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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Time To Change The Conch Republic's Time to Daylight Savings, 24/7/365: Let's Take the Bull By The Horns!






Early this year there was an official proposal that everyone I talked to thought was a great idea. Personally, I thought it was genius and was kicking myself for not thinking of it. The idea was to make Florida permanently on Daylight Savings time!

Let us call aces, aces. Standard Time in the winter is nothing but a depression for all. Additionally, the State of Florida lives on people from the states north of us coming to visit for their winter vacations. I remind those who live in Florida that the state does not have an income tax and that is because of tourism.

So imagine having the State of Florida on Daylight Savings time year round! Visitors could come to Florida on their winter retreat from the ice and snow and additionally get an hour more of daylight to enjoy! What a perfect scenario!

My friend, Gypsea Travels, was over at our home for a BBQ this week and reminded me of it. What she told me got me annoyed, but I thank Gypsea for bringing it to my attention! Thanks Gypsea!!! 

According to Gypsea, the proposal has been languishing and has not been addressed since MARCH! March 12th, 2018 to be exact! It's currently wallowing in the dungeon of bureaucracy having been introduced by Sen, Marco Rubio (R-Fl), read twice then referred to The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Hey Marco? What happened? You introduced it then treated it like a hot potato and passed the buck? Yeah, no follow up? Dumped it on to someone else?  Hello.


Going back to calling ace's, aces, this proposal could mean literally billions in state revenue. Imagine a family in Peoria, Illinois thinking about their winter-relief get away.

“Well Gertrude, do you want to go to Mexico or Florida for this year's vacation?”

“That's a no-brainer, Wally! Florida has warm weather and they're on Daylight Savings time, so we pick up that extra hour! Additionally, we have the security of staying in the United States! Florida it is!”

As Gertrude pointed out, it's “a no-brainer”! Yet, the proposal remains sitting unattended on a desk since March, while the tourist season is approaching as fast as an IndyCar coming down the front straight for the checkered flag!

Let's face it, as far as the State of Florida goes, it's most likely too late to do anything for the 2019 season.

However, here in the Conch Republic, is it? Here's a look at what we are looking at here in the Florida Keys.



In 1982 the U.S. Government installed a checkpoint on U.S.1 in Florida City looking for illegal aliens. This caused catastrophic delays as every single car was checked (even looking in glove boxes!). Consequently, The Florida Keys was a destination easy to enter, but impossible to leave. Who would want to come here for vacation? When the government was appealed to stop the nonsense, it fell on deaf ears. Frustrated Key West business owners and the Mayor went to Miami and Tallahassee to request the roadblocks cease. When this didn't work they said if they were going to be treated like a foreign country, they would become one and secede from the United States. They returned to Key West and did just that the next day, creating The Conch Republic, which included all of Monroe County and part of Dade County (Today, Miami/Dade) stretching from The Florida Keys to The Last Chance Saloon in Florida City. It worked and the roadblocks were removed.

The Conch Republic, however, was never dissolved. To this day, throughout the Florida Keys, you'll see Conch Republic flags. We never gave up the Conch Republic.

So, I'm sure you see where this is going: Why doesn't the Conch Republic just retain Daylight Savings Time throughout the region on our own? The Federal Government regulates time zones but let's not forget, we're the Conch Republic!

                                     Old City Hall, Key West with a clock that actually works!

We're about to have a mayoral election, so timing is awkward, however, the visitors don't care one way or another about a race for Key West mayor. They care about having fun in the sun. Fun in the sun equals happy people, both visitors as well as vendors. Hotels fill up, restaurants fill up, stores fill up, everyone does more business! Besides, we're not only talking about Key West but the entire Conch Republic, from the Dry Tortugas to The Last Chance Saloon.

Let us change The Conch Republic to Daylight Savings Time year round! In the islands of warmth and sunshine, the more we have, the better!

As the Conch Republic, we don't need anyone's approval but our own. We're talking about our livelihood. It really is a no-brainer.

