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January 26, 2013

Hey Charles Dickens (the writer), Willie Nile Band is Performing Live in Rahway, New Jersey AND I’ve Become a Rock and Roller with an AARP Card. Jan 26th 2013



Willie Nile and me at prequel to Light of Day

Willie Nile and me at prequel to Light of Day




Before Willie Nile: I think my world here in central Jersey knows I’ve morphed, drifted, evolved, and reinvented myself into a music journalist and devotee. Reasons proliferate almost daily. It’s probably better served if I write a novella on the histrionics of my music involvement. But for the expediency of this blog moment; a few words on that transformation. Maybe I am a butterfly or in some pre-cursor larvae stage to a chapter in Gail Sheehy’s book ‘Passages.’ Ease on down the decade’s road.


History 301 (not 101): I came out of the sixties with rock and folk vinyl collections and stopped abruptly in 1970 as sounds changed. Maybe my parents went through the same change; after Glenn Miller and South Pacific, Bill Haley and Elvis arrived and parents sat in a corner listening to their oldies (Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington); too much social change and confusion for them. The musical highlight of August, 1969 for me was running out of my apartment (not lived in yet. My fiancé and I were just fixing it up for our marriage in November) and reaching for my friend’s car door handle (how visual) as we were heading to this concert called ‘Woodstock.’ I never got to open the door. She ran out of the apartment (her hair probably in rollers) and warned me not to go. If I did, she wouldn’t be there if I got back. So I backed down. Never went to Woodstock for a life’s memory, drifted away from contemporary music and inevitably divorced that fiancé four years later.






Willie Nile at  improv jam session at 3 am after Light of Day concert

Willie Nile at improv jam session at 3 am after Light of Day concert


As decades marched (how poetic) I remained fastened to ‘Peter Paul and Mary’ and that dragon dude ‘Puff’ who I’m convinced smoked pot. I never did and could prove it. Loving the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel and pure folk music, I envisioned myself enveloped in a lighter shade of pale because of the saffron light bulbs I purchased. At 40, I’m a new father. (See how fast we’re moving.) My son loves music and funs me all the time because of my stubbornness to extricate myself away from that dragon’s music. Now my son is twenty-five, (still moving at break neck speed) and I’ve just become a journalist for a local county paper after my first novel was published two years earlier.

On July 3rd 2011, my son took me to my first rock and roll concert since Lyndon Johnson was President. The concert was Southside Johnny at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Thousands were there. My body gyrated with the best of them. A week later one of my epiphanies caught me off guard; as a new journalist in central Jersey, I would get involved with music here and become part of the scene. The echoes of my son’s doubting voice still reverberate, “Yeah right Dad, it’ll never happen.” “Let’s bet.”  The rest is history. A source of disbelief and comedic relief, we laugh almost daily. No monies changed hands; debts forgiven. I love/dig this music world and rock and roll music. And all that Jazz and Blues. And old Life magazines my mother gave me.

Here’s an article I wrote yesterday about Willie Nile and his band and rock and roll. I got invited to the concert tonight and I’m thrilled. His music electrifies. You all should listen and discover.




Willie Nile in acoustical session with Joe D'Urso and Joe Grushecky

Willie Nile in acoustical session with Joe D’Urso and Joe Grushecky



Suddenly last spring, I heard Willie Nile sing for the first time. In the scheme of eventualities of rock and roll music, “last spring” is not particularly one of those full lengths, long career, long time ago happenstances. Put another way, it wasn’t a long time ago. But you see; my journey into rock and roll music or any music for that matter began only a year ago. It’s like an old black and white movie with James Cagney climbing a tower, “Look Mah, I’m on top of the world.” And suddenly I am because it’s never too late for life events. So I’ve become a huge fan of Willie Nile and his band. And I can’t get enough. I’ve come to appreciate the joy of pure lyrics and rock music coming together (just like I’m also a huge fan of the Nick Clemons Band). Willie Nile electrifies and overwhelms. I find myself using the “damn” word every time I hear/see him live. “Damn, he’s so good. Damn, why’d I wait so long?”

