Chris Rehm and Dani Hoy – “366 gigs in a year … loved every minute”
Chris Rehm grew up in Ho-Ho-Kus, a small town in New Jersey. He started performing in the eighth grade with the grammar school band. They didn’t have a vocalist so Chris jumped in and started singing “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”. After high school, Chris attended Ramapo Community College, studying Music Theory.
For twenty-five years, Chris lived in Miami, working at various jobs, and in 1996, he also starting playing music part-time. In 2008, Chris moved to Key West. He has been a musician and songwriter for over thirty-five years.
He is one of only three Key West musicians regularly invited by Charlie Bauer and BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) to the Key West Songwriters Festival.
He performed at the festival for seven years. According to Chris, Key West exudes creative energy and an inspiring musical environment. In addition to the latest Key West Songwriters Festival, a local group sponsored ‘Slack Tide’ Music Festival to showcase Key West’s prolific local songwriters.
Rehm published Key West Chris (2016) a CD that includes eighteen Key West musicians, All the Best From Key West (2019), and recently released Trimaran (2021) which includes the single Green Turtle Cay. Rumor has it, Chris is working on another release “Music From The Island”. He has also written four books: Bar Stories is about things that he has seen over his years in Key West, Time Traveler is the odyssey of a Key West bartender determined to be a time traveler, and a sequel, Further Adventures of Time Traveler. He is currently working on Time Traveler Excursion.
Dani Hoy was born in Baltimore and raised in the southeast part of Pennsylvania. Both her father and brothers played music and performed. She picked up the guitar at age 12. She was an active member of school choirs and musical plays while in high school. Dani studied art at the Pennsylvania School of Art and Design in Lancaster, PA and completed her degree at Lebanon Valley College in 1997.
She started performing in 2009. After her performance at the 2010 Parrot Head Convention Spring Swing in Wildwood, New Jersey, a fan asked if she had any CDs. This inspired her first album in 2012, Tropigal (no, it’s not misspelled). Since then, she has produced two more CDs – Songs of Love (2013) and At the End of a Long Road (2016).
Dani’s first intro to Key West was the 2012 Howard Livingston’s fan event, Meet Me in the Keys. She met Chris Rehm at the Smokin’ Tuna during that event. Afterwards, Dani started coming down regularly, touring, and the two would rendezvous in Key Largo. A friend, David Solinski (aka: Red Dawg) suggested, “We should start a band.” Chris told him that neither he nor Dani knew any of each other’s music, and Red Dawg would say, “We should start a band.” After a longer set of similar circumstances with the same response from Red Dawg, they decided to start a band.
At the time, they were living in a 460 sq ft bungalow on Thomas Street they called “Conch Rock Shanty”. Chris had two beautiful whippet dogs, and they thought of using them in the band logo. One thing led to another and Dani came up with the name, The Shanty Hounds. They have been together ever since. Thanks, Red Dawg.
While playing the Key West Musicians Festival at the Smokin’ Tuna, a downpour started just into their performance. Water accumulated in a rolled-up plastic cover and drained into Chris’s effects box. Fearing electrocution, Chris kept playing and the effects box kept working. They started to play the old Credence Clearwater Revival song, “Who’ll Stop the Rain”.
Danny and Lora Hughes, owners of Two Friends Restaurant and always huge supporters of music, were one of the first to reopen after Hurricane Irma and offer food and music. The mayors of Key West, Miami, New Orleans, and several other cities took a trolley tour of Key West and then had a meal at Two Friends. The Shanty Hounds were on stage performing. This was covered by CNN and other major news outlets. The Shanty Hounds and Two Friends Restaurant made the national news post Hurricane Irma coverage.
On March 17, 2020, people started pouring into Rick’s Downstairs bar dressed up for St. Patty’s Day. The Shanty Hounds’ original gig was scheduled from noon to four. At 4pm, they were asked to play an extra hour – no problem Chris said, they were having fun. Dani had heard about the up-coming COVID shut down but Chris was unaware. At 5pm, everything in Key West and most of the world shutdown.
During the shutdown, the Shanty Hounds performed online for tips and donations. Their fans were very supportive. Many would leave comments with their tips – “Thanks for keeping us connected through music.” “Your music is so important for our sanity”. Musicians should probably have been on the list of essential workers. Dani quickly applied for the PPP loans. The loans and the fans helped them survive the COVID shutdown.
In 2019, the Shanty Hounds performed 366 gigs and loved every minute of it. They’re not back to those levels but are on pace to finish 2022 with over 300 gigs. They’re now playing two sunset gigs weekly on the Sebago catamarans that are very successful.
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