Americana Music Awards 2013: Ten Most Incredible Encounters

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Alisa B. Cherry
Billy Bragg at the Americana Music Festival

Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman shares observations, insights and updates relating to South Florida's musical environs. This week, an incredible five days in Nashville...

Only Nashville could host an event like the Americana Music Festival and Conference. Austin has South By Southwest, and New York and L.A. have a monopoly on practically everything else. But when you're talking country, blues, Gospel, and R&B, you're talking Nashville.

Though more than a dozen years in existence, the Americana Music Association's annual event continues to grow in size, pride, and prestige each year. And it doesn't take a fondness for over-sized cowboy hats, big boots, or even the sweetest Southern accent to have an appreciation for the wide sonic terrain that Americana now embraces. It only takes a willingness to appreciate, and an open heart and head. And if that means dancing like you're at a hoedown or shedding a few furtive tears while hearing an especially sad refrain, then so be it. Americana sure as hell ain't going away, so you might as well get into it.

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Local Lawyer Writes a Touching Play With a Purpose

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Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman shares observations, insights, and updates relating to South Florida's musical environs. This week, a moving musical from a local attorney.

Most people wouldn't think of lawyers as the most tender of souls. Indeed, to succeed at their profession, they often have to be somewhat cold and calculating. So it comes as something of a surprise -- a shock actually -- to find a local attorney trying his hand at musical theater. And not only that, coming up with a tremendously touching effort at that.

The attorney, David Berman, a partner in the local tax law firm of Berman and Berman, has never had any experience in writing, composing, performing, or even playing a musical instrument. However, because the premise is drawn from real life experiences, Berman was inspired to exercise his ambitions in ways he never imagined. When his wife Marcee was battling terminal cancer a few years ago, even as their grandson was diagnosed with a form of the same disease, Berman was moved to tell the story of their life together, from their initial courtship up through his wife's ultimate passing.


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Thoughts on Hero Worship: Bruce Springsteen and I

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Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions, and observations about the local scene. This week: Our modern obsession with musicians.

Hero worship involves us entirely, uncritically, and excessively adoring another human being. There are sports heroes, political heroes, teacher heroes (for the nerds), but no category of hero is more worshiped than that of the musician. The film Bruce Springsteen and I exemplifies the way we idolize certain bards. How we anticipate and hang on to every note they play or syllable they speak.

The movie was quite touching, actually, a series of video love letters from fans to their beloved Bruce. One guy actually broke down in tears while driving as he described his obvious affection. A woman described an ongoing affair with Springsteen, admitting that the Boss, of course, had no idea she even existed.

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10 Best Parking at Broward and Palm Beach County Concert Venues

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Fried Green Tomatoes, anyone?
One of the things that can make or break a concert experience is the parking accommodations at the venue. A search for a convenient and affordable place to park sets the mood at the outset of your musical journey. If it's a hassle, your outlook immediately sours. If it's a breeze, you arrive relaxed and ready to enjoy a great evening. The same can be said for exiting; a clear and uncluttered path homeward is ideal.

In truth, no South Florida venue is perfect when it comes to parking conveniently, but based on the two prime criteria -- affordability and accessibility -- some fare better than others. Here are the best concert venues for parking in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

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Radio Days Brings the Past to the Stage at Delray's Arts Garage

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Amy Pasquantonio
Mark Kirschenberg and director Louis Tyrrell bring life to radio.

Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman shares observations, insights, and updates relating to South Florida's musical environs. This week: Theatre at Arts Garage goes back to the future.

Forget the internet, live streams, social media and cyberspace. Delray's Theatre at Arts Garage has announced a series of innovative radio play performances that mute the technological aspects of modern time and substitute instead some old-school options.

Dubbed Arts Garage Radio Theatre, the programs recreate a vintage entertainment option, specifically, a series of radio plays as they were once performed in the '30s and '40s. It's a performance type that dominated when radio was the main form of entertainment and communication, before being relegated to occasional news, conservative rants, and formulaic music.

