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Tuesday, November 14, 2017


I woke up at 4:37 this morning and couldn't go back to sleep. So. Here I sit tickling the keyboard in the middle of the night, so to speak. Tonight I'm writing my blog, which happens from time to time at these wee hours. However, it's not so uncommon for me being up this early, hammering away on one of my books. I'm kind of in between at the moment on those. My latest book “Time Traveler – The Oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bar Tender”, is doing very well, at the moment (more on that shortly) I'm thrilled to say! At the moment I'm in the research stage for the sequel and the other two books I'm working on are not running with a priority. So, in these wee hours this morning, it's the blog which gets the attention.

Someone asked me directly this year how the name Meeting of the Minds (MOTM) fits in with the Parrot Heads and Trop Rockers annual festival every year in Key West. I've been living in Key West for nearly ten years, at this stage, and to be frank, I haven't a clue. The fact is, at one point or another someone explained it to me and, as confession is good for the soul, I have to admit, I forgot the reason it was chosen?

So, this year's MOTM has ended and we survived. It was a fun event too! For those who are not familiar, the actual MOTM event itself is put on by an organization called Parrot Heads in Paradise, and they hold the event at The Casa Marina, here in Key West. However, the five-day event always spills over and the rest of the town is immersed in music, tied to the event almost by proxy, if not officially.

As for myself, I've never been to the official event. There's too much going on all around town! What I can say is that at the event, vendors have booths, tables, or kiosks set up to sell related merchandise by people who sign up to do so. They also have a blood drive, which is very much appreciated! In addition, there are other charitable events, as well as a large concert stage.

It must be said that Parrot Head and Trop Rock organizations focus on doing charitable work as their mainstay. “Party With a Purpose” is their creed and on the whole, we're talking about a very good group of human beings!

With ourselves, The Shanty Hounds were very busy! We had our regular gigs, plus a bunch of vignette gigs all around town. The vignette gigs are usually anything from a few songs to a short time limit. Most run 15 – 20 minutes. They are non-paying gigs, with one exception, and it's more of a point where you can meet both new and old friends.

Having time to talk to fellow musicians is a rare commodity, other than “Hi how are you? I love your new song”. So being able to have extended conversations, is something to appreciate!

The first of these for us was The Pit Stop Party Too held at Boondock's, up 28 miles from Key West on Ramrod Key and hosted by The Southernmost Coconut Castaways. It was run very, very well actually utilizing two stages, so the turnaround was smooth and quick! Kudos to Marc and Tammy Hollander and Steve Tolliver! Great event! Thank you so much!

At the house, The Conch Rock Shanty, we threw a spontaneous bash, spur of the moment. What a fun evening!

One of our favorite vignette gigs is Mike Miller's at Captain Tony's! Captain Tony's is one of the best bars in the world, to start off with and playing there is always an experience! In years passed, I used to do a weekly gig there with my buddy Bobby D. Always great times and the damnedest things would happen there, virtually every gig! As always, Dani and I, performing as The Shanty Hounds had a fabulous time! Thank you Mike!!!

On Tuesday there was the Beachfront Radio event at Smokin' Tuna. Dani Hoy and I, a.k.a The Shanty Hounds, opened up the event for them. Problem was, there was no sound man to set up the PA! What did we do? Hell! We played acoustically until he got there! It was quick, only three songs and he arrived and had us plugged in! However, doing it acoustically was actually quite an intimate experience! I loved it!

The beachfront Radio event turned into a major event of the week! The place was packed and all sorts of great players were featured throughout the day!

For me, one of the highlights was when Andy Forsyth, of Beachfront Radio, Eric Babin, of Radio Trop Rock, and Danny Lynn, of Tiki Man Radio all hung out together. This is what it's all about! Everyone helps everyone in the pursuit of advancing the genre together! I held an event last year with this as the main objective. Every Trop radio station wanted to be part of it, except one (Radio A1A). It was so encouraging last year when the broadcast went out on so many stations, all working together for the advancement of Trop Rock! Every station involved was working in harmony with each other and this year it was great to see the camaraderie still intact!


Wednesday evening at The Bull, hosted by the Atlanta Parrot Head Club was it's usual fun, wild time! We bumped into our dear friend Fred Wunder, as well as Art and Darleen Hesson, whom we also saw earlier at the Beachfront Radio party!

There was a new event this year which hosted the vignette style gigs and that was Brian Fields and Michelle Tafoya's showcase at the brand new Tiki House, right next to Captain Tony's on Greene Street. The arrangement also included The Tiki Man, Danny Lynn and Heather Moss O'Shields of broadcasting the event live on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday! Brian and Michelle wisely had a timed schedule, so if a performer was playing at 2:00pm Thursday, they could have their aunt in Seattle, Washington listen live. How cool is that? Additionally, consider that the Tiki House is a small venue. The fact that they were able to broadcast their event world-wide via tiki man radio, is extraordinary!

