Win Win Winter heats up the State

Plus, Très Bien heads for greener pastures.

click to enlarge THE WINTER OF MUCH CONTENT: Win Win Winter turned in an outstanding set during the CL in Concert series last Friday at State Theatre. - Shawn Alff
Shawn Alff
THE WINTER OF MUCH CONTENT: Win Win Winter turned in an outstanding set during the CL in Concert series last Friday at State Theatre.

"Thank you, Mom, for my beer," Tommy Simms announced from the stage as he raised his cup. The 20-something Clearwater resident's band, Win Win Winter, had just started an outstanding 40-minute set Fri., Sept. 5, at State Theatre in St. Petersburg as part of this publication's CL in Concert series. The roughly 200 in attendance consisted mostly of Simms' fans, friends and family. Tommy's younger, 21-year-old sister, Juliet Simms, and her nationally signed (Epic/Sony) pop-punk band, Automatic Loveletter, closed the show with Tommy sitting in on guitar.

Win Win Winter's performance, which kicked off around 10:15 p.m., met the high expectations: The band displayed its mastery of styles, ranging from angular indie rock to near-breezy keyboard-laden numbers, to sparse, rustic ballads marked by the lap steel playing of Nate Oliver. A member of the ace alt-country outfit Have Gun, Will Travel, he also sat in with Automatic Loveletter on guitar.

Tommy Simms might not look like your typical frontman (unless your idea of one is Jack Black), but he works the crowd with a subtle charm rarely matched on the local scene. His vocal chops — and ability to sell a lyric — are also exceptional.

On Aug. 27, news arrived that Win Win Winter had finished its debut full-length, Viole. The disc "should be out in time for the holiday season on 24 Hour Service Station," reads a press release. Label owner Marshall Dickson, who was at the gig Friday, recently sent me a demo of the Viole track "Someone Like Me." Built around a simple, acoustic guitar riff and kissed by Oliver's weeping lap steel, it's a gorgeous valentine that finds Tommy gently intoning, "She'd be better off with someone fancy, to buy her favorite things and take her dancing/ The steady 9 to 5 was just not likely, so how'd she fall in love with someone like me?"

On Friday, Dickson also confirmed that he'd signed popular St. Pete/Wisconsin-based singer/songwriter Geri X to 24 Hour Service Station.

Clearwater garage-rock quartet Très Bien, which also performed Friday at the State, told me they've completed a new CD ready for self-release at a gig in October. On a downer note, the show will double as a farewell party. "We're moving to Pennsylvania to further our music career by centralizing in the Northeast," they said.

Genre-subverting electronica/rock duo GreyMarket will celebrate the release of its new disc S.O.W.N.D. with a show Sept. 26, at Orpheum in Ybor City. "[The title] stands for 'Some Orbits Will Never Decay,'" said percussionist Mike Gargiulo.

This just in from Have Gun, Will Travel leader Matt Burke: "We have a little mini-tour that we're going on, and as it turns out, we'll be playing showcases at the Atlantis Music Conference in Atlanta (Sept. 19) and the Americana Music Festival in Nashville (Sept. 20).

"Brett Steele (Steele Management) is working with us to get the word out to industry folks in both cities, and (WMNF program director) Randy Wynne's gonna be helping us promote in Nashville. So it should be a productive little trip." Before leaving for the mini-tour, HGWT performs at CL's The Loafies, our Best of the Bay awards show, 7 p.m. Tues., Sept. 16, Tampa Theatre. You should be there, too. It's only $10, and that includes an after-party. What else you got going on a Tuesday night? Check out to get your tickets.

Brett Steele has recently expanded Steele Management — which he formed in 1987 — far beyond steering his brother Kevin Steele's bands Roxx Gang and now Mojo Gurus to major-label deals. In addition to the Gurus, Brett currently reps The Dex Romweber Duo, which just inked a deal with venerable cow-punk imprint Bloodshot, Royal Gents, Van Preston, The Ditchflowers, Blind Buddy Moody, Chris Volpe, Darrin James, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers and Ronny Elliott. "I'm interested in reviewing artists in all styles of music for representation," Brett said. He can be reached at [email protected].

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