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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

MOTM Part 3 and MUST DO's in Key West!

MOTM 2014 PART 3

Phew! This was a busy week! As mentioned in the first of this series in Part 1, we actually started off two days ahead of the Pit Stop parties with our gig at The Hen and Hound on Saturday and a great BBQ with Trop Rock fans visiting early, the following evening at the Conch Rock Shanty.


In Parts 1 and 2 we covered that, plus Pit Stop Parties 1,2, and 3, with Part two culminating in doing our Podcast “Key West Beer Tales - The Sum of All Beers” from the Cork and Stogie here in Key West, with the CEO of the Stiegl Brauerei,  Salzburg, Austria. #stiegl


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(Key West Beer Tales at the Cork and Stogie interviewing Robert Schraml, CEO of Stiegl Beer, Salzburg, Austria. Picture by Roger Thompson III. Thanks Roger!)

Everyone on the show felt that this was our best beer show to date. We’ve always felt that Stiegl was one of the finest European beers available in the US, so it was a great honor to have them in Key West for the interview, during MOTM no less!

That podcast should be airing in the next week or two on the stations and schedules listed below. A week after it airs on the stations, it will be available on Spreaker

KW Beer Tales  Airing/Stations Schedule

KWOM - 10am and 10pm

Trop Rock Radio - Sundays 5 - 6


Radio A1A - Monday's at 7 and last week's show every other day

The Shore - Friday at noon

Island Radio  - 8PM Saturdays

Tiki Beach Shop - Monday, Wednesday, Friday  -  2Pm




Facebook Page




So now it’s on to Wednesday! The first order of business was to head to Naval Air Station Key West on Boca Chica Key to do a quick rehearsal with Conchalele Bob McPhail, whom I’d be sitting in with later that day at Schooner Wharf’s Midwest Region Parrot Head Club party.

It’s always an honor to be on base and Bob being a former Naval officer, keeps his sailboat docked there. We had a rehearsal that went well and then parted with arrangements to meet again at Schooner Wharf in a few hours.

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Barb Herzog does the organization and I was thrilled to be a part of it again! Thank you Barb! As I mentioned, I was on with Conchalele Bob as part of his quintette! What a fun time as well! There were performers there all afternoon, from four to about seven, it was a full schedule! Mike Miller, Thom Shepherd, The Island Time Band were a few of the great acts that went on all afternoon.

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(Dave Herzog and Chuck Fox, The Island Time Band at Schooner Wharf)

It goes without saying that Dani and I were here as well, being The Shanty Hounds! Our set went very well and we had a blast! It’s always a great time playing at Schooner Wharf, one of the true Key West Classics.

Our pals Homemade Wine were the hosts for the event. They got the system warmed up with a song or two, then hosted for the rest of us. Thanks guys!

At around seven they took the stage and, as always just tore it up. Homemade Wine, if there ever was a Southern Rock band in this current time period, you’re looking at it. It’s interesting, as they have a very, very large following in the Trop Rock community, yet with a couple of exception songs, they’re not really Trop Rock, they’re Southern Rock and what they are, is damn good!.

Here’s a piece of one of the songs they do, Marshall Tucker’s “This Ol’ Cowboy” which was recorded at the Schooner Wharf gig.



Later that evening we headed over to The Bull where Kelly McGuire was playing and hosting the Atlanta Parrot Head event there. Lots of friends were there as well! Key West / NJ resident and pal Beth Schreier (she was also at Schooner! She gets around!), Dianna Greenfield Christ, Pablo Heins, Art Hessen, Darlene Hessen, Jeff Lange, Debbie Simmons, Lee Simmons, Micki Greer, Fred Wunder, Rich McGuire, Michelle Tafoya, Brian Fields, ...the list went on and on! A typical Bull evening too! Lots and lots of laughs all night long!

