Tony Manfredi. CONTRIBUTED

It is unlikely you’ll visit local restaurants or watering holes in the Marathon area without getting a small “taste” of musical talent alongside your meal. From steel drums to guitar chords and vocals, the sounds of paradise are as much a part of island living for some as the majestic sunsets and vibrant teal waters. 

One rising star on the local music horizon is self-taught guitarist and singer-songwriter Anthony “Tony” Manfredi, who has called the rock his home for more than four years.

“One thing I like most is not having to leave,” he said. “Every time I am forced to venture outside the area, I just can’t wait to come home again.” Manfredi feels so strongly about this that he even used the hook “I never wanna leave the Florida Keys” in one of his most popular songs to date. 

Manfredi’s connection with the island of Marathon is truly a love affair. He and his wife Michelle visited several years back for a Valentine’s Day vacation celebrating their wedding anniversary. He fell in love with the Keys and in an instant vowed to return, which the couple did on multiple occasions while laying the groundwork to relocate. They moved down in short order, saying goodbye to Stuart, Florida and a Treasure Coast lifestyle to make the Keys their forever home.  

Along the way, he says, he’s met some colorful locals calling Galway Bay home, a group that inspired one of his signature tunes. 

“I absolutely love these folks at Galway Bay, and I am inspired by that crew as well as all the wildly unique characters you meet here,” he said. “I love to not only play for folks but write songs about them and the whole atmosphere of the Keys. The simple truth is nothing beats living on a little rock in the middle of an ocean.” 

His story echoes that of so many musicians with a flair for lyrical songs. While strumming his six-string and singing John Denver, Tom Petty and Buffett favorites, or while happily singing the many story-songs he has penned himself, Tony smiles through it all. You will often find him playing at Overseas Bar and Grill, Dockside on Boot Key Harbor, and occasionally down the  road at Looe Key and Boondocks. His aptly named album titled “Livin’ the Dream” can be found on Apple Music and Spotify, with details on Manfredi’s music and his upcoming gigs available on Facebook or online at www.tonymanfredi.com

Shannon Wiley is a native Floridian born in Hialeah, Florida. He's an artist, muralist, graphic designer, teacher and coach. He currently lives in Marathon with his two children. Besides painting, he enjoys all the wonders of the Florida Keys. HIs work is for sale at Guild Hall Gallery in Key West and at Shady Palm Gallery in Marathon.