As citizens and business owners, in the spirit of 1982's secession, even if the Feds won't look at it, we can do a grassroots movement and just do it on our own and call it CRT, Conch Republic Time.



Thank you for reading my blog! 

Please check out my book "Time Traveler - The Oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bartender". Follow Mark Straight's continuing journies and friendships from current Key West, back to historical Key West and elsewhere!

 Order paperback or download here! Paperback comes with a free download!

24 Ratings - 26 Five-Star ratings!









Also, my first book, Bar Stories, is now available in paperback!


Available on Amazon! 18 Five-Star ratings!






Naturally, if you liked today's blog, get the music here at iTunes!






Tuesday, October 9, 2018

"Unleashed! Live At Grunts, Key West"





The Shanty Hounds brand new album, “Unleashed! Live At Grunts, Key West” is on the cusp of being released! We've had friends who helped us out thus far via a Go Fund Me that Dani set up, so these folks will be receiving the first copies. This is naturally a priority. Once these are shipped, the album will be available to all.

The quality of this recording; the production, recording, mixing, and mastering is the best I've ever heard for any album recorded in a bar. Honestly, it is truly astounding! The credit for this goes to our producer, Ian Shaw of Warmfuzz Studios of Key West and London, England, for the production, recording, and mixing. The mastering was done with Denis Blackham of Skye Mastering from Isle of Skye, Scotland, U.K.

                                          Ian Shaw

Mind you, I'm not commenting on the band's performance. That's for others to evaluate. However, all of the aforementioned, anyone with something north of a tin ear would have no choice but say the same thing. Ian and Denis did a truly outstanding effort with this recording and in doing so, raised the industry standard for live recordings.

As of this moment the album hasn't been released, however, it has been sent to the radio stations. In less than a day, two stations have already commented on it.

One said that it sounded like a studio recording done with a live audience. Again, that's a true tip of the hat to Ian and Denis!

Let's take a quick look at the recording environment Ian had to work with. Grunts is a very small bar that started life in 1890 as, what is known here as a “Conch House”. It first was located on the corner of Front Street and Duval. In 1948 it was moved to its current location, 409 Caroline Street. It is approximately 500 Sq. Ft. in size. Here it was purchased thirty-five years ago and turned into a bar by the current owner. When you think about it, here is this small, little house/bar dating from 1890 and the recording was regarded by a radio station owner as sounding like it was recorded in a studio! Truly amazing!



The second station principal also noted the “top-notch production”.

Dani has three solo releases out prior to this. I have played with Dani standing two feet away from her for over almost five years. I never felt her recorded vocals did her justice. Her live performances always were so much more dynamic sounding. When the recordings arrived yesterday I took it upstairs to our studio, while she did something else downstairs. When the second song, “Meet Me On The Boardwalk”, came on, I paused it and ran downstairs to get her! I dragged her upstairs and we listened to it. Holy smokes! This album captures Dani's full power and range. Just incredible!

As a matter of fact, this album captures the true excitement of a Shanty Hounds gig! That's not something that I felt could be captured. I'm thrilled to say I was wrong! When listening, all I suggest you do is.... Crank It Up!!!

This naturally has live versions of some of our songs, which many know from both Dani and my previously released albums. We've also added two new songs, which are in almost every live performance that we've done over the last two years, “Yippie Cayo Hueso”, a homage to Key West. Cayo Hueso (say Cai O Way So) is the original name of Key West in Spanish, which translates to Bone Key. The other “Tote The Load” which is a duet.

The live audience was just out of this world! Many are locals who support us. Our friend Pat Henriques encouraged all to sing along with us on the choruses of “Yippie Cayo Hueso” and what a great job they did!

                                          Pre-Show Prep 1


                                        Pre-Show Soundcheck

We get by with a lot of help from our friends! Those who helped with the Go Fund Me, Ian and Denis for the total recording production and mastering, our fabulous friends who came by for support at the gig itself, to the radio stations who offer to play us, and of course, those who purchase the end product.Darrin Raposa for coming up with the name “Unleashed!” (Perfect!) Everything is part of the big wheel and we thank each and every one of you!

