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Saturday, May 26, 2018

A Chapter of Key West

Time Traveler -The Oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bartender

Chapter 1 - The Dream

It wasn't as though he had any control over it. When the phenomenon started, he was asleep. That first time, when he woke, it seemed like such a vivid dream. On the other hand, it seemed like it was just too real, and, he didn't feel rested at all. As a matter of fact, he was quite tired! Odder than that, he felt the mild effects of alcohol from the night before, yet he hadn't drunk anything at all. In his quandary, the day went on and the memory was not at all like that of a regular dream that fades as the day and minutes.went on. It was so real. The people he met during the experience were so much in the flesh, as were the experiences. The other odd thing was that the “dream” occurred in the town he lived in, albeit many years prior. Here he was in the twenty-first century, but dream took place in the 1930's. It was so peculiar, bizarre even. If there ever was an appropriate word for it, Bizarre was indeed the correct word.

Key West. That was the town of choice five years ago. It was a small city on the outer limits of the U.S. an island town over one hundred miles out to sea. Curiously enough it’s a city you can drive to, island hopping across forty-five bridges that link the archipelago coral chain of islands known as The Florida Keys.

His name is Mark Straight and he has been around the world several times in his lifetime,  approaching his fifth decade. He certainly was no green traveler. He had seen the good, the bad, and the evil and decided the bad and the evil were not his cup of tea. Key West offered the sanctuary he had been seeking. Key West wasn’t the real world. It was isolated and had a mentality of its own. The Keys in general, be it Key West, Key Largo, or The Dry Tortugas for that matter, had an entirely different way of life than the rest of the United States. Back in 1982, the island chain had actually seceded from the U.S. in a mock uprising. Declaring themselves independent, they coined The Conch Republic as the name for their brave new world. This was a cornerstone, long overdue, that reflected the independence of the islands and the very different mentality that they encompassed. In many cases, if something could be warped into a farce, the Conch Republic is where it was found. Laughter was the order of the day and this is what Mark craved at this juncture in his life. He moved and settled in the capital of The Conch Republic, Key West, five years ago.   

At this stage of the game, he knew the island like the back of his hand. He learned all of the insights through the tradition of experience. For instance, he knew Key West is a town where you drive your car only out of necessity. Parking is too much of a nuisance. No, you generally either walk or ride a bike., unless you’re hauling goods, the vehicle stays parked.

Consequently, one tends to read between the lines as far as the geographical nuances go: when one walks or rides a bike innuendos pave the path. The town is loaded with nooks and crannies that you would never see driving in a car. As a matter of fact, even riding a bike, you tend to miss about fifty percent of what you would see walking. While Mark did a good deal of bike riding, he also did a lot of walking. He knew this town inside out.

Key West is a town; unlike its northern neighbor Miami, it preserves its past. Miami pledges its allegiance to the bulldozer and its trusty assistant, the wrecking ball. Key West has ordinances set out that forbid structures being torn down. It is permissible to restore older buildings, and the funny thing about this is that the restored versions tend to be much more opulent than the originals. It's all good, albeit there being more renovations rather than restorations, but the point, is that the town today looks quite the same as it did over one-hundred years ago.

In his peculiar sleeping experience, Mark found himself knowing points of interest and living where he currently lived, albeit in a different setting. Unlike regular dreams, there was no jumping from one point to another. If he was going from one point to another, there was time and traveling involved, just as in real life. The oddest thing was that it seemed exactly like real life.

Mark, in conscious life, works as a bartender making exotic drinks at an old, classic, Victorian bar in a mansion which dates from the 1840's, The Side Car. He also works in another bar which specializes in local beers from around the world, as well as wine and cigars, The Cork and Stogie.

As he rode his bike to work to the Victorian bar that morning, all he could think about was the very peculiar dream he had. The more he thought about it, the more puzzling it seemed. He actually had seen this very  Victorian mansion in the dream, however, in the 1930's, it was a home and office of a well-known doctor.

The dream started with Mark tending bar at a restaurant on lower Duval Street, the main street in Key West, called The Victoria Restaurant. When the dream started, Mark was tending bar and mixing, fittingly enough, an Old Fashioned. As he turned to his left, he found himself facing his fellow bartender, Freddy. Freddy was quite busy vigorously shaking a whiskey sour.

Got yours done? Glades is ready” questioned Freddy.

