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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Playing In The Band


Playing In The Band







It will be five years this August that The Shanty Hounds formed! Wow! Time flies! It was actually quite funny how it all came about. Dani Hoy moved here just before that New Year, eight months earlier. I was giving her a set to play at all of my gigs on her own and my sets were solo as well. So I'd play a couple of sets, and Dani would do one.

A friend of ours, Reddawg, a percussionist, called and said he had a gig and asked if Dani and I would we share it with him. We said sure and did our usual deal of doing solo sets, albeit with Reddawg on his Zenn Drum. It worked out perfectly! At the end of the gig he said “Why don't we start a band?”

I explained to him that I played my stuff and Dani played hers, to which he replied:

“Why don't we start a band?”.

I went on again stating that neither of us played each others music, to which he replied:

“Why don't we start a band?”

After about five of these exchanges I said “So you're suggesting I learn Dani's songs and she learn mine?”

His reply never wavered: “Why don't we start a band?”.

And that how we started! Thank You Reddawg!!!

The bottom line is: Reddawg started The Shanty Hounds and we're forever grateful!




We needed a name and we called the little cottage at the we lived in at end of Thomas Street “The Conch Rock Shanty”. Plus, we had Cajun and Toolouloo, two whippets, which are sight hounds. Dani put them together and came up with the name “Shanty Hounds”, which I thought was fantastic! I however added the word “The” as a prefix. So many of the best bands in the world start with “The”! The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Allman Brothers Band, The Grateful Dead... so it became “The Shanty Hounds”!


Reddawg played with us until December. After ten years in Key West, he felt it was time to go back home to Pennsylvania. Reddawg made it so much FUN and he added SO much energy! We love Reddawg and miss him enormously!




While it was really sad losing Reddawg, we were having such a good time at the point when he left, the thought never crossed our minds of stopping. Reddawg brought us to that level! Additionally, we were getting more and more gigs. People came to our shows and had fun! It was our Reddawg roots perhaps, or maybe the complete chemistry we had both with Reddawg, as well between the two of us!

One thing Dani would say, kind of off the cuff and a little secretly, to me on the side after several gigs was “People really like what we do!” She was right, too! Our audiences really did like us! Our gigs were fun and the music was not the typical songs you would hear other players playing in other bars in Key West. Because of that, our audiences grew with both visitors to the island, as well as locals. We were unique and again, fun! We also were good enough to cut the mustard in Key West. We made so many new incredible friends! Our strongest asset, is our friends!






I always remembered back in the eighties when I was working my day job at a BMW dealership, my friend Rick Asci, the General Manager, was forced to eject a customer from our place of business, The guy was just argumentative about everything. Rick however was very professionally and calmly, with his hands behind his back, so he was in a very non-threatening position, said to the guy “Sir, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave”. Rick said it twice and the guy turned around and left.

That always stayed in my memory and I always had a great amount of respect for Rick. He's a very smart guy.

Then, all these years later it dawns on me. As I said, we have a fun band and at our gigs and everyone is having a great time! One night I took the cue from Rick, thirty years earlier and adapted it to the band. I stepped up to the mic in between songs and made the proclamation:

“If anyone here is not having a good time, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave”

I can't tell you how many times I've said that and a group of people head right out the door!

Of course they immediately turn around and come back in, laughing their asses off! That's what it's all about, having fun! That saying has become the creed and motto of The Shanty Hounds.

We were blessed with starting with a fabulous foundation. If you don't have a bottom end as solid as concrete you will never last in this town. We started out with that because of Reddawg, who was a decade long veteran of playing Key West bars. After he left we had percussive help from John Sausser, and to a lesser extent, Rogue, who was on the island on a seasonal basis (he and his wife just moved here permanently).

The majority of gigs we had have been as a duo and we became tighter and tighter. I recall being taken aback when people in the audience came up to us after a gig and telling us that they were life-long professional musicians and would tell us that we sounded really good.




This would happen on a regular basis, as well, and still does as we approach our five year anniversary. It's one thing when someone who may be an accountant, a teacher, a sales person, an engineer, people from all walks of life, approach us and say how much they enjoyed our show! It means so much to Dani and myself that we helped make their afternoon, or evening wonderful! Especially for those who are visiting. They may only get one week off a year, they go to Key West and leave our gig smiling! There is a very special feeling knowing that we contributed highly to their week, a week of memories that will sustain their outlook and attitude for the next fifty-one weeks of their lives, until they return. Their week in Key West is what they live for! That is so gratifying!

