Stefanie Smerkers is speaking from the road, in a car that will enclose her for 13 hours during her journey back to South Florida. It is the second time she has made this trip in less than a week. Why?
“Wanda Jackson. She’s incredible,” Smerkers says of the 77-year-old rock pioneer perhaps best known to many music consumers for her 2011 collaboration with Jack White, “The Party Ain't Over.”
The White album rekindled a pop-music career for Jackson, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer whose recent tour schedule included a performance at the Ink-N-Iron Festival in Nashville last weekend. With Jackson joined by the likes of Merle Haggard and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, it was a show that Smerkers could not miss. Even if it meant a 13-hour drive with friends to Nashville.
Fans of a certain adventurous, rebellious brand of Americana are a special tribe, inspired by a reverence for the history of the genre and their role as caretakers and harvesters of the music for a new generation. Smerkers shares her admiration for this sound in the Copper Tones, a Fort Lauderdale-based trio that got going about a year ago.
The name of the band references the nostalgic warmth of the metal, not the tanning oil.
“Our music is very rootsy. We wanted to strip it down, bare-bones it and start from what really made us fall in love with music,” says Smerkers, listing her recent personal playlist as heavy on the Punch Brothers and the Devil Makes Three. And Wanda Jackson.
“It was so surreal for me to see her live,” Smerkers says. “She was talking a lot about her production with Jack White, performing with Elvis and writing with Elvis. Hearing her makes me want to do something Wanda Jackson-y, old-school country, old-school rockabilly. That’s what is so great about our band — we pull in styles from all over.”
The Copper Tones’ sound comes with built-in eclecticism: Smerkers sings and plays guitar and banjolele, with a background as a jazzier solo act; Dyllan Thieme, an old classmate at Nova High School in Davie, sings and plays upright bass and mandolin, and once played in local bluegrassers Bungled and Botched; and Andy Annoied is a drummer with a punk-scene pedigree.
The band is currently working on an album (recording at Smerkers’ house in Fort Lauderdale), a follow-up to an eponymous EP released in January.
They’ll put music new and old on display at 2 p.m. Sunday on WLRN’s “Folk and Acoustic Music” radio show, hosted by Michael Stock (FolkAndAcousticMusic.com, and 8 p.m. Tuesday at Two& in Fort Lauderdale (1517 E. Las Olas Blvd.; TwoAnd.com).
“Two& is a very interesting set-up,” Smerkers says. “It’s a bike shop and an antique shop and a beer and wine bar. It’s a small and welcoming, warm place. It’s very eclectic, so with our style and influences, it fits perfectly with what we do.”
The Copper Tones have been known to cover Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City,” the Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” and Adele’s bluesy, pre-fame torch song “Crazy for You.”
“We’re all over the map,” says Smerkers with a laugh. She’s in good company. As Adele once said: “She’s like my rockabilly Etta James. … She’s so brilliant. I don’t think ‘Rollin’ in the Deep’ would exist if it wasn’t for Wanda Jackson.”
Speaking of the Ink-N-Iron Festival, Southern hard rockers Nashville Pussy made an appearance in support of the new retrospective album “Ten Years of Pussy.” The show was part of a tour that we’re ashamed to admit we forgot was coming to South Florida (how do you forget Nashville Pussy?) on Aug. 18 at the Vintage Tap in Delray Beach. Also recommended: The Appalachian punk of Pierce Edens at Vintage Tap Friday night. Info: Facebook.com/VintageTap.
BUFFETT BY NIGHT
Proving once again that the coconut sometimes does fall far, far away from the tree, Savannah Buffett (her father goes by Jimmy) and Jourdan Binder on Friday night will roll out the third edition of Jungle Boogie, a monthly mash-up of DJs and live horn players. Beginning at 11 p.m. in the Jazz Club at the Deauville Beach Resort (6701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach), the sounds will come from New York-Miami DJ Gabby Mejia (once of the Standard, SkyBar, Buck 15) and Emiliano Torres from edgy urban funkateers Xperimento on trumpet. Info: Facebook.com/SavannahBuffett, DeauvilleBeachResortMiami.com.
Speaking of insanely ambitious music out of Miami, with the release of its long-anticipated album “Future/Vintage” closing in (Sept. 18), ¡Mayday! Is down to play a show at Propaganda (6 S. J St., Lake Worth) on Thursday, Aug. 20. Should be special. Tickets: $12. Info: PropagandaLW.com.
