The Colonel

Tampa’s “Colonel” Tom Parker made Elvis Presley the greatest pop star of all time. 
But did he ruin him as an artist? By Bob Kealing All eyes were on Elvis Presley as he strode into a press conference at the International Hotel in Las Vegas on Aug. 1, 1969. Few noticed “Colonel” Tom Parker, the star’s ubiquitous 60-year-old manager, who stood to the side as Presley took a seat at

Running toward the Sun

Tribal elder Betty Mae Jumper recounts how in 1837, two young Seminoles 
escaped from the Trail of Tears. In 1830, the United States began rounding up all Southeastern Indians east of the Mississippi River and marching them to what had been declared Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. Many perished on the grueling journey, which became known as the Trail of Tears. Only the Florida Seminoles offered armed resistance, setting off

A Taste of FLORIDA

A Rich Melange Chef Alain Lemaire gives a modern spin to Haitian Creole cuisine. By Dalia Colón Featured image above: Chef Alain Lemaire, Maybelline Photography. Alain Lemaire knows where your mind goes when you think of Haiti: earthquakes, political upheaval, crisis at the border. But the South Florida chef wants to showcase a different side of his homeland: beaches, music, waterfalls, food. Especially food. “There is such a big community

In the Shadow of Old Joe

The mayor of Newberry on his town’s work to acknowledge—
and heal from—its tragic racial past. By Jordan Marlowe Alachua County, home to Gainesville and the University of Florida, sits in the middle of North Central Florida. As a college town, Gainesville is a blue dot on the region’s deep-red political map. I live in that deep-red area, in Newberry, a small rural community roughly 15 miles west of Gainesville. The inherent

State of Rock

Since 1969, four iconic bands have ruled American classic rock, their songs on a perpetual loop via FM and satellite radio. Each band includes two guitarists with deep Florida roots, supplying the gold and platinum riffs. Those eight artists make a compelling case for Florida as an incubator of great American classic rock guitarists. That’s not to mention many others from the Sunshine State who have also left a mark

Lift Every Voice 
and Sing

Jacksonville’s multi-faceted James Weldon Johnson wrote the stirring hymn that has become a part of American life. By Craig Pittman On a warm and wet September evening last year, the first football game of 2021 was about to start. The two teams lined up on the field at Raymond James Stadium, each in their respective end zones—the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on one side, the Dallas Cowboys on the other. Before

‘I’m Florida, Need I Say More?’

Now turning 70, a White Springs Festival celebrates the elusive, eclectic music that is Florida Folk. By Peter B. Gallagher An attendee at the 70-year-old Florida Folk Festival, May 27-29, may well be confused, not just by the Cracker accent prevalent along these parts of the Suwannee River, but also by the diverse sights and sounds of the nation’s longest continuous state folk festival.  Over here sits a bluesman rhyming

Traveling Down the Chitlin’ Circuit

Ocala blues musician Rev. Billy C. Wirtz explores the Florida clubs and artists that defined Black music during the days of Jim Crow. Muddy Waters stepped up to the mic and spit out the words, “You can’t lose what you ain’t never had.” Otis Spann hit a C major trill on the piano and somewhere deep inside me, a switch was thrown. It wasn’t just the music but the look

The Hitmaker

For 63 years, Miami’s Criteria Studios has recorded some of the country’s most popular albums and artists. By Janet Scherberger In 1977, “Hotel California,” the Eagles classic recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami, received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. The album had topped the charts for eight weeks and would go on to be the third-best-selling album of all time. But the band lost the honor to
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