Tommy Fuller – The Real McCoy On The Jersey Shore

When you hear the name Tommy Fuller, you might get that instant feeling of déjà vu. That’s because Fuller is a songwriter that has been behind some of the industry’s most important discoveries and time frames. Fuller is an artist that has spanned decades in popular culture, hitching a proverbial ride with rock and roll’s biggest names on their run across the plains of history. From his early days as a musician at the Ed Sullivan Studios in the ‘60s, to his current platinum status of a number one song for Polish artist Andrzej Piaseczny and his latest CD, To Co Dobre, Tommy Fuller has been at the forefront of self-induced musical success.

Fuller’s music is both insightful and creatively poignant. His flair for bringing traditional storytelling and pop culture together has been well documented in his writing and recording projects. He has had the hard-earned privilege of working with people such as Franke Previte, (Franke And The Knockouts) Lance Quinn (Bon Jovi), Dave Mason, Henry Hirsch, (Lenny Kravitz) and Anthony Krizan (Spin Doctors).

Tommy Fuller also contributed vital guitar work for the legendary Pinetop Perkins. Perkins’ rendition of Tommy Tucker’s “Hi-Heel Sneakers” is still sought after today by collectors and fans alike. Ever the tireless troubadour, Fuller rolled on to continued appearances and accomplishments, placing his composition, “I Wonder Why,” on the 1995 Fleetwood Mac record, Time.

Tommy is a songwriter first and foremost, but he’s also a seasoned live performer who continues to entertain audiences for the sheer enjoyment of the intimate connection performing brings him. And while he is at home in a small bar or a coffee shop, his list of touring credits is one that would make some of the most seasoned bands sit up and take notice. He opened for Jerry Lee Lewis in 1965, kicked off a 1971 Bruce Springsteen show, rubbed outdoor elbows with Southside Johnny in front of thousands and opened for U2 in Rochester, NY, as part of the band Mr. Lucky.

Fuller’s musical accolades are ghost-like, allowing him to demonstrate a rich, inside history from the perspective of a real life fly on the wall. His humble demeanor brings fresh perspective to the traditional view of the rock and roll poet and his lyrical presentation is an intricate look into the life and times of a writer who has looked deep into the soul of the world to find the experience he extols through his music. Whether he is touring, writing, or in the studio playing guitar, you can rest assured that Fuller is looking for the very best in all of us.

You can witness all of this for yourself every Saturday afternoon between the hours of 1-4 p.m. at Ivan and Andy’s, on 508 Cookman Avenue in wonderful downtown Asbury Park. You can also catch Fuller at Robin’s Nest in Linden, NJ, on July 12, and back in Asbury on the boardwalk on July 23 at The Sand Witch. For more info on Fuller’s interesting and ongoing musical adventures, head over to reverbnation.com/tommyfuller.

The Marshland Plan – LIVE At The Saint June 12

The Marshland Plan are part of the newer phenomenon of bluegrass pickers here in the Garden State. There are several bands that have been doing this for some time, especially down in the Waretown pinelands at Albert Hall.

But the genre seems to have taken on a wider appeal, stirring up a fuss in places like Brooklyn (shocker) and Manhattan itself. Several local Jersey acts are also now using it to great success. Many are just jumping on the bandwagon of popularity, but there are exceptions to the copycat rule. Tony Tedesco and the Full Fathom Five are a prime example of an honest, insightful band that knocks it out of the park with their rusty, down-home style.

The Marshland Plan was a guest of Tedesco’s tonight and they did a great job of convincing me that this style is becoming a true contender amidst the rock and roll mainstays of New Jersey.

The four-piece group consists of founding members Dean Ryder and Frankie Brower. The duo added Ben Wilton on Dobro and Steven Deaver on upright bass, completing the lineup and giving their original compositions a true countrified direction. These Smoky Mountain players may live right here on the shore, but their spirit is pure Kentucky. Ryder is a man who has literally hit the highway for his inspirations, hitching rides and hopping freight trains on his quest for vivid songwriting information.

That experience and dedication come through on songs such as “Stuck In A Rut” and “Where The Ragged Roam,” two acoustic picked numbers that conjure up images of moonshine runners and revenuers hot on the trail.

Other backwoods offerings were the greasy, lazy day feel of “The Rare Flower On The Hill,” a song that bounces lightly down to the creek before diving into the raspy vocal of Dean Ryder, a singer who sounds like he’s right out of West Virginia. This is a group that is rising fast both here and in the New York bluegrass scene. For more information on this Shoreworld group of hillbillies, head over to reverbnation.com/themarshlandplan.

Brookdale Public Radio Announces 8th Annual Songwriters In The Park Free Concert Series

It’s hard to believe it has been eight years already, but this show has grown and flourished into one of the premier offerings associated with the Jersey Shore. Under the watchful eye of personalities such as Jeff Raspe, Brookdale’s Songwriters In The Park has gone from a local’s only platform to offering major label headliners or touring acts.

Brookdale radio station manager Tom Brennan tells us, “Our lineup for the eighth season is fantastic. It’s a great family event where you can bring the kids, a blanket or some chairs, and just enjoy some great music.” I think it’s a great move in a town that’s reputation centers around 20-something’s partying all night and shops that I couldn’t afford to window shop in front of. Family style entertainment served right on the water.

Moreover, I agree with Brennan’s perception on the season. I appreciate the way they have paired the best local acts with headliners. Local acts such as Emily Grove, Rick Barry and Bruce Tunkel are acts that deserve to be heard by as many people as possible and Brookdale has kept their vision of local music support firmly in my crosshairs.

The series will run for seven Fridays starting July 13 in Riverside Gardens Park in Red Bank. The park is a perfect setting with a gorgeous view of the Navesink River. The event starts at 7 p.m. each week.

This series is sponsored by Ferrari Maserati Of Central New Jersey in Edison and the members of Brookdale Public Radio. For more information on tickets or information, head over to Brookdale at wbjb.org/

Here is the final list of acts playing this year:

Friday, July 13 – Headlining Act: The Mastersons (from Steve Earle’s Band) with Opening Act: Diego Garcia

Friday, July 20 – Headlining Act: Mindy Smith with Opening Act: Emily Grove

Friday, July 27 – Headlining Act: Scars On 45 with Opening Act: The Dunwells

Friday, August 3 – Headlining Act: Jukebox The Ghost with Opening Act: Lightning Jar

Friday, August 10 – Headlining Act: Willie Nile with Opening Act: Bruce Tunkel

Friday, August 17 – Headlining Act: River City Extension with Opening Act: Accidental Seabirds

Friday, August 24 – Headlining Act: Red Wanting Blue with Opening Act: Rick Barry

Friday, August 31 – (rain date)

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