Idol Worship

Guitarist Josh Smith isn't a celebrity in his native Pembroke Pines, but the longer he keeps playing in Taylor Hicks' band, the more it's inevitable that he'll reach stardom. The 27-year-old, down-to-Earth guitarist is on the road with last year's "American Idol" winner. This weekend they'll be in town for a show in Pompano Beach, where Smith could get more cheers than Hicks when they take the stage. It's a relatively new gig for Smith, who's only been touring with Hicks for the past six months. When he's not backing up the former American Idol, Smith plays the blues, and has a new CD, Deep Roots, to prove it. We caught up with Smith recently between tour stops to see how he's been doing.

Outtakes: Now that you're on the road with Taylor, do you still have time to play your own music?

Smith: Not so much. I cut a new record right before I got this gig and I haven't really been able to do much with it. Not that I'm looking to sell a million records, 'cause it's never gonna happen, but I'd like to do something more with the thing cause I'm proud of it.

What's it like to work with Taylor every night?

The cool thing about Taylor is that even though he won "American Idol," which is the opposite of what he is, he grew up playing blues joints and dives in Alabama. He understands what it takes to pay his dues. I didn't watch "American Idol," so I didn't know much coming in. But he's a really cool singer and harp player, and is just a normal dude.

What's the biggest difference between the music scene in Los Angeles and South Florida?

It's not that guys aren't serious in South Florida, but people go to L.A. specifically to make it in rock. You can make it in South Florida, but not really. You really need to be in L.A. So out there, there's a lot more competition, but a lot of people that flat-out stink.

As an artist, do you ever find that the music you want to make and the music you're currently playing with Taylor Hicks are different?

Yeah, but it doesn't bother me. Anytime I can make a living playing guitar, I'm happy. It also makes you a better musician!

Josh Smith performs alongside Taylor Hicks on Saturday, August 25, at Pompano Beach Amphitheatre, 1806 NE Sixth St., Pompano Beach. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $28 to $48. Call 954-946-2402, or visit

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Jonathan Cunningham