best tours and live experiences are around artists promoting performing fresh new material. With some of our favorite bands expected to release new albums, its almost a certainty we will see high energy tours accompany these albums.

On Tuesday, January 6th, 2015, we will discuss the aforementioned artists, and many more who are expected to put out new albums in the new year. Some of the information we’ve received is quite detailed and exciting, while other bands are still in the planning stages without much details outside a confirmation for a new record. What makes it so exciting is that the genre is known for it’s guest appearances and collaborations. It’s always exciting to anticipate new collaborations seeing where this evolving genre is taking us.

Let us know which band you’re hoping drops a new album in the comments below – Come back the first Tuesday in January to read The Pier’s 2015 Most Anticipated Albums!

Related Links:
The Pier’s 2014 Most Anticipated Albums
The Pier’s Facebook
The Pier’s Twitter
The Pier’s Instagram

The Pier Fam

Watch: John Butler Trio – “Gonna Be a Long Time” (The Pier’s Live Acoustic Series)

This entry was posted on Monday, December 22nd, 2014 at 2:03 pm and is filed under Daily News.
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MP3 Leak of the Week: Resinated

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It was announced earlier this year that Florida’s Resinated will be releasing their 2nd full length album, Smoke Signals, via Ballyhoo!’s Right Coast Records. We’re giving away a FREE song from that February 10th, 2015 release, this week only…

You can download the new Resinated track “Paradise”, for FREE on our home page under the MP3 Leak of the Week on the right hand column! This Download will only be available until Saturday Dec 27th, 2014.

Resinated – “Paradise”
“Paradise” Background:
Originally called “Right or Wrong”, The FREE Resinated track we’re giving away this week, “Paradise” is the first song off the new track album, titled Smoke Signals. This is the groups second full length album and first under Right Coast Records, owned by Alt. Reggae-Rock group Ballyhoo!

Right Coast Records’ co-founder and BALLYHOO! frontman Howi Spangler expressed his anticipation for the experience, saying he is “Really excited about signing our first artist to our label. We’ve known Kenny and the boys for a couple years now and they’re hard workers.

The album was recorded at Sound Lounge Studio, working with Producer Greg Shields and Mike Stebe. The album’s artwork was illustrated by Nick Kubley, drummer of Passafire.

A statement from the band explains, “We couldn’t feel more confident about our decision to sign with Right Coast Records. We are on the front lines of the Reggae-Rock frontier, one that together, we have the opportunity to spread our message and influence the industry.”

When asked about new song “Paradise”, frontman Kenny Mullins explained that the track is about de-stressing and finding your happy place and that it’s a song with lyrics that are menat: “… to pick yourself up and don’t sweat the small stuff. Negative energy is contagious. Paradise is somewhere you can always find peace.”

You can Pre-order the February 10th, 2015 release of Smoke Signals by clicking HERE!

Resinated Background:
Resinated, from the competitive and growing St. Petersburg/West Fl. reggae/rock market formed in 2010 w/ frontman Kenny Mullins and brothers Josh and Jeremy Hasak. Later came Justin Morakis. The band has been touring the east coast for about 2 years now. With 3 hefty tours to kick off 2015, Resinated will be busy writing and playing music off their new album ‘Smoke Signals’. Set for release February 10th on Right coast records.

Stay up to date with their upcoming shows and links to their site social media below. Plus, their latest music video for the song “Fire Up!”. Imagine hot girls roller-skates!

Resinated Tour Dates

Related Links:
Resinated Website
Resinated Facebook
Resinated Twitter
Right Coast Records Website
Right Coast Records Facebook

Huge thanks again to Resinated Right Coast Records for allowing us to share their new song “Paradise” to post up for FREE download. Free music is a privilege that we’re grateful for and we appreciate the work these artists do! Please feel free to download this song for FREE and spread the awareness to your friends!
Enjoy the FREE track on the homepage!

Article By: Mike Patti

WATCH: Resinated’s “Fired Up!” official music video directed by Five Oh Films.

This entry was posted on Sunday, December 21st, 2014 at 6:29 pm and is filed under Daily News.
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Reel Big Fish & Less Than Jake’s Co-Headlining Tour!

