Lee DeWyze: "One of the Hardest Things About Winning American Idol Is Winning American Idol"

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"One of the hardest things about winning American Idol is winning American Idol," says Lee DeWyze, the 27-year-old singer-songwriter from Illinois who was crowned winner of Idol's season nine back in 2010.

"There's this perception that if you come from American Idol, in some cases, you can't possibly be a writer, you weren't a singer before you were on the show... That can be rough, especially when you're trying to make a name for yourself doing what it is you love."

Over the past twenty years or so, we've witnessed reality TV devour many an innocent (or not so innocent) soul. It's no surprise when we hear about an artist struggling, often unsuccessfully, to come into his own once the smoke has cleared and the attention deficit-affected masses have moved on. Despite shows like Celebrity Rehab, where the price of fame is made all too visceral, we tend to forget that these are in fact real people, with real lives beyond the producers, beyond the editing room.

See also: Indigo Girls' Emily Saliers Talks Fracking and Miley Cyrus


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Jillette Johnson on Adversity: "Figure Out How to Get It Done"

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Jillette Johnson is the girl in high school whom all the nerds openly adored and all the jocks secretly loved -- all the other girls would have been jealous, if it weren't that the pretty, bubbly brunet was just so darned sincere.

She listens to everything from Radiohead to Josh Ritter, and when asked what she absolutely couldn't live without on the road, the singer doesn't hesitate a moment before blurting out, "Really good bacon."

Well-spoken, unassuming, and charmingly offbeat, the young singer/songwriter who turned down a contract with The Voice to take a gamble on her own luck has declared herself Gryffindor house material and has no problem admitting she's a huge dork.

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Five Acts We're Psyched to See at Coastline Festival

Categories: Festival alert

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Jason Nocito

Rookie season is looking bright for the Coastline Festival. The one day music, craft beer, food truck, and art oasis is completely stacked with a great lineup on all fronts and a super pumped crowd eager to be a part of the first-ever event. A special treat for West Palm, this indie circus is heavy on live music with a modern electro-indie twist.

The local beers will be consumed with gusto and the Isle of Art will no doubt see its fair share of inspired eyes. But here at County Grind, we can't help but foam at the mouth over the musical lineup. Big names, up-and-comers, and local acts will all be gracing us with their presence on what is bound to be a whirlwind of a day. To make sure you plan out the perfect festy schedule, here are our picks for five Coastline bands you have to see.

See also: Passion Pit: Don't Call Them EDM

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Wake Up Head from CMJ to Moonfest

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Kelly O'Rourke
Wake Up

It's a sad thought, but bands fall apart. No matter how much you loved them, no matter how many shows you went too, everyone from your favorite local jam band to the Jonas Brothers might not make it to tomorrow. But lucky us, for each band in South Florida that goes to heaven, another one gets its wings. Like Wake Up. As their name implies, it's risen from the ashes of fallen bands and emerged a phoenix of catchy tunes.

Wake Up is an indie rock melting pot with Evan Mui at the helm. Mui, who spent some time playing bass with the Dewars and garnered success with Guy Harvey, is now embracing his latest project. Fresh off a mini-CMJ tour with fellow Decades Records label mates Band in Heaven, Wake Up are one of the more buzzed about bands playing this year's Moonfest on Clematis Street. We got a chance to sit down with Evan and find out what it's like starting as a solo artists coming up in our local music scene. But the real question still remains, what will he be for Halloween? We got some clues, but his uncertainty is just another reason you have to catch them live on the Moonfest stage.

See Also: Meet New Local Foursome Wake Up, Featuring Members of the Dewars and Guy Harvey

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Matt Braunger on FON Fest Comedy Lineup: "There Isn't a Dud in the Bunch"

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Robyn Von Swank
Matt Braunger. He's taller than he looks.

Standup comedy is a tough sport. It can take years to train and hone your craft, and the chances of getting drafted to the big leagues are still slim. So a guy who's earned a place at Chelsea Lately's roundtable and a minor role on an already-canceled NBC comedies has done pretty well for himself. That's the case for funny man Matt Braunger (yeah, he knows it's hard to pronounce).

Braunger cut his teeth in Chicago like many comics before him and got his big Hollywood break as one of the two white dudes on the final season of MADtv. He might look familiar for his annoying role on the short-lived Up All Night, but now with two standup albums out, he's already dropped by almost any talk show you can think of and continues to make a living making us laugh. Before he joins the other comics at Friends of Nature Festival in Miami, we got a chance to speak with Matt about sitting at Chelsea's table, the woes of being so tall, and which late night talk show host has the best green room.

See Also: Jessica Gross Talks FONFEST and Comedy: "Laughter for a Good Cause!"

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Matt & Kim Know: "Floridians Know How to Get Crazy!"

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Jonathan Mannion
Matt & Kim, AKA Scream Team.

