The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University Announces Concert Featuring Monmouth County’s Own Matt O’Ree Band

Matt O’Ree band has always been a great live act to see in a club setting. Big or small, the group delivers a fiery performance for fans of blues rock and beyond. O’Ree’s last album, Brotherhood, features Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi’s David Bryan, and legendary guitarist Steve Cropper. The record also features 12 songs ranging from down and dirty blues to old-school rock ‘n’ roll goodness. He continues to ride high on that record and play shows all over the area in support of that disc and others.

His latest show will be hosted inside the Pollak Theatre (on Monmouth College’s own campus) as part of the 2018-2019 Performing Arts Series, the one-night engagement represents a showcase for the blues-rock guitarist who made his first nationwide splash as a winner of Guitar Center’s prestigious King of the Blues competition. Whether playing to tens of thousands of fans on several continents as tour guitarist for Bon Jovi, or keeping the home fires burning at some of his favorite stages in places like Asbury Park and Red Bank, the Holmdel, N.J. native brings a level of intensity and sense of songcraft that transforms any setting, indoors or out, into an audience with a bonafide talent on the guitar.

The 8 p.m. event also presents a rare opportunity for coastal New Jersey music fans to experience the acclaimed O’Ree Band lineup in a seated theater style concert; a format that dispenses with the distractions of a noisy nightclub, even as it places the profoundly soulful, dynamic (and, yes, danceable) music front and center.

While the electric guitar wizardry of bandleader Matt O’Ree remains the star attraction here, the band that bears his name also boasts a pair of vocal talents who are headliners in their own right. A Shore music scene favorite through her work with Jon Bon Jovi, Tim McLoone, Darlene Love, and (with her mother Delores) Bruce Springsteen, sought-after singer Layonne Holmes brings the deeply rooted musical knowledge and unerring instincts that continue to win her new fans through such projects as The Motor City Revue and Gonzo’s Funky Family, as well as tributes to artists ranging from Billie Holiday to David Bowie.

Long before she became the wife of the guitar man, Eryn O’Ree established her own separate and successful career under her original name Eryn Shewell, as a singer and songwriter of powerhouse pipes and glamorous style. Her union with Matt has proven to be a musical marriage of multiple influences, complementary skill sets, and the kind of crowd-pleasing showmanship that the late great Ed Sullivan might have branded an “O’Reely big Shew.”

Whether supercharging a vintage Chicago blues standard, rocking the foundations of a torchy R&B classic, or dealing out an original like “My Everything Is You” (co-written by Bon Jovi bandmate David Bryan), The Matt O’Ree Band packs a festival’s worth of energy and passion into one supremely talented musical organization. With this inaugural concert event of 2019, the arts program that has brought an entire world of cultural experience to the doorstep of the coastal New Jersey audience fulfills another core component of its mission: to celebrate the fantastic sounds that issue forth from our own big back yard.

Tickets for the Feb. 9 appearance by The Matt O’Ree Band are priced at $25 and $35 and can be reserved through the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office or online at monmouth.edu/MCA. Tickets for other upcoming Performing Arts events including Lonesome Traveler: featuring Peter Yarrow (March 9), and the Pollak Theatre debut of Stray Cat Lee Rocker (April 13) are available at the box office or the online site.

Dave Mathews Band and The Lumineers to Headline Second Annual Sea. Hear. Now Festival

Sea.Hear.Now Festival will return in 2019 with a splash, announcing one of the most influential bands in rock history, Dave Matthews Band, and critically acclaimed and Grammy-nominated The Lumineers, in the headlining positions. The full music and surfing lineup will be released early this Spring and will include more than 25 performances on three stages. Sea.Hear.Now Festival will take place Sept.21-22, 2019 at North Beach Asbury Park and Bradley Park. Tickets went on sale on Jan. 23, so get yours soon as this event will be a sure fired sellout!

Two-Day General Admission Tickets and Two-Day VIP Tickets are now available at seahhearnowfestival.com. VIP Tickets include access to an exclusive viewing deck with elevated sight lines of the main stage as well as the VIP Lounge with relaxed seating, shade and premium air-conditioned restrooms, complimentary snacks, a private VIP bar with beer wine and cocktails for purchase, along with complimentary water and energy drinks. For the full list of amenities and to purchase tickets, visit, seahearnowfestival.com/tickets.

The highly celebrated inaugural festival was held in 2018 to 45,000 fans over two days and featured incredible performances by headliners Jack Johnson and Incubus, along with Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Brandi Carlile, Blondie and many more. Social Distortion’s raucous set included a surprise appearance by legendary local hero, Bruce Springsteen. Legendary rock photographer, filmmaker, and Jersey Shore native Danny Clinch recreated his Transparent Gallery and showcased not only his own collection of iconic images of artists on the lineup, but art created by those musicians. Professional surfers took to the waves for Expression Sessions all weekend long.  As someone who lives right around the corner from the festival location, I have to say it was run exceptionally well and crowd control was on top of their game. Everyone had a wonderful time, and the neighborhood was pretty much left intact and undisturbed.

Sea.Hear.Now Festival is produced by Between the Sets LLC and C3 Presents, the team behind Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Shaky Festivals and more.

Fans can sign up for the E-List to be the first to get additional information at seahearnowfestival.com.

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