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Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake announced their Winter Co-Headline Tour with special guests punk-rock veterans Authority Zero. The tour will reach nearly every part of the United States and kicks off at the Ogden Theater in Denver, Colorado on January 15, 2015.
No strangers to sharing the stage together, the ska/punk conglomeration will be a welcomed treat for thirty something’s still itching to skank, mosh, and sweat for a few hours before waking up for another boring winter work day. Do yourself a favor, escape the cold weather and join two bands that keep the ska sound alive and have allowed us to embrace the brass longer than any ska-hater believed we would.

[Related: Reel Big Fish’s Happy Skalidays EP]

Less Than Jake is coming off of their latest release See The Light which has received positive reviews from all over the scene. Reel Big Fish is set to release their first holiday album entitled Happy Skalidays and is available for digital download as of December 15, 2014 – you can pick it up on iTunes by clicking HERE. Authority Zero has been hard at work in the studio lately and is currently supporting their 2013 release, The Tipping Point.

The tour will span 21 states in just over a month starting on January 15th at the Ogden Theater in Denver, Colorado and ending on February 20th at the House of Blues in Hollywood, CA. Make no mistake that this in fact a national tour as they’ll hit both coasts a lot in-between – check all of the dates below.

Tickets are available now at all major ticket outlets. Be sure to pick yours up as soon as possible as many of these dates are sure to sell out.

Reel Big Fish Tour Dates

Related Links:
Reel Big Fish Website
Less Than Jake Website
Authority Zero Website

Article By: Blake Taylor

Watch: Reel Big Fish – “I Dare You To Break My Heart”

Watch: Less Than Jake – “Do The Math”

Watch: Authority Zero – “Lift One Up”

This entry was posted on Saturday, December 20th, 2014 at 12:10 am and is filed under Daily News.
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Richard Crooks A.K.A. Father Time

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However, Richard was always the most professional player I’ve played with. Before we recorded my album, I gave everyone who was going to play on it an acoustic demo that I recorded, so that they could learn the songs. Now mind you, the entire crew were first rate musicians. When we got into the studio, more often than not it became a musician saying to me “Woh! Wait a minute, what the hell did the song do there?” to which I replied “I gave you the demo recording, and the chord sheet that went along with it. Didn’t you listen to it? Then they would say “Well, I was thinking your stuff was like that other Trop Rock guy……” and I would reply “No, my stuff isn’t like his or anyone else’s. My stuff has chord changes that are not the norm. They go off the beaten path, but manage to flow quite naturally.  That’s why I took the time and money to record and give you the recording and lyric/ chord charts, so you wouldn’t be learning the damn song in the friggin’ studio.”

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Here’s an amazing thing about Richard Crooks. When we were finished with the rhythm tracks, (Bubba Low Notes, played the bass at the San Carlos Institute sessions along with Richard, by the way!), we went back to the studio to prepare for the other instruments, that would be added to the rhythm tracks. As it appears on the grid on the computer, there are the sound waves and every few inches there are vertical lines. These are the exact points of where the beat lies. As humans, no one is perfect. Inevitably, a musician is either a touch in front of the beat, or a touch behind the beat here and there on occasion. The engineer will move it digitally to compensate for the error. I’m talking about drums, however this can happen with all instruments.

My life long friend, Vintz McKeon, came to Key West a few years back. Vintz and I had been in bands together until I left New Jersey and moved to Florida when I was twenty one. Vincent is an extraordinary drummer, based in New Jersey, not too far from NYC and is in the city very often catching music shows of all sorts of genres over the years. From the Allman Brothers, to Charles Mingus, to The Band, to Tower of Power, to James Taylor, to Miles Davis. He’s also active, playing with a band named “The Harmony Brothers” for the last several years. When Vintz heard Richard, he was in awe.

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(“Island Blue” featuring Richard Crooks on drums)

Guitarist Larry Baeder mentioned to me the day after Richard’s passing that the entire music fraternity in New York City was mourning. I can tell you that so is the one in Key West.

Key West is so grateful you chose to be part of this island.

My most sincere condolences go out to his wonderful wife Nina and his entire family.

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To obtain my music:

My CD is available on iTunes, CD Baby, CD Universe, Rhapsody, and Beachfront Radio.
Search: Key West Chris

Thank you everyone!!