"From Orson Welles and the thrilling Mercury Theatre broadcasts of the 1930s to Guy Noir and the hilarity of A Prairie Home Companion, the radio play has been one of America's most beloved art forms," Artistic Director Lou Tyrrell said in a press release.


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Bassist Will Lee Went From University of Miami to Late Night to Playing with the Beatles

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Sandrine Lee
Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions, and observations about the local scene. This week: UM grad Will Lee went Late Night and big time.

It's noon on a Tuesday, and Will Lee is still struggling to fully awaken. Then again, he was playing into the wee hours last night. Oh, not just late at night somewhere but for that Late Night, the one with David Letterman that employs him as bassist and sometime singer in the CBS Orchestra.

After 31 years -- 20 of them at CBS, the previous 11 with NBC -- it would seem he'd have more than enough activity to take up his time. The gig is, as he describes it, "unbelievable, almost a little too easy." But he quickly adds, "I love it."

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Is It Worth Being a Seat-Hog or Rope-Jumper at Concerts?

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Ian Witlen

Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions, and observations about the local scene. This week: The scramble for seating.

I have a friend named Dan who won't go to a concert unless his tickets take him way up close. So close that he can see the sweat pouring from the artists' brows or read the buttons pinned to their lapels. Unless he's in, say, the fifth row or better, he's simply not satisfied. It seems like a badge of honor to him, so much so that if I tell him our tickets are midway back, he gives me this look that's a mix of pity and disapproval, a frown that clearly suggests that they never, ever would be suitable for him, because, after all, only the best seats will do.


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An Interview with a Rock Star Is So Much Like a Therapy Session

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Even a big star like Tom Jones appreciates a nice complement now and then...
Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman shares observations, insights, and updates relating to South Florida's musical environs. This week, Lee proves he's a really good listener.



It may seem odd, but I can attest to the fact that interviewing artists is often like engaging in therapy, both for me and the musicians involved.

How so, you ask. Let's put it like this. Most creative types crave affirmation. They need to have their egos massaged, their talents affirmed. On the other hand, when they feel unloved and unappreciated, they need someone to share their sadness, to pat them on the back and let them know they're not ignored or forgotten.

I've been thrust into that role more than once. For example, here's the reaction I got from one musician after I told him how much I admire his music. (The singer/songwriter in question shall remain nameless.)

"That is such beautiful praise and believe me, I welcome it. Thank you very much," he responded, before adding with some puzzlement: "Is there something weird about you? You seem to be a reasonable person. I'm so troubled and vexed by this, I gotta tell ya. Your opinion is such a minority opinion. I'm not being modest."

See also
- Tom Jones, Sexiest Man Alive: "I Just Want to Sing Until I Drop"


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Four South Florida Folk Acts to Watch Out for

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jenningsandkeller.com

Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions and observations about the local scene. This week: a few local folk favorites.


Recently, I contributed a list of ten influential folk artists that had made South Florida their home. The tally included several revered artists -- Fred Neil, Vince Martin, Jimmy Buffett, and others of that ilk who have emblazoned their influence not only on our sound but the whole nation's.

Still, there were some performers that didn't make that list, mostly because they didn't have the tenure that would qualify them for iconic status. So, in order to give then their due, I figured I'd offer a belated shout-out to acknowledge their current contributions to our local folk legacy.

See also
- Ten Greatest South Florida Folk Singers of All Time

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Kurt Cobain's Yearbook and Other Musical Memorabilia Showing at Seminole Hard Rock

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Bob Marley showed this guitar some love when he used it to record "Is It Love?"

It's a well known fact that when it comes to gathering great musical mementos and legendary lore, Hard Rock is the one institution that brings rock's past to life.

While some may choose to make the pilgrimage to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, but, um... Is there any other reason to go to Cleveland?! We here in South Florida can get our fill of memorabilia simply by making the short trek to Hollywood, where we can reflect and reminisce to our hearts' content.

As if to drive that point home, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is currently a stopping point for not one, but two special travelling exhibitions culled from some of the thousands of treasures warehoused at the legendary Hard Rock vault. Both offer up close views of personal possessions belonging to some of rock's greats and near-greats.


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