The CD will be available at our gigs and via CD Baby. Downloads will be through all of the major outlets (iTunes, Amazon, etc)

The Shanty Hounds “Unleashed! Live at Grunts, Key West”

  1. “Yippie Cayo Hueso!” © Christopher R. Rehm, BMI
  2. “Meet Me On The Boardwalk” © Danielle L. Hoy, BMI
  3. “Liveaboard” © Christopher R. Rehm, BMI
  4. “Songs of Love and the Ocean” © Danielle L. Hoy, BMI
  5. “My Little Island Town” © Christopher R. Rehm, BMI
  6. “Drunk On Mallory Square” © Danielle L. Hoy BMI
  7. “The Beach!!!!” © Christopher R. Rehm BMI
  8. “I Like It Hot” © Danielle L. Hoy BMI
  9. “Tote The Load” © Christopher R. Rehm BMI


Dani Hoy – Vocals and Guitar, percussion, harmonica, and Kazoo
“Key West Chris” Rehm – Vocals and Lead Guitar
Bob Tucker – Bass, Vocals
John Sausser – Drums and Percussion



On Wednesday, October 10 (the day this is blog is released) at 8PM EST 104.9 The X here in Key West will not only do a live debut of the entire album but will also broadcast it from our house at a BBQ we're having! No doubt they will be chatting with Dani and myself as well, plus we are hoping Ian Shaw will stop by too! He just re-set the bar for the quality of live recordings, so hopefully, he'll have time to swing by too! http://thexkeywest.com/

Additionally, Danny Lynn of Tiki Man Radio would also like to interview us and showcase the album, hopefully within the next week. Time and date TBA shortly tikimanradio.com

I'll keep you posted via my Facebook page!  https://www.facebook.com/ChrisRehm09 



For those heading to MOTM in November, be sure to add our CD Release Party at Grunts, 409 Caroline St Thursday, Nov1,  8 - 11 PM!


Remember The Shanty Hounds Creed: 

"If you're not having fun, I'm afraid we're going to have to ask you to leave!"  😅 😀😀


Thank you for reading my blog! 

Please check out my book "Time Traveler - The Oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bartender". Follow Mark Straight's continuing journies and friendships from current Key West, back to historical Key West and elsewhere!

 Order paperback or download here! Paperback comes with a free download!

24 Ratings - 24 Five-Star ratings!









Also, my first book, Bar Stories, is now available in paperback!


Available on Amazon! 18 Five-Star ratings!






Naturally, if you liked today's blog, get the music here at iTunes!














Saturday, July 28, 2018

"Yeah, A Harbor" Nominated for Song Of The Year




When I write songs, I write from a “Local Perspective”. Being in the Trop Rock genre, this is a rare point of perspective. Trop Rock is viewed largely as escapism. While many songwriters write about, say Key West, they are writing about the excitement of coming here or the wild experiences on Duval Street. It's the vacation perspective. That's fantastic, but it's not me. I live here.

When I first looked into Trop Rock I found a genre with massive areas for growth. I always had gravitated to the local songwriters and their songs written about the island. Those who lived on the island. People who were the vibe and pulse of Key West and their roots ran deep into the rock.

Mike McCloud's “Pool Shootin' Woman”, The Survivors “In Cayo Hueso”, Bill Blue's “Pretty Girl, A Cadillac, and Some Money” were songs written from a local perspective, as three examples. It was songs like this which germinated out of the coral that forms these archipelago islands called The Florida Keys and in these three examples, specifically, Key West that the true feeling rose out of. This music was the energy, heart, and soul of Key West and The Florida Keys.

Trop Rock is rooted in escapism, be it Key West, a tropical bar, margaritas, beaches and having fun in a lite atmosphere with a dose of mirth tossed in.

So.... Imagine my surprise when on Facebook I saw someone posted that my song “Yeah, A Harbor” was nominated for the TRMA song of the year!!!!

My jaw dropped and after researching it, sure enough, there it was!

