North Jersey Notes


Sometimes it’s good to hear something you don’t hear every day. When I was sent a link to check out Steve Keene’s new EP, It Is What It Is, it was definitely not something I would listen to on a daily basis, but I’m always willing to give something a shot. After listening to songs like “Can’t See It When You’re In It,” “Don’t Blame It On The Alcohol,” “By Your Side,” “Far Better Friend Than Lover,” and the title track, the similarities to the great Bob Dylan are pretty interesting. 

Brooklyn-born, Steven Keene began his career by playing folk clubs and cafes in Greenwich Village in the early nineties. He crisscrossed the streets of McDougal and Bleecker playing open mics and small clubs. In 1990, Steven released his first album, Keene On Dylan with Bob Dylan band members, Howie Wyeth and Rob Stoner, on an eclectic mix of originals, covers, and traditional songs. Well, that makes sense. In 1995, Steven released his second album, No Alternative, by way of Moo Records, featuring more of Bob Dylan’s band members Tony Garnier, John Jackson, and Bucky Baxter. He also played a tune on this album called “Only Homeless” with legendary musician from the sixties Village scene, Danny Kalb. No Alternative was distributed through BMG in Europe and a video soon followed for the single, “Far Better Friend than Lover,” which appeared on MTV Europe and led to a European tour. In 2001, Steven released Set Clock on Moo Record,  which received high praise with the local New York press. He was featured on Vin Scelsa’s Idiot’s Delight and toured, as well, to promote the album. With the dawning of war, Steven wrote a protest song entitled, “How Much Blood’s In A Barrel,” which was very Bob Dylan of him. The song received extensive airplay in the U.S. and was picked up and released by ZYX Music in Europe, along with two other protest songs, “Two Twins” and “Top Gun.” The 3-song maxi-single has been distributed throughout Europe.

Recently, Steven signed with One RPM, and this past January, he released It Is What It Is, which has nine songs on it. So, I’m not really sure why it’s an EP and not an LP. I’m sure Steven Keene will be touring to promote It Is What It Is, but at the time of this writing, there were no live dates posted just yet. If you love Bob Dylan, you will love the music of Steven Keene. For more info or to find out where he’s performing next, visit 


My old high school pal and amazing drummer, Chris Hawkins, has a new metal project called Beyond Shadows. Chris sent me a song called “Screaming Eyes (Go Unheard)” and it is heavy as hell. Chris’s thunderous drumming makes you feel like you need to pick your teeth up off the ground. He said, for now, the band only consisted of him and the singer/guitarist, Khalid, and they will just be recording and releasing new music. There will be no live shows on the horizon for Beyond Shadows. For more info on Beyond Shadows, visit

My bud’s Black The Sky finally released their debut self-titled EP a couple of weeks ago featuring the songs “Know Your Mind,” “Deep Inside,” “Soul Savior,” “Back from the Bottom,” and “Down to the River.” I gave the EP a listen and pleasantly enjoyed what I heard. The riffs were as tasty as I remembered, and singer Jarod Richardson still has those captivating vocals. You have to check out the new Black The Sky EP if you love hard rock music or catch them live again with KIX at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on April 10. For more on Black The Sky and their self-titled debut EP, visit

And finally, my favorite band from the NEPA area, Another Day Dawns, just released their new music video for their song “Taste of Heaven” off their new EP Stranger. This song was worth the wait! It is awesome! Singer Dakota Sean is a total rock star and with songs like “Taste of Heaven,” I think this could be Another Day Dawns’ year! You have to check out the video for “Taste of Heaven” now on Youtube! For more info on Another Day Dawns, visit 

That’s all for now! If your band is from North Jersey, and you want some exposure, send your press kits to Arts Weekly, c/o Tim Louie P.O. Box 1140, Little Falls, NJ  07424, or you can email me at, where you can also let me know where you’re performing next! 

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

Tim Louie is the Author of S**t Happens.