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Artist of the Week Band of the Week Features

Gaslight Anthem Carry The New Jersey Torch

 

When New Jersey rockers the Gaslight Anthem decided to film a music video for their new single “45,” Asbury Park’s the Stone Pony was the only option they considered.

 

The famed rock venue, which is home to New Jersey legends Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Southside Johnny, has been hosting memorable shows since it first opened its doors in 1974. Acts like the Kinks, Stevie Ray Vaughn, KISS and the Ramones have taken the stage and even the former VP of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Robert Santelli has called the club “one of the greatest rock clubs of all time.”

 

“It’s one of the cool old New Jersey relics left,” drummer Benny Horowitz said as he recalled his first Battle of the Bands contest there as a teen.

 

Just the drive down to Asbury Park strikes up the band’s material. Passing through New Brunswick, “The Diamond Church Street Choir” paints a picture of University life from an outsider, not far from where the band got it’s start. Before a left turn onto Ocean Avenue, where a slew of fans await for their chance to be in the band’s music video, Cookman Avenue appears. One of the many Jersey mentions in their song “Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts” off 2008’s EP Senor and the Queen it’s evident the Stone Pony is the perfect location for the band to feature in a music video.

 

For my complete article visit CBS. Stay tuned for more interviews with the band and a behind-the-scenes recap of their music video shoot.

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Features Q&A

Darius Rucker On Lionel Richie: “He’s More Than An Idol, He’s Part Of My DNA”

 

Currently on tour with Lady Antebellum, I interviewed Darius Rucker for CBS Local while in New York to discuss life on the road and his recent collaboration with Lionel Richie. While he’s busy working on a new album, Darius explained what it was like working with Lionel Richie on his recent release Tuskegee. One of his idols, he revealed how it all came about.

 

“I’m sitting in my house and my cell phone rings and I answer it and the guy goes, ‘Darius, this is Lionel Richie.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah right.’”

 

 

Having been the target of practical jokes before, he was skeptical.

 

“It was just wild for Lionel Richie to be calling me and asking me to sing on his record,” he said. “I mean, this is Lionel Richie. I say to people all the time, ‘He’s more than an idol. He’s part of my DNA.’”

 

For the complete article and video interview, visit CBS.

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Features News

John Mayer Celebrates Album Release At NYC Pop-Up Store

No amount of rain could deter John Mayer fans from Reed Space in New York Monday night.

 

Despite torrential downpour, many camped out overnight for the chance to meet the singer at the grand opening of his pop-up store in celebration of his new album. By 7 p.m. hundreds of fans lined the sidewalk for his autograph signing.

 

The Born and Raised pop-up store exhibit included seven photographs taken by Gari Lamar Askew II from two shoots including the Born and Raised recording sessions and a road trip with Mayer along the Pacific Coast Highway. Having worked with Mayer since 2007, Askew explained the concept behind the shoot.

 

 

“He told me he wanted it to be iconic. There was a time in life within music when it was more about the subject and the moment. He said, ‘I just want me and you to go and it to be a journey. You to capture me as if I was on a road trip by myself.’”

 

For my complete article, visit CBS.

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Concert Reviews Features

The Gaslight Anthem Impress At Brooklyn Performance

The Gaslight Anthem played to a sold-out crowd Wednesday night at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg. While several hundred lucky fans got an in-person view of their set others could watch the entire show across the globe as it was broadcast live on Livestream.

 

A preview of what’s to come on their new album Handwritten, due for release July 24, the New Jersey band’s nearly two hour performance included the energetic first single “45” as well as the bluesy “Biloxi Parish” which showcased a new side of the band. With distinct groove, though a slight deviation from the expected, Brian Fallon’s familiar vocals and memorable guitar licks impressed.

 

The band’s set covered the entirety of Gaslight Anthem’s catalog, from the poignant “Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts” and the classic “Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis?” off their first EP Senor and the Queen to the more familiar “Great Expectations” and “Old White Lincoln” from breakthrough album The ’59 Sound. All the while frontman Brian Fallon expressed his gratitude to the fans.

 

For my complete review, visit CBS.com.

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Features News Q&A

From Brooklyn to Ethiopia: Tomas Doncker’s Quest

From the moment he saw his favorite band performing live on television when he was 12-years-old, Brooklyn-based musician Tomas Doncker knew a career in music was in his future.

 

That Christmas, his parents bought him a guitar and he’s been writing songs ever since. Countless A-list collaborations later, Doncker says he has learned there is no one way to write a song.

 

I think you have to remain open to the inspiration revealing itself to you and not be afraid or shy to follow it,” he said. “You have to be able to go after the thing that tickles your fancy at that moment and get it to a point where you actually have a verse, a chorus, some chords, and let that live.”

 

Being open is what led Doncker to his latest project. After a meeting with playwright Roland Wolf’s sons, Doncker was inspired to create an album that would change people’s lives. With the hope to create a play that mirrors “Fela” and “Passing Strange,” a script is also in the works.

 

“’Passing Strange’ changed my life. I want to be a part of that kind of performance. Very soon after that I met the Wolf brothers. They gave me the script to read I thought to myself, ‘Wow, here’s my chance to create something in that way,’” he said.

 

The first step was making the album, Power of the Trinity.

 

“The tag line I’m creating is ‘From Brooklyn to Ethiopia,’ and obviously, everywhere in between. What we’re about, which is global soul, is soul music for and by everybody. It’s not just from Memphis. It’s from Ethiopia, it’s from Mali, it’s from Brazil,” he said. “There’s no mistaking soulful music. It doesn’t matter what language someone’s singing in. If it touches you, if it moves you, that’s it.”

 

Doncker continued to explain that songs don’t always have to be about real life to be relatable.

 

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be what you did. It can also be something you dreamt, it can be something someone said to you, it can be something you read. As long as it was internalized on some intimate level and means something to you, then it’s going to sound sincere,” he said.

 

One song, “Lucky Day” took years to develop.

 

“I walked around the streets of New York City singing the chorus of that song for seven years. I was singing it in a minor key because I was in a pretty bad spot at that time in my life. Not to be too mysterious, but I was living on the streets and taking a lot of drugs. I’m now 12 years sober,” he said.

 

Ten years later, while sitting in his apartment in East New York, the entire song came to him when he played a major chord.

 

“All of a sudden the rest of the song flew out. I wrote that song in about seven minutes, the whole thing,” he said. “I love that song because I know it comes from such a sincere, real place. I absolutely know that because I lived it.”

 

Having finished a tour in the West Indies and gearing up for multiple performance at Summer Stage, Doncker says his performance goal is “to burn the building down every night and have a ball.”

 

For more information, visit his Website.

 

This article originally was written for CBS.com.