All set. Here you go” replied Mark, putting his drink on Glades' tray. It was odd indeed. Suddenly, there he was in a rush hour, in the midst of mixing cocktails, yet thinking nothing of it at all. There was a job to be done. At that moment, all he knew was that he was mixing an Old Fashioned and the waitress was waiting. In this dream, he also knew everyone well.

Glades smiled. She looked like one of the Andrews Sisters. Her hair was up in a bon vivant style. Her outfit was much more like an old time nurse's ensemble. White, with red ruffles, It appeared to be full of starch and possess the flexibility of cardboard. Mark marveled at how quickly she scooted from the bar with the drinks in that stiff contraption she was wearing.

A "contraption" was the right word, as well. After she delivered the drinks to the table she was serving,  she approached the kitchen, stopped and bent over to pick up a stray napkin, Mark watched her and was amazed to see what appeared to be the equivalent of a suspension bridge with straps going this way and that, under her dress. She looked back to see him looking at her in amazement, then quickly composed herself and rushed into the kitchen, nervously pulling her compact out, to check her makeup and lipstick, as she whisked through the swing doors of the bustling kitchen.

Mark didn’t realize it, but that was how she wanted it to look. She was looking behind her to see if Mark was still looking. He was, and she smiled to herself. Curiously, Mark found Glades to be indeed quite attractive. He even had a hankering to try out as a Flying Melinda high-wire act, and go for a swing on Glades’ trapeze.

Glades Valdez was twenty-six. Her parents came from Cuba before she was born after she was conceived in Cuba. She would joke “Hecho en Cuba, nacido en U.S.A.”. Which translates into “Made in Cuba, born in the U.S.A.”. She spoke Spanish with a Cuban accent and English with what is known as a Conch accent. Throughout the Florida Keys, the people born on the islands call themselves “Conch's”, a throwback from the original settlers who came from the Bahamas and referred to themselves after the crustacean prior to emigrating to the Keys.

The Conch accent is a unique one. It sounds a lot like if Brooklyn mated with Alabama. Glades and Fred had Conch accents. Mark, however, was different, he was from Connecticut.

I think that Glades has a thing for you, Bubba,” said Freddy. The colloquial term, “Bubba” being the term for, someone who was “one of them”.

Seriously?” replied Mark.

Uhm-Humm! No doubt about it. Hey, you want to hit The Blind Pig after we get off?”

The Blind Pig? Sounds great I could use a cocktail made for me for once”

The Blind Pig was actually its old name from when it was a speakeasy, but that was only a few years before. In this town, old names are hard to shake and new names take a while to settle into the place.  Mark looked at a paper a patron left on the bar. March 16th, 1935 it was the date.

1935? How did I get here?” Mark was thinking. He looked around and immediately knew where he was. He was in Sloppy Joe's, but it looked a bit different. There were no fish on the walls. There was the men's room where the kitchen had been. The tables were all covered in white linen with matching napkins. When he looked up he saw the sign “Victoria Restaurant”.

Every now and then one realizes that they are in a dream, in the dream. This was now dawning on Mark

This is one hell of a dream,” he was thinking. Then, he thought “I'm just going to roll with this. It could be fun!” Indeed, it was one of those very rare occasions where one actually realizes they are, in fact, in a dream.

He and Freddy finished up and, unlike a dream, it was as though it was in real time. It took an hour to clean and set up the bar for the next day. The bottles were all an older style, ornate and heavy, with beautiful labels. The fixtures were also heavy and quite stylish; and when he turned on the water, unlike a regular dream, he could feel it.

When they left, Freddy subtly leads them in a brisk walk across Duval Street to the other side and the corner of Greene Street. Arriving at the corner, Mark stopped dead in his tracks. He stared at the sign on the bar hanging over the sidewalk.

Freddy, impatient, took a few more steps and turned around and said “Hey! What are you stopping for? Let's get a beer!”

Mark looked at the sign. He knew the place as Captain Tony's, but there it was, plain as day, reading “Sloppy Joe's”. Everyone in town today knows that Captain Tony's was the original Sloppy Joe's. Sloppy Joe's is an institution, after all. It had been in this location from 1933 to 1937. Before that it was the speakeasy known as,The Blind Pig.

They walked through the open French doors. The layout was different than he knew it. Yes, there was the hanging tree growing through the middle of the bar, however, the bar was along the left wall, with booths in the back. In what he knew as the pool room, there was a dance floor instead. The sign read  “The Silver Slipper”. Couples were dancing to Cuban music of the era, blaring out of a phonograph cone speaker from a 78 record.

The bar was dark. The only light seemed as though it was from the street lights outside.