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(Jeff Lange and Beth Schreier at The Bull)

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(Complete shenanigans at the Bull with Rich McGuire, Dianna Greenfield Christ, and Pablo Heins)



Kelly was kind enough to have Dani and I up to play a set and percussionist Melanie Howe played the full set with us. What a great player she was! With a percussionist that has never played with you, they’re always on thin ice, especially with a band like The Shanty Hounds.We have stops and goes on a lot of our original material. We’ve been blessed with having Redawg, John Sausser, and Rogue, play with us and everyone is alert and looking, which is what a percussionist needs to be, particularly if they are not familiar with the material of original songs. Melanie fit this mold to a T. It was a pleasure playing with her and hopefully we’ll get to play with her again soon!

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(Melanie Howe)

Thursday

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(Photo by Bruce Riggs! Thanks Bruce!)

Thursday was a serious treat! Compliments of Captain Ter Ry we were off out on the high seas for a MOTM sunset cruise and The Shanty Hounds were the featured entertainers!

If there’s one thing everyone MUST do when visiting Key West, it’s get out on the water! After all, you’re on an island that’s 106 miles (172km) from the mainland! We had a fantastic crowd on Captain Terry’s catamaran, which was just under 50 Ft.(16.6m) and we all had just a great time. The essence of what great memories are made of!  It was set up so that half of the donations went to the DJ Jeff cancer fund, all good causes on everything!

A beautiful evening, a great crowd, a magnificent sunset, plus, we came across a pod of dolphins on the trip as well!

Thanks Captain Terry!!!



At 9pm we again hosted “The MOTM Key West Open Mic At McConnell’s”. McConnell’s is the only Irish Bar in Key West with the closing of Finnigan’s Wake last summer. So many musicians/songwriters come to MOTM Key West hoping to showcase themselves, only to find a closed door greeting them when they inquire if they can play. At the The MOTM Key West Open Mic at McConnell’s, the door is ALWAYS open to all! Over the years we’ve gotten everybody too! Headliners, supporting musicians, and folks you may have never heard before. More often than not, the latter are the eye openers! It’s a real treat!

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(B Man and the Miss Beehavin’s out of Albuquerque, NM)

Friday

On Friday Dani and I peddalled over to Dante’s where Pablo Hessen and Dianne Greenfield Christ of the Sandbox were having their MOTM party! Lots of folks played and was hosted by Rick Schettino On top of all that, it was Pablo’s birthday, so it was a two run homer!

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(The Shanty Hounds - Dani Hoy and Key West Chris Rehm)

On Friday night, John Sausser. Dani and I played as The Shanty Hounds at Viva Zapata at 903 Duval MOTM Friday evening with our pal John Sausser again on percussion. Outside, right on Duval at their streetside cafe. 104.9 FM the X was broadcasting from there as well, so it was double exposure!

It’s kind of unusual as Viva Zapata has been closed for eighteen years and only re-opened a few months ago.The place is said to be quite haunted and it’s just such a cool place. Currently it’s like an old style Key West bar in that it’s open air, like the Bull and Captain Tony’s.

They also have this old stage prop giant book that was used in a Jimmy Buffett show, where he would have a hidden room in it that he would pop out of. The book is signed by all of the band members of the time.

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(Shanty Hound “Marmadude” John Sausser)

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(Shanty Hounds Dani Hoy and Key West Chris at Viva Zapata in front of the Jimmy Buffett signed stage prop)

MOTM Saturday

I headed over to Captain Tony’s where Mike Miller was hosting a benefit for Hugo Duarte, who was suffering from cancer. There had been talk that Hugo might be there, from his home in the Carolinas, however it was not to be. Hugo was too sick to make it.

I called Marty Kuklinski’s radio station up in Illinois and flapped my gums for about ten minutes, before heading inside. Great, fun time on the radio with Marty! We try to hang out when he and his wife Kathy are in town, so this time it was vicariously for Marty!

As I mentioned, Hugo couldn’t make it, the show did go on however! There were many who played and what an honor it is to play at Captain Tony’s! I’m fortunate as I get to play there from time to time and what a history that place has! The hanging tree growing right through the bar, the grave in the pool room from 1822, a haunted ladies room… the list goes on and on!

