In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Singer-Songwriter Kyle Coulahan.

We talk about how he decided to leave the game of football as an NFL hopeful, to pursue his real dream as a Singer-Songwriter.

Kyle spoke about the mentor that helped get him on his way, in a way that you can tell he missed having him around. Our interview went a little short because Kyle didn’t want to miss his friend Arlis perform, which anchors home what a great man and friend he really is.

MORE ON KYLE

When he was young, Kyle Coulahan’s father introduced him to an old Alvarez guitar and he’s been hooked ever since. Growing up in Perdido Key, Florida, Kyle split his free time between playing football and practicing on the guitar.  During Kyle’s senior year of high school, he was offered a full scholarship to play football at Auburn University, and there he met producer Chip Moman (Waylon Jennings, Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, and many more). Chip recognized a talent in Kyle that he could see growth over the years, so he introduced  Kyle to Nashville where he would write, record and network with others within the music Industry. Shortly after graduation, Kyle decided to pack his bags and guitar and relocate to Nashville to chase his dreams of becoming a professional songwriter and performer. 

Kyle’s influences of music range from BB King, Vince Gill to Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney.  Kyle’s music is Country with a splash of whiskey and tequila.  Kyle has recently signed with given Music Publishing and produced an EP of his own songs called Pirates and Gypsies, and his new single called She Quit Me.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kylecoulahan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bigcoul

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kylecoulahan

Apple Music: https://www.apple.com/us/search/kyle-coulahan?src=globalnav

In this exclusive interview, Mark Baratto sits down with Rapper and Singer of the Dirty Heads, Jared Watson (aka Dirty J).

This interview happened 30 minutes before the band went on stage for the beginning of their national tour, down here at the Key West Amphitheater.

It may have been short, but for those fans out there, we touched on the bands origin story and their beginnings.

It may have been short, but for those fans out there, we touched on the bands origin story and their beginnings.

This episode is brought to you by the Backyards of Key West Gallery

Looking for local Key West art?  We’ve got you covered!  

More on the Dirty Heads

Following in the footsteps of their California brothers Sublime, Huntington Beach’s Dirty Heads mix hip-hop, reggae, and rock along with that laid-back South Cali attitude. The group formed in 2003 when punk rocker Dustin Bushnell (aka Duddy B) asked his friend, rapper Jared Watson (aka Dirty J), to collaborate on a project that would focus on positive vibes and infectious grooves. Watson added singing to his vocal skills, and with percussionist Jon Olazabal, an acoustic trio version of Dirty Heads began playing shows and building an audience. 

They soon hooked up with producer Rob Cavallo and headed into the studio to record their debut album for Warner Bros., but differences with the label had them looking for other opportunities. Still, the band was able to retain most of its work, including sessions with drummer Josh Freese, along with the late-Beatles collaborator Billy Preston in one of the keyboardist’s last recordings. The finished album, Any Port in a Storm, would arrive in 2008, with a deluxe edition following in 2010. The deluxe version featured the track “Lay Me Down” with special guest Rome Ramirez of Sublime with Rome. The song would top Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart just before the summer of 2010. 

They followed up two years later with Cabin by the Sea and later recorded an acoustic version of the title track. This, in turn, led to an entire acoustic album in 2013 called Home: Phantoms of Summer. Dirty Heads’ next album, Sound of Change, would prove to be a breakthrough for the now-veteran band, debuting at number eight on the Billboard Top 200 while topping the Independent and Alternative Albums charts upon its May 2014 release. 

Building on their renewed success, Dirty Heads enlisted a bevy of industry hitmakers to work on their self-titled 2016 follow-up, which — thanks to its mainstream appeal — again charted high on the Billboard Top 200. The following year saw the band drop its sixth studio album, Swim Team, featuring the singles “Vacation” and “Staloney.” Also included on the album was the track “So Glad You Made It,” featuring 311’s Nick Hexum. The single “Listen to Me” arrived in early 2019 and was later included on Dirty Heads’ Dave Cobb-produced seventh album Super Moon. ~ David Jeffries, Rovi

Website: https://www.dirtyheads.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dirtyheads

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DirtyHeads

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dirtyheads

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/DirtyHeads

Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/artist/6GkJh85o22LfD2vgL9DP6f?play=true&utm_source=open.spotify.com&utm_medium=open

Apple iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/dirty-heads/id287941061

Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/preview/As2zqtl4npvdfmp3q2a7pwkyh3a?u=0#

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with singer-songwriter Cliff Cody.

