Ain't democracy great? We get to choose our presidents, our pop stars, and our country stars. Yet again, the people have spoken. And they've chosen Brad Cotter as the new Nashville Star, the USA Network's answer to American Idol. Cotter beat 20 finalists to win a recording contract with Sony. The funny thing is that Sony -- and every other record company in Nashville -- had already turned him down at least four times. Now, the single 33-year-old is a bankable item. The fans who are expected to snatch up his album when it's released July 13 include a grandmother who began an exercise program because of Cotter (she taped all the Nashville Star episodes and works out to them) and a woman who designed a cross-stitch embroidery pattern of his face and is e-mailing it to interested parties.
Cotter's first single, called "I Meant To," is already getting airplay. The singer told Country Weekly, "The idea for 'I Meant To' came up because I was late for a writing appointment. I explained, 'I'm sorry -- I meant to call you.' Rick said, 'I meant to -- is that like you're fixin' to?' He's from L.A., you know, so he got a kick out of me saying, 'I meant to.' We started thinking about all the things you really should do, things you should appreciate before your time on Earth is done. I said, 'Well, any pretty woman I've never kissed or seen naked -- I'd like to do that. '"
Cotter was quickly dispatched on tour before his 15 minutes of fame could start ticking away. On Wednesday, June 23, he comes to the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts (701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach) with three Nashville Star also-rans: runner-up George Canyon, a cowboy type from Nova Scotia; third-place winner Matt Lindahl, from Snellville, Georgia (Is there something in the water there? American Idol runner-up Diana DeGarmo hails from the same town.), whose lifelong dream is to live in a treehouse; and fourth-place Lance Miller, who finally cut his hair and looks like a grownup instead of Nicholas from Eight Is Enough. Tickets cost $15 to $40. Call 561-832-7469. --Deirdra Funcheon
JOIN THE PICKETT LINE
As the 1980s drew to a close, Miami alt-country/blues rocker Charlie Pickett left the School of Rock for the School of Law, while his former bandmate, guitarist John Salton, went on to form the Psycho Daisies. But when has the law ever been able to stop the rock (well, aside from all those rock star drug busts)? So it was only a matter of time before Pickett took a recess from the courtroom to bust out some tunes. Now he's back, and he's got his Heavy Friends, including Salton, who lends some six-string support. Though Pickett has recently played several shows backed by the Daisies -- including a spot at Tampa's annual Tropical Heatwave music fest -- tonight's show is the first with Pickett's new lineup, which includes Eddie O'Brien of Miami punk legends the Eat taking on bass duties. Rumor has it Pickett's got some new songs as well. Pickett and the Daisies are joined by Two Story Doublewide and Jim Wurster and the Atomic Cowboys at Alligator Alley (1321 E. Commercial Blvd., Oakland Park). The show starts at 10 p.m. and costs $5. Call 954-771-2220. -- Jason Budjinski
From catharsis to comedy
A funny thing happened on the way to the trailer park. At age 17, Tom Rhodes discovered he could make something of the white-trash chip on his shoulder by wearing it on his sleeve and daring an audience to laugh. A moment in the spotlight... the harmonious sounds of jeering and validation... he was hooked. By age 22, he was a solid headliner, and he has since appeared on Evening at the Improv, Comedy Central, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Politically Incorrect. Once described by a reporter as "mostly an intellect with a knack for reporting the harsh realities of life with a dark and absurdly optimistic cynicism," Rhodes tests the limits of his audience with subjects like war and the state of the economy. It is an election year, after all. Ohhhh boy. Rhodes performs standup at Uncle Funny's Comedy Club (9160 State Rd. 84, Davie) at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 23, and stays there through Sunday, June 27. Tickets cost $8 to $15. Call 954-474-5653. --Michele D. Omenson
Carry On, Leon
In the '60s, Leon Russell worked with Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, and the Rolling Stones. In the '70s, he recorded solo albums and became the top concert attraction in the world. Years have passed, Russell's beard has turned from murky brown to shocking white, and... he seems cooler than ever! When not jamming with his band (which includes his two daughters) or petitioning to be in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame (as is expected), he's selling personal belongings like dump trucks and DAT recorders on www.leonrussellrecords.com. Not because he's slowing down but because he's too busy touring to use any of the junk. The 63-year-old is booked through October, but his show at the Downtowner Saloon (408 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale) to celebrate the Musicians Exchange's 28th anniversary will be his only Fort Lauderdale stop. Tickets cost $15 to $30. Call 954-463-9800, or visit www.downtownersaloon.com. -- Deirdra Funcheon