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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!

Friday, April 01, 2016

The Key’s in the Conch Shell

March 26, 2016

Kenny Chesney

Rusted Root

The Key’s in the Conch Shell

As the busy tourist season in the Keys winds down, we who live here get to enjoy the last few big events that happen during this time of year, before things locally begin to quiet down as Spring turns to Summer. This means that what has been a stellar season of local theatre winds down, the frequency of musical acts drops significantly and the crowds begin to thin out around town. Of course there are always a few last minute surprises and this year is no exception.

It is no secret that Country Music has taken on a Carribbean feel the past decade or so, I believe this is in large measure to the large amount of songwriters and singers who come here each year for the amazing Key West Songwriter’s Festival, but for whatever reason there has been a proliferation of Country acts that have come to love the Keys and come to visit with some frequency as well. Just this week we had appearances by Jake Owen, Eric Church and Kenny Chesney.

Kenny Chesney


In fact Chesney again played one of his so called “Keg Shows” at Sloppy Joe’s bar. He has played a secret show here every few years for about a decade and this was his third appearance at Sloppy Joe’s. Unlike his previous visits, this show was announced a couple of days in advance which lead to massive crowds lining the streets with lines about three blocks long when the doors at Sloppy’s opened at 10 AM for the 5 PM show.

Chesney uses this small, intimate shows to prep his band for the large arena tour that will ne happening this spring and Key West is fortunate to be the selected location once again. This year he had Eric Church join him on stage to play a few songs as well as having his buddy Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on hand once again. Last time he played Sloppy’s he had Earnhardt and NFL legend Peyton Manning join him on-stage, with Manning even coaxed to sing a few numbers.

Rusted Root

Chesney was not the only musical act to play Key West this week, the band Rusted Root played a pair of shows at the Key West Theater and Kathy and I had front row center seats at our usual table for the fantastic show. Rusted Root made it big with their release “When I Woke” back in 1994. The Pittsburgh based rock outfit had a big hit with their song, “Send Me On My Way” and has somehow managed to survive since then playing the jam-band circuit and continuously touring even though they have not since matched that early success.

Kathy, Beth and Emily

Their two night stop in Key West is part of the Key West Theater’s initiative to bring higher quality, more well-known music to town and it worked as both shows were sold out to happy raucous crowds that loved the high energy, well performed music. Touring together for more than twenty years has made the band tight and they sounded really great in the small venue. I thought the show got off to a slightly slow start, but built momentum to the point that by the conclusion they were hitting all the right notes.

Beth and Michael

Jeff Clark and Miguel Perez

Sitting in the front row, I managed to snag a drum stick and a guitar pick, which was pretty cool. Overall it was a really fun night out. Kathy and I enjoyed another great night when we went to see the performance of “The Producers” at the Waterfront Playhouse. It was a wonderful and fun show that featured a number of our friends in the Mel Brooks play. The story concerns two theatrical producers who scheme to get rich by overselling interests in a Broadway flop. Their plans go awry when the play, a hysterical send-up of the Nazis becomes a huge hit.

* photo by Larry Blackburn

* photo by Larry Blackburn

The play is great and this production has had an almost completely sold-out run at the Waterfront. Kudos especially to the wonderfully talented star Tom Luna who proved yet again why he is one of Key West’s finest actors. The rest of the week was not uneventful, we had a quick, but great visit from our friend Kali, who has moved from Key West to Colorado to become a college professor but returned for a quick spring break weekend visit. It was great to see her and fantastic to see how well she is doing out in Colorado. We also managed to sneak in a visit to an art opening at the Lemonade Stand gallery which featured a show of small works by a variety of local artists. There always seem to be choices of fun things to do here.

Kathy, Michael and Kali


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