Beth Feinstein-Bartl, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

- Glenn Govot is living his dream of endless summers and singing for his favorite South Florida audiences."It's an international clientele; you never know who's going to be sitting in front of you," said Govot, a former Delaware native whose search for year-round sunshine led him to Fort Lauderdale 17 years ago. "I couldn't image living any other kind of life."

With his blond surfer looks, guitar skills and engaging voice, Govot easily fit into the local music scene. He has now become a bar and club scene staple, with a growing fan base and a steady lineup of gigs for his brand of adult contemporary acoustic rock. Backed by Delray Beach percussionist Juan Etchegorry, Govot's melodies carry a variety of blues, classical and jazz beats.

Govot chose his path at age 5, when he began studying piano. He progressed to school marching bands and orchestras, but found that girls like guitar players. So he traded his sax for an ax and never looked back.

Govot has dropped three CDs. His last album, Surrender the Fantasy, was released in 2003. A fourth disc, featuring live performances, is slated for summer.

"I'm always striving to write more, write better," said Govot, who is never content to rest and constantly composing. "I write real songs about real people."

Rafer Guzman, New Times Broward/Palm Beach

Anyone who's had a drink at the Elbo Room on a Monday evening has seen the blond-haired dude with a guitar and a keyboard standing on the makeshift stage in the corner. He can do "Brown Eyed Girl" just like Van, "Jammin'" just like Bob and "Danny's Song" just like Loggins and Messina.

"I'm versatile," he says. "I'll switch gears 30 times a night. And people enjoy that."

He has a name -- Glenn Govot -- and he's put out a CD of his own songs. The Color of Me offers thirteen songs with titles such as "Sunrise Lane," "Wasted Time," and "The Elbo." Overall, the CD is a pretty accurate picture of life in South Florida as seen through the eyes of a young musician who plays seven nights a week in clubs and bars in Fort Lauderdale.

Govot plays at three other Fort Lauderdale venues each week: the Treasure Trove on Thursday, Bimini Boatyard on Friday, and Marty O'Brien's on Saturday and Sunday. But it's the Elbo Room that struck him as a good subject for a song. "It's just a pile of wood sticks," he admits, "but it just screams 'character.'"

With nods to the bar's staff and regular patrons, "The Elbo" is a ballad that could serve as Govot's mini-autobiography: "I sing the songs, they drink the beer/Jimmy, Joel, and John songs are the songs they love to hear." Govot shifts in and out of blues, rock, and reggae in the song, just as he does every night of the week.

Perhaps the best character in "The Elbo" is Jay, who requests a blues tune from Govot and asks, "Son, can you break it down?" Govot points out that Jay is actually a cab driver from Boston with a passion for New Orleans blues. "He's a pretty serious drinker, and he comes in all the time and asks me to 'break it down,'" says Govot. "But he never remembers the last time. So it's like every time is the first time. Imagine four years of that. I love it."

Govot has his rigorous schedule down to a science. "It's important to get REM sleep every night," he says. He often won't talk during the day to conserve his voice. He doesn't smoke and very rarely drinks, despite the fact that happy patrons always insist on buying him a beer. "There are sacrifices you make when you play seven nights a week," he admits.

Part of this rigor may come from Govot's fear that South Florida's warm climate may be a little too enjoyable. "You meet these people here who are too happy," Govot explains. "I once read that too much warmth of the sun can make you forget what's important."

Govot seems to have experienced a little sunstroke himself. In "The Band" he sings, "I'm in the shade watching the parade/Pass me by every day/I'm mixing alcohol with Geritol/I'm getting younger every day."

"It's easy to become part of the cycle," Govot explains. "When you're sitting there on your second beer, it's fun to watch everybody. Then, seven beers later, someone on their second beer is watching you."

You can check out Govot's Website at

Erin Kosnac, Dover Post-
It’s about 10:30 on a Wednesday night, and all the pieces are in place at W.T. Smithers. The requisite alcohol promotions line the walls — Beck’s, Guinness, Budweiser. A group of friends is helping a guy celebrate his 21st Birthday. A mostly college-aged crowd totes beer mugs in both hands back from the bar. And Glenn Govot is performing — singing, playing the guitar. With the crowd tightly packed around the bar, Govot’s acoustic rock creeps into the crevices and cracks — the songs of the Dave Matthews Band (DMB), the Goo Goo Dolls, Barenaked Ladies (BNL) as well as some of his originals. Now as they tote their beer mugs,their lips move with the music.

Govot first took the stage at Smithers about 15 years ago, and having recently returned to the area he’s back every Wednesday night at the place where it all got started. Govot has turned Justin Barnes, a student at Wesley College, into a Wednesday night regular at Smithers. “I realized just how good he was, and I knew there was nowhere else I needed to go,” Barnes said. “And in a setting like this, he doesn’t really have the best acoustics, but he still sounds so good. ”Barnes also said Govot rivals the regional acts.“ In this area, you won’t find any other talent like this,” he said. “He can easily compete with the acts in bigger cities.” Govot’s got the looks to be in a boy band: blond hair, tan skin, the Abercrombie and Fitch shirt. But he’s got infinitely more talent.

