Is Americas Best Singer Playing at a South Carolina Steakhouse?

Tim Hockenberry has had a long and fruitful career as a musician, but after being made famous by reality Tv, he’s put in shop down South.”>

With a voice compared to Joe Cocker and a smoothness on par with Michael McDonald, Tim Hockenberry could play and sing just about anywhere.

But instead of Vegas, instead of Nashville, and instead of his old haunts around San Francisco, youll find the soulful talents of Tim Hockenberry, the former Americas Got Talent star, tucked inside a chophouse down South in Charleston, South Carolina, where he routinely orders the salmon over mouth-watering steak.

Forfeiting filet mignon for fish is one of the few examples of restraint in Hockenberrys life. Otherwise, “the mens” confiscates opportunities to indulge, whether it be simple delights or something more sinful. He also dislikes being told what to do.

In fact, I dont like to do anything, tells Hockenberry, 54. I like a comfortable chair, a Scrabble board.

But dont mistake him as lazy. Hockenberry is someone who savors, taking particular pleasure and pride in his music. In March he released his first, and self-titled, album of original music from Poignant Records in San Francisco. The album, praised as sweet and serene by Elmore Magazine, follows a long career playing the Bay Areas top venues, as well as two late-in-life, and very diverse, experiences touring the country over the last decade, first with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, then with the Grateful Deads Mickey Hart.

First time I ever got on a[ tour] bus I was 47, tells Hockenberry, who perhaps predictably, did not enjoy the cramped, grueling road trips that are the traveling musicians norm.

Despite the many miles Hockenberry covered, these journeys did not deplete the singers irreverence. Hockenberry gleefully characterizes the heavy vacation tunes of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra as Christmas music that Nazis fuck to.

He also owns up to awkwardness concerning his signature performance of the orchestras anthem Believe.

Im a devout atheist so it was a little weird for me, tells Hockenberry. Im pretty much screaming for five minutes, imploring for Gods mercy.

But God smiled at Hockenberry in 2012 when, at the suggestion of his then-nine-year-old daughter, Lola, the singer auditioned successfully for Americas Got Talent. Subsequently performing on national television, Hockenberry bowled over celebrity judges Howie Mandel, Sharon Osbourne, and Howard Stern, with Stern praising Hockenberry as a breath of fresh air and a phenomenal talent.

Initially, however, Hockenberry defied his daughters notion for him to audition.

Im old, he told her. Tom Waits wouldnt do that.

No, Lola countered, this is the one show that takes old people.

While Hockenberrys performance of Cockers You are So Beautiful and other cover songs carried him to the semifinals, he and his fellow competitors were ultimately bested by a group of canine musicians and their trainers who danced, hopped and rolled across the stage in tuxedos and formal wear.

Sympathy was in short supply after the defeat. As his ex-wife Marianne told him: Its kind of appropriate you were beaten by dogs, dedicated your history.

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