No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 07, 2009


May 7, 2009

Photobucket Raul Malo


Photobucket Jamey Johnson


Photobucket Eric, Haven, Elena & Dane

One of the coolest things about the Key West Songwriters’ Fest is the variety of cool venues that host shows. Everyplace from the venerable San Carlos Institute, the Tropic Cinema, the Ocean Key House Pier and a variety of local bars. Some of my favorite venues are those outdoor beach or poolside stages that allow the viewers to kick back and truly relax while enjoying the music.

Photobucket Alex & Gae

From the Pier House Beach on opening night to the Southernmost Beach Café, the Casa Marina and even the Marriott Beachside resort, these venues are awesome. The performers themselves seem to really enjoy them as well; Raul Malo went so far as to say his show at Beachside was, “the greatest gig ever”.

Photobucket Michael & Raul

Kathy & I caught a number of shows at these cool venues, including the show at Beachside which featured Raul Malo, Lucie Silvas, John Mabe , Bob DePiero and more. It was a great show, poolside with great drinks, great music and an ambiance that people pay thousands to come to experience in Key West.

Photobucket Kathy & Joanie

Photobucket The Massacoustics

We even managed to sneak in a volunteer shift, selling cds and programs during a gig by the Massacoustics at a packed Jack’s Seafood Shack at the La Concha. It was about the easiest and most fun volunteer job one could ever hope for. How many jobs require you to sit in a bar, listening to great music and drink?

Photobucket Derek, Janine, Kathy, Neal & Bonnie

Shawn Mullins

The big Saturday night concert at the Ocean Key House pier featured an opening set by Robert Earl Keen followed by a rockin’ show by Jamey Johnson and his band The Kent Hardly Playboys. It was a great night of music, the pier was packed and the weather perfect. After the show, we all headed over to the Late Night Songwriter Hang at the Bottlecap Lounge which started just after midnight and went deep into the next morning with one songwriter after another playing on the open mic.

Photobucket Robert Earl Keen

After a much needed sleep in on Sunday, we headed over to the beach at the Southernmost Café to close out our KWSF experience. The weather was beautiful once again and a wonderful breeze swept in off the ocean and we crashed out listening to yet more wonderful songs.



Wednesday, May 06, 2009


May 6, 2009

Photobucket Scotty Emerick

Photobucket Jamey Johnson & Robert Earl Keen


Photobucket Kim Carnes, Tim Nichols & Connie Harrington

For the first time in years, we missed the big Kick-off party & show that was held atop of the La Concha Hotel. I had a board meeting conflict and Kathy was up the Keys practicing for the big Dragon Boat races coming up this weekend. We did make it to the first official show, which was held on the beach at the Pier House and featured the likes of Kelly Archer, Jaida Dreyer, Kylie Sackley, Jason White, John Paul White and many more. It was a great kick-off to a packed house on a beautiful Key West night.

Kim Carnes

Trying to list every songwriter and all the hits they have written would take weeks, if you are interested, visit the KWSF website and you can read a bio of each of the 140 some songwriters who were here. I’ll try to mention a few to give an idea of the talent and scope of the performers. Probably the youngest singer and songwriter here was Katie Armiger who played a show at the Southernmost Beach Café on Thursday afternoon. At 17, Katie is well on her way to Country music superstardom and gave a great performance on the beach.

Photobucket Dennis Morgan

Photobucket Billy Burnette

Photobucket Shawn Camp

Thursday evening, we hit the show at the San Carlos which featured a stellar line-up that included Billy Burnette, Dennis Morgan, Scotty Emerick, Jamey Johnson, Robert Earl Keen, Wendell Mobley, Paul Overstreet and others. Johnson and Keen stole the show, which is saying something with all that talent present, but really they were truly all spectacular. One of the best songwriter sets that I’ve seen in many years of attending the festival.

Photobucket Jamey Johnson

Photobucket Chad

One of the cool things about the festival is that it brings a lot of people in from out of town, including this year our good friend and former local Janine who brought along her friend Derek to introduce him to her former home. Our friend Bonnie hosted a great dinner for them and we all enjoyed the festival as well. It was nice to see Janine back again, hopefully we’ll see them again come Fantasy Fest.

Photobucket Derek, Janine, K.T., David & Breanne

Photobucket Shawn Mullins

We were back at the San Carlos on Friday evening for another excellent round of performers including Chuck Cannon, Kim Carnes, Bob DiPiero, Natalie Hemby, Chuck Jones, Shawn Mullins, Tim Nichols and Bobby Pinson among others. It was another great show, though it didn’t approach the previous evening. It did include a rousing version of Kim Carnes singing her hit “Bette Davis Eyes” that took me back some.

Photobucket Tim Nichols, Connie Harrington & Bob DiPiero

Photobucket Kathy, Rob & Tamy

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Key West Songwriters’ Fest- I

Key West Songwriters’ Fest- I

Photobucket Jamey Johnson

“But there's nothing wrong with Nashville
There ain't nothing wrong with pickin' out in the sticks
There isn't nothing wrong with rolling in the cashville
There isn't nothing wrong that we can't fix in the mix”
-Todd Snider


Photobucket Katie Armiger

I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of contemporary Country music. The music industry in Nashville seems to be in the business of creating American Idol style singers and much of the music tends toward over-produced pop music rather than the traditional Country & Western sound that I prefer. Hearing this, one might assume that the 14th annual Key West Songwriters’ Festival which features many of the songwriters who write the very Country hit which lack appeal to me. The strange irony is that I absolutely love it.

Photobucket Jason White, John Paul White & Jaida Dreyer

Photobucket Kylie Sackley & David Lee

Photobucket Kim Carnes & Tim Nichols

The over 140 songwriters featured at this years’ fest show up for a week of camaraderie, singing, drinking and performing, generally with only an acoustic guitar. To hear them perform their often familiar songs along with the back story on how they were written and why is something truly special indeed. And hearing the stripped down acoustic versions of songs as they were originally created made me appreciate that any issue I have with what is coming out of Nashville these days, has nothing to do with the actual songs that are the heart of the music.

Photobucket Trevor & Nadene

Photobucket John Paul White


The festival is produced by our friends Charlie Bauer, Nadene Grossman and Dani Holliday and under their guidance has grown into the premier event of its kind in the nation. Sponsored by the likes of BMI, Better Angels Music Group and a host of others, the fest attracts all the top talent working in Nashville today. Spread over 5 days at a host of the best venues in Key West, there is ample opportunity to see the songwriters perform, but it is virtually impossible to see them all- so you have to choose as best you can.

Photobucket Dani & Trevor

Scotty Emerick & Paul Overstreet

This year, Kathy & I bought tickets for the two big shows at the San Carlos as well as the Saturday night concert at the Ocean Key House, but one of the great things about the festival is that the majority of the shows are free. There was so much going on that I plan to break up my KWSF postings to try and cover as much as possible of one of the coolest annual Key West events.

Photobucket Scotty Emerick & Paul Overstreet

Photobucket Rob

KWSF Website