At age 6, Govot started playing the piano. In fourth grade, it was the oboe and saxophone. And by seventh grade, he was playing whatever he could get his hands on. “As I grew older, nothing really seemed to fit like music did,” he said. “It always just seemed to fit like a glove. I would try to do other things, but it was always like I was trying to go upstream.” After playing with small bands as a keyboard player, Govot decided he wanted to be a solo act. “It was really scary for me,” he said. “But I filled up the place with family and friends. And I got this great high from performing solo. It became addictive, and I just ran with it.” Govot began playing at Smithers regularly, which led to other local as well as regional shows. The Harrington native soon had a full-time performance schedule. But in 1992, he took a break and became a mailman in Dover for six months. “I just felt like I couldn’t get focused because I was always performing,” he said. “I needed to detach myself from it because I knew I was up for a change.” In 1993, Govot moved to South Florida.

‘Expect a lot of energy’.....As Govot starts to play BNL’s “Pinch Me,” the face of a girl sitting a few feet away lights up. She’s dancing in her chair as much as sitting in a chair permits a person to dance. As she sings along, she acts out parts of the song with her arms. Not really dancing but with his feet almost constantly moving, Govot tosses out references to Wesley College and Dover. “People can expect a lot of energy when they come to see one of my shows,” he said. “I put a lot of emphasis on repertoire and finding something that’s unique.” He also looks at each performance as a separate show. “The energy is always spread out in different ways,” he said. “And the reciprocation is what dictates a lot of times what direction I’m going to go. I give the crowd energy, and they give me something back. It goes back and forth like that. I have to keep my eyes open from the first song to the last song to see what they want.” While in Florida, Govot performed six nights a week, including four nights a week for seven years at the Elbo Room in Fort Lauderdale. His most memorable night came during a performance at the Elbo Room when Darius Rucker from Hootie & the Blowfish came in. Govot had met Rucker through some charity work he done. The two began to play — Govot on piano, Rucker on guitar. A crowd began to form. The police blocked off the street before eventually shutting down Govot and Rucker because they couldn’t control all the people. It was also in Florida that Govot released his first CD, Love Today, in 1996. Govot began writing his own pieces in while in high school at Lake Forest. It all started with songs he wrote for girls. “They were really awful, really bad,” Govot said. “I’d play the songs for them, and they’d get good reactions, great reactions. But I don’t think they’d go over real well with anyone else. But it was a beginning.” He released two more CDs while in Florida: The Color of Me in 1998 and Surrender the Fantasy in 2001. And he plans to release his fourth CD in winter 2003. Govot’s original pieces deal with “real things, real people.” “I inhale a lot of life through the live performances and the people I meet,” he said. Govot’s originals bear resemblance to the artists he covers — especially Goo Goo Dolls and DMB. His voice has the feel of an acoustic storyteller similar to Matthews, David Gray and John Mayer. “I see myself as a writer until I die, and I’m always striving to get better,” he said. “I’ll never be satisfied as a writer. My writing and my skills are always going to be a work in progress.”

‘A piece of my music’....Before taking a break at about 11:30 p.m., Govot plays one of his most-requested songs: “Crash” by DMB. Govot likes the challenge of learning to play and sing a DMB song. “In the time it takes me to learn just one song by him, I could learn four other covers,” he said. “It’s just so intricate and so difficult. But it ends up being really rewarding to play and to have mastered.” The crowd — still semi-raucous and boisterous — seems to have settled slightly as it listens to the smooth sounds. Govot was scheduled to start a job in St. Thomas in January 2002. Having missed Delaware for his past two years in South Florida, Govot came home in the fall before he planned to leave for the Virgin Islands. But with tourism declining after Sept. 11, Govot’s job fell through. “So I’m here at around Thanksgiving thinking, ‘OK, I guess I’m going to be here,’” he said. “And I’ve made the best of it.” Making the best of it includes playing every Wednesday night at Smithers, weekends in Boston and plans for regional shows in the fall. “My goal is for someday for everyone to have a piece of my music in their house, sitting on the coffee table or in a box in the attic or something like that,” he said. “I want to reach as many people as I can.” Amy Maragno, a student at Wesley College, is one of those people. “Every Wednesday I come here to see him,” Maragno said. “Every Wednesday. I just love the music he plays. It’s music I appreciate and listen to.” Her favorite: DMB’s #41. ,“I love that song to begin with,” she said. “And he just does such a great cover. I just can really rock out to it.” Throughout his musical career, Govot has kept a piece of his grandma’s advice in mind. “My grandma told me when I was young, ‘Find something you love to do, and find a way to make money doing it,’” he said. “I’m still working on the money part, but I’ve definitely found what I love to do.”