HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2014!!
I know I’m a little late, been busy…
I’m still working at WBJB-FM, Brookdale Public Radio at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft NJ. I am the Music Director and afternoon on air host, every Monday through Friday 3p-7p. We won the Asbury Music Award for Top Local Radio Station for the 14th year in a row. You can visit the website to listen online. We’re a “Triple A” radio station. That stands for “Adult Album Alternative.” We play a lot of rock, classic rock, blues, acoustic, some alternative, singer/songwriters, and a lot of local NJ artists. At the end of October I celebrated my 26th anniversary on Jersey Shore airwaves. 1988-2001 at WHTG-FM, FM106.3; and 2001-2013 at 90.5 The Night, Brookdale Public Radio.
I’ve also been working part-time at Jack’s Music Shoppe, a legendary record store in Red Bank NJ (you may have seen it in the Kevin Smith movie Chasing Amy.). Only been working on Sundays and Record Store Days, but it’s enough to get back into the “record store thing.” And some extra money is helpful. I get to work with some fellow “record geeks” and we always have a good time. It’s been reassuring to see how much vinyl we sell day to day. And not just old guys crate-digging for old records. There are a lot of folks buying new releases and reissues on vinyl. And most of them are, I’d guess, between 15 and 25. So that’s great to see…
Which is good because I’m also doing some A&R for local indie label Main Man Records. The same label that helped me release a tribute to Winter Hours a few years ago. We now have worldwide distribution through MVD and one of the first things to be made available this month is the Winter Hours tribute called “A Few Uneven Rhymes.” My current project is a series of vinyl 7 inch singles (with digital versions as well). We’re almost ready with the first 2 in the series. MMSS001 will be a new track from Harper’s Fellow and MMSS002 will be a collaboration between Jounce and Myke Scavone.
My folks are still retired and doing okay. Dad is still singing with the Orpheus Club, a mens chorus based in nearby Ridgewood NJ. This year’s project was getting the old patio cover removed and replaced with a closed in room. I guess, technically, it’s an addition, but it has no HVAC or anything.
My brother Gordon and his wife Teresa’s kids, are still getting older and bigger. Stephanie is now 20 and a junior mechanical engineering student at Alfred University in Alfred NY. She seems to be doing very well there and is enjoying it. She’s joined the school dance team so she’s still dancing. She also joined the school “activities/entertainment board” type club, the club that puts on events, shows and concerts on campus. So she’s been involved in many live music events, running sound and setting up/breaking down concerts. I got to take her to some more concerts when she’s home from school too. Including the all-day WARPED Tour at the PNC Bank Arts Center. It’s always in mid-July so you always prepare for the hottest, most humid day possible. In 2013 it was almost 100 degrees and humid. In 2014 the temps were at least 20 degrees cooler making it a much more enjoyable day.
Phillip is 17 now and is trying to become a one man brass band. He’s already played trumpet and baritone in the school band, and now he’s added trombone to his repetoire. He’s also been part of the stage crew in the high school. So on concert nights, not only does he have to perform, but he also has to set the stage, chairs, risers, etc.
Victoria is 13! (Which means, that for a few weeks, my brother and sister in law were the parents of *3* teenagers at the same time!) She’s turned into a big reader and still plays soccer, basketball and volleyball.
And the youngest member of the family, Gizmo the Papillon, is still reaking havoc wherever he goes and getting too many treats from Grandma.
And, as any of my Facebook friends can tell you, I still go to way too many concerts. As usual, I try to see as many local Jersey shore bands as possible. But I still get out to see some of my favorite national acts too. This year included some great shows from Ryan Adams, “Cousin” Jesse Malin, Bouncing Souls, Nicole Atkins, Gaslight Anthem, and Drivin & Cryin. Also some newer acts you should check out like Noah Gundersen, Jamestown Revival, and Scars On 45. Some old friends like The Figgs, Polaris (most of Miracle Legion doing the music of the 90s Nickelodeon show “The Adventures Of Pete & Pete.”) and The Thousand Pities (with members of The Vestrymen and Winter Hours). I ventured to the Court Tavern in New Brunswick for the first time since the 90s to celebrate the 50th birthday of an old friend with the music of more old friends from the days when I hung out in New Brunswick. There were even a couple of sort of super groups: The Empty Hearts (members of The Cars, Blondie, The Romantics and The Chesterfield Kings) and a band made up of Jim Boggia, Pete Donnelly, Cliff Hillis and Willie Wisely called Three Hour Tour. Even saw the legendary Jimmy Webb. And one band that I never thought I’d ever get to see play live…The Boomtown Rats with an “almost original” line-up, including Sir Bob Geldof. They hadn’t played in NYC in some 28 years!
Jeff’s favorite releases of 2014. In alphabetical order. By first name.
Accidental Seabirds – The Greenpoint Spill
Caroline Reese & The Drifting Fifth – The Electric Year
Chris Brown – Anchor
Colton Kayser – Colton Kayser
Cranston Dean – Tried & True
Deal Casino – Heck
EdTang & The Chops – EdTang & The Chops
Emily Grove – The Life Of A Commoner
Karen Mansfield – Karen Mansfield
Lightning Jar – blah blah
Smalltalk – 3 12″ singles
The Clydes – Generator
The Grip Weeds – Inner Grooves
Xenia Sky – Ghost Of Jupiter
INDEPENDENT LABEL RELEASES
Ani DiFranco – Allergic To Water
Anthony D’Amato – The Shipwreck From The Shore
Augustines – Augustines
Bob Mould – Beauty And Ruin
Boy & Bear – Harlequin Dream
Chuck Ragan – Till Midnight
Chuck Prophet – Night Surfer
David Poe – God And The Girl
Echo & The Bunnymen – Meteorites
Edward David Anderson – Lies & Wishes
Elbow – The Take Off And Landing Of Everything
Foy Vance – Joy Of Nothing
Got A Girl – I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now
Graham Colton – Lonely Ones
Jeremy Messersmith – Heart Murmurs
Jesse Daniel Smith (aka I Am The Sky) – The World Doesn’t Need Another Record
Jubilee Riots – Penny Black
Ken Yates – twenty-three
Lake Street Dive – Bad Self Portraits
Mark Lanegan Band – Phantom Radio/No Bells On Sunday
Mulebone – Keep On Movin’
Nicole Atkins – Slow Phaser
Nikki Lane – All Or Nothing
Noah Gundersen – Ledges
Phish – Fuego
Sean Rowe – Madman
Sharon Van Etten – Are We There
Simone Felice – Strangers
Sons Of Bill – Love And Logic
Real Estate – Atlas
Run River North – Run River North
Sloan – Commonwealth
Steve Conte NYC – The “Steve Conte NYC” Album
Suzanne Vega – Tales From The Realm Of The Queen Of Pentacles
The Autumn Defense – Fifth
The Both – The Both
The Empty Hearts – The Empty Hearts
The Fleshtones – Wheel Of Talent
The Old 97’s – Most Messed Up
The Revelations – The Cost Of Living
Thompson – Family
MAJOR LABEL RELEASES
Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes
Counting Crows – Somewhere Under Wonderland
Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded Fantasy
Jamestown Revival – Utah
Jenny Lewis – The Voyager
NEEDTOBREATHE – Rivers In The Wasteland
Rosanne Cash – The River And The Thread
Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
Scars On 45 – Safety In Numbers
The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt
The Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams
The Strypes – Snapshot
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Hypnotic Eye
TV On The Radio – Seeds
Don’t forget, you can find me on the interwebs.