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Video: Sara Lugo – I Really Like You (ft Protoje)

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On Oct 17th, 2014, Sara Lugo released her 12 track album Hit Me With Music via Oneness Records. The German based reggae artist has released a new music video with the song “I Really Like You” featuring Protoje. The song is the second track off Hit Me With Music and you can pick up Sara’s latest album on iTunes by clicking HERE! Enjoy the song video…

This entry was posted on Friday, December 19th, 2014 at 8:08 am and is filed under Daily News.
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Artist Radar – The Expanders

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In lieu of the 2014 Pier Awards, we bring you this week’s Artist Radar in the form of the four-piece vintage reggae outfit, The Expanders.

The Expanders originally formed back in 2003, but the reason we are highlighting them now is because of their big 2014, including tour dates with Slightly Stoopid, Tribal Seeds, G.P.G.D.S., Passafire and Fortunate Youth as well as performing at California Roots, being nominated for The Pier’s 2014 Breakout Artist of the Year, and a big New Years Eve Celebration Show with Iration at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, CA.

Since 2006, The Expanders have been a popular backing band for some of Jamaica’s biggest artists when coming to California, including: Alton Ellis, The Maytones, The Ethiopians, and The Wailing Souls, among others. They haven’t released a new album since their 2012 self-titled release, but they are currently working on their new record, which I am told is due out some time in early 2015.

Unfortunately 2014 wasn’t all good for The Expanders, as they were robbed of all of their gear back in October, while on tour with Passafire in Seattle. All of their gear and a ton of their merchandise was stolen along with most of their luggage. Because of this, they set up a GoFundMe Campaign that fans can donate to by clicking HERE!

Artist Radar: The Expanders

I recently caught up with vocalist and guitarist, Devin Morrison, who explained that: “Getting robbed so far from home is a crappy feeling! They stole most of our merchandise and a lot of our equipment and personal belongings. We did recover the van and trailer though. And the support from the community for our GoFundMe campaign to replace our gear has been truly humbling! It’s an indescribable feeling to see how many people want to help us get back on our feet. We are more than halfway to our goal of $10,000.” Actually, they are at 70% as of this writing, so please go give these hard working musicians some support.
The Pier actually interviewed The Expanders about three years ago, which you can read about HERE!. Each of the band members came from different California based bands, leading to a drawn out five years of recording their self-titled album. Now, Devin says, their priorities have changed a bit, where “Chiquis still sings lead in The Boogaloo Assassins, and I play with The Lions whenever I’m in LA and they have a show. But we’re all committed to The Expanders as our first priority.”

I saw The Expanders for the first time out in California for this years California Roots Festival and was impressed by their ability to represent such a traditional style of reggae music, especially when they performed a stripped down acoustic set in front of The Pier booth. In a scene, that is dominated by “true” Jamaican artists as well as “white-boy reggae”, how does a band that flirts between both genres of reggae, set their own path? Devin gives such a great explanation, we included the entire quote below…

“Well, we are all life-long fans and students of classic Jamaican music. Our mission statement as a band is to bring the sounds of vintage reggae to modern audiences, and to share what we’ve learned about the origins of this music with today’s reggae fans. In that spirit, I’d like to use this opportunity to discuss the term ‘rocksteady.’ We hear people use that term a lot when describing our sound, and they seem to apply it as a synonym for “old-school” or something like that. ‘Rocksteady’ is in fact the name of a very specific style of Jamaican music that was recorded on the island for a small window of time (1966-1968). Classic examples are tunes like ‘Engine 54′ by The Ethiopians or ‘Save A Bread’ by Justin Hinds The Dominoes. Rhythmically speaking, The Expanders actually play almost no rocksteady at all. Our tune ‘Moving Along’ from our first record was an attempt at the style, but in the end it morphed into more of a hybrid thing. There are some modern bands playing great rocksteady, most notably LA’s legendary Hepcat, as well as Roger Rivas from The Aggrolites. Roger just released a free album of rocksteady songs called “The Last Goodbye” that is absolutely killer! John Butcher from The Expanders did a lot of guitar work on that album.”

Devin continues on by further breaking down the technicalities of their brand of reggae, dropping knowledge on the intimate differences within the variations of classic reggae music.