A bunch of musicians were there in support og Hugo and it was something I was honored to be part of! The place was packed and the crowd was just fantastic! I don’t remember what the final number was, but the amount raised for Hugo was substantial.

Dani and I played and were honored to do so.

We lost Hugo to cancer later that week. A great, great songwriter with a lineage of friends all over. Hugo spent a good portion of his life living in Key West, so there are many, many people here who were impacted by his life and his loss.

Godspeed Hugo. Thank you for your gift of music and line.

Complements to Mike Miller for organizing this great event!



Mr. Andy Westcott playing for the Hugo Duarte fundraiser at Captain Tony's


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Our gig on Saturday was at The Hen and Hound, another one of our favorite bars in Key West! Additionally, we had a great crowd which we were really enthused about! The place was packed. As usual and par for the course, at least as our game rolls, we had several guests stop by and play! A great evening and we went far beyond our 12:30 am end of show time. I think we actually got home sometime around 3:00am.

On a deflating note regarding this gig:  The following week we were talking to the owner Jenny. Jenny was telling us what a poor night they had that Saturday business wise. We were sure she was mistaken as there were loads of people there! The place was packed! However, she assured us she was right. They had a piss poor evening that night. As it turned out, no one was buying food and the vast majority of people there were ordering tap water. Talk about a complete embarrassment. The bulk of the people there were from a single Parrot Head group from the North East. I was dumb struck and so was Dani. Our job, as is any musician, is to sell product. That is the only reason we are there, when it all boils down. We play and the audience buys dinners and libations. Not here however. They were drinking water. We couldn’t believe it.

Well, all of the other gigs we played, that was not the case. At those other gigs, everyone had fun and the establishments prospered. Thank you to all who participated! Next Year however, at least at any gig that I see this particular Parrot Head group attend, be advised that all water, even if it’s from a tap, will be the same price as an imported, or a craft beer.

Sunday

Last year Jeff Allen, of Beachfront Radio, was enroute to MOTM when he had his final attack of the cancer that he was plagued with. He never made it regretfully. Consequently, I changed the event of mine at Sunset Tiki to “The Jam For Jeff”. This event was a very good success for all involved, plus we had about twenty performers stop by and play a few songs in memory of our departed friend.

Last year, only days after the event, Sunset Tiki was torn down and entirely rebuilt. I never complained about the old facility, however the new one is just outstanding! It’s also been rated as the best spot in all of the Keys (not only Key West) to see the sunset!.



This year, Andy Forsyth, one of the two new owners of Beachfront Radio, and I talked early on and decided to make this year’s event one of the official Beachfront Radio events.

This year’s event went off without a hitch. We had a specific list this year of performers and a time slot for each. I wouldn’t say it worked better than last year’s open mic style event, however it didn't work any worse either. What it was, was different, that’s all. The attendance was very good, plus one of the sunset sails a couple of days earlier was cancelled and the entire complement of the sail ended up at Sunset Tiki as well.

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(Sam Rainwater)


MUST DO's IN KEY WEST


On an odd note, at the aforementioned Sunday event at Captain Tony’s, Dani and I started off with a song of mine, “Sailing”. Before we started I got on the mic and asked how many people in the house had been out on the water since they’ve been here? No one raised their hands. I thought maybe no one heard me, so I asked again. Again nothing. So I said “No one’s been out on the water?”. Nothing. We went on with our set and all went great and we were well received!



"SAILING" 

However, the more I thought about it over the next few days, the more I thought that I should put something in the blog that’s a “Must Do In Key West” list. And here it follows:

  1. Hemingway’s House. If you come to Key West the very first order of business is to pay homage to arguably, America’s Greatest Writer. I always say to people that I hate Hemingway’s house because whenever I go there, I want to move in. Take a tour. The guides are far better versed on Hemingway and his history, both in Key West and elsewhere, than all of us combined will ever be.Really, you’ll be grateful that you did. Give your tour guide at least a $5 tip at the end of your tour.


