One of the most intriguing rock and roll shows will take place this Thursday at The Brighton Bar in Long Branch. The band is Pearl and features the powerful roundhouse vocal kick of Pearl Aday, wife to none other than Scott Ian of Anthrax.
Pearl isn’t just some flash in the pan rich kid rock star. Nope, she’s been singing since she was a child. From a baby sleeping in a guitar case in the studio to a girl growing up on the road, music has provided Pearl with an education that she couldn’t pay for anywhere else on the planet. She has been featured in Meatloaf’s band on tour and disc for years but has also approached some interesting sidebars along the way backing Mötley Crüe on the Maximum Rock Tour, and spending time in the Los Angeles-based named Stella, a band that was fronted by Nancy Hower from the show Star Trek Voyager.
And if that isn’t enough to beam you out to see the band, she’s also married to Anthrax axe man Scott Ian. Ian and Aday are the Fellini-esque June Carter and Johnny Cash of the millennium and they couldn’t be a better contrast in style. Along with band mates Marcus Blake (bass), Nalle Colt (guitar), Jim Wilson (guitar), and Eric Leiderman (drums), this ensemble blasts out a cool mix of triple guitar action and mega-powered vocals with the tradition of rock and roll from the late 1970s and early 1980s. Out in support of their full-length disc, Little Immaculate White Fox, Pearl stops off at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch, New Jersey, on Thursday, April 29 to wow fans before heading to Connecticut and the world beyond.
Little Immaculate White Fox is unpretentious rock and roll that recalls the heady days when rock ruled the planet and it churns with the very best of those classic influences. From gritty blues chunk to genuine southern rock riffage, the disc shakes the edges of the genres as it even breaks into Ian’s stomping grounds, mixing it all up with infectious beats, bass, and Pearl’s seductive vocals poured down all over the top.
Tunes like “Mama” how the strong mojo of the Joplin/Raitt influence on a composition packed with guitar-driven bridge hooks that snag you into the verses and grungy addictive chorus—swampy blues rock voodoo at its finest here. “Check Out Charlie” lets Scott Ian out of the bull pen and he wastes no time ripping into the guts of the intro with the boys as Pearl moves straight in with her upper-ranged Annie Wilson power.
As Pearl says about her love of playing live, “For me, every show is an adventure. I just let the music take me wherever it feels right. I’ve fallen down, I’ve even peed my pants. I don’t care. As long as I can connect with the audience, have them feel me, and get my point across, then I’ve done what I came to do and I’ll break myself open to get there.”
Catch Pearl April 28 at The Studio At Webster Hall in NYC and tomorrow, April 29, at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ. Check out Pearl at myspace.com/pearl.
SingSOS! — Songs Of The Spectrum
New Jersey is home to some interesting songwriters and one that I’ve known for the last 30 years is Deena Shoshkes of the Cucumbers. I’ve had several opportunities to review her music here and I remember the band’s great success back in the 1980s and 1990s. In a business that claims more souls than a fleet of Titanics ever could, it’s always great to find survivors that make their ongoing career work for them while thinking selflessly of rescuing others.
That’s what Deena Shoshkes and Jon Fried have always done. The husband and wife team have just released a new CD of music and interactive information along with the collaborative efforts of John O’Neil, a New York Times editor and close friend, whose 2004 essay about his autistic son James was part of a Pulitzer Prize nominated series for the paper.
The disc is no ordinary compilation for at least three specific reasons. First, it’s going to be the official fundraising tool to be used by large and small autism organizations all over the country; second, it's got some of the biggest names in music contributing their performance talents; third, O’Neil’s sons Chris and James actually contributed to the disc along with their father. Chris co-wrote the song “Afraid” and James provided his unique view as a person who deals with autism in the poem, "My Perspective."
Musicians that took part in this are some of the biggest friends SingSOS! could hope for. Musicians such as Marshall Crenshaw, Jackson Browne and Valerie Carter, Jonatha Brooke, Dan Bern, Ari Hest, Dar Williams and several other well-known performers that I don’t have room to list. Produced by Michael Visceglia (John Cale, Suzanne Vega), Songs Of The Spectrum rings true with a message of hope and grassroots outreach within a community of caring musicians and families.
The songs on the disc highlight the classic Shoshkes/Fried styles and are beautifully done. Hats off to the easygoing production of Michael Visceglia in conjunction with Rob Friedman and the writers and artists involved on Songs Of The Spectrum. Also, commendations go to James O’Neil who ends the disc with his poetic explanation of frustrations and aspirations, bringing home the point of the very existence of this project.
Shaun Ruymen — Luckiest Man Alive
Shaun Ruymen hails from old burg of Princeton and, like his Ivy Leagued home town, he shows some upper class performance and style with his newest EP titled Luckiest Man Alive. Now, I’m not sure if that title pertains to his personal situation or his chosen profession, but if it has anything to do with his music, he’s got a good head start in the fortune department.
Ruymen demonstrates seasoned pop sensibilities here, mixing acoustic guitars with funk-inspired beats, bass, and strings while making good use of dynamic space. If you’re a fan of Jack Johnson or California’s Matt Costa, then this will appeal to your audio sensibilities. The production of Pat Noon (NBC Sports, Warner Brothers Records, Wu-Tang/Think Differently Corp) is crisp and clean, the writing is focused and the vocals are somewhere just east of Jason Mraz territory.
Luckiest Man Alive offers contemporary beats and bass—not quite dance—but heading that way fast with infused blues riffs and acoustic guitar trills throughout. Vocally his style here reminds me of a bouncy, fun-filled party vibe courtesy of John Mayer.
Disc standout “Emma” is a ballad-paced tune from the school of James Taylor and Jeff Buckley. Pianos mesh well with warm cellos and tight rhythms, taking dynamic license in the form of piano and string builds that flow smoothly into a fairly raucous pre-chorus. Once it hits the chorus it’s steady to the end.
I had the opportunity to catch Ruymen live recently and while the sound system was a bit rickety, he’s someone I would see again at a better venue that has a good PA system.