Maria’s Local Radar: Matt O’Ree Band

With the fall season in the air, I have been finding myself inside a little more. There is something about a cool night with the windows open that gets my juices flowing. On that note, it also gives me time to catch up on everything that has been happening in the local scene, and as we all know, there is a lot! Toothgrinder just announced a new tour with The Faceless, The Front Bottoms rocked The Stone Pony, and Deal Casino were recently added to open up for Nate Ruess at Starland Ballroom on Nov. 14. As you can see, a lot of cool things are happening to local people with national acts (deservingly so).

That being said, we all recently were rallying around one of our favorite hometown heroes getting selected to play some shows with the legendary Bon Jovi. Unsure who I am referring to? Well, he goes by the name of Matt O’Ree, and he’s one of the best guitar players not just locally, but nationally (my opinion). The Matt O’Ree Band will be rocking The Stone Pony in Asbury Park for a headline show on Friday, Oct. 30, and I wanted to take the time to introduce, or remind you, as to why he is so incredible. So, let’s roll.

Matt O’Ree has been rocking and rolling blues and rock and roll since his childhood. After reading various articles and interviews on Matt, it seemed like he practiced until his fingers bleed (okay, maybe not bleeding fingers, but you get the idea). Hey, after all, they always say practice makes perfect. Even Eddie Van Halen used to walk around his crib practicing incessantly, while others it just comes naturally to. However, that’s beside the point. His bio states, “With all the trappings of a genuine guitar hero, he plays with fire in his fingers and blues in his soul.” That statement could not be more accurate even if you tried; catch him live and you will see what I mean. He’s studied, taught, and played guitar, sharing his wisdom with people all over the fine state of New Jersey.

I can still remember it like it was yesterday. Upon going to work over at 95.9 The Rat, personality Steve Hook handed me his CD in 2009 and said, “Hey kid, check this guy you, you’ll love him.” A few months later I started hosting Jersey Rock (now hosted by Nikki), and he was one of the first acts that I featured. The amount of feedback I got was incredible, stating, “It’s about time this guy got some airplay,” and, you know, things along those lines. He’s won contests, awards, and national recognition, and I can’t think of someone more deserving (and I am just basing this off of his talent, not his personality).

Someone once said Matt has “the sound of all sounds,” and this is the honest truth. If you sit back and just listen to him play, you will be blown away. Having just played with Bon Jovi, we are so excited to have him return home for his show at The Stone Pony with the Matt O’Ree Band. Whether you have seen him a dozen times like myself, or want to experience magic for the first time, I highly recommend you go to this show. I can say from experience that many people in this area worship and adore Matt, because well, quite simply, he is one of the best at what he does. It didn’t happen overnight, and with a lifetime of practice and shows, he has brought himself to the top of his game. Most importantly, in my opinion, he doesn’t forget where he came from. By teaching lessons, and showing up to local shows, that’s what sticks out in my mind; a great talent not only professionally, but personally as well. Some great guitarists have specific traits, and others have them all; one of them is Matt O’Ree.

If you want to learn more about Matt O’Ree, you need to catch him live. Indeed, his recordings are amazing, but the band is one not to miss. As stated above, you can catch them at a headline show at The Stone Pony on Friday night, Oct. 30, and tickets are on sale now. You can also check out his Facebook fan page at Over there you will find tons of videos, recordings, photos, show dates, and more. Some musicians come and go, and others leave an impact on not only your ears, but your emotions. Thanks to Matt O’Ree and his bandmates for allowing me to thoroughly still enjoy true rock and roll. Visit for more information, and show him some deserving love.

I will be back next week with some more music for your liking; maybe an interview, a spotlight, who knows! That’s the beauty of the Local Radar; you never know what will happen next. See you then!

(Photo by Mark Weiss)