After picking myself up off the floor, dusting myself off and regaining my composure, I started thinking about it. Here was a song that is not about beaches, sand, bars, cocktails, or traveling to a tropical destination from afar. Rather a song that paints a picture of day-to-day life in a harbor/marina, virtually all of which are actual experiences.

It laments on how Land's End once was the shrimp docks. It talks about the unkempt, crusty salty dogs drinking in the bait shop who don't give a hoot. A fishing boat comes in loaded to the gills with dolphin, tuna, and wahoo being filleted on the dock and Captain Marlin Scott Hopp knows how to rock. A big thanks to Captain Marlin Scott for allowing us to showcase a local captain!



Boats that arrive from foreign ports of call and the tails shared both euphoric and tragic shared by all who are at the mercy of the sea. 


The song touches on the passing of friends and the heartaches and dockside rituals that go along with it. Then it finalizes with mirth as the protagonist waking up very early one morning on his boat only to find his liveaboard neighbor, Doreen, taking a shower on the bow of her's “... it's a beautiful way to start the day, I'm thinking 'bout now”.





Who would have thought that a song like this would be nominated for the TRMA song of the year???


I am completely honored and humbled. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!!


I have doubts that the song will win, mind you. However, a song of this nature being nominated shows that the Trop Rock genre is expanding and that's fantastic!

Voting is open to all TRMA members... Ha Ha! Feel free to vote for it! :-) 


Here's the song: “Yeah A Harbor”


YEAH, A HARBOR
1


SOME OF THE BEST TIMES OF MY LIFE I SPENT IN HARBORS

BREATHING SALT AIR AND THE FRAGRANCE OF THE SEA

BOATS ROCKING TO THE RHYTHM OF THE TIDES AND BREEZE

YEAH THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT A HARBOR

2

LAND'S END USED TO BE THE OLD SHRIMP DOCKS

'ROUND THE CORNER YOU'LL FIND THE BAIT SHOP

AND SOME SALTY DOGS WITH THREE DAY BEARDS DRINKIN' BEER
CAUSE THEY REALLY DON'T GIVE A ...

(bridge)
SOMETHING ABOUT A HARBOR, GATEWAY TO THE SEA,

LEADS TO MORE PORTS OF CALL AND MY BEST MEMORIES


3
SAILBOAT ROLLS IN FROM THE BVI

ST. JOHN'S BEER AND PUSSER'S RUM LAST NIGHT

TALES OF STORMS AND CLOSE CALLS TOO CLOSE TO MEET THE EYE

YOU KNOW WE ALL LAUGHED, BUT THEN WE SIGHED


4

A FISHING BOAT SHE'S LOADED TO THE GILLS

BUSY DAY OUT TRAWLING QUITE A THRILL

DOLPHIN, SNAPPER, AND WAHOO BEING FILLETED ON THE DOCK

YEAH, CAPTAIN MARLIN KNOWS HOW TO ROCK



(coda)

'CAUSE SOME DON'T MAKE IT AND THEY DIE

DAMN GOOD PEOPLE, THE REST OF US CRY

WE HANG OUT AT THE BARNICLE BAR AND TOAST 'EM HIGH

IT'S OUR WAY OF LIFE

5

SUNRISE, I'M UP EARLY IN THE MORNING

NEIGHBOR DOREEN SHE SHOWERS ON HER BOW
IT'S A BEAUTIFUL WAY TO START THE DAY, I'M THINKIN' 'BOUT NOW

YEAH, THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT A HARBOR


(bridge)

SOMETHING ABOUT A HARBOR, GATEWAY TO THE SEA,


LEADS TO MORE PORTS OF CALL AND MY BEST MEMORIES


SOMETHING ABOUT A HARBOR, GATEWAY TO THE SEA,


LEADS TO MORE PORTS OF CALL AND MEMORIES

LEADS TO MORE PORTS OF CALL AND MEMORIES

YEAH SOMETHING ABOUT A HARBOR AND ME

© 6/7/2016 by Christopher R. Rehm BMI

The story behind the song:  http://keywestmusic.blogspot.com/2016/09/story-behind-song-yeah-harbor.html


Thank you for reading my blog! 