  1. The Butterfly Conservatory. Trust me. Go there. It like walking into a terrarium filled with thousands and thousands of beautiful butterflies. Tours are self guided. You’ll feel fantastic! Always rated in the top places to go in Key West

  1. Take a Sunset Sail! You’re on an island over one hundred miles off the mainland, get your butt out on the water, pronto! The water here is different every day and the sunset sails are very reasonably priced and include free beer and wine! Get your ass out on the water! Water is what made this town what it is, first and foremost. When leaving the boat, leave at least $5 as a tip for the crew, for each person in your party (2 people $10, 3 - $ 15… and so on)

  1. Conch Train/ Trolleys - Key West is absolutely loaded with history and the Conch Train or the trolleys are a perfect way to learn and also see a whole lot of Key West that you ordinarily might over look. Don’t feel like a dork on them either. It’s a great experience! 


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I’ll be putting suggestions of places that are must do’s in future blogs. In order to keep them from being overbearing, I’ll only put in a few at a time. Of course I have a bunch more in mind, however,  if you have any suggestions, my ears are open!


Thanks!

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!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Key West! The MOTM Adventure 2014 Part 2!

MOTM Part 2

Continued….

We left Key Largo for our next stop down the Overseas Highway which, as I’ve noted before, everything in the Keys is measured by Mile Markers (MM) which start in Key West with Mile Zero. That next stop was Robbie’s. at MM 77.5. Robbies is a must stop in the Keys! Old time Keys place where the main attraction is a rickety old dock, where you can purchase a bucket of small, dead fish and feed the large Tarpon there! Tarpon are a large fish, native to the Keys, Florida, and the Caribbean. Here’s a good video I found on Youtube from there!


There are other arts, crafts, and locally accented novelties (T-shirts, hats, …) available there as well. Our friends from New Mexico, Brian and Michelle, had never been there in previous trips to the Keys and were thrilled! Robbie’s is highly recommended!

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Having spent about an hour there, we continued on our journey south to Marathon and and off Overseas Highway to MM 54. We took a right at the light where there’s a Publix Supermarket and drove just past it to the first street on the right and then about ¼ mile to The Dockside Bar at Boot Key Harbor.

FYI, Boot Key Harbor is where Bogart was heading at the very end of the movie “Key Largo” on the boat when he radioed the Coast Guard! ;-)

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The Dockside Bar, owned by Eric and Kim Stone was the site of our second Pit Stop Party en-route to Key West. The Dockside was voted one of the ten best bars in the Keys a couple of years ago in this blog and rightfully so! Loads of Keys character! Naturally, there were loads of people attending and it was also one of the events that was a Beachfront Radio event! It was also broadcast live on the radio!

I had to be careful. The last time I played the Dockside, this happened!

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The Dockside is a true blast and is highly recommended!

Dani Hoy and I were fortunate enough to do a few songs too! We did Dani’s “I like It Hot”, a steamy jazzy song which can be found on her latest CD “Songs of Love and The Ocean”. As well my song “Liveaboard” (© 2006 Christopher R. Rehm BMI), which was actually inspired from events that occurred at the Dockside Bar in 2006!  Additionally, we did Dani’s song “Mallory Square” and my song “The Beach!!!!”. We finished it off with a new original song “Sometimes We Tote The Load”, which is a duet that Dani and I have been singing together and getting great compliments on! That always is wonderful on a new song! For performers, it’s like heading out on thin ice when you do a new song. Getting a great reception certainly takes a load off the shoulders. For all of our performances of this song, thanks to all who complimented us! It really means a lot to us!

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Half of the Dockside actually sits out on the water with the view of the Boot Key Harbor mooring field.

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A big thanks to Eric and Kim for hosting this great event and also to Bob Jaeger for handling the sound!


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After several hours, lunch, hearing a bunch of great performers like Rick Schettino, Eric Stone, Brian & Michelle (B Man and the Miss Beehavins) and many others, it was time to head further south to Ramrod Key and the final Pit Stop Party at Boondocks hosted by Tammy and Marc Hollander of the Southernmost Coconut Castaways!