It looks like we must have been especially good this year in South Florida. Why? Because we had the delightful opportunity to revel in the indie-pop radiance of Matt & Kim twice this year. The first time was at Ultra, straight with side-boob and an avalanche of colored balloons, and now again this November at the West Palm Beach Coastline Festival.

The inaugural showcase will offer the complete fest package: a beer garden, food truck area, and tons of local artists. But we're all jazzed up about the stacked lineup. This dynamic duo will share the stage with Passion Pit, the Neighbourhood, Surfer Blood, and tons of others.

But we have a hankering to strap on some dancing shoes, and there's no act better to guide us through a sweaty concert experience than Matt & Kim. Known for a wild live show, the couple took the time to chat with us about what makes for a great crowd, their spot-on "Harlem Shake" video, and who they would be if they weren't "Matt & Kim."

See Also: Coastline Festival Announced with Passion Pit, Matt & Kim, and Surfer Blood


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The Lahinch Mob Will Bring "Irish Rock" to Moonfest 2013 Stage

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Trey White
Robert and Keith in their natural habitat.

Moonfest promises three different stages throughout Clematis Street in West Palm Beach on which 25 bands will mark their territory; now that's a block party you can enjoy without fear. Headliners Reverend Horton Heat are getting lots of buzz, but it's the local lineup that has us all fired up.

In preparation for a full-on Moonfest-ivus, we chatted with Robert Norvell from the Lahinch Mob. You might recognize him as the guy on stage at O'shea's wearing a kilt. Self described as "high energy Irish rock," Norvell and his band mate Keith Ahern have made temporary homes for themselves at every Irish bar in South Florida you can name. We learned how Norvell splits his life as a DUI lawyer and precisely why he never leaves home without his trusty kilt.


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South Florida String Festival Premieres in Hollywood with Diverse Lineup: Everymen, Uproot Hootenanny

Categories: Festival alert

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Rosemary Pecora
Uproot Hootenanny

Did you feel that? No it wasn't another almost-hurricane. It was a shift. While you were busy Snapchatting indie rock shows, something happened in South Florida. A wave of actually good folk-bluegrass-finger-picking bands have emerged and taken up stake as another local music subculture. Who woulda thunk, there are even enough of these stringed bands to launch their own festival.

The inaugural South Florida String Festival hits Hollywood on November 10, to not only highlight the rising bluegrass scene, but showcase how well these bands fit into our local landscape. String-based bands come in all shapes and sizes. At first glance, it might be hard to tell but Everymen's crusty punk-folk and the jamtastic Americana of the Short Straw Pickers have a lot in common.

See Also: The Short Straw Pickers - the Funky Biscuit, Boca Raton - July 13


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Billy Joel Tribute Band the Turnstiles "Strike a Nerve" with Audiences

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Frank Donnino
Tony Monaco, in a Billy Joel state of mind

Billy Joel is just one on a long list that you've always wanted to see live, but can't afford it. That's why we all embrace tribute bands, especially the ones that are actually good. We're not talking cover bands in a bar. We mean guys and gals that put their heart into the artists' catalogs and build an act with the sole purpose of paying homage.

The Lake Worth Rocktober Brewfest
is bringing in Eve 6 to town, but we've had enough '90s nostalgia to last another decade. The real perk, besides all the beer, is an almost true-to-life Billy Joel experience at a fraction of the wallet damage. Tony Monaco, a guy with a sales job during the day, morphs into the ultimate Joel replica at night, and he's torn through stages throughout Florida since 2011 as lead singer of the Turnstiles.

Before this Piano Man takes the stage at Brewfest, we chatted with Tony about his musical career, playing for drunk people, and what it really takes to emulate a great.

See Also: 13 Billy Joel Lyrics Lindsay Lohan Should've Tattooed On Herself
untyGrind


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Doorway 27's Bryan Wohulst Looks Back at West Palm Beach's Music Scene

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Courtesy
Oh, you wanted a newer picture of Doorway 27? They don't exist.

Palm Beach County music fans have had it lucky. We're currently fortunate enough to stroll down Clematis on any day that ends in 'y' and catch live acts. But it's the magic of yesteryear that still elicits warm fuzzies for anyone who had a hand in it. Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was a special vibe about town that circled around a growing live music scene.

At the helm of that ship were bands Doorway 27 and Boxelder. As if to take us back to this simpler, somewhat edgier time, both will be reuniting at this year's Summer Jam. Doorway 27 lead singer Bryan Wohulst currently sings for Luxury of Company and is an established actor at the Lake Worth Playhouse. Wohulst took us on a tour of Doorway 27's bootstrapping beginnings and told us how to properly manage a life that includes rocking out and musical rehearsals.

See Also: Doorway 27 Rocker Bryan Wohlust Sings Show Tunes in King and I


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