We talk about how he went from bouncer to songwriter to give it a shot in Nashville.  With nothing lucrative insight and family life calling, Cliff gave up music and moved to his wife’s hometown in Ohio.  

After many nights staring at his guitar sitting in the corner, Cliff picked up that 6 string again to give it one more shot, (with a little motivation from his wife), and the rest is now history!

More on Cliff Cody

Working as a bouncer at a West Texas honky-tonk, Cliff Cody’s life changed forever when the waitress dared him to sing at Karaoke Night. Lucky for Cliff, a band was in the audience looking for a lead singer. They offered Cliff the job that night. The next day he bought a guitar, a week later he had written his first song and 6 months after that, he moved to Nashville.  

After living in Nashville for 4 years with little success, Cliff went back to school and became an RN. While at a songwriter’s retreat in Wyoming, he met his songwriting hero—D. Vincent Williams and he told Cliff something that would change his path. “Whatever “it” is, you’ve got it and I don’t think you even realize it.” That was the encouragement he needed and in 2005 Cliff signed his first publishing contract with EMI/Sony Music.

“Chasin Whiskey” was Cliff’s first cut and recognized as a highlight of Julie Roberts’ album “Men and Mascara” by Rolling Stone Magazine. Cliff’s second cut was “Glad You’re Gone”, a song he co-wrote with the members of Halfway to Hazard David Tolliver and Chad Warrix.  He co-wrote “Gotta Go to Heaven” with artist Josh Thompson and co-wrote the first single on D. Vincent Williams’ freshman album, “Down by the River.”  Since first playing the Key West Songwriters Festival 12 years ago, Cliff has become a favorite and regular performer in the Keys. He has opened for Dwight Yoakam, Gary Allen, Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser, Phil Vasser, Aaron Lewis, Blackberry Smoke, David Allan Coe, Parmalee, Tracey Lawrence, Travis Tritt, The Charlie Daniels Band, Chris Young, Justin Moore, Ashley McBride and many more. Cliff made the Top 15 national finalists on the ABC talent Show “Rising Star” and wrote a song for the book, “The Shoe-Burnin’ – Stories of Southern Soul” available on Amazon. His soulful voice and story telling style of writing has helped Cliff build a loyal following. He makes fast friends and forever fans and once you hear him, you become both.

Cliff met his wife Amy at the legendary Bluebird Cafe and they married in 1998. They live in a log cabin with their 125 pound rescue dog–Bronx in the hills of Appalachian Ohio. They are enormously proud of their only child, Veronica who is an honor student at Ohio Wesleyan University—who doesn’t call home nearly enough. 

Where to find Cliff

Website: https://www.cliffcody.com

Where he’s playing: https://www.cliffcody.com/calendar

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cliffcody

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Key West local musician Jason Lamson.

We talk about how he got started in the business, where he is at in his career, where he plays regularly, and where he is headed.

More on Jason Lamson

Soul-filling, southern vocalist fusing island style, down-home soul, and a touch of funky personality to create a unique sound filling the streets of Key West.

Jason Lamson Key West

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jlamsonmusic

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jlamsonmusic

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with the musically talented husband and wife dynamic duo, Cole Michael Porter and Kendra Porter.

We talk about how they got started in the business, how they met, and how they are able to separate music and their career from everyday life.

More on the Porter Union Band

Porter Union, led by husband and wife, Cole Michael Porter and Kendra Porter, is the result of the two old souls spending the better part of the last decade traveling the country together to play their music everywhere from the dive bars and honky-tonks to festivals and theaters. When you hear the story of Cole and Kendra meeting in a hometown bar, falling in love while writing and playing together, it sounds like a fairy tale built by corporate music row. Luckily, that’s where the comparison stops – you won’t find overproduced, cliche-filled songs here. Their honest approach to songwriting combines raw emotional themes with a traditional country sound to bring the listener into the story. It’s no surprise they’ve shared a stage with a variety of notable artists including many of their own heroes.

Porter Union was recently selected by Travis Tritt as a contestant on REAL COUNTRY on USA Network. 

Website: https://www.theporterunion.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/porterunion/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/porterunion

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PorterUnion

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Singer, songwriter, and all-around cool guy, Arlis Albritton.