Please check out my book "Time Traveler - The Oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bartender". Follow Mark Straight's continuing journies and friendships from current Key West, back to historical Key West and elsewhere!

 Order paperback or download here! Paperback comes with a free download!

24 Ratings - 24 Five-Star ratings!









Also, my first book, Bar Stories, is now available in paperback!


Available on Amazon! 18 Five-Star ratings!






Naturally, if you liked today's blog, get the music here at iTunes!










Saturday, July 7, 2018

How To Inspire and Get The Most Out Of Studio Musicians

One of the issues in recording these days is dealing with musicians in general, particularly guitar players. The problem here is they often just don't give it their all and sometimes become satisfied with mundane performances.

This happens for a variety of reasons ranging from a fight with a girlfriend to a hangover of one nature or another.

I have found the best solution in overcoming these obstacles, however. It lies in the old school. So, as so many of my songs are sailing, harbors, and ocean-related, I'll tie in with saying the idea came to me from the good old floggings they gave on sailing ships, in days of yore.

If you're not happy with what they are putting out for you, just get yourself a nice flogging whip and give them some inspiration!

There's something both musical and magical about the whistling of the whip as it cuts through the air followed by the crack as it hits home! You'll be amazed at how everything changes and the desired performances are achieved!

Just look at how well this works with the guitar player of my song “21St Century Kinda Girl”!






:-D

Thank you for reading my blog! 

Please check out my book "Time Traveler - The Oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bartender". Follow Mark Straight's continuing journies and friendships from current Key West, back to historical Key West and elsewhere!

 Order paperback or download here! Paperback comes with a free download!

23 Ratings - 23 Five-Star ratings!









Also, my first book, Bar Stories, is now available in paperback!


Available on Amazon! 18 Five-Star ratings!






Naturally, if you liked today's blog, get the music here at iTunes!








Sunday, July 1, 2018

PBS HIGHLIGHTS TROP ROCK!






Several months back in March, I was contacted by PBS who wanted to do a piece on The Shanty Hounds for their Art Loft series! PBS wanted to do a piece on a Trop Rock act! Fabulous!

Frankly, it was a mystery to both myself and Dani as to how they came up with the idea of focusing on us? Furthermore, they sent it to our Shanty Hound email address. We never really do all that much with this address and it had been to the point that neither Dani or myself had been there in quite a while.

By chance, I went to check it and there was the query from them only a day old! The fact that it was only a day old and we hadn't been there in months makes me think it was just in the cards that it came about. I immediately replied in the affirmative and the ball started rolling very quickly. Likewise, I didn't want to ask too many questions about how they came up with us as a subject. We were flattered they did however and left it at that.

They wanted to film us at Boondocks, a bar/restaurant up on Ramrod Key, twenty-eight miles north of Key West, which is a venue we play. Boondocks is also good for us in that Bob Tucker plays bass and sings our three-part harmony at this gig! Subsequent to that, they wanted to interview us the following day in Key West and everyone felt comfortable with the bar I co-own, The Cork and Stogie, here at 1218 Duval Street!

The PBS crew and The Shanty Hounds arrived at Boondocks about a week later. The PBS crew were both highly professional and fun to work with. They were looking for a complete set of original songs, both mine and Dani's, which was easy to accommodate for us. During the set they seemed to appear out of nowhere in different locations, filming as we played. I'd look and see them on my left, out in the audience using their video cameras, then look away and look back in what seemed like five seconds, and they'd be on the complete opposite side of the restaurant filming away! The PBS crew on the project consisted of three young women and they were truly amazing!



The following day they met us promptly on time at The Cork and Stogie. They interviewed Dani first outside on the veranda, which lasted maybe a half hour. Then they interviewed me inside. Again, these women were first rate professionals and did such a fabulous job, it was a sincere pleasure to work with them!


Production, of course, takes a fair amount of time. However, the end product is now out and aired! Everyone I speak to think it's fabulously done and I agree. The piece is six minutes long, so it's easy to view. Please check it out!



