Category Archives: Pop and Rock

The one NYC show you must see tonight: Marah at the Bowery Ballroom (Updated: Now with VIP ticketholder schedule)


If you need a reason to see Marah at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City on Friday night, Sept. 23, check out Rolling Stone’s story:

How Marah Made the Best Americana Album You’ve Never Heard

Marah’s 2008 performance on Late Night With Conan O’Brien should have been the ultimate coming-out party, a shot of high-profile national PR to launch an ambitious new album and U.S. tour. Instead, the January 9th appearance was a death knell for both the Philadelphia roots-rock band and their sixth studio record Angels of Destruction!, released only the day before.

Within a week of the Conan spotlight, Marah split up, with band discord to blame. All of their U.S. dates were scrapped, squandering their best chance yet at the brass ring.



If you’re going, here’s the schedule:

VIP Ticket Holder Hour: Soundcheck, NYC gig poster, meet/greet, enlightenment etc etc) is 6:30pm-7:30pm (After party for wrist-banded VIP ticket holders is immediately after the show in the Bowery Ballroom’s basement bar.)

MARAH SHOWTIME is 8:30pm! (no support bands).

Underground Horns, Blind Boy Paxton, The Foxfires, and Three Pints Shy perform tomorrow at Haverstraw RiverArts & Music Festival

HRA_AD4_2x2_8Stick around Rockland County on Saturday, Sept .17, and get yourself to the wonderful Haverstraw RiverArts & Music Festival.

It’s a one-day  celebration of the mighty Hudson River in a cool urban village that provided many of the multiple millions of bricks that transformed Manhattan and many other parts of what ‘s now New York City.


Underground Horns

It was started in 2014 by Haverstraw RiverArts, to bring a full day of music and art set against the backdrop of the Hudson for the residents of Rockland and beyond.

From noon to 6 p.m., Emeline Park at the foot of Main Street will be transformed into a wonderland of art, live music, food, a beer garden, and craft vendors.

It’s all free.


Blind Boy Paxton

Everything will be great, but the music will be especially hot this year, with a lineup that includes a danceable New York City horn band, a rising young country blues star, a West Nyack indie-rock band, and a Celtic combo. (Full disclosure: I helped recruit two of the bands.)


The Foxfires

Here’s the music schedule:

Student musician & Welcome – Noon-12:30 p.m.

The Foxfires (West Nyack “Seagaze” indie rock) – 12:30-1:30

Three Pints Shy (Celtic) – 1:40-2:25

Student musicians – 2:30-3

Blind Boy Paxton (country blues) – 3-4

Announcements – 4:45-5

Underground Horns (NYC funk horns) – 5-6


Three Pints Shy

If you go for the music, y0u should also check out the food and crafts and the professional artists who will display their work along the waterfront.

A special feature of this year’s festival is the 1885 wooden schooner Pioneer, which will offer rides throughout the day for $25 per person. GO HERE TO BUY TICKETS.


Schooner Pioneer


Donovan’s ‘Mellow Yellow’ sound comes to Peeksill on Suday


Whether you were around in the Sixties, or even if you were born years later, you have head the psychedelic folk-rock stylings of Donovan, whose greatest hits include “Sunshine Superman,” “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” and “Mellow Yellow.”

On Sunday, Sept. 18, the 70-year-old Scotland-born singer-songwriter brings his 50th anniversary tour to the Paramount Hudson Valley Theater in Peekskill.

In an interview for The Journal News/ tied to his first-ever Westchester County gig, Donovan tells me he’s still going strong doing creative work he loves – and has no intention of stopping.

“I love making music and I do it every day… I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop doing that. In that way, my motivations haven’t changed at all. I’m an observer and my music is a commentary on life. I love that job.”




Speed the Plough putting on a not-to-be-missed show Saturday night

cdcposterIf you are within driving distance of Cranford, New Jersey, on Saturday night, Sept. 17, get yourself to the Cranford Dramatic Club theater to hear Speed the Plough, one of the best bands to come out of the extended family of The Feelies, and some other musical friends.

The North Haledon-based band is a little out of its element, and its home turf, at the Cranford playhouse that traditionally hosts theater rather than music.

“It’s a bit of a special endeavor,” says Toni Baumgartner, Speed the Plough’s flute player and one of its singers. “Like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, we’re putting on a show” at an old theater… This is kind of a first for them: An evening of music with no drama. We’re aiming for an intimate, café-style setting.”

While Speed the Plough’s beautiful chamber pop — featuring John Bamugartner on keyboards, Mike Baumgartner and Ed Seifert on guitars, Cindi Merklee on bass, and John Demeski on drums along with Toni Baumgartner — tops the bill, the other acts are well worth the price of admission.

The Songs of Winter Hours is a band led by Bob Perry, an original member of Lyndhurst, New Jersey, -based Winter Hours, that aims to keep alive the music of a great New Jersey alternative rock band.

Winter Hours, which included the late guitarist Michael Carlucci — the onetime owner of New York City’s Subterranean Records and CDs and also a member of indie supergroup East of Venus, another Feelies-related band whose debut album was completed shortly before Carlucci died —  had plenty of regional success from 1984 to 1991.