“In a rhythmic sense, we identify much more with mid-70s roots and “rockers”, a term coined by legendary Jamaican producer, Augustus Pablo, in the mid-to-late 70s that was widely used to describe what reggae was sounding like at the time. We also play a lot of the early 80s sound that was mastered by The Roots Radics and producer Linval Thompson;’Something Wrong,’ ‘Race Is Run’ and ‘Snow Beast’ from our first album are examples of that early 80s style, while ‘Evilous Number,’ ‘Gone Away’ and ‘Careful’ have a more roots ‘rockers’ feel.”
When asking Devin how their throwback approach towards classic Jamaican reggae fits into today’s American reggae scene, Devin explained that: “The scene today has a strong culture that is largely centered around common themes of positivity, unity, and social upliftment. In that context, I think we fit in much the same way many other bands in the scene do. The really awesome thing to us is that fans seem to be recognizing and appreciating our attempt to pay homage musically to the golden era of Jamaican music, and so far no one seems to mind that we don’t play the ‘reggae-rock’ style that so many other amazing bands in this scene do so well.”

After almost two years without releasing an album, The Expanders are back in the studio working on their next release. Devin told me that the album is about 95% complete. They’re currently putting some of the final touches on the record. When asked about the new sound, Devin had this to say: “We feel this record captures how the band has grown together musically in the time since we made the first album. I just think the grooves are a little tighter, the songwriting is a bit more focused, and everyone has really learned to listen to each other musically.”

Without getting the name, or track listing, I was able to learn that the boys are in the process of recording one more track with “some pretty amazing vocalists who everyone in the scene knows and loves. I won’t let the names out just yet, but I think people are gonna be pretty stoked on this one.”

Right now you can head over to the MP3 Massive to download the song “Snow Beast” off their 2012 self-titled release by clicking HERE!

The Expanders Tour Dates

The Expanders Links:
The Expanders MP3 Massive
The Expanders Website
The Expanders GoFundMe Account
The Expanders Facebook

Article By: Andrew McClatchy
Photos By: Lindsay Fordham

Watch: The Expanders – “Top Shelf”

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 18th, 2014 at 1:28 pm and is filed under Daily News.
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Happy Merry Christmas From Key West!

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Happy Merry Christmas From Key West!

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The end result is a very fun recording and we’re offering it for sale for less than a dollar!!! 

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The Green’s Chocolate & Roses 2015 Tour

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The Green, nominated for Live Artist of the Year for the 2014 Pier Awards, have announced their plans for the New Year with a list of shows that span from late January into mid-March. Dates that include spots with SOJA, the 311 Cruise and Through the Roots.
The Green will officially kick off 2015 in Guam at the Trench Fest, but their official 2015 tour begins Jan. 27th. The title of the tour will be “Chocolates Roses,” like the song off their 2013 release of Hawai’i 13. That tour officially kicks off on January 27th at the House of Blues in San Diego, CA. Knowing the heavy presence The Pier has in southern, CA, we hope as many of you in the area will join us for this kick off show to their tour. The tour will conclude on March 11th at the Gas Monkey in Dallas, TX.

Between January 27th and March 11, The Green will perform 19 total shows in 19 different cities and 12 states with Through the Roots playing at all but their January 31st show at the Rialto Theatre in Tucson Arizona.

From February 12th – February 21st, However, The Green will be sharing dates on the east coast with SOJA, starting at the Music Farm in Charleston, SC and ending at The National in Richmond, VA. They will be playing 8 total shows with SOJA in SC, FL, SC, NC, and VA.

Then, from February 25th through March 1st, The Green will be traveling with 311 on their bi-annual Caribbean Cruise. This is already sold-out, but for the sake of relevancy, I thought I’d include it in this announcement.

The Green is following the momentum of their 2014 run where they performed 75+ shows, including 3 sold-out shows with Bruno Mars in Honolulu as well as previous dates shared with Rebelution, J Boog Stick Figure. The start of 2015 for the group from Hawaii appears to look just as promising as 2014.

Check the dates links below and let us know where you will be seeing The Green perform!

The green Tour Dates

Related Links:
The Green Website
The Green Facebook
Rootfire Website

Article By: Mike Patti

Watch: The Green – “Good One” (Live Acoustic)

Watch: The Green – “Something About It”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 at 12:52 pm and is filed under Daily News, easy star records.
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Short blog today…

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This is going to be a quick blog today. Friday night Sunshine Cindy and I were honored to be named as the Emerald Coast Parrot Head Club’s Volunteers of the Year! Wow and thanks is all we can say. We appreciate the honor!

Saturday we hung out with our friends Alan and Jackie at Landshark Pizza for a while.

We missed the Destin Christmas Parade and the harbor lighted boat parade. We will make both next year for sure!

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