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Sunday, January 13, 2013



^Listen to “Key West Blues” while reading the blog! ^


It’s been reported that Key West has had its busiest Christmas/and New Years!  It was reported that on December 30 and 31 the reported occupancy rate in Key West was at 99% The rest of the Keys hotels/motels were 97% occupied for New Years! Additionally, spending was up as well! Even by January 5th, occupancy in Key West was at 95% and the rest of the Keys at 93%
It goes to show that my daily postings of pictures on Facebook, both on my personal page, as well as my music fan page, and not forgetting this blog, along with a CD that is made with the soul of the Keys in it… is doing some good! HA HA HA!! :-D  

On a sad note, my friend Jeep Caillouet was at Two Friends restaurant having a beer, when they started their karaoke night. One guy visiting from out of town,  got up to sing “Margaritaville”. According to Jeep, after about 35 seconds the poor guy collapsed and died on the spot.  No suffering, no nothing. It was very sad indeed though. However, on the bright side, he passed having fun in Key West. Myself, I’ll continue steering clear of singing Margaritaville….  and frequenting karaoke bars.

 I’ve been writing for my follow up CD to “Shanghai’d and Marooned In Key West (things could be worse)” for a bit now. It’s tough! Not so tough to write, per say but rather to figure out what will be used and what will be put on hold. One of the standards I go by, and which I did with Shanghai’d, is that I hate CDs that everything sounds the same. I’ve picked up a bunch of CDs this year, some of which were nominated for various awards, yet  by the third song, I’m cutting it off and moving on. It’s not that the songs are bad, but rather to my ear, they sound too similar. Different songs, even different rhythms, yet they have the same feel to them. Each song can stand on its own, but not collectively on a CD where everything else has a similar sound. Often one can blame the producer, other times the artist themselves.
 On Shanghai’d,  I strived to move away from that and we succeeded one way by writing songs in different root genres. This wasn’t something different for me, or unusual. However, for the CD we used Afro Cuban/Motown, Jazz, Funk, Country, South Seas Polynesian, Rock, Southern Rock, Barrel House Blues, Brazilian, and Bahamian were all utilized on the one album. Also, we used eighteen different musicians, all Key West locals, who are second to none.  Some musicians played on some songs, others on different songs. . Consequently, nothing sounds the same at all.  Of course the Coup de Gras was having Key West producer/engineer, and sound man,  Dan Simpson produce it, as well as engineer it. That was a main critical point.
So, when a record producer from Los Angeles, who produced Miles Davis, Ella, Dr. John, Maria Muldauer… stops and takes his time to write to say “Chris, I LOVE your CD!” that says everything!  It’s one thing if a guy on a barstool says he loves the CD. It means a whole lot to me anyway. However, when a producer of that magnitude says something so complementary, it’s like getting shot out of a cannon! It also tells me that the formula WORKED!

So, now I’m looking at a follow up. Do I use the same formula? Do I change it? Well, a little of both actually. It won’t be the same as Shanghai’d because Shanghai’d’s already been done and said what it had to say. What it will do is follow the formula of every song sounding different. Some musicians will remain the same, some will change. One thing is for sure, there is a plethora of outstanding musicians here in Key West to choose from!
Engineer/Producer Dan Simpson will again be called on to twist the dials… who else in Trop Rock has Miles Davis’ producer write to say he loves the product?  Really? That’s a no brainer, it’s even common sense to a complete idiot. Seriously, if a poll were taken by professionals in the music industry rating the independent releases in Trop Rock, “Shanghai’d and Marooned in Key West (things could be worse)” would win hands down in the best production category, and that’s solely because of Dan Simpson and Private Ear Recording. Dan is above top notch and in a class of his own. Plus, he and I just plain work well together. This upcoming one with be our third project together.
With Shanghai’d one of the objectives was also to bring to Trop Rock some things that have never been utilized before. I recall DJ Jeff Allen telling me several times how he loved the clarinet in “The Beach!!!!”. We also had the regular Bass player, Bubba Lownotes, play not only his upright acoustic orchestral bass, but also his Tuba, on “Dildo Key” giving the song a mercurial humorous mirth to it, yet not to the point where when you hear it for the fifteenth time, it’s like an old joke.
I already have a couple of collaboration songs in the hopper, “Marvin Key”, written with my friend Rick Hogan and “Yippie Cayo Hueso”  a saying borrowed from and credited to my friend Key Largo Joe Gowran. If time and opportunity prevail, Misty Loggins and I will also collaborate on both writing and recording more things as well.

More news as it develops!



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