Another great event, as is everything that Tammy and Marc put together is! A great turnout over their two day event, as well with musical host Steve Tolliver and his band TheTtrop Rock Junkies!


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(The Shanty Hounds at The Pit Stop Too event at Boondock’s)

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(Rick Schettino at Boondock’s Pit Stop Party Too)

Tammy and Marc are good, personal friends and I know that the organization that they put into it started about six or seven months before. It puts things into perspective of all the work that goes into these affairs and can easily be taken for granted by the rest of us who just attend.It short, they bust their tails!

So a very big thanks to Marc and Tammy, ( Bondocks), Eric and Kim The Dockside Tropical cafe, Ray Yu (The Original Pit Stop Party in Key Largo) for all of the three Pit Stop Parties!!!!!

From there we were off, dashing to Key West for our beer show “Key West Beer Tales, The Sum of All Beers”. We had the top people from the Stiegl brewery in Salzburg, Austria in specially for us to interview!

We arrived in haste, but nonetheless, on time and ahead of the Stiegl folks! A very big thanks to Robert Schraml, president of Stiegl, who was just a fabulous guest! The show just clicked on every level! It was our finest moment thus far with the beer show, without doubt! A very big thanks to Robert and also Roger Thompson III, the local rep for Stiegl’s importer!!!

I’ll post a link to that show after it airs.


To be continued… keep an eye out for “Part 3” coming soon!



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!!!!!

All the best from Key West!

Key West Chris

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fantasy Fest/MOTM Part 1

MOTM 2014  Part 1
The last two weeks ave been beyond busy! We were busy throughout Fantasy Fest and MOTM. Fantasy Fest Tuesday and Wednesday Dani and I played The Bull's late night gig 10 - 2 What a hoot that was! The place was packed all night long with people in various costumes, plus a few with body paint.

Fantasy Fest is a great festival. Naturally the body paint folks get the main publicity from it all, however in reality, they only compromise maybe about 15% of the crowd.


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Dani Hoy and John Sausser at The Bull

The Shanty Hounds had their weekly Saturday gig at The Hen and Hound, on Angela Street, just in from Duval St. and we made it a Welcome to Key West gig for some of our out of town friends, who arrived in time for the Fantasy Fest Parade, later that evening!

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Art and Darlene Hessen arrived from Georgia along with their friends Lee and Debbie Simmons. What a great way to travel to Key West!  Dave and Audrey Overholt in from Ohio, Tim and Angela Cordts came from just a few Keys up, Naval Air Station at Boca Chica Key and Tim sat in with is playing harp! They live on their sailboat at the marina there. Talk about living the good life!

We had a "Welcome To MOTM" BBQ party at our place on Sunday. A stellar crowd again at our home, what we call "the Conch Rock Shanty" too! Michelle Tofoya and Brian Fields from Albuquerque, Patty and Rick Holden from New Jersey, Micki Greer from Tennessee, Fred Wunder from Pittsburgh, Audrey and Dave Overholt from Ohio, and Shanty Hound percussionist John Sausser and Terri Wlaschin, recent arrivals to Key West from Maryland.

A BBQ is our standard welcome party here at the Conch Rock Shanty and this followed in the tradition. I think it's fair to say that a marvenous time was had by all! If you come to Key West, let us know and we'll throw a BBQ! (we're just looking for an excuse to throw party!)


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The next day we were off to Key Largo, 100 miles (162 km)  up the Keys, for the 7th annual Pit Stop Party, with our friends Brian and Michelle from New Mexico!  This would be an over night excursion and we wanted to make it an adventure. To make things easier on us all, we let our dogs Cajun and Tooloulou drive while we sat in the back and enjoyed the scenic drive through the Keys, which by the way, is always rated in the top ten most scenic drives in the United States.



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On the way down, someone posted in Facebook that they got a speeding ticket rushing to Key West.