We talked about his journey and how he got started in music (hint, it was the mailroom), navigating the Nashville writing scene, and how he is expanding his talent into the festival arena, with the St. Augustine Songwriters Festival:  http://staugustinesongwritersfestival.com

More on Arlis

Arlis started writing full time, getting numerous cuts on acts like Julie Roberts, Keith Anderson, Jeff Bates, Halfway To Hazard and John Michael Montgomery to name a few. More recently Luke Bryan cut “Too Damn Young” on Luke’s triple-platinum album Tailgates and Tanlines. Arlis also had the honor of co-producing his song “Good Morning Sunrise” on Jamey Johnson’s Grammy and ACM nominated album. Arlis saw some chart success with “Won’t Be Lonely Long” by Josh Thompson, reaching number 25 on the Billboard charts. Arlis’s songs have been placed in Nissan commercials as well as the television show “The Voice”

Websitehttp://arlisalbritton.com

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/arlisalbritton

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/arlis.albritton

New Music: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1psqQliDkawXBWBTnoB6wi

In this episode, Mark Baratto sings down with musician Joal Rush to talk about his musical origin story (more than 20 years ago), the time he puts into his music, and where he is headed.

We recorded this podcast for the Songwriters Podcast many months before the COVID-19 lockdown.

More on Joal Rush

Born & raised in Camden, South Carolina, Joal Rush began his musical quest at an early age(singing, drumming, playing guitar & bass, as well as dabbling on piano), and has been performing live for the past two decades, sharing the stage with nationally renowned artists Zac Brown Band, Jason Isbell, Darius Rucker, Lee Brice, Shovels & Rope, Sister Hazel, Drivin’ n Cryin’, Edwin McCain, Jay Clifford(Jump, Little Children), Jakob Dylan, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Styx, and Foreigner, while releasing a handful of albums along the way(Delightful Things, Imagination, Wares).

Rush relocated to Nashville, TN in the summer of 2014, to focus on writing/recording the songs for his upcoming album, Kaleidoscope Emotions. Joal Rush uniquely blends influences of Folk/Pop/Rock & Soul, to create a style all his own.

Website: http://www.joalrush.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joalrush

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joalrush 

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/JoalRushMusic

**NOTE** This episode was recorded in November 2019 and published on my other podcast, The Songwriters Podcast.

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with singer, songwriter, guitarists, storyteller, sailor and road warrior, Scott Kirby.

We talk about his long career as a musician, and where he goes for writing inspiration, and how a little bit of luck took him a long way.

More on Scott

Website: https://www.scottkirby.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/scottkirbykeywest/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scottkirby.keywest

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, storyteller, sailor and road warrior are all words that aptly describe Scott Kirby. Writing songs for a new CD, performing 150 live shows a year throughout the US and Canada, and holding down the stage at his own club—Key West’s Smokin’ Tuna Saloon—keep the barnacles off this modern-day troubadour.

A creative lyricist and accomplished finger-style acoustic guitarist with an expressive voice, Kirby describes himself as a direct descendant of the ’70s singer/songwriter movement. His very first 45 was a Beatles record, and he came of musical age listening to James Taylor and other great songwriters of that era. He has never received any formal musical training but often credits Taylor with teaching him how to play the acoustic guitar. “If it weren’t for the hundreds of solitary hours in my room in Concord, New Hampshire, with a guitar and a James Taylor book, I never would have learned to play,” says Kirby. Speaking of New Hampshire and musical influences, let’s not forget fellow New Hampshire native Tom Rush who was taking the folk scene by storm in Kirby’s formative years. Coincidentally, Kirby connected with both of these artists in Key West 30 years later, which is a whole other story.

After a few years in high school bands and a stint in his early 20s as a bass guitarist with a group, Kirby drifted away from music and became immersed in a career in politics: managing campaigns, writing and producing radio and TV ads, and overseeing the office of a leader in the New Hampshire legislature. He was also guitarless for eight years! In 1988, however, after tiring of the political rat race and the length and severity of New England winters, he bought a new guitar, relentlessly practiced his chops, and planned his escape. Six months later Kirby was living in Key West and performing five nights a week on a balmy beach facing the Gulf of Mexico.

Kirby started writing songs after some inspirational late-night words from legendary songwriter Shel Silverstein and further encouragement from Peter Mayer, who had just joined the Coral Reefer Band. A year later he found himself recording his first CD, Too Damn Yankee, in Jimmy Buffett’s Shrimpboat Sound Studio with Peter and Jim Mayer and Roger Guth. “This was a very lucky break for me, but I was in a bit over my head,” says Kirby. “Peter, Jim and Roger were incredibly patient with me and it was a fantastic learning experience.”