Brian Fields is a retired U.S. Air Force veteran, with some of his time in the Air Force comprised of overseeing cargo planes being loaded. So he has an extensive background in the logistics of things. In the light that organizing musicians can be like herding wet cats, Brian and Michelle made it look easy! Everything went like clockwork. First time too. Amazing!

Additionally, The Tiki House offered the performers a free drink, as well as a gift certificate to their other establishment, Mary Ellen's, on Applerouth Ln. A real class act! Who else does that? It's a brand new establishment and we all wish them all the best. Apparently, things are underway for next year's MOTM with a continuation of Brian and Michelle, working again hand and hand with Danny and Heather of

In addition, Gary Ek of 104.9 The X out of Key West joined Danny Lynn in broadcasting the event together, just as they had a year earlier at my event! Fabulous!

The new act that impressed me the most was the combination of Danny Rosado and Boomer Blake. I met Danny a couple of months ago while we were hurricane refugees, just outside of Chattanooga. Danny and his girlfriend Patricia had come up from Alabama to the house concert we were playing. At that event, Danny and I played for something like three hours! We had a great time!

I met Boomer here in Key West the night before they played. Boomer is from New Jersey and was here with his wife Lori. I never found out how Boomer, from New Jersey and Danny, from Alabama, hooked up, but it's something to look into. On their original set on Wednesday, they were tight as a drum.

One of the things that attracted me to Trop Rock nine years ago, was what I saw as an open playing field. Growing up I had a lot of exposure to Calypso, Exotica, and Bossa Nova. So the Tropical thing worked for me easily. The thing I found with the Trop Rock genre was that there were so many open, unexplored fields available!

The first thing I noticed was that the singer/songwriter area of Trop Rock was saturated. Not only saturated but saturated with seriously good songwriters! I'm not one to re-invent the wheel and what's the point of rolling down the same highway as everyone else? I've been a Nashville-published songwriter since 2000. Doing the singer/songwriter thing is one of my fortes. So, I thought that while it's a good avenue for me to travel, it's something that I would do within the context of my catalog and not focus my entire attention in that direction.

Within my catalog, I've been working with a lot of different genres, all under the Trop Rock umbrella. Afro-Cuban (The Beach!!!!), Jazz (Beautiful Day), Funk (Cajun's Got A Coconut), Southern Rock ( My Little Island Town), Blues (Dildo Key), Brazilian (Raise My Glass To The Upper 48), Bahamian (Key West Blues), Ballads (Yeah, A Harbor)... This is what I saw available and more!

One area that I went after was energy. Bear in mind that some songs need energy, and others not. I wasn't finding a lot of drive in Trop Rock, so I thought that was worth exploring.

This is one of the things that Blake and Rosado (they don't have a name yet.. I just did it alphabetically) did that captured my attention. They have energy and passion, plus their songwriting was first rate! Keep your eyes out for Blake and Rosado! They are the real deal! Tight, good harmonies, plus quality songs. What more could you ask for?

One of the surprises of the gig was Loren Davidson. Loren's always been a great songwriter, however his delivery his songs was never his forte. He's been working on it however and had the entire place singing along with him! Great to see!

Patricia Schafer, a.k.a. Tricialicious interviewed The Shanty Hounds, Dani Hoy and myself, on Greene Street during the festivities as well! Thank you Tricialicious!!!

On Thursday night, Dani Hoy, Danny Lynn, Heather Moss O'Shields, Danny Rosado, Tricialicious, Boomer Blake, Lori Connolly, Loren Davidson, Joanne and John Fisher (JoJo Fish) all headed over to Louie's Backyard. We met up with Victor Dodson Fliegler, who makes the pilgrimage every MOTM.

For those who are not familiar with Louie's, it's a restaurant/bar, pretty much all by itself, not close to any other commercial restaurant. It's essentially in a neighborhood, and on the water. There is a back bar overlooking the Atlantic Ocean/ Straights of Florida called The Afterdeck, which is where we went.

A fabulous evening was had by all, all with the backdrop of a eighty degree evening with a full moon illuminating the water and the deck itself. About half way through our stay there Boomer and Dani stepped into the water at Dog Beach, a tiny beach which is virtually attached to Louie's. Boomer came back almost as though he went through an epiphany! It's amazing how no matter where you live, there can be things you take for granted, over time. Seeing Boomer's wide eyes, having only went in up to his shins, brought back that realization. We need these things to bring us back to terra firma.... or is it Aqua-Liquid? HA HA! Thanks Boomer!

