Any time we travel out of the Keys, we say we’re going “off the Rock.” This chain of islands we exist on is a delicate string of saltwater pearls made of coral rock and mostly limestone. It takes a little more than 2 1/2 hours to travel from Key West to Key Largo, then to the “18-mile stretch” of highway bordered by blue barriers until you get to the upper part of Card Sound Road, the Last Chance Saloon and Florida City. Beyond is Miami to the east and the Everglades to the west.
Leaving the Keys is a lot like leaving Narnia and reentering the real world. Driving the interstate is maniacal and frightening. Enormous shopping centers are unheard of through the Keys so on the mainland we can go to places like Ikea and Target, among others. Before Key West got their Taco Bell back people would go on runs to the mainland just to bring back chalupas for their friends. Returning to the Keys is a relief from the rat race even with the usual shopping and dining limitations.
Recently my partner Key West Chris and I traveled to the mainland to play a couple of house concerts. We are testing the waters by going farther afield to perform and, so far, it’s been a great experience. Many of our friends live in Florida and come out to see us. This past weekend we played Art & Darlene’s house, known as Destination D’Arts, and also J & L’s Lei Low which is the home of Jesse and Linda Harrison. Playing house concerts is an intimate and fun experience whether you have a packed house or a small appreciative group. Basically a house concert is just that. Kind folks open up their home to you, invite their friends, and you play music for them. Usually there is a potluck and something for charity. Check into if you have any in your area. They are great fun.
In May we will be traveling back to SW Florida to play at Common Grounds Meeting Hall in North Port May 20th, and “Vinny and Moe’s Lobstaritaville” in Cape Coral May 21st. In June 16th we will be at The Habitat in Bradenton for the first time with our friends B-Man & Mi-shell. On June 17th we will be at Diablo Creek in Englewood with them as well. Danny Lynn of Tiki Man Radio will also be there broadcasting live.
Besides playing music we also get to spend time with our wonderful friends who are the most amazing, hospitable people you can imagine. We head back to the Rock with happy memories. It’s about the only reason we don’t mind leaving the Keys for the madness of the mainland.
Thanks to Terri Hood for the photo above. She performs under the name “Toes in the Sand.”
Visit my website for more information on where you can see me perform.