Between 1993 and 2006, Kirby continued to write new material and recorded four more CDs with Key West producer/engineer Dan Simpson. In 2008 luck struck again when famed drummer/producer Russ Kunkel offered to produce Kirby’s Row Me Home CD at his studio in Los Angeles. “Next thing I know I’m cutting my songs in the Hollywood Hills with Russ, bassist Leland Sklar and guitarist Dean Parks and feeling like the luckiest guy in the world.”

Speaking of luck, Kirby’s wistful ballad “Lucky Enough” struck a chord with listeners on Sirius/XM Radio Margaritaville, which exposed his music to more markets around the country and led to his current touring schedule through 35 states each year. He continues to receive regular airplay on the station.

Kirby joined a group of friends in 2011 to open the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon, a 200-seat bar and music venue in Key West where Kirby performs often in winter months. The Tuna is also host to the Key West Songwriter’s Festival. The festival is in its 20th year and has exploded into the largest event of its kind in the country, featuring more than 150 songwriters every year.

In 2013 Kirby released his seventh CD, Sol Searching, a collaboration with producer/engineer/musician Lew London. “Lew was great to work with as he’s so multi-talented,” says Kirby. “He performed for years with Steve Goodman and is such a fine songwriter in his own right that he really understands how to build a sound around acoustically based songs.”

Scott  Kirby’s latest CD, Chasing Hemingway’s Ghost, was recorded with and produced by Matt and Andy Thompson in their studio in Nashville and released in 2017.

When it comes to songwriting, Kirby respects authenticity and counts on everyday life and his coastal roots for much of his inspiration. “I don’t wake up every day thinking about writing the next commercial hit,” says Kirby. “Songwriting for me is about telling stories, expressing emotions, and commentary on things I may find funny or absurd.”

Over the years Kirby has shared the stage with some of his favorite artists: Carole King, Jimmy Buffett, Livingston Taylor, Tom Rush, Mac McAnally, Peter Mayer and others. When not on the road or performing in Key West, Kirby splits his time between Livingston, Montana, and the coast of New Hampshire where he can often be found sailing, a lifelong passion of this descendant of Newfoundland fishermen.

Yes, Scott Kirby is—as he readily admits—lucky enough.

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Key West local Nick Norman to talk about where he started, and where he is going.

We find out how he got started with music and how he is constantly working to “sharpen the sword” of his craft.

This is one of my favorite interviews so far because Nick is so easy to talk to and talks about his career as an open book. 

More on Nick Norman

Immediately recognizable, Nick is known for two distinctive gifts: his soulful voice and infectious smile. It’s hard to imagine that as a young boy he was told he would never be good enough to sing in the church’s youth ensemble in Columbia, South Carolina where he grew up. Today he is truly the man with a golden voice; a talented singer/songwriter who delights his audiences with soulful and inspirational performances. 

It was during his childhood when Nick first acquired his passion for music; his father played guitar, while his mother encouraged him to write. Attending Baptist church exposed him to the awe-inspiring power of the choir. “It was how I first learned that you can truly make people feel what you feel, by believing in what you are singing. They sang from their hearts and that is something I believe that cannot be faked.”

As a young man listening to South Carolina’s emerging musicians of the time, such as Edwin McCain and Hootie and the Blowfish, he was also drawing from the styles of legendary artists including Stevie Wonder and The Band. Inspired by an eclectic array of influences Nick created a sound all his own.

Branching out from his home state he performed on stages all over the southeast, eventually finding his way to the Southernmost City of Key West in 2006. As his solo acoustic shows were drawing crowds, Nick’s songwriting was steadily being fueled by the artistic vibe of the island blending with his native southern roots.  

In 2010,  Nick collaborated with longtime friends Jon Stone & Lee Brice resulting in the recording of his first studio album Hey Cheater. This heartfelt album gave fans a raw look into the personal hardships of Nick’s life by putting his heart on his sleeve in songs such as  “Libba Don’t Call” and “Varela St”. Quickly becoming a Key West anthem, “Good Whiskey” can be heard by local musicians throughout Key West on any given evening. 

He has performed his original music on stages across the country that include City Winery, The Filmore, Listening Room Nashville, Key West Theater, Rams Head, Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Melody Tent and Island Time Music Festival. He has opened for acts such as Lee Brice, Lee Ann Womack, Edwin McCain, The Wailers, and The Doobie Brothers and founded the highly sought after “Sunday Ramble” concert that features local Key West musicians.

Website: https://www.nicknormanmusic.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicknormanmusic

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicknormanmusic