Posts Tagged mile marker 24 band

Featured Artist of the Week – Howard Livingston & the Mile Marker 24 Band

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Howard is a native of the mountains of eastern Kentucky. His mother spawned his love for music by introducing him to the guitar at age five. While the love of music never did leave him, his career pushed him in a different direction. While building his business, he traveled to the Florida Keys, where he developed a severe case of “Keys Fever” He never wanted to leave. The more he visited, the more music, and the keys called out to him. Finally, he surrendered. The islands called both he and his guitar. He teamed upo with this group of talented musicians and Mile Marker 24 was born and the island music goes on and on.

Howard Livingston and the Mile Marker 24 band are the real deal and an all original tropical island band capable of supporting both small and large events. The band has recorded five studio CDs filled with over fifty all originals that always please the crowd. The band is also flexible and fully functional from an intimate two-piece to a ten-piece including a horn section. Howard is also available as a solo performer. The music of Mile Marker 24 offers universal appeal with an easy going lilt and sway that celebrates the human spirit while being underscored by steel drums, guitars, marimba and subtle strings.

Mile Marker 24 has been on the fast track, growing in popularity from the most popular band in the Florida Keys to clearly a favorite nationwide.

Livingston’s self-released fifth album, Tunes in a Tropical Key, provides the latest example of this carefree caress. Like his four earlier efforts, Livin’ On Key West Time (2005), Meet Me In The Keys (2006), Blame It On The Margaritas (2007), and I’m Living on an Island (2008) much of the new album is based on Livingston’s life – the life he loves in the Florida Keys. Songs that share his love for the Florida Keys (It’s A Pretty Good Life), to the humorous (Get Your Own Cousin & Tropical Nightmare). This album joins Livingston’s other albums as a soundtrack to a lifestyle – the lifestyle of flip flops and tank tops!

Livingston and company have become known as a Portable Party Machine supporting corporate events, weddings, and tropical parties. With the 1952 Johnson outboard motor – turned margarita maker – that became well known when making margaritas with Al Roker (Today Show), Dave Price (CBS Early Show), Sam Champion (Good Morning America), and Samantha Brown (The Travel Channel), Livingston performs many events in the Florida Keys, fairs and tropical parties in the Southeast US, and tours the Midwest and Eastern USA. He has shared the stage with the likes of Mac McAnally, Little River Band, Cowboy Troy, America, Jerry Jeff Walker, Hank Williams, Tim McGraw, Big and Rich, and Keith Urban. Livingston has also been a headliner act at Meeting of the Minds (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), Jimmy Buffett’s annual international fan club convention.

All Information copied from Howard’s Website

Reef Relief’s 25th Anniversary Party 3/31 6-10pm

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Special Guest Howard Livingston & Mile Marker 24 Band

Six On, Six Off: From Corporate Chicago to “Trop Rock” in Key West

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Howard Livingston’s move from Chicago to Key West, Fla., was part of a lifestyle makeover. His old wardrobe was the first thing to go.

“I had whole closets full of suits and dress shirts and ties and slacks,” says the former co-owner and CEO of a firm that made diesel-engine parts. The dapper attire went straight to the Salvation Army. “It was an act of freedom,” Livingston says with a laugh. “I decided, ‘I’m going to go down there in flip-flops and T-shirts and see what happens.'”

That wasn’t all he decided. Livingston, who made the leap in his mid-50s, deliberately downshifted from a demanding corporate grind to the laid-back pace of the Keys, a destination point every year for thousands of “snowbirds” fleeing the icy winters of the East and Midwest. Those who live in the Keys — where mild winter days average above 70 degrees — tend to work busily during the seasonal influx of tourists and take vacation time off during the hot, humid summers, as Livingston now does.

Livingston’s six-months-on, six-months-off schedule includes summers devoted to swimming, boating and vacations. During the winter he pursues his second-act careers: singing and being a television host.

“Winters here are incredible,” he says. “People literally come from all over the world. There’s a stark difference between the winter and summer. There are probably 20 times more people here on a given day in the winter than there are in the summer. The summer is what we call ‘slack time.’ You can kick back and catch your breath.”

An avid songwriter, Livingston fulfilled a longtime fantasy when he arrived in Florida by starting a band — the Mile Marker 24 Band, named for his location along the highway that cuts through downtown Key West. The band has been a success. In seven years, Livingston has recorded six albums and become a regular act at festivals and charity events.

During fundraising performances for KOA Care Camps, a program that sends seriously ill children on week-long camping trips, Livingston revs up an outboard motor to mix a small ocean of margaritas. He auctions off the first drink for impressive sums. “The record is $10,000,” Livingston says. “Last year we raised $55,000 for the kids.”

The band is slated to play alongside Poco and Blood, Sweat & Tears at a fundraiser in March, Livingston says. With Livingston singing and playing guitar, the group’s style is what the locals call “Trop Rock,” a tropical melding of rock, reggae and other Caribbean strains favored by fans like Dale and Peach Hench, who make an eight-hour drive to Key West seven or eight times a year to enjoy the sounds.

“They sing about oceans and vacations — escapist music similar to what Jimmy Buffett sings,” says Dale, who labels Livingston “one of the warmest and most genuine people we’ve ever met, as well as a very talented musician. Howard’s been gracious enough to let us come up on stage and play our cowbells. He’s that type of guy — he invites people to participate in what he’s doing.”

Howard Livingston tapes Key West Time

photo: Rob O’Neal

Livingston hosts Key West Time, a local TV show focusing on lifestyle and recreation in the Keys.

 

The success of the band earned Livingston, now 60, a second wintertime gig, hosting a local TV show known as Key West Time. The series, created by the Conch Republic Media Group in Key West for satellite and cable television, focuses on lifestyles and recreation in the Keys — boating, parasailing, hunting for treasure, and the like. Filming for the 13-week series resumes this month.

“He absolutely loves doing the show,” says Livingston’s wife, Cyndy, whom he met 15 years ago during a visit to Key West and married in 2009. “He’s a natural at it. He loves the Florida Keys, and he can talk about everything he loves.”

Cyndy Livingston, a former financial controller who gave up that job to help with her husband’s careers, deals with everything from the sale of band merchandise to ironing Hawaiian shirts before TV shoots.

In the idle summer months, they like to boat to the tiny, uninhabited islands that make up much of the archipelago. “There are literally thousands of little islands that are accessible only by boat,” Livingston says. “You can go 10 or 15 miles and get away from everything. We’re in the water or on a boat just about every day.”

Key West Mayor Craig Cates, who met Livingston while introducing him at a music festival, has become one of Livingston’s good friends. “To me,” Cates says, “he looks like the happiest guy in the world.”

Livingston can’t argue.

“Knock on my wooden head, I’ve never had so much fun in my entire life,” he says. “It’s truly incredible.”

 

Original Article can be found here.