From a musician's standpoint, when a career musician, someone who graduated from Berklee School of Music, or Julliard, approach us and say to us “You guys sound fantastic!”. For me, that really hits home. Getting validation from top music professionals with PhD. degrees in music, has left me at a loss of words. Having said that, speaking for myself, I'm never satisfied with my playing and always strive to do better.

It's a slow process that you don't realize. No matter what you build in life, a house, relationship or a career, you need to start with a solid foundation. We started off with a fabulous foundation and it built over the subsequent years.

                                                                        Photo by Ralph De Palma



                                                               Photo by Ralph De Palma

There are incredible musicians who both live here, as well as pass through! I've looked up to most and find them amazing and truly inspiring! One thing I've noted way, way, way back when I first visited the island in 1978, was the level of professionalism of musicians who played here. With us, things have likewise progressed.


It's funny, really funny actually, some of the things that have happened over these last several years. We had been playing outside at Grunts one evening and an author we know was walking up the street with some friends. We called out to him and they all came over. Now, we've known him for years, but he's never seen, or heard us play. Additionally, he's well connected with several national artists in the music world as well, having co-written songs as well.



So, he and his friends came in and sat down at a table in front of the stage. It was late, though we had time for three songs, so we kicked into three of our own, “Yippie Cayo Hueso”, “I Like It Hot”, and “Tote The Load”. As we were playing the first song, Yippie, I looked over at him and he was sitting in the chair with his jaw open wide, his eyes bugging out, and both of his arms dangling on either side of the chair he was sitting in. This was his reaction throughout the three songs. He didn't move a muscle. It was as though he was in a trance!

When we finished, he got up to leave and gave us a subtle wave and said “That was amazing!” shaking his head. Here was someone who, as a co-songwriter of songs, and one of whom is a very,very well known national artist, said he said we were “amazing”. Can you ask for a better complement than that? I was humbled.

During several musical events held here in Key West, we've been fortunate to either play in, or have our regular gigs playing during the overall event. At a few of these, several national acts happened to stop by and hang out Their eyes were seriously wide open. When we went to their gigs, I understood why.




Back in March we were playing at our usual Sunday gig at Willie T's. For those unfamiliar with the venue, the seating parallels and abuts the sidewalk, albeit being about a foot or so higher, with a railing. The stage faces the crowd. We have a three song set where I play slide guitar on: Tracy Chapman's “Give Me One Reason” Janis' “Mercedes Benz”, and Kris Kristopherson's “Bobby McGee”, all of which Dani sings.

We're just into Give Me One Reason and out of the corner of my eye, I see a man and woman standing on the sidewalk, up against the railing, listening to us. This happens there all the time, so it's nothing out of the ordinary. I glance over at them, then look back at the crowd. Suddenly it sinks in and I say to myself “WTF???”

I look back at them. The guy is Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead. I figure he gets approached all the time, so I say nothing and just keep playing. They stayed for three songs and threw some money in the tip jar when they left. Talk about a complement and an honor! I've been a major fan of his since I was a teenager. No one plays guitar like Bob Weir. No one! He could have walked by, but he stopped and listened to three songs by The Shanty Hounds! YAY! Thank you Bob Weir!



As a songwriter, I've been published for nearly twenty years in Nashville, with McClure and Trowbridge Publishing. My song “Sunshine and Roses” is currently being reviewed for Trisha Yearwood's upcoming album in the Fall. Fingers crossed, we'll see!



The Shanty Hounds' current album, “Unleashed!” is doing well! Live albums seem to have fallen out of the limelight these days. That's one reason we decided to do one! The thing about live albums is that there are no real excuses. In the studio, you might spend all day laying down a guitar track, or a piano track until you get it 100% right. You don't have that option going live. You're on the high wire without a net! So proficiency is a must as well.





The advantage a live album potentially has is the energy! There are a lot of types of music in the arena and if an act without energy, perhaps something the more cerebral context, wants to do an album, their best route is a studio album. A live album for them is a sleeping pill for someone buying the said recording. While each has their advantages, the main strong point of a live album is the energy it showcases. I can't begin to tell you how many times I'd seen a performer live, then bought their studio album and said to myself “This is a dud! It's nothing like what I just saw!”


As for The Shanty Hounds......We have energy!







