In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with two of the most well-known songwriters in Nashville; Craig Wisman and Lee Thomas Miller.

If you are an aspiring songwriter or musician, this episode is filled with so much wisdom, that it’s a can’t miss.

We discuss their writing process and how they pump out over 100 songs per year… year after year.

Between them, they have 33 # 1 songs, winning a number of industry awards, and have written songs for some of country music’s top artists like Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Dolly Parton, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Brian Kelley, Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins, Terri Clark, Jamey Johnson, Chris Stapleton… the list goes on and on!

Be on the listen for a little jam session by Craig Wiseman on the guitar after the closing music… ENJOY!

Reach out to Craig here:


Big Loud Publishing





Reach out to Lee here: 



More on Craig Wiseman

Craig Wiseman is one of country music’s most renowned, talented and distinguished writers. From his early days of writing and drumming in Hattiesburg, Mississippi to being crowned Songwriter of the Century by ASCAP, he has indeed created for himself a monumental platform in the history of country music. As the writer of songs including Brooks and Dunn’s “Believe” to Blake Shelton’s “Boys ‘Round Here”, Wiseman has amassed over 350 cuts, 125 singles, and 27 #1’s.

After moving to Nashville in 1985 to pursue a career in songwriting, he received his first chart success after having co-written “The Only One” from Roy Orbison’s album, Mystery Girl. In 1990, Wiseman signed his first publishing deal with Almo/Irving Music, and ten years later, he signed with BMG Music Publishing. In 2003, Wiseman opened his own publishing company, and within the first year of the independent company’s operation, Wiseman experienced the first single of the catalog; “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw not only peaked at the top of the charts for ten weeks, but it also was named NSAI Song of the Year, CMA Song of the Year, ACM Song of the Year and won the Grammy Award for Best Country Song. In 2012, Wiseman co-founded Big Loud’s management division, the launchpad of Florida Georgia Line, followed by Big Loud Records in 2015.

Wiseman’s success has continued to escalate at exponential levels throughout the years. He was proclaimed ASCAP’s “Songwriter of the Year” in 2003, 2005, and 2007 in addition to being named “Writer of the Year” by NSAI and Music Row in 1997. In 2009, he received the impressive honor of NSAI’s “Songwriter of the Decade” and won the 2014 Heritage Award from ASCAP as the most performed country songwriter of the century. Following those years of success, hard work & accomplishments, Wiseman was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in October of 2015. In 2017, Wiseman was honored with a CMA Triple Play Award for FGL’s “Anything Goes” & Blake Shelton’s “Gonna” & “Came Here To Forget.”

Although his accomplishments are nothing less than extraordinary, Wiseman’s talents and endeavors extend far beyond the field of songwriting. As a complement to Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying”, Wiseman co-wrote a book with the same title, which topped the New York Times Best Seller list in 2004. Additionally, he co-wrote the book A Baby Changes Everything in 2008, in conjunction with Faith Hill’s #1 single. The following year, Wiseman starred in a reality TV show, The Hitmen of Music Row, which aired on GAC.

For the past 15 years, Wiseman has hosted The Stars of Second Harvest Show at the Ryman, showing his philanthropic heart and giving all proceeds to the Second Harvest Food Bank Of Middle Tennessee. To date, this musical event has raised more than $1.5 million for the food bank.

Craig’s Instagram:

Big Loud Publishing





More on Lee Thomas Miller


3 Time Grammy Award Nominee:

2003 Grammy nomination: 

“The Impossible” (Joe Nichols) Country Song of the Year:

2009 Double Grammy nomination:

“You’re Gonna Miss This”(Trace Adkins)-  Country Song of the Year

“In Color” (Jamey Johnson)- Country Song of the Year

Music Row Magazine: Breakthrough Songwriter of the year 2003

Awarded one of NSAI’s  ‘Ten Songs I Wish I Had Written’ 2003: “The Impossible”

Awarded one of NSAI’s  ‘Ten Songs I Wish I Had Written’ 2008: “You’re Gonna Miss This”

Won Song of the Year at the 2008 NSAI awards for “You’re Gonna Miss This”

Nominated for Song of the Year at 2008 CMA awards for “You’re Gonna Miss This”

2009 Double ACM Nominee: “You’re Gonna Miss This” and “In Color” for Song of the Year.

Won Song of the Year at the 2009 ACM awards for “In Color”

Won Music Row Magazine’s 2009 Song of the Year  for  “In Color”

Awarded one of NSAI’s  ‘Ten Songs I Wish I Had Written’ 2009: “In Color”

Won Song of the Year at the 2009 CMA awards for “In Color”

Awarded BMI’s inaugural “Champion’s Award” 2015

Nominated for Song of the Year at the 2018 ACM awards for “Whiskey and You”

#1 Country Singles:

“The Impossible” (Joe Nichols)**
“I Just Wanna Be Mad” 
(Terri Clark)**
“The World” 
(Brad Paisley)**
“You’re Gonna Miss This” 
(Trace Adkins)*
“I’m Still A Guy” (Brad Paisley)
“Southern Girl” (Tim McGraw)
“Perfect Storm” 
(Brad Paisley)

(*received BMI Million Play Award)
(**received BMI 2 Million Play Award)
Other top 10 singles:

“It Aint My Fault” (Brothers Osborne) #9
Crushin’ It” (Brad Paisley) #7
“In Color”  (Jamey Johnson) #7
“Nothing To Die For” (Tim McGraw)  #5
“Jesus In Disguise” (Brandon Heath)  #8
Just A Girl” (Brandon Heath) #8

Other top 20 singles:

“Something To Do With My Hands” (Thomas Rhett) #15
“Crying On A Suitcase” (Casey James) #14
“Leaving Eden” (Brandon Heath) #17

Cuts include:

Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley, Josh Turner, Brad Paisley, Joe Nichols, Terri Clark, John Michael Montgomery, Sammy Kershaw, Andy Griggs, Tracy Byrd, Tracy Lawrence, Randy Travis, Rhett Akins, Blue County, Billy Currington, Craig Morgan, The Wreckers, Chris Young, Blackhawk, Mark Wills

Production credits include  Curb recording artist Steve Holy including the 2006 #1 single: “Brand New Girlfriend” and 2010 top 20 single “Love Don’t Run”



In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Real Estate Broker Associate Krystal Thomas.

We talk about everything from the state of the market in Key West, home buying ranging from under $500K to $1.5M+, the different neighborhoods, rental prices, how to rent out your home, and codes to look out for.

If you are thinking about purchasing real estate in Key West, this is the episode for you!

More about Krystal Thomas

Key West and The Florida Keys are my passion. As an agent with Preferred Properties, I provide a wealth of local Key West knowledge, real estate and vacation rental market experience, and an unbeatable client experience. I decided to make Key West my home in 2006 and consider it a privilege to live and work where others vacation.

As an agent my focus is assisting you in the purchase of the best property for your investment needs, island home, or both!I have over 11 years of experience in Real Estate, including 6 years of Key West real estate and vacation rental market experience. As a graduate of Florida State University and former research manager for a commercial real estate research company, I promise to combine my education and work experience with my passion for Key West and will be an invaluable asset to you in the sale or purchase of your Key West home.

Krystal Thomas Real Estate



Email: [email protected]

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Stephen Kitsakos, Opera creator, stage director and Artist Advisory Council for The Studios of Key West.

We talk about his career in NYC and how he made it down to Key West.

More on Stephen Kitsakos

STEPHEN KITSAKOS is an opera librettist and stage director. With the American composer, Sheila Silver, he wrote libretti for The Wooden Sword, winner of the Sackler Prize for Composition (World Premiere 2009), The White Rooster for the Smithsonian Institution (World Premiere 2010), and A Thousand Splendid Suns, adapted from the international bestselling novel by Khaled Hosseini, commissioned by the Seattle Opera (World Premiere scheduled 2022, previously presented by the National Opera Center New Works Forum). With the composer Martin Hennessy he wrote the opera-theatre one-act operas, An Incident in Sutton Place & The Woman in Penthouse A (World Premiere 2020) & the upcoming  The Pleasing Recollection (2021) and A Fairy Tale (2021). Other opera & music projects include The Other Voice with Robert Starer & Gail Godwin, Ashokan with Greg Allen & The Woodstock Cycle. Kitsakos is the recipient of grants or commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Commission on the Arts, the Florida Council on the Arts, the Catskill Watershed Commission, the Episcopal Diocese of New York, the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, NYFA and American Opera Projects.

His work as a stage director concentrates on new works with established and emerging playwrights and includes Smithtown by Drew Larimore starring Michael Urie, Ann Harada, Colby Lewis & Constance Shulman, The Thing About Pipecleaner People by Drew Larimore with Constance Shulman, Anne by Adi Eshman, Red Masquerade by Jack Wade, and Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Hurry? by Eric Weinberger. Since 2018, he has focused on both directing and engaging in scholarly research for the lesser, unknown and experimental one-act plays of Tennessee Williams including Lifeboat Drill, Kingdom of Earth, Green Eyes The Traveling Companion as an Artistic Associate of the Tennessee Williams Key West Museum. 

A graduate of New York University and the BMI Musical Theater Workshop, between 1999 & 2013 he was a member of the Theatre Arts Faculty at SUNY New Paltz in New York’s Hudson Valley teaching courses in theatre studies, musical theater and performance as well as at Shantigar,the spiritual retreat of playwright Jean-Claude van Italie, and at Kripalu. During that time he was a contributing writer for The Sondheim Review and ABC-CLIO’s Music in American Life. Professional affiliations include a librettist member of Opera America, the Dramatists Guild, and a writer member of ASCAP. His experience as an opera-theatre writer has informed his approach to directing and his approach to directing has informed his writing libretti for the opera stage.

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter James T. Slater to talk about how he got started, and where he is headed in his amazing career.

More on James T. Slater

James is a two time, grammy nominated, piano-playing, bilingual singer-songwriter of Bolivian American descent signed to BMG Music Publishing/Nashville with songs recorded by everyone from Carrie Underwood to Tim McGraw to Willie Nelson and Kenny Chesney.






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


Where he’s playing:


In this episode of the show, Mark Baratto sits down with Jenny Lorenz and Emily Nixon, the women behind the Local Life Media agency.

We talk about how they got started and how they are helping local Key West businesses go from the unknown to socially outgoing 😉

More on The Local Life Media KW


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



In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with coffee connoisseur and barista Kaia, in the Backyards of Key West Gallery.

We talk about how she got into coffee, why she does everything by hand with no electricity, and why she only uses the best natural ingredients to get the best coffee.

More on Kaia’s Coffee Cart

Love for coffee and sustainability brought this amazing idea together. All off-grid cart, delicious organic coffee, environmentally-friendly supplies, plant-based ingredients. Kaia’s passion for healthy living transformed into something magical.

Coffee here takes time. Every cup is prepared by Kaia with love and care. Manually made espresso, delicious pour-over, daily made iced coffee or iced latte with choice of organic Oat milk or organic Soy milk. Option of organic syrups. Doesn’t matter which one you pick, you will love them all.





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.