Hey! Grab us a couple of Royals from Skinner!” hollered Freddy, as he hurried to the men's room. Mark had seen a local beer named Royal back at the Victoria, so Skinner must be the bartender.

Skinner was a large black man, no less than three hundred pounds. He had a big grin on his face, yet at the same time, you could tell he kept a little bit in reserve, just in case. In a bar like this, that “just in case” most likely happened several times a day.

Mark walked up to the bar casually, but at a deliberate pace. “Hey Skinner, how are you?”

Skinner replied “Alright! You Mark? What will you be having tonight?” It was funny because everyone in this dream knew him, and he felt like he knew them.

Could I get two Royals?”

Skinner reached down into the ice box and pulled out two cans of Royal beer. They were curious cans of the era, with a cone shaped top and a screw cap. Skinner opened them both and set them on the bar.

That'll be twelve cents, Mark,” uttered Skinner

Surprised, Mark laughed shook his head and asked “Twelve cents?” Beers started at five dollars back in the Twenty-First-Century.

Yeah, they went up a penny from last week.”

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a buffalo nickel and a mercury dime. “Here you go, keep the change”.

Skimmer smiled, nodded and then moved on to the next customer.

Freddy came back and Mark said to him “Price of beer is up to six cents. I got this round, but the next one's on you”

Six cents! What's the world coming to?” Freddy exclaimed half in surprise half in jest.

Just think, by the Twenty-First century they'll probably be five bucks each,” Mark said in a little tongue-in-cheek joke to himself.

Can you imagine? No, that'll never happen, Five bucks a beer! HA HA HA!” replied Freddy, his Conch accent heavy and his a laugh loud.

Frederick “Freddy” Carpenter. He was a little younger than Mark, at thirty-three. He stood around five-seven, and maybe one hundred and forty-five pounds. He was full of energy, and easily excited about things in general. Born to a well to do and long established family in town, he nonetheless went out on his own instead of going into the family business. He loved his family but loved his independence more. He loved a good bar and this was his favorite. Freddy took a hard swig of his Royal, directly from the can. “Ahhhh! Now that's what I've been waiting for!”

To Mark's sophisticated palate, this Royal beer was actually a decent beer. It was an all malt pilsner product brewed in Key West. Not bad. He and Freddy joked for a bit drinking a few beers when Freddy nudged Mark and used his eyes to point to the side. Taking his cue, Mark turned around to see Glades and Erica, one of her girlfriends, walking through the front door.

They went directly for Mark and Freddy and gave them a friendly greeting. The girls ordered Manhattans, and the conversation took off from there. They first started talking about their common bond, working at the Victoria. Co-workers, customers, order mix ups. Mark thought that in all these years, the restaurant business never changes. After a bit, Mark suggested to Glades “Let's go cut a rug at the Silver Slipper!”. Glades thought it was a great idea, agreeing enthusiastically.

The Silver Slipper was off to the side and a couple of steps down. As things turned out, Mark was quite a dancer, as was Glades, and they made quite a hit with the crowd on the dance floor. It got to the point that on one energetic number the couples on the dance floor went off to the side and clapped to the rhythm of the beat of the music, cheering on Mark and Glades as they burnt the carpet to everyone’s enjoyment.

It was a great evening. When they stopped dancing they found that Freddy and Erica were no longer in the bar. He offered Glades another drink, but he had run out of change, so he pulled out his wallet and found it with several dollar bills from a different era than he was accustomed. He gave Skinner one and Skinner gave him the change, the beer, and the cocktail.

After a couple more libations, Mark offered to see Glades home. She didn't live far away, just a few blocks down on Fishbone Lane, which ran between Eaton and Caroline Streets. He knew it as Pecan Lane. It wasn't far from where the shrimpers hung out, and that was no place for a girl to go at night. She was a few blocks west of there, but Mark thought it best to walk her home.

Shrimpers were about as rough a crew as one would find. They’d just as quickly shake your hand with a warm greeting, as they would knocking your lights out. The latter happened when they were drinking. It was nighttime and a shrimper’s bar, the Bucket Of Blood, was just a couple of block’s down from where Glades lived. Mark would see her home at this hour.

Glades had a room above the corner store, which had a rear entrance. She jokingly called it The Pelican’s Nest. When they got there, Glades said “I know you are acquainted with a lot of old things. Collectible antiques and haberdashery-like things. I inherited this brooch and maybe you can give me some advice on it?”

I'd be happy to. When would you like me to look at it?”

