Key West is home to a vast amount of talent, with musicians resonating sounds from every pore on the island.
Spectators stop at local bars and restaurants to hear the soulful, harmonic, and inexplicable sounds but are unaware of how these artists arrived here along with the musicians' colorful histories till now.
Barry Cuda is a local legend who has been playing soul driven tunes out of the piano he tirelessly wheels around Duval Street from Sloppy Joe's to Hog's Breath Saloon to B.O.'s Fish Wagon.
"I prefer playing real piano keys instead of an electric piano and I have gotten use to wheeling it around," he said. "I have more trouble getting on stage due to my old age."
He came here from New Orleans in 1985 after departing from his renowned band, "The Silver Kings." After spending two weeks on the island he noticed there was a lot of gigs he could line up and he decided to make Key West his home.
He discovered old ragtime compositions in the 1960's and the passion and musical ambition began to grow from there. As a kid, Cuda took lessons every Wednesday which formed the basis of his love for all things musical.
Rolando Rojas is the epitome of a true Latin salsa musician. He moved to Key West from Chile in 1993 and has been playing in the band Caribe of Key West ever since. The group plays all Latin songs that can be heard on the radio and creates their own salsa rendition to keep the crowd dancing at his normal gig spot El Meson de Pepe.
"Everybody who likes music will like us," said Rojas. "Mojitos, the food, and the good energy is a great combination."
Classic rock artist, Bo Fodor has been a rocker since birth and began playing a tennis racket in the mirror until his mother realized she needed to buy her son a guitar.
He is known for playing his guitar with a variety of objects including ashtrays, ketchup bottles, and his teeth.
"Playing with these objects is similar to playing with a slide," said Fodor. "People get a kick out of it and the crowd gets involved so I continue to do it."
He moved here around the millennium from Minneapolis after briefly visiting and then formulating a plan to get down here permanently. He believes being organized as well as surrounding himself with good band members made becoming a full-time guitarist and singer possible.
He played with big name acts like Black Oak Arkansas and Jimmie Van Zant and is now about to release his fourth album produced by Dan Simpson, who produced Jimmy Buffets' first three albums. He is also a radio DJ on the X104.9 from noon to 1 p.m. on weekdays.
Saxophone musician Marty Stonely is a long time Key West resident that sings vocals and performs smooth harmonies that implant relaxation and tranquility in the minds of his audience.
He arrived here 29 years ago after he owned a series of record stores in Ohio and Kentucky. The store he had on the island was called Records and Rogues but he always loved to perform and sing harmonies.
He plays a variety of instruments including every type of saxophone, flute, clarinet and conch shells. He has played with stat-quality names such as Peter Tosh and Paul Cotton from the band POCO.
"I will play with any group as long as they aren't out of tune or out of time, then I'm gone," said Stonely.
He is versatile and does a large array of styles including Haitian, progressive, rock'n'roll, reggae, Latin, jazz, and blues. He also can sing in Spanish and Portuguese to accompany whichever gig is surrounding him that night.
Stonely explains all of his pieces contain an amount of originality.
"I don't like covering songs verbatim," said Stonely, "I usually improvise and add my own flavors to classic songs people are familiar with."
Wayne Hammond is a bass player who performs regularly at Sloppy Joes with his band Wayne and Pete, and also travels around the country singing entertainment and news driven comedic songs to bring out laughs and offend crowds.
His most popular songs are Buying a 7-11, a parody of stairway to heaven, and the Anus of Ella Fitzgerald.
"Most of our songs are original and inspired by reading the newspaper or watching the news," Hammond said.
He has been on the road with Rolling Stone stars Mick Taylor and Ron Wood and is a talented bass player as well as a comedian. He is usually playing a four sting bass with no effects and is inspired by Frank Zappa, Fishbone, and the Funkadellic.
Hammond raves about meeting and playing with many other gifted musicians in Key West and describes it to the "T."
"Per capita Key West is the grooviest music scene I've ever been to," said Hammond.