North Jersey Notes: Secret Country—Newark, NJ

I love getting emails from bands saying, “Hey, Tim! Check us out!” You never know what you’re going to get! In the famous words of Forrest Gump, bands are like a box of chocolates, I guess. Well, I recently received an email from Jay Monaco from the band Secret Country saying, “Hey, Tim! Check us out!” Jay did warn me that the bad is an alternative country band, which raised my curiosity. So, I checked them out and could not believe that there was a band that sounded like this up here in the northern region. I mean, after hearing songs like “Women, Whiskey, And Nightlife,” “Hot Dogs And Cold Beer,” and “Spit On Face,” I was ready to put on my cowboy hat and cowboy boots to start line dancing! This was some pretty cool stuff because it was country music with a twist of punk.

Secret Country is the self-proclaimed greatest country band to ever come out of the Newark, NJ, region. They might not be kidding because I really haven’t heard anything better than these guys in this region. As they say in their bio, they’re a “Brick City blend of skirt-chasing, whiskey-snorting, honkey-tonkin’ barrel of mayhem.” The boys from Secret Country say that their music is pretty much Honky Tonk and Outlaw Country with Southern rock influences, which means if Willie Nelson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Jack Daniels met at the local saloon to jam, they would sound like Secret Country. The band is comprised of Eric Mason on lead vocals/guitar, Jay Monaco on acoustic guitar/lead vocals/harmonica/tambourine/ukulele, Joe Hart on lead guitar/vocals/trumpet, Matt Siegle on drums, Tim Siegle on bass, and Yan Izquierdo on violin/mandolin. Yes, that’s a lot of instrumentation, but it is country music!

Secret Country recently released their debut full-length CD, Women, Whiskey, And Nightlife, which they also celebrated with a couple of CD release party shows in Kearny and North Arlington, NJ. If you want to give Secret Country a listen, you can do so at These guys won’t be a secret too much longer. Not on the country circuit anyway!


The boys from Echofission recently released a brand new video for their song “Autumn Leaves” off of the band’s 2008 release, The Straights, as a holiday gift for their fans. The song is fun and just full of energy, which is what producer Jim Yost of Yost Flix Media, captures on film. It’s a pretty good video and if you want to see what the buzz is about when I talk about this band, Echofission, you can watch the video for yourself on

I just got a pretty funny email from Hades/Non-Fiction/The Cursed guitarist Dan Lorenzo. He was recently vacationing with his wife down in South Beach when one night they walked into a store and he happened to be wearing a hat from a company called Red Monkey. To make a long story short, Dan was recognized from his Hades/Non-Fiction fame, and was asked to take a picture with the hat on. Turns out, Dan Lorenzo is the new cover boy for Red Monkey hats! Check it out for yourself at! Also, don’t forget to catch the Hades reunion at Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ, on April 21.

And finally, I was recently text messaged, MySpaced, Facebooked, and IMed about what I’m about to write! So, Dave Incognito from Dying Eyes Of Sloth/Incognito Theory, I received every single one of your messages! Please leave me alone! Once was enough! For the love of God! Now that I got that off of my chest, Dave Incognito wanted me to let everyone know that he’s put his project Incognito Theory on hold and is back to concentrating on his death metal project Dying Eyes Of Sloth, which he says has generated more of an interest. I’m not sure how, but ok! Anyway, Dying Eyes Of Sloth has been hard at work on new material and recently released a video for their first single, “Beneath The Haunting Skies,” which I’m not even sure that I saw Dave sing on once. I saw him banging his head a lot, but no singing! You can take a look at By the way, I hope the boys cleared copyrights to use the video footage that they used otherwise, they are f**ked!

That’s all for now! And remember, if your band is from North Jersey and you want some exposure send your demos and press kits to Arts Weekly, c/o Tim Louie P.O. Box 1140 Little Falls, NJ 07424. No cover bands, please! Also, if you haven’t checked out my podcast yet, do it now at This week’s podcast, I sat down with Piston Driven for an eye opening interview!

Just remember….We’re all in the same boat, so every little bit of exposure counts!

NJN Concert Calendar:

1/6—The Compulsions—Don Hill’s, NYC

1/8—Christine Marctucci—Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ

1/8—Marc Rizzo Band—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

1/9—Bled For Glory/God Forbid/Will Killmore/Dispute to Flames—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

1/10—Beatrix Kiddo—Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ

1/16—Rahway—The Blue Room, Secaucus, NJ

1/16—Will Killmore—Primetime Sports Bar & Billiards, Sayreville, NJ

1/16—Long Gone Day—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

1/17—Audacity—The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ

1/17—Dear Gravity—Velocity 17, Maywood, NJ

1/22—Deathrash (CD Release Party)—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

1/22—Rahway—The Local 269, NYC

1/22—Kosmic Daydream—The Blue Room, Secaucus, NJ

1/23—TRIMM—Crossroads, Garwood, NJ

1/23—Deathrash (CD Release Party)—Duff’s, Brooklyn, NY

1/24—Bled For Glory—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

1/25—Diablo Royale/Charetta (Diablo Royale CD Release Party)—Gramercy Theater, NYC

1/29—Atom Strange—The Delancey, NYC

1/30—Rahway—Market Street, Bangor, PA

1/30—Swear On Your Life—Crash Mansion, NYC

Photo Credit: Taryn Tabano