Rod MacDonald Is Fascinated by "Working People Who Vote Republican"

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Rod MacDonald; A trooper, a troubadour, and an example of true folk finesse.

Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions, and observations about the local scene. This week: Rod MacDonald in his own words.

Folk music has always been about social commentary, a sound that enlightens, entertains, and offers observations on politics, pitfalls, and society in general. It began in earnest with the Dust Bowl tales sung by Woody Guthrie, continued through the social changes documented by Pete Seeger, and then fired up for a new generation by Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Joni Mitchell, and others of their ilk. In a very true sense, Greenwich Village transplant and longtime Delray resident Rod MacDonald carries on with that same mantle of musical responsibility, illuminating it through wry pronunciations, frequently tempered by acidic asides and wistful reflection, on a post-9/11 world.

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Jim Camacho Prepares For U.K. Shows

Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions, and observations about the local scene. This week: Keeping up with Camacho.

The late James Brown was once referred to as the hardest working man in showbiz. However, if he were still alive (RIP, Godfather of Soul) he'd likely face some stiff competition from South Florida's very own Jim Camacho. Aside from the fact that he can be counted on to release excellent albums of markedly melodic music on a consistent basis, Camacho gigs regularly, devises ingenious theater productions and simply stays occupied, allowing his creative juices to flow.

All of this points to the possibility that South Florida may not be able to hold him here very much longer. In a recent email blast, Camacho announced he was headed overseas June 2 to June 5 for a series of gigs in the U.K., all in support of his latest EP, the aptly titled Everywhere. A brief but busy visit will include stops in London, Liverpool, and Birmingham. In that latter city, he'll record an appearance on a pretty cool British TV program.

"I'm extremely excited about travelling to England, to play for an entirely new set of music fans," Camacho wrote.

See also: Jim Camacho Reveals His Top Five Albums

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The Livesays on Faith, Hope and Love: "We Try to Keep It Organic"

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Photo by Donna Paul, DP Studios

Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman shares observations, insights and updates relating to South Florida's musical environs. This week, the Livesays' live life as a local band...

The Livesays is clearly one of the hardest working bands in South Florida, not only due to the fact that they gig consistently, but also owing to its consistent releases. The band's new effort, aptly titled Faith, Hope and Love, provides an ongoing example of those efforts, but as namesake William Livesay explains, it didn't come without its challenges.

"It's special just in the fact that we made it," he admits. "That in itself is an accomplishment for any self-funded independent group." Each of its songs was inspired by real life circumstance -- some of it quite turbulent (his mother's experience as a battered woman, a wife from Pennsylvania who decided to leave her family and start life anew, those he knew facing lie-threatening illnesses, a dashed first marriage). "When you consider the painstaking process from pen to disc. It's special because of the history behind it... It being a personal dedication to my close friend Mario and the people with deal with life changing illnesses every day," Livesay explains.


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Michael Koppy's Intensive and Extensive Florida Tour

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Photo by Charles Gary

Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions, and observations about the local scene. This week: Michael Koppy's local whirlwind.

Florida -- South Florida in particular -- isn't exactly emblematic of the South as a whole, and yet it seems somewhat appropriate that a musician who is from the heart of old Dixie and whose latest opus offers a narrative about the political and social transformation of those environs should embark on a tour of our fair state.

The musician - Michael Koppy, and the album, Ashmore's Store (which, by the way, comes complete with an accompanying mini book that uses the analogy of the namesake business as an analogy for that cultural shift), will be center stage at no less than half a dozen appearances between Key West and points north beginning last night. And while most comprise your standard venues (read: watering holes of various descriptions), at least one will be of the highbrow variety, specifically, a reading at the Florida State Historical Society's Annual Conference in Fort Lauderdale on May 23.

"Ya gotta love that," Koppy says. "How many guitar guys play some noisy-nobody-listens-or-gives-a-fuck toilet dive bar one night and formally addresses a conclave of 200 plus university professors and authors the next? Ha! Love it..."

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Diane Ward and Jim Berry: Two Local Timeless Musicians

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Diane Ward

Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman shares observations, insights, and updates relating to South Florida's musical environs. This week, different avenues back to the future.

Music is a transcendent thing, and the process of experiencing it can take both artist and audience into realms where past and present become indistinguishable. I offer as examples two recent releases from a pair of South Florida artists, each very different from the other, but whose grasp of the timelessness of treasured styles shows certain similarities.


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13 Acts That Rocked the Sail Across the Sun Music Cruise

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Alisa B. Cherry
Train: All aboard!
Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman shares observations, insights, and updates relating to South Florida's musical environs. This week, a shipload of fun.

I'm a big fan of music cruises. For me, they are ideal entertainment. You get a bunch of great bands onboard, all the food you care to gorge yourself on, nice accommodations, a friendly service staff, and a party atmosphere like no other. Suffice it to say, these excursions are like traveling seaworthy festivals, except at the end of the day when you've burnt yourself to a crisp, you don't have to go back to a tent and flounder in the mud. Instead, you can beat a retreat to your stateroom, where you'll find your bed all made up, a porter that's all too eager to cater to your every need, and, if you're really lucky, a towel animal to give you that extra added levity.

Really. If you're a music lover or if you just like your entertainment coming at you fast and furious, a music cruise is the way to go. Whether you're ship-faced, full of ship, or just in the mood to kick some ship, it's all good.