It’s funny how you’re drawn into the aura, or a rabbit hole of discovery, or a ballistic epiphany. I discovered the joys of Willie Nile; an auditory gift to all of us and especially us North East folks living close to live gigs and Willie’s home geography. What I mean by the aforementioned two sentences is that I can’t believe I’ve become such a fan, so fast. But I have. I think sometimes I’m too old to be a rock and roll fan then I think about Ebeneezer Scrooge who thought he was too old to change. So I’m not too old, Charles Dickens. Some of my expressions and words may seem a trifle absurd. They are; maybe to make a point but it’s absurd if you care about music (any kind) and you don’t get a chance for Willie Nile live (or some digital music source of pure mountain running spring water and no plastic unrecyclable bottles)



Willie Nile and a thousand guitars behind him.

Willie Nile and a thousand guitars behind him.


The purpose of my words now is let you all know about a Willie Nile concert this Saturday( Jan 26th) in Rahway, New Jersey. Before the concert info, a little digression into a recent Willie Nile series of live sightings; actually exactly a week ago when I was with Willie at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park just as he was finishing a live interview on WCTC 1450 radio with Bert Baron as a prequel to Light of Day musical events over the weekend. Willie told me (we’ve done several photo ops together) that “I’m toasted. I just got back from Europe doing live gigs for Light of Day and last night I performed at Asbury Lanes to kick off Light of Day here.”

The setting was a relatively quiet empty surreal Stone Pony. Many musicians and Light of Day founder Bob Benjamin had gathered for the WCTC live radio broadcast for interviews. All of a sudden, I looked; Willie had sat down on top of a bar with a thousand guitars on the wall behind him. I took the picture and thought how wondrously synchronistic (one of my favorite words these days of discovery) because two of my all-time favorite songs (beating out ‘Puff- The Magic Dragon) is Willie’s “House of a Thousand Guitars” and “One Guitar.” A few minutes later I told him that I’ve been listening and watching his ‘One Guitar” video on YouTube (from last year with Springsteen backing up) at least ten times a week. I said, “I really am over ten times a week.” He smiled, “I believe you.”

Later that night Willie Nile and band were back at the Stone Pony for an unplanned short gig to fill in time for a missing musician. I found my nirvana a few feet away when they did ‘One Guitar.” On Saturday night, the Willie Nile Band was back at the Paramount Theatre performing in the main Light of Day concert.  They were introduced as the best rock and roll band in America. I told my friend, “wait until ‘One Guitar’” The entire theatre was on their feet. Willie Nile electrified. “It’s what it’s all about,” I thought, thinking I might’ve been the oldest audience member gyrating above his seat.

Perhaps the best part of my well lit weekend was after the magical concert walking back to my car with acclaimed DJ, Dave ‘The Rave’ Kapulsky (Relics and Rarities Show). We walked by (at 2 AM) the Berkeley Hotel where many musicians and Light of Day fans were staying. Magnetism drew us into the lobby and by 2:30 AM Joe Grushecky started an improv jam session; then at 3 AM Willie Nile electrified  a hundred people in the lobby with another ‘One Guitar.’ It was a quintessential real live pre-dawn jam session with a performer who constantly soulfully gives back. Yes you should’ve been there.

I guess the best way to close this article is to say if you’re in the mood to be musically, spiritually electrified on Saturday, then come on down (get off the sedentary sofa) to Rahway and see/hear Willie Nile with band mates Johnny Pisano (bass), Matt Hogan (guitar) & Alex Alexander (drums) Hey, maybe Mr. Dickens might be around in some form. It is New Jersey you know.


Legendary Willie Nile is flying high in 2013, coming of a critically acclaimed tour of Italy and turning up stunning shows 4 days in a row for Light Of Day NYC & Asbury Park, NJ. Last week was just a warm up because Willie is bringing his rocking band – Johnny Pisano, Alex Alexander & Matt Hogan to do a full show at Union County Performing Arts Center this Saturday night! Get Ready to Rock Jersey!! Union County Performing Arts Center – Hamilton Stage, 360 Hamilton Street, Rahway, NJ. Get Your General Admission tickets before there gone at


Willie Nile Home Page:






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