Anyone who's had a drink at the Elbo Room on a Monday evening has seen the blond-haired dude with a guitar and a keyboard standing on the makeshift stage in the corner. He can do "Brown Eyed Girl" just like Van, "Jammin'" just like Bob, and "Danny's Song" just like Loggins and Messina.
"I'm versatile," he says. "I'll switch gears 30 times a night. And people enjoy that."
He has a name -- Glenn Govot -- and he's put out a CD of his own songs. The Color of Me offers thirteen songs with titles such as "Sunrise Lane," "Wasted Time," and "The Elbo." Overall, the CD is a pretty accurate picture of life in South Florida as seen through the eyes of a young musician who plays seven nights a week in clubs and bars in Fort Lauderdale.
Govot moved here from Delaware four years ago after tiring of that state's limited nightlife and same old faces. "Here it's a link to the world," he says. "I've met more people here in the past four years than I have in my entire professional life."
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Govot plays at three other Fort Lauderdale venues each week: the Treasure Trove on Thursday, Bimini Boatyard on Friday, and Marty O'Brien's on Saturday and Sunday. But it's the Elbo Room that struck him as a good subject for a song. "It's just a pile of wood sticks," he admits, "but it just screams 'character.'"
With nods to the bar's staff and regular patrons, "The Elbo" is a ballad that could serve as Govot's mini-autobiography: "I sing the songs, they drink the beer/Jimmy, Joel, and John songs are the songs they love to hear." Govot shifts in and out of blues, rock, and reggae in the song, just as he does every night of the week.
Perhaps the best character in "The Elbo" is Jay, who requests a blues tune from Govot and asks, "Son, can you break it down?" Govot points out that Jay is actually a cab driver from Boston with a passion for New Orleans blues. "He's a pretty serious drinker, and he comes in all the time and asks me to 'break it down,'" says Govot. "But he never remembers the last time. So it's like every time is the first time. Imagine four years of that. I love it."
Govot has his rigorous schedule down to a science. "It's important to get REM sleep every night," he says. He often won't talk during the day to conserve his voice. He doesn't smoke and very rarely drinks, despite the fact that happy patrons always insist on buying him a beer. "There are sacrifices you make when you play seven nights a week," he admits.
Part of this rigor may come from Govot's fear that South Florida's warm climate may be a little too enjoyable. "You meet these people here who are too happy," Govot explains. "I once read that too much warmth of the sun can make you forget what's important."
Govot seems to have experienced a little sunstroke himself. In "The Band" he sings, "I'm in the shade watching the parade/Pass me by every day/I'm mixing alcohol with Geritol/I'm getting younger every day."
"It's easy to become part of the cycle," Govot explains. "When you're sitting there on your second beer, it's fun to watch everybody. Then, seven beers later, someone on their second beer is watching you."
You can check out Govot's Website at www.glenngovot.com.
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