Friday, March 5, 2010
Bikers, Bands, Doug Bennett, and Sir Peter Anderson
As always, an interesting week in Key West! I noticed a lot of motorcycles in town, for one. We always have bikers here, however this was a lot more than usual. Mind you, it wasn't on the scale of the Poker Run in September, but it was about 5 times the usual amount. Turned out most of these folks were here as an excursion from Bike Week, up in Daytona. That's a 400+ mile excursion! Just about all the folks that I met were down from way up north. Maine, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan...ex. A bit cooler then they wished for, but they all agreed it beats shoveling! The Hogs Breath was filled up with bikes as The Jonathan Birchfield Band, out of North Carolina, rocked the place with a four piece that included Drums, Bass, a Telicaster, and an open tuned slide Strat/standard tuned Teli. These guys had a great sound and rocked the joint. Their cover of Statesboro Blues was the highlight for me. Yeah!
Thursday I rode up the street from my place for a quiet beer at The Green Parrot. Well, sometimes the best laid plans go to waste. Waste is the wrong word actually. Just got tossed a bit of a curve ball.. a good curve ball, mind you. When I approached I heard a live Blues band playing with a distinct New Orleans sound. As it turned out, they played blues, but also a bunch of other genres as well. Another four piece unit, The Honey Island Swamp Band. Being a guitar player myself, I naturally gravitate to the lead player. Chris Mule, on lead and slide, played a Strat and did everything so tastefully it was Gumbo for the ears. The Bass player, Sam Price, was funky and quite animated. Not overly animated, but when he played you knew this guy was doing what he loved best and was having the time of his life. Aaron Wilkinson shared lead vocals with Chris Mule and played a Telicaster, acoustic Epiphone, and surprise, surprise, mandolin! The drummer, Garland Paul, had the bayou in his soul and rolled out a rhythm that had the entire place jumping. What a great band! I'm planning on a return visit tonight.
Sticking to the music front, I guess I can announce that I'm preparing to do an album of my own in the coming months! It will be a geographic-specific focused CD. In other words it will be focussed on the Keys with every song. I will most likely use three songs that I recorded at Dan Simpson's Private Ear Studios last summer, Garrison Bight, Live Aboard, and Life On My Terms. Garrison Bight is self explanatory. Live Aboard is based on a fictitious Live Aboard who got tossed out of Boot Key Harbor in Marathon a few years back and Life On My Terms is about my cousin who wanted to move back this way from the mainland. The working title is "Shangai'd and Marooned in Key West (things could be worse)". Musical styles ranging from Rock, ballads, Brazilian Bossa Nova, Blues, Funk, Bahamian, and who knows what else? As a songwriter first and foremost, it's an open book of styles and stories awaiting to be un-vialed. It should be fun and working with Dan Simpson is always a true pleasure.
A quick note of appreciation and tip of the hat to Mr. Doug Bennett, for giving the link to this blog's piece on the Best Bars in Key West, on his blog "This Week On The Island". Mr. Bennett's blog is a fantastic weekly overview on the goings on here in Key West. Highly recommended. Thanks Doug!
I met with Sir Peter Anderson, the Secretary General of The Conch Republic, a couple of weeks back. Sir Peter is a treat to share time and space with being both a true intellect, as well as quite a whit at the same time! It's a rare combination when one can stimulate your gray matter and have you laughing as you realize "What he's saying makes a lot of sense!". Anyway, I asked Sir Peter a question I'd meant to ask him many times before, but always forgot about when the time was at hand. Of course I knew that Mel Fisher had been the King of the Conch Republic, but I also knew that since his passing in 1998, there has not been a successor to the throne. So, I asked Sir Peter why there was no new King. His answer was "Well, Mel Fisher is still the King". I must admit, I was taken aback with his answer. However, almost as quickly as I was taken aback, I realized what a great situation this is, from so many angles.