Dionne Warwick – That’s What Friends Are For

Dionne Warwick – That’s What Friends Are For

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with the five-time Grammy Award-winning pop icon, Dionne Warwick. In addition to having a career that has spanned more than 50 years filled with hit singles and timeless albums, Warwick is the 2017 recipient of the Marian Anderson Award. This prestigious honor is bestowed upon critically acclaimed artists who have impacted society in a positive way, either through their work or their support for an important cause. Warwick has achieved both in myriad ways. I’m thrilled she’s receiving this well-deserved honor, and I look forward to being at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia on Nov. 14 when she receives the Marian Anderson Award.

You’re the 2017 recipient of the Marian Anderson Award. What does receiving this honor mean to you?

Well, for the first time, I think I am without words. [Laughs] I’m never at a loss for words. I love to talk. But this is probably the biggest honor that I’ve ever received, second only to the renaming of my school in my name. It’s amazing. …

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Shoreworld: Sonny Kenn – “Saturday Night at the Silhouette Lounge”

Shoreworld: Sonny Kenn – “Saturday Night at the Silhouette Lounge”

Sonny Kenn has been at the forefront of rock-and-roll since the 1960s. Kenn is credited with starting the rock scene here in New Jersey, and I can understand why. Even before the standard names register, Kenn was there first, tearing things up and leaving the locals starving for more. He got his real musical start with Sonny Kenn and The Starfires (featuring future E-Streeter, Vinnie Lopez) in the mid-60s before evolving into Sonny Kenn and the Wild Ideas. Kenn also played in a trio with Southside Johnny called Maelstrom. He has been around since day one, and his contributions to New Jersey music are more significant than I can mention in this short article. Kenn’s fluid style of blues, jazz, and fifties styled rock ‘n’ roll is legendary to say the very least. For a guy that started with, and played with some of the state’s biggest stars, Kenn still can be seen playing locally at any given night of the week in Monmouth County.

Kenn has released his music sporadically over the years including …

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Stephen Kellogg: Road Diary at 40 – Songwriter Marks Time Making Timeless Music

Stephen Kellogg: Road Diary at 40 – Songwriter Marks Time Making Timeless Music

Gonna be a good friend
Gonna be a family guy
Gonna pour my heart out
Till the day after I die
And when I am an angel
Looking for a landing
Gonna be the last man standing
– Stephen Kellogg, “Last Man Standing”

“Hang on, man, I got to pull over.”

Talking to singer/songwriter, Stephen Kellogg as he works his way up the Hutchinson Parkway from New York City through Connecticut. “Wait…there’s a parking lot off this exit,” he earnestly reports. His cell phone is scrambling his sentences. Missing them could be dangerous. You see, Kellogg can be downright quotable when on the road, as his new record, Tour De Forty: Greatest Hits (So Far) Live, will attest. It is a musical diary of sorts that captures his recent TD40 tour, which transformed the notable occasion of his turning 40 into a traveling review of his life in song. It also introduces new material that duly reflects this milestone while breathing new life into fan favorites.

“I always feel as though I’m singing …

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Manhattan Beat: Recapping Renaissance, Gwar, & More

Manhattan Beat: Recapping Renaissance, Gwar, & More

Renaissance/The Town Hall/October 28, 2017

The original Renaissance was born in 1969 when two former members of the YardbirdsKeith Relf and Jim McCarty, moved away from the British blues rock of their previous band to form an experimental progressive rock band with classical influences. Personnel changes happened often and quickly, and less than two years later Renaissance featured none of its original members. Annie Haslam, who joined in 1971, became the face of Renaissance, which then had success in America through the 1970s. The band split in 1987, and Haslam began a solo career. Since 1998, Haslam has reformed Renaissance several times using various musicians. Renaissance’s thirteenth and most recent studio album was 2013’s Grandine il vento, reissued as Symphony of Light in 2014 with three bonus tracks; Renaissance also released a live album in 2015. The present band in American-based and consists of vocalist Haslam, pianist Rave Tesar, guitarist Mark Lambert, keyboardist Tom Brislin, bassist Leo Traversa and drummer Frank Pagano.

Renaissance’s headlining engagement at …

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The Front Bottoms: Love Tastes Good

The Front Bottoms: Love Tastes Good

Despite performing as The Front Bottoms for 10 years, lead vocalist, Brian Sella, still feels as though people are just getting acquainted with the band, with new fans discovering them every day. A month following the release of their sixth record, Going Grey, and it’s easy to see why. Though well-known in their home state of New Jersey – and the surrounding area — with each tour, release, and features in larger media staples, like The Fader, The Front Bottoms procure a larger fanbase.

This fanbase grows as does their music; their candid, yet fervent lyrical prowess a mainstay that shines through Sella’s maturing vocals and melodic guitar riffs. As The Front Bottoms take their latest tracks on tour, Sella discusses the recording process, connecting with fans and hometown allure.

If you guys had to describe your upcoming album to somebody that had never heard you guys before, how would you try to describe it?

Ok, good question, let me think. Um, I would probably describe it…You see, the way I’ve been describing …

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Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – Prudential Center: June 16, 2017

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – Prudential Center: June 16, 2017

NEWARK, NJ–­­­–Everyone has a story and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers have always known how to find those stories and tell them in ways you never tire of hearing. During the band’s sold-out 40th anniversary show at Prudential Center on Jun. 16, fans remembered what it’s like to be an “American Girl” raised on promises, that you don’t have to live like a “Refugee,” and why “It’s Good To Be King.” With a mischievous grin that seems to say we’re all sharing the same secret, Tom Petty has endured as the narrator of peoples’ lives for four decades, making this …

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Album Review: Blake Shelton – “Texoma Shore” (Warner Music Nashville)

Album Review

Blake Shelton – “Texoma Shore” (Warner Music Nashville)

For most of my life, country music was always somewhere in the distance looking like a practically untouched piece of land in my personal world of music. The closest I had ever gotten to the country music genre was either my watching of the last few seasons of American Idol

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