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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Playing With a Guitar Virtuoso.

At this writing, Bobby DeVito, a.k.a. Bobby D. has been playing as a Shanty Hound, for two weeks, filling in for Dani Hoy. He's here for one more week and as crazy as it sounds, as the schedule currently goes, he leaves back to Chicago the same day that Dani returns.

Bobby and I go back a bit. We had been a duo, The Offending Culprits, back around seven or eight years ago. We had a Blues Sunday afternoon at Captain Tony;s, which went quite well. He also played on eight of the tracks of the tracks n my album "Shanghai'd and Marooned in Key West (things could be worse)". He fell in love and moved to the Chicago area three years ago with the intent of moving back in six months. He still lives in Chicago, albeit the desire to move back is strong. 

He does come to Key West at least once a year however and almost three years ago, he, Dani, and I wrote and recorded our holiday song “Happy Merry Christmas From Key West”. At that point, he became a Shanty Hound!

With Dani going on tour for three weeks and Bobby not busy in Chicago, everything fell into place. Having Bobby here now has added a completely different aspect to The Shanty Hounds, as one would expect, swapping a female voice that sings like an angel, for that of a virtuoso guitar player.

Having a virtuoso guitar player in Key West only adds to the wide variety of musicians here. Sure, there are other virtuoso guitarists in town, but having another, with a style unto himself, only adds to the variety!

When we started playing together again, it went well. However, playing five and six times a week, things have only gotten better and better. As Dani is away on tour, we called our string of gigs “The Shanty Hounds Sausage Fest Tour Of Key West” I've lost count of how many gigs we've done!

Last night we played Boondock's, up on Ramrod Key (27 miles north of Key West). As I have a few guitars to choose from, when Bobby arrived I first lent him my '96 Stratocaster, however, after a couple of gigs, he wanted an acoustic. So, he took my Ibanez and I used my Rainsong. That worked out well until the Fishman pre-amp in the Rainsong gave up the ghost. This isn't the first time for that guitar. This is it's forth pre-amp in five years. The atmosphere here in Key West, over 100 miles (160km) out to sea, has a lot of salty, humid air and it's murderous to anything corrosive, particularly electronics. We played one gig without the Rainsong at Rick's and for that, I pulled my 1975 Guild D25M, "Bell", out of retirement.

Grateful Guitar, here in Key West where I bought the guitar in 2012, did a quick and very good job in the repair. Thank you!!! When we got it back, we swapped guitars! I took the Ibanez and Bobby had the Rainsong. The gig at Boondocks was fabulous! John Sausser helped us out on drums. The combination of playing together for two weeks, swapping guitars, plus the large, open venue of Boondocks, not to forget John on drums, brought a lot of magic out! The Grateful Dead's “Eyes of the World” Bobby just tore it up in the solo! Bobby sings Steve Earl's Copperhead Road, and also Fleetwood Mac's Gold Dust Woman, both of which I get to play slide on. We're getting very good reception on both!

Back in 1996, I came up with an acoustic version of Gregg Allman's “Whippin Post”. A guy whom I was playing with at the time said: “You can't play Whippin' Post acoustically!”. I did anyway and he always scoffed. A year later Gregg Allman came out with an acoustic version of the song on his “Searching For Simplicity” album. I looked at my friend and smiled.

I brought the arrangement to The Shanty Hounds a few weeks ago. With Bobby, it's only accented everything and the reactions we've been getting have been truly magic!

Remember I mentioned that we played the Grateful Dead earlier? On Tuesday at our Rick's gig, there was a construction crew across the street using a jackhammer. I pulled out the 'Dead's “Easy Wind” which the first line is “I've been balling a shiny steel jackhammer, been chippin up rocks for the great highway...” The song goes on from there about jackhammering, drinking, a girlfriend who discourages drinking, a doctor who advises to give up jackhammering, and hoping for a new girlfriend who won't “hide my liquor try to serve me tea”.

No, it's not a song that you'd hear first and second graders singing in the Christmas Celebration glee club event at their grammar school. However we had a great jam on the song though, and not long after we started, the jackhammer stopped!

I'm REALLY looking forward to Dani's return next week. It's a double edged sword as Bobby is headed back to Chicago.

In a perfect world, Bobby would stay in Key West and join Dani and I in the Shanty Hounds!

You can catch Bobby and me, “The Shanty Hounds Sausage Fest Tour Of Key West”,  at:

Grunts Bar – August 24th – 8 – 11

Willie T's – August 25th 11 – 2

Two Friends – August 27th 12 – 3

Willie T's – August 28th 6 – 9

Rick's – August 29 Noon - 4


Bar Stories! A bit of adventure, a hint of mystery, some gray matter stimulation, laced with travel, and peppered with humor throughout! Take a unique trip with this Trop Rock musician through bars and the unique, odd, and funny goings on in them! Take a trip from Key West to London to Cape Cod, to Miami and more! So grab a libation and join the author on this wild ride! Seventeen 5-Star Ratings!

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