HAPPY HOLIDAYS…2011..FROM JEFF RASPE
HAPPY HOLIDAYS !
Welcome to a quick wrap up of my 2011. I hope you’ve all had healthy, happy, and fruitful years.
We’ve had some pretty bizarre weather on the east coast this year. You probably heard about the week when we had an earthquake and a hurricane. Then the Halloween snowstorm. My town had a mandatory evacuation the weekend of Hurricane Irene. When I returned I was relieved to find no damage to my house or property except for several limbs breaking out of trees. The freak October snowstorm seemed to be more damaging. I was spared the almost full week of no power that a lot of NJ dealt with. Including Cresskill where Mom & Dad and Gordie and his family all still live. A lot of NJ was dealing with major power outages and lots (and I mean LOTS) of downed limbs and storm debris.
I am still working at WBJB-FM, 90.5 The NIGHT, Brookdale Public Radio out of Brookdale Community College in Lincroft NJ. It’s in central NJ for those of you not in the area. I’m the afternoon host and Music Director. You can visit the website to listen online. I’m on every day from 3pm to 7pm ET. We’re a rock station. Specifically, a “Triple A” radio station. That stands for “Adult Album Alternative.” This past November we won our eleventh consecutive Asbury Music Award for Top Local Radio Station To Support Local Music. This was also the first year that I had the pleasure of hosting the awards ceremony/concert. Apparently I did okay…an “all-day affair” actually ended 20 minutes early. It was a lot of fun as a lot of my friends were among the presenters, performers, nominees and winners. In August I got to go back to Boulder CO for one of my format’s conventions. Coincidentally, the convention is held in a hotel that my Dad’s cousin Richard and his wife Elaine own. So, not only did I get to have a great few days with my cohorts from the radio and promotion world with a remarkable amount of live music and partyin’ with rock stars, but I also got to spend some great time with some of my cousins.
I’ve also continued doing more live DJing. I’ve DJed a couple times at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park when “Cousin” Jesse Malin plays there with his band, at his request. Since last December I’m also now spinning regularly every Wednesday night at a place called The Downtown, in downtown Red Bank NJ. It’s part of a weekly series of shows with live original bands, art, and me playin’ records.
My suit (yeah, I have one) got a workout this year. Three weddings and an awards concert.
I finally got together with most of my old coworkers at Dig Video, the dot com I worked at that never actually launched. That didn’t stop us from having a great team that should have done great things. Every so often I get to bugging them all about getting together and back in October we finally did.
My folks are both doing okay. Dad is still singing with the Orpheus Club, a mens chorus based in nearby Ridgewood NJ. Both of them are now “retired” so there’s a lot of cleaning up going on at the old house. Well, that and sleeping. And shopping.
The kids, Gordon and Teresa’s kids, are still getting older and bigger. Stephanie is now 17 and a senior in high school. Still big into dance and cheerleading. She is also still playing basketball. She seems to be doing well and enjoying school. She should have gotten her drivers license in September but is still trying to accumulate the “behind the wheel” hours to get it. She’s visited several colleges but hasn’t decided on one yet. Right now she’s thinking about majoring in the Engineering field. Which specific field, she’s not sure. I keep suggesting “train.” Her little brother Phillip is 14. He still seems to be doing well in school. He’s been playing trumpet in the concert band for the last couple of years and this year was asked to try baritone, which he’s picked up quite easily. Victoria is now 10. She’s still playing soccer, and she’s apparently very good and can kick the ball equally well with either leg. And the youngest member of the family, Gizmo the Papillon, is still reaking havoc wherever he goes.
I solidified my standing as “favorite uncle” (or at least “coolest”) by taking Stephanie and a couple of her friends to a couple of big concerts this year. In the spring I took Steph and her friend Julie to one day of the Bamboozle Festival held in the Meadowlands (Giants Stadium parking lot, to be precise.) It was a very long day, but we saw a lot of great bands. I only had to sit through a couple of the bands that they wanted to see…and I made them sit through all of the bands that I wanted to see. Then, later in the summer, I took Steph, Julie and their friend Cheryl to see a whole bunch of bands playing at Six Flags Great Adventure. I surprised them with a “meet & Greet” with their favorite band We The Kings. Another long day, but a great show.
