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Two Amazing Nights in Key West !

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The Carter Brothers are back in Key West, and if their first two of a planned seven performances here at the legednary Hog’s Breath Saloon are any indication, it is going to be an incredible and historic week.  Not only are they playing great, as some of you noted on the HogCam last night, but some of their greatest fans from around the country are here or en route. Jan 2016 photo of band

The weather has been a bit chilly, though nothing like the mid-40s that we experienced about five years back.  Still, with temperatures dropping at night to the low 60s and even the upper 50s, it’s interesting to see the contrast between the locals who are all bundled up and the tourists from up north who continue wearing shorts and T-shirts! 

Sunday night some of the faithful started to gather at the Smokin Tuna Saloon as Randy Morrow and Claire Finley were playing.  It’s great to see Randy and Christine West back from Michigan for a week with the Carter Brothers after a long gap, and they surprised us by showing up for this show. 

Their occasional appearances on the dance floor these past two nights when the Carter Brothers were playing brought smiles to many faces, including my own.  (Speaking of smiles on faces, it was great to see super-fan Gay Dougherty back on the dance floor ripping it up when the band closed the first set with Copperhead Road, joined by stalwarts Emalyn Mercer, Sally Galbraith, Gail Hardy and more!)

One of the big highlights of the first night, beyond the band just getting through two sets after waking up in the Tennessee cold, flying to Fort Lauderdale and then driving to Key West from there, was Danny bringing out his old song “Big Red Tractor,” which the hard core fans loved.  I remember when I was just getting to know Danny in 2007 and I asked him by email about the song and he explained how it was about his childhood fantasy of taking his red tricycle (or some such) and driving it to and on the moon.  I must say, for musicians as successful and talented as Danny and Tim, they are super accessible to their fans! 

At the end of the set we were treated to some of Danny’s greatest original songs, such as Green River, Shelby Street, and Shacktown Road.  They also played Tim’s masterpiece “Waltz for Earl” which is a tribute to the late Earl Scruggs, followed by (as is now their habit) a rousing version of “Cluck Old Hen.”  For a Monday night the crowd was large and enthusiastic, especially up until midnight.  A bunch of the fans who stayed until the end and helped clean up enjoyed pizza together during a low-key after-party.  

On Tuesday, the large crowd included tourists from France who bought CD after CD, old fans who took advantage of the fact that we got a fresh shipment of blue Carter Brothers T-shirts and bought two, and noted night owl Candace Estep who came by and took me out for a fun dance and her companion, a bluegrass lover named (I am not kidding) Carter, out for one final spin when the band closed with “Pig In A Pen.”

jan 2016 photo 2I have always lost track of which songs the band plays each night, especially since their set list varies so much.  But I wrote down most of the songs in order last night for once.  I probably missed 2 or 3 but here goes, for those who are curious:

First Set: Fatback (which got the crowd hopping!), Road to Roosky, Child of the Wild Blue Yonder (boy people loved dancing to that!), Mr. Spaceman (thanks for the dance, Gail!), Salt Creek, Moonlight Midnight, Take A Whiff on Me, Ain’t Ever Satisfied, What Does the Deep Sea Say, Cry Love, and Copperhead Road (wild dance floor for the last two as you can imagine).

Second Set: Waltz for Earl, Cluck Old Hen, Sin, [Forgot the one that came here!], Woman at the Well, The Waiting (thanks for the dance, Candace!), Shacktown Road (where was super-fan Cindy Walker?), Green River, Man Gave Names to All the Animals (a Bob Dylan song Tim is now singing, and it sounds great), and Pig in a Pen.

We have a lots of great fans coming in the next two days including Joan Robbins, Diane Jackman and her husband Don, my mother and step-father, and Cindy Walker, just to name a few.  So get your seatbelts on, team – and please do join via the HogCam if you can’t be here in person, and send us messages when you hear great music or see silly behavior!  

--Prepared by Alex Counts, President, Carter Brothers Fan Club

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