Wow. rushing to Key West. Now there's a prime example of someone who is in a mainland mentality. Hey! You're in the Keys. Relax. You don't rush to get anywhere here. Leave that "got to get there" mentality back in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, New York, L.A.... what have you. If the speed limit in the Keys is 45, go 45... or 40, for that matter. The I rushed to get here so I can relax" theory is just flat out wrong.

Before I moved here I lived in a town called Cutler Bay, which was about 36 miles to Key Largo. I used to head to the Keys quite often and whenever I crossed that border line at the Last Chance Saloon in Florida City, where the Conch Republic starts, it was as if a large weight lifted off my shoulders. The pressures of day to day life were now released and I just relaxed. On the 18 mile stretch ( the drive through the Everglades between Florida City and Key Largo, the speed limit is 55. I'd go 55 but it seemed there was always someone who had to rush to the Keys come up behind me. Here's the usual look on their face:

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Now is that the mindset you want to be in when you're in the the Keys? Of course not! Leave the rushing around back at your front door when you leave. Or at least when you cross the border to the Conch Republic.

Come to the Keys, relax and chill. You're on Island Time!

The Pit Stop Party was a blast! They had a new location this year and it turned out, dogs were not allowed! Holy Crap! Well, in the end they were kind enough to let us stay in the back area, which was cool with us! We hung out with Harry Teaford and Billy Bob of Radio A1A! How cool is that? They play our music and also air our pod cast shows "The Key West Music Show - Conch Rockin in the Keys" and "Key West Beer Tales - The Sum of all Beers" Now that's what I call good company! Great hanging with you guys!

http://www.radioa1a.com/

What a beautiful setting too!
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An all day event, with many performers, a big tiki hut, good food, BYOB, right on the water... who could ask for more? What a great event! Thanks to Ray Yu for putting on such a great event!

Just before sunset we ran up to my old favorite bar, the Caribbean Club, up US1 a couple of miles for sunset. Tough to beat both the establishment and the sunsets there. A lot of the 1948 movie "Key Largo" was filmed here and you can feel the spirits of Bogie and Bacall there!


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For the evening we retired to Sunset Cove resort, which I spoke about in the last blog. I love this place. As it turned out, our friend Rick Schettino was also there and he, Dani, Brian, Michelle, and I headed out on the dock with guitars playing commenced! After a short while a few people came out who were also staying at the motel and joined us. They were from Washington State and had spent the last week in Key West for Fantasy Fest and catching a flight from Fort Lauderdale for home in the morning.

Dani, Brian, Rick, and I had decided all the songs we were going to play that evening out on the dock, would be the slow, quiet ones that we wrote, yet don't get to perform all that much. It just fit the situation. All too often playing in bars, people want the up-beat, get up and go songs. These folks from Washington State were digging what we were playing though. They had a week of get up and go and the quiet music suited them perfectly. It was a seriously great evening of playing music in an ideal setting. A light breeze and you could hear the lines on the masts of the sailboats, anchored off shore.



Waking up in Key Largo at Sunset Cove is so relaxing! Nothing like Key West, which for us is like the big city.  This is tropical tranquility at it's best. Do yourself a favor...

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(A view of the dock at Sunset Cove in Key Largo where we just hung out and played the night before)

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(At Sunset Cove Beach Resort beach tiki with Dany Hoy, Michelle Tofoya, Brian Fields, Key West Chris Rehm Cajun Rehm and Tooloulou Rehm)

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Dani Hoy and the author, Key West Chris hanging in the Tiki

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view of Sunset Cove Beach Resort, Key Largo, from the beach.

Here we are in Key Largo and now are heading back to Key West, albeit making several stops on the way! The game is a foot and we're off to other destinations in the Florida Keys, bringing music and fun to wherever we go! That's what we do!

To be continued.....




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!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Visiting Key West (Part two) !!!

Visiting Key West  (part 2)

What exactly is Key West? Well to begin with, it's the capitol of the Conch Republic. What's the Conch Republic? The Conch Republic are a string of islands that run from the the atoll of Dry Tortugas, through the atoll of the Marquesas Keys, past the Mule keys, through the archipelago of keys that run from Key West all the way up to some say Stiltsville, others say Key Biscayne, but definitely including Old Rhoads Key, Eliot Key, Boca Chita, and Sands Key, all of which sit north of Key Largo. In addition, all of the Keys in the Florida bay (approximately 2,900+), Including, Dildo Key, of course!



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Key West itself sits 106 miles (172Km) from the mainland. The Gulf Stream begins right here.
Key West has the Gulf of Mexico on it's northern coast and the Atlantic ocean on it's southern coast. Whitehead, Duval, and Simonton Streets run coast to coast.

When visiting Key West, if by car, the absolute best way is to stop for a night or two in the archipelago of Keys that lead over forty something bridges to Key West. Anyone who has traveled directly to Key West without stopping, in the past, then one time decides to stop over for a night or two on the way, all say the exact same thing "What was I thinking? Why didn't I do this before?"




The biggest reason is that they didn't do it before is elementary: Their brains are still in the mainland mentality of "GO! GO! GO!!!!", so they have to rush to Key West. Some people think Key West is laid back. In the eyes of any Conch Republic citizen, Key West is just the opposite, at least as far as Keys living goes. For all of us, Key West is the big city, as far as island living goes. If you want laid back island living, stop at some mom and pop run hotel on the way to Key West. It's the perfect way to release the mainland mentality and switch over to an island lifestyle. I've actually known people who did this on their way to Key West... and never made it!!! "We just decided we'll hit Key West next year."

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Sunset Cove, Key Largo

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Sunset Cove, Key Largo
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Sunset Cove, Key Largo

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Sunset Cove, Key Largo

I can't stress enough, stop and smell the roses. There's a lot to be seen and enjoyed through out the Keys and anyone passing up on the opportunities is doing themselves a sever disservice. I know it's not easy, but do your best to leave the mainland mentality back on the mainland.

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Keys Music

Regarding traveling the Keys, I can't tell you how many people tell me:

"When we're driving, as soon as we hit the Keys, we put your album on the car stereo and listen throughout our drive through the Keys!"

I'm of course flattered and at the same time I also realize that I achieved one of the things I set out to achieve. After all, "Shanghai'd and Marooned in Key West (things could be worse)" is a compilation of songs that are all about the Keys. On this CD there is not one song that is about anything other than the Keys! This is a Keys album first and foremost. Plus, every song is in a different genre, so nothing sounds like anything else on the album. Shelly Liebowitz, L.A. producer of Miles Davis (!!!!), Ela Fitzgerald (!!!!) Dr. John(!!!) Maria Muldauer (!!) said "Chris I LOVE your CD! I feel like I'm back in the Keys!"

 In addition, as I live in the Keys, it's written from a first hand perspective. It's not written by someone who came and spent two to seven days here, then went back home to Iowa, New York, Michigan, or California. This is music from the Keys. Spawned from the coral Islands, with it's roots firmly entrenched in all the cracks in that coral. Like a line in "Raise My Glass To The Upper 48" off the album goes "Roots have grown to this old rock, locked me firm and strong"
So if you'd like to get an actual Keys sound in your ears, it's available for downloads at all the usual  places, just search "Key West Chris"
available on iTunes, CD Baby, CD Universe, Rhapsody, and Beachfront Radio.
Search: Key West Chris

Or write me at:  chrismusicnow@gmail.com
and I can mail you a hard copy.

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I'll often get messages from people asking "Where should I stay in Key West?" That's kind of a tough question, in a way. It's not as though I stay in local B&Bs or hotels. I live here in a little house. Really, the best source I have for hotels is the feedback I get from others who come and stay in them. Quite honestly, I've never heard anyone complain about their accommodations here. Also, a lot has to do with what someone wants to pay. This can be a dodgy question as well. "We want something inexpensive" Okay, so I recommend hotel XYZ. Then it turns out they wanted something a bit more upscale.

