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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)


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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)


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

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.


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)


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!


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!


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!!

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