                                                                  Photo by Natalie Pairmont

               
                                                                    Photo by Theresa Kalvatis                       

This is why I'm so happy we did our live album! When someone comes up to us at the end of a gig and says “I love what you're doing! Do you have a CD?” I can say to them “If you want the same punch, maybe more, here's our live album!” and when they are back home in Peoria, Saratoga, Sacramento, Chicago, New York, Detroit, LA, New Orleans... wherever, they can put the live CD on, close their eyes, and they're back in Key West at The Shanty Hounds gig! After all, what is our strongest asset? Our Friends!!!!







That is the objective from our perspective. Long before I moved to Key West, I was living one-hundred and thirty-eight miles north of here in Cutler Bay. I'd have BBQ parties (me? BBQ parties??? Imagine that!) and put on Barry Cuda and the Shark's live album “Fish Nuts” and suddenly we had the whole Key West vibe on! We had the real deal Key West live pulse happening! The entire party would have an authentic, thorough Key West pulsation to it! It wasn't as though it was a band from Buffalo, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Tennessee, or Tallahassee making pretend they were in Key West. Barry Cuda is Key West, the real deal. 'Cuda is the blood pumping through the veins of the city and has been for thirty-five years, or so.

We had that same opportunity and with the help of Bob Tucker on bass, John Sausser on drums, Ian Shaw recording and producing, plus Denis Blackham mastering, and our group of friends who showed up in both support and backing vocals on “Yippie Cayo Hueso”we pulled it off! Thank you!!!




“The Shanty Hounds, Unleashed! Live at Grunts, Key West” Takes the listener and puts them at a live Key West gig with The Shanty Hounds. It's perfect to just sit back and listen with your eyes closed, or cranked up at a party you're throwing that you want an authentic Key West groove going! Who knows? The whole party could be singing the refrain to “Yippie Cayo Hueso” when it comes around! It wouldn't be the first time! (Cayo Hueso is Key West's original name in Spanish. It translates to “Bone Key” say: Kai oh Way so)

A few links for downloading "Unleashed! Live at Grunts, Key West"

https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/theshantyhounds

https://www.amazon.com/Unleashed-Live-Grunts-Key-West/dp/B07J62HX58

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/the-shanty-hounds/1438531521


As far as gigging goes, we're busy! We make our living playing gigs in Key West. On any given week we're playing 5 – 10 gigs a week. Most of those gigs are in Key West and if they are in Key West, they are no more than a mile away from home. We also play a few gigs a month up the Keys, as well.




For years I have joked “They don't pay us to play, they pay us to lug everything in, set it up, then tear it down and lug it away” The roadies we hire never show up! 😆 That's the actual working we do! Depending on the gig depends on who sets up and who parks the car. However, at every gig we're getting there, unloading, setting up, playing the gig, tearing it down, loading it back into the car and off to the next adventure

This last May, the Tampa-based radio station, Bone Island Radio called us the hardest working band in Key West. I thanked them while they were in town, of course. I can't say about being the busiest in Key West? There are some very, very hard working musicians in this town! However, maybe in the Trop Rock genre?

Last July we did thirty six gigs. I don't know any other city where something like that could be achieved, other than Key West? So, by proxy, within the genre itself, we may very well be the busiest? I couldn't say?

Seriously however, any way you look at it, frankly, every day, we really do bust our ass. 😁😉





We couldn't do it without our friends though! Thank you!!!





I'll be having a five song EP coming out this summer, titled “All The Best From Key West”. Although it's a selection of five of my songs, Dani is on every one as a vocalist, plus these are songs that we do as The Shanty Hounds as well. These songs will have a host of fabulous local musicians, as well as a few visitors such as Emily Randal and Alan Jax Bowers, both of whom we've played with before, but not until now in a studio setting.

                                                          Emily Randle at Warm Fuzz Studio

A few of these songs have been released as singles, however once the final songs are done and approved by producer Ian Shaw, they will all be sent to The Isle Of Sky in Scotland to Denis Blackham (yes, one n in Denis) where everything will be mastered by the master!

Oh! I also have a bit of a jump on my next album after the EP with the rhythm sections done and then some. Progress!

On this release however, unlike in the past, the distribution will be augmented. The completed EP will go to all but one Trop Rock station (A1A). The stations I will be sending it to have always been extremely supportive! Thank you very much! Our fan base has been just phenomenal as well! Thank you everyone!!! The print media in Trop Rock doesn't pay too much attention to what I do, so two out of three is pretty good I think!



What I will be doing on this release is adding the Americana genre to the mix. Note: “adding” is the operative word here. It's not as though I'm leaving Trop Rock. I'm not at all. What I'm doing is adding Americana to what I have. Dani has been a member for a few years and Danny Lynn also hopped on board with Tiki Man Radio, I'm guessing about a year and a half ago?



The quest, of course is gaining new fans. Americana offers interesting, new avenues to pursue, plus they have additional opportunities for my books! Additionally, the opportunity of getting the press I'm not getting in the Trop Rock genre, is wide open.

Another thing is that with Americana, the avenues for getting reviews exist. In Trop Rock, it really doesn't. I may be wrong, but I have the impression that the reasons Trop Rock publications don't do reviews is because they always want to stay on the positive? If they do a bad review for Fanny Mango Muffin's new release, they run the risk of Fanny accosting them at an event, that in addition to Fanny's fans suddenly having an ax to grind with the publication and the staff within it. On the other hand, if they do reviews of releases and say everything is just delightful with every review, they have no credibility whatsoever. So, from their perspective I understand why they don't do reviews. I wrote for Southeast Performer mag, which at the time was one of several arms of it's parent Performer Mag. Today it is just Performer Mag and can be found on-line. Because of that, I do understand a bit about music publications.

Back before I moved to Key West, I would come here and search out the local things. I wanted to feel that pulse of the town. I'd listen to Mike McCloud, or The Survivors. Their songs were about living here. That's what I was looking for. I wasn't looking for the tourist approach of longing to be here. I was looking for music that was about life here. When I moved here in 2008, that's what I naturally started to do. That's one of the things in the Trop Rock genre that I do that is somewhat unique. Like McCloud, the Survivors, and a few others, I write about things I see in day-to-day existence in Key West. It's like the saying goes "Write what you know". 

As a writer, musician and performer, my desire is to put forth my art on the finest canvas available. Doing things the right way, with the best people, is the only way I'll release something that has my name on it. The back side of this is consequently spending between $1,500 and $2,500 per recorded song to do so. With that in mind, I initially need three things: A) Enough people to buy my songs to at least break even. Doing the math, that puts us somewhere in the $10,000 range for five songs. B) Radio stations to play my works C) Publications to both promote and critique my work.



If we look at C for one second: Yes, I'm putting my head on a chopping block. Do I really want to take that risk?

Answer: Absolutely!

To begin with, I'm a Nashville published songwriter and have been so for twenty years come 2020. Within the Trop Rock genre, of the hundreds of people who write their own material, there are maybe a half a dozen published songwriters. That's it. We all have things we exceed at. For me, I do a very good BBQ, Im told I can write an excellent book, and I can write a damn good song.

So, if I get the very best people to play with me on my current upcoming EP “All The Best From Key West”, I'll give them a concrete-solid foundation to work with (that would be the song and arrangement), a producer who is second to none (Ian Shaw), then have it mastered by someone who's mastered Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Otis Reading, The Shanty Hounds, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, The Who, Jimi Hendrix... the list goes on and on, I'll be thrilled to have it reviewed!

Will every review love it? No. Taste is subjective. However, having it reviewed any way I look at it, is a plus. However, with solid songs, the best players available, a great production and mastering, what do I have to skeptical about?

Once the EP is completed, the plan is to send it out to the dozen, or so Trop Rock stations, then send it through to be distributed to Americana stations. I'm excited, needless to say!




I write books as a side thing. I've been very fortunate to have some great ratings and complements sent my way at Amazon, plus, complements sent likewise from professionals in the literary industry itself. Thank you very much! I have three more books currently underway, the first, a sequel to Time Traveler, should be ready fairly soon.







https://www.amazon.com/Bar-Stories-Semi-Fictional-Adventure-Tour-Witnessed/dp/1980365113/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2/144-4224736-5856405?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=1980365113&pd_rd_r=9570f89a-a35f-11e9-bd85-01c75db0a092&pd_rd_w=dtUqo&pd_rd_wg=uwpm6&pf_rd_p=a2006322-0bc0-4db9-a08e-d168c18ce6f0&pf_rd_r=7QTAEP4AYFGDGNB3KFCF&psc=1&refRID=7QTAEP4AYFGDGNB3KFCF


Dani, is a marvelous graphic illustrator for two decades and has been using that talent for local businesses here in Key West, as well as doing original art work, local and nationwide. Additionally, she's been doing graphic work for other musician's promotions, websites, and album covers. She's fabulous!!! If you have any graphic needs, contact her at:   danihoy68@gmail.com





In addition, she's taken to painting portraits of local friends homes, here in Key West! She may also have prints made of some! Stay tuned!



