George Winston Brings the Beauty of the Seasons to Broward Center and Food to Feeding South Florida

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George Winston recently released a solo piano album, Love Will Come Vol. 2, on which he interprets the music of Vince Guaraldi. You might know Guaraldi's genius from the Peanuts Charlie Brown Christmas album that remains the most delightful, least offensive holiday album of all time. Winston's a big fan of the composer. He's got good taste!

He spends, according to his estimations, 70 to 80 percent of his time on the road. In each city, Winston takes all merch-table profits and gives them to a local food bank. He also does a can drive at performances. This time at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, the chow will benefit Feeding South Florida.
These generous gestures began in 1986, when Winston asked himself, "How can I interact with the community in another way besides making music?" Food being an essential item, he decided this was the best route.

Winston is known as the creator of a unique piano musical style called folk piano. "The folk way is like the melodic style," he says. "Not real complicated. Back in 1971, I called it folk piano as opposed to up-tempo stuff, stride piano and New Orleans rhythm and blues." It's a balance for him to find different ways of playing. He's not a jazz or classical player; he sticks with rhythm and blues. Winston also plays Hawaiian Slack Key guitar and old Americana fiddle tunes on the guitar and the harmonica.

He's totally grateful for the chance to play for his audience. This time, he'll be performing all winter songs, whereas last he played spring songs. "I try to switch shows each time, and then the sets change. It's constantly evolving and changing." The seasons are the biggest influence for him, and topography is also important.

Winston attended Stetson University and even Coral Gables High School, so his connection to Florida is strong. What's most memorable to him about the state is the air. "If you woke up and didn't know where you were, you'd be like, 'Oh, man this is Florida, I can just feel it.' That type of humidity, you're near the ocean wherever you are. It's got a feeling not like any other place," he relates.

In 2006, Winston put out a Katrina benefit album called Gulf Coast Blues and Impressions: Hurricane Relief Benefit. The second volume of the album is coming out on March 20, and the proceeds will help save the Louisiana wetlands. Good taste and a do-gooder? You can't lose. 

See him at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, on Saturday, February 25, at 8 p.m.

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