The 14th Annual Key West Songwriters Festival invaded the Florida hotspot April 29 through May 3. Presented by Better Angels Music and benefiting the Muzak Heart & Soul Foundation, the industry- and fan-favorite launched another year of songs in the sun Wednesday, April 29 with BMI’s kick-off party at La Concha Hotel, which was followed by a slew of intimate songwriter showcases and Key West-only moments.
This year’s lineup boasted a record number of songwriters, as anchor-sponsor BMI arrived in the Florida hotspot with more than 150 troubadours in tow. During five days and nights of more than 20 free shows, hit-making giants, Nashville’s newest chart-toppers, and auspicious up-and-comers including Paul Overstreet, Bob DiPiero, Dennis Morgan, Bobby Pinson, Tim Nichols, Scotty Emerick, Shawn Camp, Sunny Sweeney, Luke Laird, Wendell Mobley and Chuck Cannon rubbed elbows and swapped songs.
Underscoring this year’s festival’s unprecedented diversity, “Bette Davis Eyes” chanteuse Kim Carnes pushed the lineup outside country music’s traditional borders, along with singer-songwriter Shawn Mullins, composer and songwriter of pop smash “Lullaby” and Chris Barron, former front man for alt-rock group the Spin Doctors (“Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Two Princes”). Robert Earl Keen also added his rough edges and unparalleled stories to the mix.
An anticipated street concert Saturday, May 2 at the Ocean Key Resort’s Sunset Pier featured Jamey Johnson and The Kent Hardly Play Boys and Grammy-winner Raul Malo.