Fortunately, the Shanty Hounds are busy! Just in the last five days we've played one gig last Friday, two gigs on Saturday, two gigs Sunday, and two gigs yesterday, then one tomorrow, two Friday, one Saturday, two Sunday.... We've come a long way and we are very fortunate and very, very grateful!


If it wasn't for our friends support, we wouldn't be here! THANK YOU!!!!

For those who have supported us in the past, and for those who join in the future, you are the ones who are why The Shanty Hounds exist! We are forever grateful!






We look forward to everything on our horizon and for those who are on board with us now, and those in our future, taking The Shanty Hounds adventure with us!








The Shanty Hounds Website:

https://theshantyhounds.com/











Thursday, May 16, 2019

Mario Andretti

 






Mario Andretti. Thirteen letters that says all that needs to be said. There doesn't need an introduction. There doesn't need an explanation. The name says it all.

Back in his hay days everyone knew his background, however as he's been retired for... a really long time and today, everyone knows his name, even if they are not race fans. His last Indy Car race was in 1982! After all, he's won the Indy 500, The Daytona 500, The World Driving Championship, and well over 100 sanctioned races, plus many more that were not sanctioned events. Today, if you tell someone that, they will nod and say “WOW!” But on the same token, they pretty much expect something like that on account of his reputation for being a great race driver and a world figure.

                                        (Winning the World Driving Championship)

However, the younger generation today know him as a great American racing driver. What many younger fans today don't realize is that Mario Andretti is a true reflection of the American Dream.

                                        (racing with teammate and son, Michael)

To start with, Mario Andretti is an immigrant.

He was born in Montona, Italy in 1940. After WW II his town was annexed to Yugoslavia and along with his parents, older sister, and twin brother, they moved and lived in a refugee camp in Lucca, Italy. There they lived in a building with several other families with hanging sheets for walls. When he was fourteen the Andretti family emigrated to the U.S. He became a U.S. Citizen in 1966.

Mario Andretti is genuinely a very, very, nice man. His spirituality also is something that he takes quite seriously.





My two biggest Mario moments were back when he clinched the World Championship in Italy, the next race was The Grand Prix of the United States at Watkin's Glen, New York. I met him in the paddock the day before the race and shook his hand, thanking him for giving The United States of America a World Champion. Thanking Mario meant something to him. Of course I wasn't the only one, no doubt. I think for him, the appreciation he had for coming to this country, he saw being returned. I was so glad I did that.

The next big moment was last Christmas. Mario suggested his followers post a picture of their Christmas Trees, which he did likewise. I posted a picture of our tree and he replied something like “Merry Christmas to Key West!” I was completely thrilled! That made my month!

NBC Sports made a four part YouTube series on Mario that they just released before The Indy 500, which has been traditionally held on Memorial Day weekend, for over one-hundred years. Now, you'll find thousands and thousands of videos of Mario behind the wheel in a race. Here however, you'll find Mario talking about his childhood in Montona, Italy, his family life as a child, his family living as refugees in Lucca, Italy, complete with all the adventures with his twin brother, Aldo, sailing to America, a country where he didn't even speak the language. He bravely speaks of his wife Dee Ann, (and who also taught him English) to whom he was married from 1961 to her passing last year (deepest sympathies, Mario), plus his children, grand-children, nephews and much, much more.

It must be noted that NBC Sports did just a fabulous, fabulous job on their special! The four installments are below. As I say, you'll see what a nice, good, and inspirational man Mario is. Put aside his success, as a human being he'll leave you without words.

Thank you Mario and thank you NBC Sports

Enjoy!

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


Part 4




Thank you for reading my blog!

Please check out The Shanty Hounds NEW LIVE RELEASE!!!


Unleashed! Live at Grunts – Key West”



A true, authentic sound of Key West 
http://theshantyhounds.com/

Also available at:

iTunes Store







Please check out my book "Time Traveler - The Oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bartender". Follow Mark Straight's continuing journey and friendships from current Key West, back to historical Key West and elsewhere!

 Order paperback or download here! Paperback comes with a free download!

 26 Five-Star ratings!





Also, my first book, Bar Stories, is now available in paperback!


Available on Amazon! 18 Five-Star ratings!




Also, here's more of music here at iTunes!








Enjoy the sound of the Keys!