This excerpt is The Shanty Hounds segment of the Art Loft show.

Here is the link for the entire Art Loft show. Check it out, it's a very well done show promoting the arts!




The production was done by PBS/PBT of South Florida and is available to any PBT station around the country.

What an honor to have PBS do a piece on a Trop Rock act from the Keys and they chose us!

Thank you PBS!!!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Shanty Hounds July 2018 Schedule










We also just received the perhaps the most flattering comment of the year! At a gig on 6/28/2018 a patron leaving said to us:

“We've been here a week and you are the best band we've seen since we arrived”

A comment such as this, especially from a complete stranger can really make you feel like you're doing something worthwhile.

June 2018 was a great month for The Shanty Hounds! Thanks to ALL!!!




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Thank you for reading my blog! 

Please check out my book "Time Traveler - The Oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bartender". Follow Mark Straight's continuing journies and friendships from current Key West, back to historical Key West and elsewhere!

 Order paperback or download here! Paperback comes with a free download!

23 Ratings - 23 Five-Star ratings!









Also, my first book, Bar Stories, is now available in paperback!


Available on Amazon! 18 Five-Star ratings!






Naturally, if you liked today's blog, get the music here at iTunes!








Saturday, June 23, 2018

"This Is Key West Calling" Is calling out for Trop Rock artists!




This is Key West Calling is a very, very unique event held on Sunday, November 4th from 11 am – 4 pm at Sunset Tiki at The Galleon in Key West.



The event will be broadcast live by the absolute best Trop Rock radio stations on the planet Radio Trop Rock, Tiki Man Radio, Beach Bar Radio, 104.9 The X, Tiki Pod Radio and Shore Life Radio! These stations will be all working together at the event!

Additionally, Digital Publishing will be airing the video of the event on the web live, as well as Shore Live TV.

Beachfront Radio is planning on airing the show subsequently, while Island Time Radio and Songwriter's Island Radio hope to air particular performances subsequently as well.

This is a TRMA recognized event.



Having six stations working together on the same broadcast has never been done by anyone else in the history of radio. Butting heads is old school. Working together for the advancement of Trop Rock is our way. Therefore, it's newsworthy! We're sending out press releases to all of the major news agencies, both national and international.

The entire purpose of this event is to promote the growth of Trop Rock Music

Having this event during MOTM is a natural, as so many Trop musicians are here in Key West, enjoying the event and getting a lot of exposure to both new and old fans. With six Trop Rock stations broadcasting the event live, two live video feeds, and three additional stations/shows rebroadcasting the event, either in whole or in part, it's more than obvious that this event will have the largest media reach by far, of any event during MOTM week, no matter what venue.

While the exposure is a super-major plus, showing the world that we all work together for the benefit of the genre, is the name of the game here. We have a great genre that is 100% positive! Let's show the world! 

The objective is to bring more fans into the fold. Let's face it, there are people out there that like Trop Rock, but don't even know it exists. We'd like to change that and help Trop Rock grow into a better-known genre. We'll be starting off with this event and hoping to branch out with others during the next year.

If you are a solo performer, duo, or band who would like to participate in the event, here are the basics.


  1. Sets are twenty minutes long
  2. The turn around is 5 minutes to set up/5 minutes to tear down.
  3. Maximum players on stage, 3
  4. This is a non-paying event.
  5. Hold membership in the TRMA

We are hoping for both seasoned Trop Rock artists, up and coming artists, and anyone in between! If you would like to help us promote Trop Rock to the world and help attract new fans to the genre by playing this event, please contact me at:


Thank you!

Chris Rehm (Key West Chris)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Thank you for reading my blog! 

Please check out my book "Time Traveler - The Oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bartender". Follow Mark Straight's continuing journies and friendships from current Key West, back to historical Key West and elsewhere!

 Order paperback or download here! Paperback comes with a free download!

23 Ratings - 23 Five-Star ratings!









Also, my first book, Bar Stories, is now available in paperback!


Available on Amazon! 18 Five-Star ratings!






Naturally, if you liked today's blog, get the music here at iTunes!