The Songs of Winter Hours features Perry on guitar and lead vocals, Ray Nissen on bass, James Higgins on guitar, Chris O’Hara on drums, and Paul Moschella on percussion. Joseph Marques, who was a songwriter and the band’s lead singer, died in 2003.

The first artist on the bill is Edward Rogers, a Britain-born, New  York City-based singer-songwriter. His new album “Glass Marbles” was released on Zip Records in March to rave reviews.



What: Speed the Plough, The Songs of Winter Hours, and Edward Rogers in concert

When: 8 p.m., (7 p.m. doors) Saturday, Sept. 17

Where: The CDC Theatre, 78 Winans Avenue, Cranford, NJ

Tickets: $15 online (GO HERE TO BUY)  or at the door. Includes a glass of wine or a beer.



Rockland County honors Bruce Springsteen’s local legacy Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen (DoD News Features)

Bruce Springsteen (DoD News Features)

You may have forgotten — or maybe never knew — that some of Bruce Springsteen’s distinctly New Jersey-oriented tunes were actually recorded in Rockland County, that tiny part of New York State just north of the Garden State line and west of the Tappan Zee Bridge.

He recorded his albums “The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle” and “Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.” — as well as the title track of his breakthrough third studio album, “Born to Run” — at the former 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, New York.

The Blauvelt Auto Spa May 5, 2015. Bruce Springsteen

The Blauvelt Auto Spa May 5, 2015. Bruce Springsteen recorded “Born to Run” in the building 40 years ago, when it was the 914 Sound Studios. (Photo: Peter Carr/The Journal News)

At 6 p.m. today, there’s a ceremony at the site — now an auto spa — where a historical marker will be installed. It’s being followed by a concert by Joe Delia, a keyboardist/composer who has played with Springsteen.  Rockland-born guitarist/songwriter Joe D’Urso and other guests will also be on the bill.

The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Blauvelt Coach Diner, 587 Route 303, Blauvelt.

It’s free. But get there early, because while the dedication ceremony should have plenty of room for anybody who shows up, fewer than 200 will be able to enter the diner for the concert afterward. But don’t fret if you can’t get in. Organizers say the overflow crowd will be able to listen in on speakers set up outside.

My buddy Robert Brum from The Journal News/ has played a big role in making this historical event a reality. He’s written extensively, and lyrically, about the history. Click here to read Brum’s beautifully written and presented piece about the roots of Springsteen’s song on its 40th anniversary.

Brum also wrote about the campaign for the historical marker. Go here to read that.



Last Minute Music: Eisa Davis performs new songs at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater tonight (Video)

You may remember Eisa Davis from “Passing Strange,” where I first encountered her.

But if it strains your brain to reach back that far, and you watch TV, you’ll recognize her from her roles in “House of Cards” and “Blindspot” or her many guest appearances on other popular shows, including “Gotham,” “The Blacklist,” “The Wire,” “The Good Wife,” and many others. 

She’s not just an actor. She’s also a writer, composer, and singer.

She wrote a musical play called “Angela’s Mixtape,” an exploration of family dynamics titled in honor of her aunt, Angela Davis.

Yes, THAT Angela Davis.

Eisa Davis

Eisa Davis

She’s appearingat 8 p.m. Tuesday,  Aug. 2, in the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater series “New Songs Now,” sharing the bill with Zoe Sarnak, in a program of new songs, conversation anda bit of drinking.

She’s a good, charming singer and performer with magnetic stage presence. It should be a great way to spend a couple of hours on a Tuesday evening. 

This is the third in a series of five shows in the Manhattan theater’s unplugged summer concert series. Each features two songwriters who share songs in progress and conversationfollowed by an audience talkback.
Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 on day of show, and include one drink. Go HERE to buy online or call 866-812-4111 or 212-627-2556.

Rattlestick is located at 224 Waverly Place.  


Imagine if Philip Glass had produced The Feelies’ first album

The Feelies celebrate their 40th anniversary at The Woodland in Maplewood, New Jersey. (Copyright 2016, Steven P. Marsh/

The Feelies celebrate their 40th anniversary at The Woodland in Maplewood, New Jersey. (Copyright 2016, Steven P. Marsh/

The Feelies co-founder Bill Million reminds us of an obscure fact about negotiations for the iconic New Jersey band’s first album, “Crazy Rhythms,” that could have changed its history:

“We turned down a lot of major labels because they wanted to bring in a producer to work with us. One of ’em was Philip Glass, and Glenn and I went to meet him. After a while he looked at us and said, ‘Well, you guys sound like you know exactly what you want, you don’t need me.’ So it was cool meeting Philip Glass.”

The band was influenced by the drones and repetition of the musical Minimalists on the scene at the time, 40 years ago, with Glass and Steve Reich at the top of the list. But imagine what having Glass himself behind the board could have done to the songs of Million and co-founder Glenn Mercer.

It’s great to learn that Glass recognized their talents and declined to get in their way.

GO HERE to read the full Flood interview.