 The author is a BMI  Nashville published songwriter since 2000 with McClure and Trowbridge Publishing, Nashville, Tn.

















Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Absolute Best Bar Owner/GM (Publican) in Key West


                                                          Photo by Rob ONeil

Here in Key West we have several "Best Of" Surveys. It could be best gym, or best Cuban coffee, best bar, best pizza, best hat store, best bartender, so on and so forth. One thing I haven't seen however is, using the British term, Best Publican, or in American English, Best Bar Owner and or, General Manager.


The fact is, with over 360 liquor licenses and who knows how many beer and wine licenses, there's a hell of a lot of bars on this mile-and-a-half wide (no, it's it's not two miles) by four mile long island! So you can imagine that in a town that consumes far more alcohol per capita than any other city in the U.S. There are a LOT of incredibly fabulous Publicans!

For me, however, there is only one choice as to who the best Publican in town is and it's a testament to the ultra-high standards the town has achieved, because as I say there are a hell of a lot of five-star Publicans in this town!

Commonly known as Dave Senior, whom I'm partnered with at The Cork and Stogie, Dave is #1.





As a bar owner/general manager Dave is the ideal. In addition to doing the ordering and setting things up every day with his wife and my other partner, Leslie, the things one doesn't and shouldn't see that actually make the operation run, Dave is the perfect Publican!



In the operation of a bar there is one single requirement that is vital: The atmosphere.

Nothing, absolutely nothing is more important than this.

Over the decades I've seen many bars fail because the owner, or GM took things outwardly, way to seriously. First and foremost the bar must be a fun, congenial place to be. Of those with the serious atmosphere, they failed. However, Dave Senior gets this. The Cork and Stogie is FUN!







If someone walks into The Cork and Stogie, weather he knows them or not, the very first thing Dave Senior does is give them a big smile and a welcome, friendly greeting. It might be someone who works there, it might be a regular patron, it may be a tourist coming for the first time, it doesn't matter who it is. Dave Senior has a smile and a greeting for everyone. Not only that, most owners or managers stay behind the scenes. That's fine, it's a system that works for many., especially the ones who are dower. Dave, however, kicks it up a notch. He mingles and socializes with the guests. Consequently, everyone knows Dave.




                                                                   Photo by John Frenzi




The customer needs to feel welcome and comfortable. Believe it or not, I've walked into bars where the owner, or GM actually looked at patrons with a face of stone. No greeting, no smile, nothing. Who wants that atmosphere? If any owner, manager, or employee is in this state of mind, which can happen with anyone, they really need to check out for the day and try it again tomorrow.

I say it can happen with anyone, but that's not entirely true because it never happens with Dave Senior!

Dave always has a greeting, smile, and a great conversation, mostly peppered with humor and laughter for every person who walks through the door.



The Cork and Stogie is ten years old and the other night someone asked Dave if he ever actually fired anyone. He pondered for a second saying “Hummm lets see? Well we had one.... “ until someone hollered out his son's name, “Dave Junior!!!!” The entire bar ROARED with laughter.

Dave Senior also has an innate knowledge of what's happening in the business world of Key West. If you want to know anything about businesses opening, or closing, talk to Dave. If he knows the inside story on why someplace closed, no, Dave would never go into that. However, Dave Senior has his finger on the business pulse of what happens on and off Duval.

In addition, if there are any rough edges that needs to be smoothed out, Dave puts on his diplomatic hat and puts everything back in order with minimal fuss.

On the ridiculous side, Dave has dressed up in the most absurd outfits to promote events. He also shaved his head for charity!





                          Scott in the process of shaving Dave Senior's head

I've known Dave well for over eight years and I have never heard someone say anything negative about him.

As I said, The Cork and Stogie has been in existence since 2009. Owners Dave and Leslie were kind enough to take me on as their partner four years ago, on April 1st (my choice, no kidding!) 2015 and I've had a blast! Thank you!


At the end of this month, The Cork and Stogie will be closing for renovations. As of this writing we will be re-opening three months later on August 1st, with more room and a full kitchen, plus a complete redesign,

So, swing by The Cork and Stogie, 1218 Duval St. Key West, and say hello to the absolute best Owner/GM in town, Dave Bevins Senior, before the end of the month!

Congratulations Dave Senior, you set the standard!






                                                     Dave and Leslie Bevins



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 The author is a BMI  Nashville published songwriter since 2000 with McClure and Trowbridge Publishing, Nashville, Tn.