Well, you're here right now. I know it's late, but it will only take a few minutes”

Sure,” Mark said in a matter of fact fashion.

Good! Come on, let me show you!” she said happily.

They went inside to review the brooch. It was classic and ornate. Mark was guessing it may have been around one hundred years old. He was impressed with it. Gauging it against five cent beer, he guessed it may be worth around twenty-five dollars. Glades was standing next to him and he felt her hand touch his back and slowly work its way up, and back down. He looked at her, embraced her and passionately kissed her.

When Mark started heading for home it was almost five in the morning. He arrived back at his apartment on United Street. The furniture was entirely different, however. The apartment was largely the same as it remained to be in the Twenty-First Century, even with the refrigerator, stove, and fixtures being different. He reached in his pocket and put the change on the nightstand next to the bed. He hung his shirt in the closet on metal hangers and draped his pants on the chair next to the bed, as he's always done.

As he climbed into bed, he thought to himself “What a weird dream I’m having,”. All of this was unlike anything else he'd ever experienced. It was all so real, and the timing was so accurate. Plus, he could smell things like the cigarette smoke at The Victoria Restaurant, the musky atmosphere at The Blind Pig/Sloppy Joe's and Glades’ French perfume. Then again, the sensations of making love to Glades were so real. However, he was very tired. Sleep came quickly, in only a matter of seconds.


If this caught your attention, there are twenty-nine more chapters which follow, where you can see where and who Mark Straight's adventures take him to! As of this writing, the book has twenty-two five star ratings.  

Available on Amazon in both paperback and digital download for Kindle (The Kindle app is free and available for computers, smart phones, and tablets). The paperback is available with a free download as well, however be sure to click the option on the paperback's page!

Thank you!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

2018 Key West Songwriter's Festival is in the books

The 2018 Key West Songwriters Festival has ended and is in the books. This was the first year since 2010 that I was not in it. I considered it an honor to be in the seven I was, however!

What I did see here on Facebook were some comments by Key West residents who clearly didn't understand what happens with the festival on several different levels. So, I thought I'd try to clarify it for them.

One of the comments I'd read on Facebook went something like “Why are these Country songwriters playing here in this festival? Why can't we have our own songwriters in it?”. This was the gist of several posts I'd seen.

Answer: The Key West Songwriter's Festival is put on by BMI Nashville. BMI has several centers around the country including New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami (Latin) as well. BMI Nashville makes all of the decisions on who plays in the festival. Smokin Tuna does a lot of the legwork for them down here as far as organizing venues, sound systems, schedules, etc. However, it is BMI Nashville who makes the decisions as to who plays in the event itself.

As it is BMI Nashville who decides who plays in the event, one may want to look at the fact that Nashville's nick-name is “Music City”. As far as music production goes, it is one of the largest in the country, along with New York City and Los Angeles. Production is the business side of it, such as record companies, publishing companies, song pitching, a well as writing, among others. So, it's natural that most of the songwriters you'll see in the festival are from Nashville.

Having said that, there are also, many, many songwriters from NYC, Los Angeles, London, Austin, and around not only the country but around the world as well. As Nashville is also the home of Country music, it's natural that the vast majority of songwriters are Country songwriters, especially when one considers the percentage of Country songs that are written by songwriters and not the artists who make them famous.

What BMI Nashville is essentially doing with the Key West Songwriter's Festival is having an event in Key West that is a token of appreciation for their songwriters, as well as giving them a fun atmosphere to showcase their music. It's also a place where business deals can be done, be it a record contract, co-writing, organizing a recording session. The possibilities are endless.

Key West has many festivals and events throughout the year. There's Lobster Fest, various art festivals, there's the Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, Fantasy Fest, Beerfest, The Power Boat Races, MOTM, I could go on. Well, the Key West Songwriter's Festival is another Key West event. Over the last several years it's brought approximately 18,000 visitors annually to the Island. What that means is revenue for Key West business, just as it does with any other festival or event held on the island. Let's be conservative and say these visitors spend $400 a day, between hotel, meals, and drinks. Well, that puts the revenue to the city at $7,200,000. Of course, that's far, far below the actual figure, as there will be hundreds and hundreds spending $1,000 - $2000 per day. I'd guess that the revenue brought to the city over the five days of the event is between $10 - $12M, and quite honestly, that figure may be low.

The Key West Songwriters Festival is one way the island brings in visitors who spend their money in hotels, restaurants, bars, sunset sails, art galleries, you name it.