The music show of the season may be D'Angelo and the Vanguard, bringing sounds from “Black Messiah,” his first album of new material in 14 years, to the Fillmore Miami Beach on Oct. 6. Tickets for the show are $59.50 (general admission) and $100.50 (reserved) and go on sale 10 a.m. Friday at the Fillmore box office (1700 Washington Ave.), at LiveNation.com and by phone at 800-745-3000.
BIG BENDS NEWS
It’s easy to forget how special it was when Tarpon Bend opened in downtown Fort Lauderdale’s then-dormant Himmarshee District (a moment of silence, please, for Tavern 213). With its shack-like décor and fishing theme, the place known formally as Tarpon Bend Food & Tackle was quintessentially Fort Lauderdale, a smart upscaling (by the Restaurant People) of a beachfront dive in an urban setting with consistently appealing comfort food. Hard to believe it’s been this long but the Tarpon Bend Sweet 16 Anniversary Block Party is Friday from 5 p.m.-3 a.m., with drink specials and music indoors by Fuse (6-8 p.m.) and Rogue Theory (8 p.m.-2 a.m.), and outdoors by DJ Chaos at 9 p.m. Info: TarponBend.com.
At its Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale locations on Sunday, Tap 42 will celebrate National Rum Day (yes) with signature cocktails that include the Pineapple Express, made with FWAYGO Rum, mint, amaretto and bitters. FWAYGO comes from South Florida Distillers, a Fort Lauderdale-based distillery owned by Weston buddies Joe Durkin and Avi Aisenberg, who make their rum from Florida-grown sugar cane. So drinking it is something of a civic responsibility. Info: Tap42.com, Facebook.com/SoFlaDistillers.
Miami musician Sarah Jacob and her eponymous trio will release their first album, “Somewhere Between Fact and Fiction,” with a gathering on Friday at Luna Star Café in North Miami. The album, which includes contributions from such scene stalwarts as Diane Ward, Jack Shawde and Matthew Sabatella, weaves folk, jazz and rock with the eclectic inspiration found in a songwriter of Jewish Middle-Eastern Indian heritage raised in north London. Info: SarahJacobTrio.com, LunaStarCafe.com.
HAPPY HOUR OF THE WEEK
Years from now, when the sculptures that dot Flagler Village as whimsical totems on the two-mile art project known as the Mockingbird Trail are defining symbols of what a cool place it is to live, you’ll be able to say, “I helped do that.” Well, that is if you assist its organizers in a final push to meet their share of a $20,000 matching grant (they have less than $1,000 to go). The Mockingbird Trail team will hold a fundraiser at the new Colada Cuban Coffee House & Eatery (525 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale) on Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. The evening is $20 in advance, $30 (cash or credit) at the door, and includes drinks and bites from Colada (we hear the mojito is righteous), and two door-prize raffle tickets. Info: Facebook.com/MockingbirdTrail.
WORDS AND PICTURES
Reminder: “Picture My World” is a remarkable collection of photographs and journal entries by students, newly arrived in Lake Worth from Central America, that tell a powerful story about where these young people have come from and how appreciative they are to be here. On exhibit at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre in downtown West Palm Beach (415 Clematis St.), the show is up through Saturday. Admission is free. Info: Workshop.org.
A visit from the loathsome Tampa Bay Rowdies and their boisterous busloads of fans will make for great entertainment on Saturday night when the Fort Lauderdale Strikers return to the pitch at Lockhart Stadium (1350 NW 55 St.,near Commercial and Powerline). Free Thunder Sticks to the first 2,500 fans, and if you buy a ticket to the Rowdies game, the team's Back to School Pack will get you a ticket to the Strikers’ Aug. 29 match against Indy Eleven for free. Tickets start at $12. Info: Strikers.com.
Time and injury have mellowed his voice into a warm baritone (something like David Bowie’s) but reviewers have lavished praise upon Boy George’s personable performances on the Culture Club tour that arrives at Miami’s Bayfront Park at 8 p.m. Friday (with Howard Jones). Tickets are $35.25 to $145.25 at LiveNation.com. BG also will take to the turntables at the official after-party at Wall Lounge in the W South Beach. Tickets: $60. Info: WallMiami.com.
I LOVE YOU, MIAMI!
The goal of Lunch Break is simple: You leave work midday Friday and head to the Electric Pickle in Wynwood (2826 N. Miami Ave.), where Tomas Ceddia of the party force known as Aquabooty, Flavorpill and Perrier will have DJ Peanut Butter Wolf spin for an hour (1-2 p.m.) while you “dance your pants off,” before leaving with a free drink and bagged lunch to take back to the office. Where else but Miami? Lunch Break is free but you need to RSVP here.