That evening was the culmination of the MOTM event over at The Casa Marina, several hundred yards up the coast from Louie's. As I mentioned, I have never been to the official event there and this year was no exception. I can't comment on the musical performances there. I did hear afterwords that Devon Allman was playing there. It struck me a little odd as Devon Allman is not a Trop artist in the least. On the other hand, maybe it was a good thing to add some additional color and a twist to the event? I'd be curious to hear how the audience received Devon?

Another person I met for the first time was Tall Paul Bobal at the Green Parrot. It was good to meet him after all these years!

A funny thing happened! I've mentioned in the past that I co-own The Cork and Stogie at 1218 Duval St. Well, one evening there I was wearing my “Bar owner hat”, so to speak, and I became engaged in conversation with a patron named Mark. Mark was from Nevada and was in town with his wife Robin. We had a fun conversation talking about this and that, and had a good amount of laughs to boot. A good evening for all and a couple that fit right in with us!

Well the following day Dani and I were playing a gig at Willie T's and up walk Mark and Robin with their jaws ajar! “We didn't know you played music!!!”

I guess the subject never came up the previous night and here we were rocking the casba! They were in shock! On the flip side, they had a blast and we gained our biggest fans of the last two weeks of their three week stay, which as I write this blog, they are off to Las Vegas today!

It was so funny as they would appear at all of our gigs! They called themselves our stalkers and we thought it was the funniest thing. These folks are visitors, not tourists and we love having them as our stalkers!!!

Bon Voyage Mark and Robin, see you next visit!

MOTM was a load of fun for us!

On the Monday after MOTM we had another fabulous Key West style BBQ! For this I put an open invitation out on Facebook for anyone to stop by! What a fabulous evening and a great way to close out this year's MOTM!

Reviews of Time Traveler, The oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bar Tender

The new book is doing amazingly well!!! I've sold a bunch at gigs, and especially through Amazon, in both paperback and download! To this date, my promotions have largely been on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and here on the blog. Therefor, those buying it are mostly people I know through Trop Rock music! Thank you!!!

I did send an invitation to the two Trop Rock publications saying that if they thought that a Trop Rock artist writing a book would be a good story for their readers, I'd be happy to do whatever they liked. While neither replied to my query, I'm happy to say that their readers are buying and reviewing the book, for which I extend again, my deepest appreciation! As of this moment, the book has twelve five-star ratings. Thank you to all who have made the effort to review Time Traveler! Here's some of what has been said:

October 7, 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a great story. I could not put this book down. The characters are written so well that I feel as if I know some of them. The historical perspective is wonderful and well researched. The descriptions of Key West are spot on. I certainly hope this is only the beginning of a great new series.

 Chris O'Reilly I can't stop reading it !!!! Every night I am in bed an hour early with the light on burning Bobby's eyeballs because I just have to see what happens next  Well done Sir !!! Write more cause I will certainly be sad when this adventure ends   promise to write another one ?

September 28, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Just what I had hoped for, another great read by Key West Chris

October 12, 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
Clever story and a fun read. Chris paints a wonderful picture of old Key West and beyond as we follow Mark Straight’s curious adventure. Time spent reading books by Key West Chris is time well spent.

November 7, 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed the book. A fun tour of Key West in the past and the present. I look forward to more adventures.

October 14, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I rarely write reviews, but I had to make an exception this time. I just loved this book. I've always been fascinated with time travel and loved the Outlander series. I've been to Key West many times and have frequented some of the places mentioned in the book and felt like I was with Mark as he explored it in different time periods. This told the tale of living in Key West and the history of the town and the people he met in the past. My husband rarely reads, but I think I can convince him to read this one. I can't wait for the next book in the series. Way to go Chris! Hope to see you in Key West in November so I can thank you in person for writing such a good book.

October 27, 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
This should be the beginning of a great series as Chris Rehm intriguingly brings history to life. This was well researched and presented in a way that brings you on an “..adventure of several lifetimes.” To get even more out of this awesome read, potential readers could study up on Earnest Hemingway’s life along with the Keys history. I suggest this pre-study, as it will take you deeper into the meaningful characters and timelines so perfectly portrayed. If you find yourself in modern time Key West, grab a pint at The Cork and Stogie and start your own adventure! Cheers!

October 13, 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
Have you ever read a book that you would force yourself to put down sometimes because you didn't want it to end ? This is THAT book !! This story sucked me in and I couldn't wait to get back to it so that I could discover what was going to happen next . Chris Rehm writes this so well you are able to feel as if you are standing right there in the story with these characters, seeing what they are seeing and sharing their experiences with them. My only hope is this becomes a series so this fun journey can continue !

September 28, 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great fun book ! A good easy fun read

Marielle Hemschot Just finished reading Chris’s book, it was really great, thoroughly enjoyed it! Can’t wait for the next adventure of Mark Straight to be published, thanks for a good read Chris!

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