Regarding our own songwriters part of the question.

Let's look at the first part of the equation in regards to the festival being presented by BMI. Well, for starters, the reality is there are not many songwriters here in Key West to begin with. Additionally, there aren't all that many quality songwriters here, and third, as this is a BMI event, so if they are with ASCAP or SEASAC, they not in the hosting organization.

It really helps if the local songwriter is published, especially in Nashville. Personally, after myself, I only know of two other songwriters in town who are published. Don't get me wrong, there may be more than I don't know of, but I know only two others that are. I've been published in Nashville for eight-teen years with McClure and Trowbridge Publishing.

I got in initially by contacting my publisher up n Nashville in 2010 and asked him if he might be able to help get me in? He knew the head guy at BMI who handled the event and within twenty-four hours I had an invitation from BMI. Subsequent years both my publisher and local rep, DSH, (no longer affiliated with the festival) plugged me with them, for which I am very grateful! Thanks, George and DSH!!!

Nashville is a town which caters itself to songwriters. Key West isn't. Here we are more focused on the live performance, and that can be anything from hearing a guitar virtuoso like Caffeine Carl just giving a stupendous “Here it is!”solo, to Rick Fusco who can highlight the subtleties nuances of a guitar solo, to Brad Shaduck hollering out something socially outrageous, to Will Parker cracking everyone up, to the Sunday afternoon Jazz at the 'Parrot. For Key West performers, regardless of how they do it, it's the live performance.

In Nashville it's more about putting the nuts and bolts of a song and recording together that will become a recorded hit by an artist, After that, the song will be possibly covered by our performers on the stages of Key West, and around the world as well.

For the songwriters festival, it's a dissected anatomy of how a song was put together. The songwriter will explain how the song came about, what inspired it, perhaps an anecdote to go along with it. It's not “Give me another shot!”. Nothing wrong with either, but it's a different thing altogether.

For the audience, it's not a bar gig, it's a concert. There's a big difference between a bar gig and a concert. In the events I've both attended and played in over the years, the audience would often be sitting in rows of organized seats and their attention would be 100% focused on the artist. Yes, behind them would be the expected banter. I can't say how many times when someone in the rows of seats started talking though, those around them would ask them to be quiet.

Though related, the art and craft of writing a song is a very different animal than the performance.

I've seen some people posting on Facebook that they've lost gigs and others asking why do we have all of these non-locals playing?

The latter part is actually funny because I've never heard anyone posting complaints about the bands that The Green Parrot, Schooner Wharf, Smokin Tuna, Margaritaville, and The Hoggs Breath bring in from out of town every week, have you? That just sounds like someone wanting to complain and looking for a misery loves company companion.

Lost gigs? Well, I'll say this, the event has been going on for twenty-three years. There might be two or three who have been here longer than twenty-three years, but for the rest of us it's been going on far longer than we've been here. So, if after twenty-three years, if you are a performer and not prepared for it..... Well...

Think of it as being a good thing for the island and all its businesses. As local musicians, none of us can draw 18,000 and $10 - $12M. Do it for the town's sake

 I always say you've got to give back.

That's what this blog is based on. I don't make money off of it. I do it to promote the town. It has over 220,000 views, so I consider that a success and something of value that I can give back in appreciation to the island. Each blog takes between four to six hours to put together, for the most part. That's my way of giving back.

Remember, it's not a one-way street. We all have to give back. Call it Karma, call it reaping what you sow, but it can't take, take, take. You've got to give back as well.

Also, be reminded that MOTM is coming the first week of November, and though it's about 1/3 + the size of the Key West Songwriter's Fest, like songwriters, a lot of venues make room for incoming acts.

So, in closing what is The Key West Songwriter's Festival?

A) It's an another of many Key West festivals.

B) It's presented by BMI Nashville as a few things:

  1. It's BMI Nashville's s token of appreciation and annual gift to their songwriters, who are their bread and butter, where the songwriter's works are showcased, plus, they have some time to hang out and let their hair down with Key West as the setting.
  2. It's also a business opportunity for record companies, producers and people in the industry to hang out, listen to a lot of acts which pertain to what they do and possibly put a few deals together.
  1. The event brings in about 18,000 visitors to Key West who spend an estimated $10 - $12M over the five days that they are here.

So, summing up in a nutshell; BMI Nashville moves their key people and songwriters from Nashville and beyond, together with sponsorship and backing, to Key West for five days, along with an entourage of about 18,000 who come and spend $10 - $12M, possibly more, in Key West businesses.