And, for those of you that didn’t hear the news, I bought a house in Keansburg NJ. Moved in December 2009. I’m still there and everything is going okay. Compared to all of the work that had to get done before moving in, what’s left to do is relatively minor. Until I decide to do something like finish the attic, or put in a driveway, or build a large shed, or cut down a tree or two…. It’s a nice little street, my neighbors are very nice. Keansburg is a bayshore town on the Raritan Bay. It’s only a short walk (or shorter drive) to the legendary Keansburg Amusement Park from the house. Back in April I had solar panels installed on the house too! A solar company was running deals where they (with a local partner to do the actual install) would charge you nothing for the hardware (panels, brackets, etc). After getting online and connected to the grid, my electric bill would then be a small percentage to the local utility (because you still have to be connected) and a larger percentage to the solar company…at a rate locked in at whatever it was the day I signed up. Basically I’m leasing the panels for now. So, right now, the “total” should be about the same as it had been, but eventually, as the utilities rates will undoubtedly go up, the solar rate is locked in and I should see the savings. But, since my house basically faces due south, it seemed like the thing to do.
Jeff’s favorite releases of 2011. In alphabetical order. By first name.
Beannacht – Gra na Firinne
Emily Grove – Way Across The Sea
Imaginary War – Noiseland
Jo Wymer – Living With Scars
Joanna Burns – The Green Year
Joe Miller – Wooden Nickels
Michael Brett – Some Kind Of Solitude
Outside The Box – Bridge
The Amboys – Led Into the Woods
The Thousand Pities – Believe In Sound
Thomas Wesley Stern – Hope Folk
Val Emmich & The Veeries – Aide Memoire
INDEPENDENT LABEL RELEASES
Alexi Murdoch – Towards The Sun
Amanda Shires – Carrying Lightning
Ari Hest – Sunset Over Hope Street
Buffalo Tom – Skins
Darden Smith – Marathon
Dropkick Murphys – Going Out In Style
Fountains Of Wayne – Sky Full Of Holes
Frank Turner – England Keep My Bones
Garland Jeffreys – The King Of In Between
Ha Ha Tonka – Death Of A Decade
James Maddock – Wake Up And Dream
Jonny – Jonny
Joseph Arthur – The Graduation Ceremony
Juliana Hatfield – There’s Always Another Girl
Lloyd Cole – Broken Record
Matthew Ryan – I Remember Standing As Though Nothing Could Fall
Mike Doughty – Yes And Also Yes
Mulebone – Bluesville Sessions
Nicole Atkins – Mondo Amore
Old 97’s – The Grand Theatre Volume 2
Peter Bradley Adams – Between Us
Peter Murphy – Ninth
Poi Dog Pondering – Audio Love Letter
Rival Schools – Pedals
Rod Picott – Welding Burns
Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire
Shannon McNally – Western Ballad
Sloan – The Double Cross
Steve Wynn & The Miracle 3 – Northern Aggression
Teddy Thompson – Bella
The Damnwells – No One Listens To The Band Anymore
The David Mayfield Parade – The David Mayfield Parade
The Duke And The King – The Duke And The King
The Gaslight Anthem – iTunes Session
The Horrible Crowes – Elsie
The Smithereens – Smithereens2011
They Might Be Giants – Join Us!
US Rails – Southern Canon
William Fitzsimmons – Gold In The Shadow
MAJOR LABEL RELEASES
Adele – 21
Amos Lee – Mission Bell
Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong
Gomez – Whatever’s On Your Mind
Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean
My Morning Jacket – Circuital
Scars On 45 – Give Me Something EP/Heart On Fire EP
The Decemberists – The King Is Dead
The Jayhawks – Mockingbird Time
Warren Haynes – Man In Motion
Wilco – The Whole Love