Rates change with the seasons. As we speak, right now the rates are as low as you'll see them. Once in season, rates will virtually triple in many places. Additionally, the small places are being bought out by large corporations and being torn down, only to be replaced by, very expensive grandiose hotels. For those who enjoyed the Blue Marlin and the Spindrift, wave good by. They're now closed and soon to be razed. Likewise, two small hotels on the southern coast are likewise being razed shortly, in favor of some wild corporate concrete hotel. Key West style? Hardly.

Why does Key West allow this to happen? Your guess is as good as mine. The city approves it and HARC, the historic preservation committee, offers no objections either. Go figure. 

New Things To Do!

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Dani and I had heard about the Coast Guard museum ship, USCG Ingham, now being available for sunsets! Now, keep in mind that the Ingham was built in the 1930's and is permanently docked at the Mole Pier, so it's not going out to sea, as the sail boats do for sunset. However, having stated that, the ship is docked and the view of sunset is as good as any in Key West, if not better!

We regretfully lost La Concha's upper deck, which was used as a sunset vista since it was built in the 1920's. City Hall approved it to be turned into a spa exclusively for hotel patrons instead of the riff raff that would go up there to view the sunset. Oh, did I mention? You and I are the riff raff. Why did City Hall approve this? Again, your guess is as good as mine. It strikes me as being a bit odd that a town like Key West, a town steeped in history and with history being a main attraction for the city, they would raze historic hotels and ruin traditions such as La Concha's sunset deck. It's really quite beyond me.

City Hall seems Hell-Bent on shooting themselves in the foot, one toe at a time.

On the other hand, the Ingham is actually a shot in the arm! What a breath of fresh air! It's privately owned and is sitting on the dock that the United States Navy owns. I didn't ask, but it's my guess that they lease out the dock from the Navy? The grounds up to the dock are owned by the City of Key West, so it's not in a restricted area.

The ship has been here for a few years, however only in the very recent past has it been used for a sunset venue. The very recent past. It's a great deal too! The cost to board for sunset is only $5, however that also covers your first wine or beer, so it's actually free when it all comes down to it.

What a sunset too! On the deck of the stern you're about twelve to fifteen feet above the water. Perfect for a panoramic view. and as I say, there's beer and wine available. I was quite impressed with the beer. Considering they have beer and wine for sunset only, I was amazed to find both Cigar City and Magic Hat beers offered on draft, in addition to the standard American brews.

The crew was fantastic as well! Fun folks who know how to have a great time and setting a jovial, but not obtrusive atmosphere.

We had the pleasure of going there with our friends Dave and Leslie Bevins, of the Cork and Stogie (1218 Duval St), who were celebrating their wedding anniversary!

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While we lost La Concha, we gained the Ingham! I strongly recommend this as a sunset venue. To say we had a great time would be an understatement. Here we were aboard ths historic ship, with good friends, having a few beers (or wines) and enjoying the Key West sunset. It goes without saying that they are also open during the day as a museum, so don't cut yourself short

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A Funny, Yet  Typical Key West Tale!

I have this friend, lets just call him Hans. That of course is not his name and I really don't know anyone named Hans, here in Key West at least. well Hans is someone who lives payday to pay day and frankly, he sometimes gets a little behind on things. In this case here, he got behind on his phone and they turned him off.

As rent was due, he felt it most important to keep a roof over his head, so the phone stayed off for a bit.

A few days later he gets up in the morning and finds a homeless vagabond sleeping on his front porch! We'll call him Sleeping Beauty. Hans actually was remotely acquainted with the guy.The landlord comes out and sees this, calls the police and Sleeping Beauty gets hauled off to jail for 28 days for vagrancy and trespassing.

After he's gone, Hans notices that the vagrant left behind a cell phone. Hans picked it up and, low and behold! It works! Until Sleeping Beauty gets out of jail, Hans now has a phone! :-O

"The guy is homeless and actually has a nicer phone than I do!"


Thank you for reading the blog!!!

Key West Chris

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!!