The Key West Songwriter's Festival is the largest festival of it's kind, in the world. I don't know what this year's figures are, but I do know that last year there were over 230 songwriters on the schedule, not to mention around double that coming into town hoping to catch the ear of a publisher, producer, artist, or record company exec. with a song or two.

BTW, if you are a songwriter and want to be in next year's event, now is the time to start moving on it.


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!

21 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!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Help Me Write A Song!

It was a funny series of events! Over the previous two Mondays, I've been doing live Facebook broadcasts called “LIVE Around Key West”, Sponsored by Tiki Man Radio! The plan was to do short vignettes, maybe 7 – 10 minutes long, from locations in, or around Key West, which would air at 7 pm on Mondays. These have actually done VERY well, I'm happy to report!

In things like this, there's always a learning curve. The first video from the Truman Waterfront came out sideways! Additionally, in an attempt to capture the sunset behind me, my face was largely a shadow! Live and learn!

The second video was done at Safe Harbor, including an interview with Tadd and Lindsay, friends who were about to embark on a sail to Europe aboard their 47 ft. catamaran! As of this writing, it has over 2,200 views!

With the third installment a couple of days ago, I ran into a problem. I was virtually out of data! Doing a live video from a location where I couldn't have WiFi would be a disaster. I talked to our sponsor, Danny Lynn, of Tiki Man Radio and he mentioned he had made the announcement on Tiki Man Radio that we go live every Monday at 7 pm.

This was late too. I started thinking what I would do and I blossomed up a fun idea! Twenty minutes before we were to air I thought of doing a show at our house, The Conch Rock Shanty. I had WiFi here of course. The kicker is that I would often do videos from the house, so a lot of people would already know it. So, what could I do to make it unique?

Then it dawned on me! I had just started to write a song, “She's Waiting for the Sun To Go Down” and what if I put it out there for others to contribute? That would be fun!

I had the first line of the song being:

"She's waiting, waiting for the sun to go down

 "She's waiting, waiting for the sun to go down"

I mentioned in the video that the idea was this woman was on a sailboat, be it a private sailboat, a sunset sail on one of the large catamarans with 40 people aboard, or anything in between. The boat will be off of Key West, as well.

The line "waiting for the sun to go down" can mean either actual or, a metaphor 

I already had the chord progression written. At this point, with ten minutes to go before airing, I came up with a progression for the bridge. We aired on time and online!

The reaction I've gotten back has been fabulous! Some folks just sent a line, others a verse, while others sent the whole song lyrics!

Honestly, I don't see using the complete song lyrics sent. However, what I will be doing is taking bits and pieces from as many as I can, and putting them together to create a song! Everyone whose lyrics are used will be credited as a c-writer!

Here's the song in structure:

Here's a fun anecdote regarding co-writing!

Gregg Allman was in progress of writing Midnight Rider in the Capricorn studios in Macon, Ga. late one night. His friend and roadie, Kim Payne, was there and wanted to go out and party, but Greg was stuck with a missing lyric. Kim was getting frustrated and antsy. He kept coming back to Gregg asking if he was done yet and Gregg told him “I'm almost done. It's something about the road I'm trying to figure out”. Kim would get annoyed and leave the room, then return 5 minutes later saying “Done yet?”. On the 6th or 7th time Gregg said again “It's something about the road” At which point Kim just blew up “Oh man! The road goes on forever, let's go out and party!”

Gregg's eyes opened wide and he smiled “That's it, man!” to which Kim replied, “What the hell are you talking about?”, but that was it!

The second verse of the song the first two lines are:

“And I don't own the clothes I'm wearing,

And the road goes on forever”

Songwriter credits are Gregory L. Allman and Kim Payne

So join me! Feel free to send in some lyrics and be a co-writer!

Additionally, I'm a published songwriter with McClure and Trowbridge Publishing, Nashville and have been since 2000. If they like the song, they may pick it up. Who knows? In our genre, there are very, very, very few songwriters who are published, with an actual publishing house. I'm very fortunate to be one.


Very important opportunity!

We're interested in teaming with anyone who would love the opportunity to be an executive producer, who can assist on the financial side of getting the song recorded! The idea here is to record it with world-class producer, Ian Shaw, recording and producing it, right here in Key West. What a great opportunity to be involved in a recording!

For lyrics submissions as well as executive producer interests, please contact me at:

Sponsored by Tiki Man Radio! 

Tune in, listen, and smile!!!


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!

21 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!