Sunday, August 25, 2019

Grammy Nominees Come to Marco


Echos of the Platters Submitted Photos

Echos of the Platters Submitted Photos

A genre-spanning slice of America’s late 20th Century popular music canon will close out the first month of 2018 at the Marco Island Historical Society.

Grammy nominated singer Gema Pearl, of Naples, will perform an acoustic show on Jan. 20, backed by bassist-producer Lee Brovitz and guitarist, keyboardist, saxophonist John McLane. She’ll be followed by the “Schlock Stars,” a group consisting of Brovitz, McLane, Michael Campbell on drums and percussion, and Mike “Cooky” Liddy on keyboards and harmonica. The veteran touring and session musicians will perform songs from the Motown catalog.

On Jan. 27, “Echos of the Platters,” a Las Vegas-based tribute group, will take the stage, giving life to such Platters hits from the 1950s as “Only You,” “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” “Twilight Time,” “The Great Pretender,” “My Prayer,” and more.

Gema Pearl

Gema Pearl

The shows were organized by Brovitz, a long-time Marco Islander who also produces “Echos of the Platters,” and Pearl, who has released two albums, the most recent being 2015’s “Red Blooded American Girl.” She and Brovitz are currently in the studio working on a new album.

Pearl’s music has been described as a rock and blues mix, with some country influence, with a heavy tinge of her native Texas, all delivered in a powerful voice reminiscent of Ann Wilson of the rock group “Heart.”

Brovitz said he became aware of Pearl about five years ago when he agreed to back her at a benefit show.

“When I first met her, I knew that she sang, but I didn’t know how well she sang,” he said. “When we did the rehearsals, I was knocked out by her.”

In the past, she has performed at the Marco Island Seafood.

The members of the Schlock Stars members all share long careers highlighted by Grammy nominations and stints with rock and soul notables.

Brovitz, who is also a musical director, vocalist, songwriter and road manager, has worked with Cyndi Lauper, Blue Angel, Tommy Roe, Herman’s Hermits and many more. McLane is an esteemed recording engineer whose resume includes Angela Bowie, Bad Co, Livingston Taylor, Joe Brown, Henry Gross and The O’Jays. Campbell has toured and recorded with Tommy Roe, Henry Gross, Gema Pearl, Firefall, The Shadows of Knight, Mitch Ryder, Jay and the Techniques, among others.

“They’re all great players and singers,” said Brovitz.

The band’s name is a humorous nod to their status as pop music veterans.

“We’re kind of making fun of ourselves because what we do is cull from classic material,” said Brovitz. “All these guys I worked with are all pros and we’ve all been on the road for years with national acts.”

“Echos of the Platters” lead Singer Tyrone Sweet said he’s been demand for the doo-wop greats’ music remains strong, decades after they dominated radio and the charts.

“I try to stay true to the sound and the integrity of the music that people remember,” he said. “I like to give them what they remember, because it’s their era. So we want to try and stay true to that sound for them. We feel that it’s an honor to do it. People still want to hear those songs live and that’s a blessing.”

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