Longtime Miami music fans approaching an impending "certain age" may forever speak wistfully about the early '90s South Beach scene around the Stephen Talkhouse, and the local star it birthed: Nil Lara.
Yes, it was a hallowed time, and Lara, the scene's perceived saviour, almost broke it huge with his multiculti pop-rock, anchored by his nimble-fingered guitar and cuatro playing. As the decade waned, though, the usual major-label troubles ensued and Lara eventually returned to Miami to make it his home base for good.
But he's not mourning or obsessing about the the past, and neither should his original crop of fans. The Talkhouse is, by Internet-age standards, ancient history, and Lara continues to make music that's worth a look from the under-30s. It's been six years since the release of his last solo album, DA, but his blend of Venezuelan, Cuban, and American musical traditions seems timeless.
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His ballads, especially, are perfect wistful mood music, and as such have been featured in recent years on TV shows like Scrubs, Mad About You, and Cold Case. The party numbers, though, like the old '90s gem "Fighting For My Love," percolate along with bubbly world beat that Vampire Weekend fans should appreciate.
Here's "Fighting For My Love," which you might recognize from the aforementioned Scrubs.
Nil Lara. 10 p.m. Saturday, July 10. Tobacco Road, 626 S. Miami Ave., Miami. Admission is $10; age 21 and up; 305-374-1198; tobacco-road.com