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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Key West Songwriters Festival 2010

The Key West Songwriter’s Festival celebrated its 15th year last week and what a great event it was. For those unfamiliar, so many of the songs we hear, are not written by the performers who make them famous. Let’s take “Angel From Montgomery” as an example. When mentioned, the average Joe on the street knows it as a Bonnie Raitt song. John Prine in fact, wrote the song. Up in Nashville there is a very big demand for songwriters. Music row is always looking for a song that will fit an artist and that’s where the… pardon the pun, but it’s irresistible.. un-sung hero’s come into play. J Well, this year those songwriters headed to Key West for their annual pilgrimage where they are showcased. Over 100 came and performed at various venues about town from April 28th through May 2nd. As always, sponsored by BMI. In addition, this year carried associate sponsorship from the Better Angles Publishing Group, as well as Muzak Heart and Soul.

Performances went on all over town from established venues such as The Hog’s Breath Saloon, The Green Parrot, Sloppy Joe’s, San Carlos Theater, to cruises on sailing ships and outdoor venues such as The Southernmost hotel group.

Naturally, with all going on, being able to catch everything is just flat out impossible, as may events are going on simultaneously. Of the events I caught, I liked the Robert Earl Keen show at The Green Parrot quite a lot. Earthy, gritty, and fun! I must say however, that I really liked the outside events a lot as well. The Southernmost Hotel poolside event on Saturday may very well have been my favorite of all. The highlight of the event that day, and perhaps the whole event itself, was Misty Loggins. Misty plays not only from the heart, but also with true fortitude. Not only does she write a great song, but she can make her Taylor sing, on her quiet ballads, yet growl, and snarl with emotion on her more earthy songs, like “Red Georgia Mud”. Keep an eye on this woman. She’s the real deal.

One spot that’s a great place to go late night is The Bottle Cap Lounge during the Songwriter’s Festival. So many of the performers come here for the “ASCAP Late Night Hang”. I was there on Saturday night and it was a virtual open-mic for performers in the overall event. Kudos to ASCAP as it didn’t matter if the performers were ASCAP or BMI writers, they had them all up for two or three songs each. What a great event this was! So many folks got to play in an atmosphere of true friendship. One performer would be playing and, out of the blue, call up a friend in the crowd to help them out on the next song. Even the ASCAP rep who was running the event at the Bottle Cap, got up and sang with one of the regular performers! This was FUN!!! It went on and on like this all night long. All of the performers let their hair down to the point that the ASCAP host got on the mic and asked the locals if this was the wildest thing we’ve ever seen. While it’s clear that he may never have been here for Fantasy Fest, the ASCAP event at The Bottle Cap was clearly a wild event music-wise. A truly fantastic time was had by all and experience I’ll never forget! I only live two blocks from The Bottle Cap Lounge, so heading home was easy to put off! However, I did so at 4:10 am and the place was still packed.

One funny thing was almost at every event I attended; you’d hear a performer or three say something like: “Yeah! It’s good to be here in the Southern most part of the South”
It inspired me, as a songwriter myself, Key West resident, and sworn in Conch Republic citizen, a to write a new song, albeit a bit tongue-in-cheek of course, living up to my Conch Republic oath, “The South, is North Of Here” J

The sad part of the Key West Songwriters Festival 2010 was the severe flooding Nashville went through and what so many of these folks who came down here from there, were heading back to on Monday. Our hearts go out to you and we wish you all the best of fortunes in the aftermath of this national disaster. First and foremost we wish you safety to y’all and your families and likewise to your homes and possessions. Thank you for coming to Key West to share your wonderful talents with us. We’re thinking and praying for you.

“All The Best From Key West!”

Misty Loggins, below, playing her song “Red Georgia Mud” at the ASCAP Late Night Hang at the Bottle Cap Lounge, Saturday night.


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