Natch, the wife and I couldn't resist the temptation to explore Sail Across the Sun, the inaugural cruise curated by the band Train, featuring a shipload of great bands offering around-the-clock musical mayhem. I have to admit, I was never a huge Train fan -- that's my wife Alisa's domain -- but they were damned good, DAMNED good, and the perfect hosts to boot. And hey, it was a Valentine's Day outing, so it proved a good way to make points with the spouse. Guys, take note for next year.

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Sharing a Bed With Savoy Brown's Kim Simmonds, and Four Other Awkward Interviews

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Photo by Arnie Goodman
Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown: Fully dressed and out of bed.

Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman shares observations, insights, and updates relating to South Florida's musical environs. This week, Lee's weirder encounters...



In the world of music journalism, an otherwise run-of-the mill meeting with a rock star can suddenly become awkward. Take these scenarios as examples...

Those old enough to remember the group Savoy Brown will likely think of them as a terrific British blues band, while recalling classic albums like Blue Matter, Street Corner Talking, Raw Sienna, or Looking In. Newcomers may even latch on to the group's new current release, Goin' to the Delta, a fine example of a reborn band getting back to basics. Or they might have memories of the band's mainstay, guitarist Kim Simmonds, a man whose blonde, wiry good looks belied his dedication to hard-edged blues.



When I think of Savoy Brown, what comes to mind for me is a first-hand encounter, nothing unusual considering the fact that I interviewed a number of classic bands back in the day, either while attending the University of Miami or immediately thereafter in my fledgling career as a journalist. Rarely was an interview less than memorable, but some, like my chat with Kim Simmonds, stood out for an entirely different reason.

See also: Jimi Hendrix, Miami Pop Festival, and Hear My Train A Comin'

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Miami Vice Memories Inspire Fun and Fantasy at the Mayfair

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Martin Kreloff

Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions, and observations about the local scene. This week: aching for the '80s.

Hey, kids, remember the '80s? That era of big hair, leisure suits, and Phil Collins? Yeah, a lot of Phil Collins. Maybe too much Phil Collins, in fact.

While most people tend to latch onto the musical aspects of that otherwise forgettable decade, we locals can be grateful for a signature show that brought us worldwide notoriety. We're talking about Miami Vice, of course, an extraordinarily popular network program that made pastels, flamingos, and going sockless ever so popular.

Aside from introducing its signature characters, Crockett and Tubbs, the show was also the first to license original music for each episode, spending up to $10k a shot to secure the rights to songs by Collins, Billy Idol, the Pointer Sisters, Sheena Easton, Jan Hammer, Glen Frey, and others that were considered the height of hipness in that otherwise lackluster decade.

I'm obligated now to mention that back when I was a thespian (for those unawares, a "thespian" refers to one who acts onstage, as opposed to acting out one's sexual preferences), I got a bit part on a Miami Vice episode. I played a stretcher-bearer whose job was to remove a body after the individual it once belonged to was tossed off a bridge.

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Wurster Goes Raw: "I Wanted to Reproduce My Acoustic Show as Closely as Possible"

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Jim Wurster: Darkness becomes him.
Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions, and observations about the local scene. This week: Jim Wurster returns with his boldest effort yet.

Jim Wurster can claim credit as one of South Florida's most original musicians, not simply because he possesses a singular sound but, more important, because he continually ventures into new terrain and does so without regard to commercial consequences.

Beginning with his tenure at the helm of the goth-like band Black Janet and continuing through his stint with the Atomic Cowboys, a series of rootsy ruminations on his own, and a one-off collaboration with the Skyrider Band, Wurster has eschewed any need for fashion or frenzy in pursuit of his muse.

Currently referring to himself simply as Wurster, the Broward native is preparing for the imminent release of his latest album, Raw, an apt title considering the set's stripped-down feel. However, don't be tricked into thinking this is some kind of exercise in sleepy acoustic balladry. In fact, it's infused with eerie effects and electronic drones seemingly at odds with the laid-back motif.

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Marilyn Manson Rocks Your Baby to Sleep

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Really parents, do want this guy as a role model for your newborn baby?

Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions and observations about the local scene. This week: How to screw up your kid from day one.

The holiday season is only now getting underway. but it's the perfect time to pick out a musical gift for any child on your holiday list. But a word of caution. Better to consider Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star, a new collection of lullabies adapted from rock 'n' roll classics, for April Fool's Day instead. A dubious entry in what has become a new trend in children's music, these tunes for tots are hardly PG and may cause the parent of the tot you give them to to forever banish you from their premises.

Although I'm not totally clear on the reasoning behind this somewhat twisted premise, it does appear to serve one of two purposes. One, it offers the child ample opportunity to elevate its hipness level from an insanely early age, thereby offering the chance to impress fellow toddlers with the fact that they know the entire Metallica catalogue, as translated into lovely and cuddly nocturnal melodies specially adapted for the postnatal set. Hey, it's more impressive than sucking on a stuffed animal or pooping in one's diapers. Or two, it serves the infant's parents' unnatural obsession with rock 'n' roll, an obsession so overwhelming that they need to force feed it to their newborn, thereby increasing the chances that fully half of the baby's brain cells will be turned to mush by the time it enters kindergarten.

Okay, I exaggerate, but there is cause for suspicion given this latest outrageous entry in the baby rock juggernaut, one that really calls into question the reasoning behind the product and the logic of any caregiver that might actually think it appropriate for any kind of crib consumption.

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