Somers Piont taps acts from around the country for beach concerts - Current Story:
The 16th Annual Somers Point Beach Concert Series
June 13th The Duke Robillard Band
Grammy Award Winning Swing Jump Band
June 20th The Shakes
Popular Local Party Band
June 27th Scott Holt
Contemporary Rock Singer/Songwriter
July 4th The Bob Campanell Band
A Patriotic Salute
July 11th Gizzae
Ethiopian Rooted Reggae
July 18th Lil’ Dave Thompson
Mississippi Delta Blues
July 25th Dr. Bobby Fingers with Danny Eyer
Pop Rock Sing-a-long & Christmas in July Party
August 1st Howard Isaacson CD Release Party
Contemporary Melodic Jazz
August 8th Jill West and Blues Attack
August 15th Billy Walton with the South Jersey Horns
Hot Young Jersey Boy Rockers
August 22nd The New Old Fashioned
Premier Billy Joel Tribute Band
August 29th Big James and the Chicago Playboys
Trombone Led Chicago Soul Band
September 5th Debbies Davies
World Class Female Guitar Singer
September 12th David Maxwell
Old Fashioned Boogie Woogie Piano & Gospel Show
2008 Somers Point Beach Concert Series
Many blues and jazz acts from across the country go on the road in the summer, playing blues festivals and clubs like the old Chitlin' Circuit of traveling blues bands. Now they include the Somers Point beach on that curcuit, as the Friday night series, now in its 16th season, has been tapping into that high energy talent that's traveling around, some promoting award nominated recordings. From humble beginnings, this concert series now features recording stars that have been nominated for multiple W.C. Handy and Grammy awards, and play regularly at major festivals and blues and jazz clubs in Chicago and New Orleans.
Supported by local businesses and organized by the city’s department of Community Education, the concert series is one of the most popular events around, and encourages neighbors to spread out their beach towels and sit back in their beach chairs to enjoy some of the best music around.
The lineup is as strong and varied as usual, with a good mix of fine local talent and traveling recording bands, with different types of music that should satisfy everyone’s taste, and turn people on to something new and different.
Since weather was usually uncooperative, and the early season events not as well attended as later ones, they decided to start late and finish later, so they’re going to start on Friday the 13th of June with the Duke Robillard Band.
Led by the Duke of the blues guitar and supported by his Grammy Award winning swing jump band, Robillard has recorded a now legendary session with Jay Giels and Garry Beaudoin, and his latest sound is moving towards a soul, jazz swing thing.
On the following Friday, June 20th, , a local band, The Shakes will get people dancing in the sand. As a popular South Jersey party band that has gone through a lot of personal changes over the years, the Shakes continues to maintain their popularity, now with a classic funky sound.
On June 27th we’ll hear from Flordia guitarist Scott Holt, who is billed as a contemporary rock singer/songwriter and vocalist, who performs with bassist Richard Sanders and Tyler Crowell on drums. Holt has a recording, "Messing with the Kid."
For the past few years they’ve added a special July 4th concert featuring Bob Campanell and his friends, but since this year July 4th falls on a Friday, and Bob gets to kick off the holiday weekend with his patriotic rock & roll salute. While Bob used to front the Shakes, he went out on his own, and now gets together with friends to jam when he needs a band, like for this night. You can expect guitarist Danny Eyer to be there, along with some other surprise guests, who will jam with the fireworks over the bay.
For something really new and different, Friday July 11th will feature Gizzae, an "Ethiopian Rooted Reggae," that includes a band with four grammys winners, some having played with Ziggy Marley’s touring band. Sunday is usually Island Night at the Point, but on this Friday, Rocket, Ruphael, Clem, Asrat and Ralph will certainly have the beach jammin’ and dancing in the sand.
On Friday, July 18th Lil’ Dave Thompson, a North Carolina guitar legend, will be passing through on the old Chitlin’ Circuit. Lil’ Dave leans heavy on Mississippi Delta Blues, or at least he did with his old Howlin’ Blues band, but now he’s with a new group that includes Josh Presler, Leon Baker and Dave Stuart, and Somers Point may be introduced to a new sound from Dave’s guitar and his new friends.
On July 25th, , when things couldn’t get any hotter, Dr. Bobby Fingers will play the keys and Danny Eyer guitar in what they’re billing as a Pop Rock Sing-a-long & Christmas in July Party. Now the good Doktor is a great pianist who does Billy, Bruce and Elton in his sleep, and on request, but he has this goof off schtick that’s sort of cross between Larry Ferrie and Soupy Sales that the girls like, and so will the kids.
Not all the recording talent is on the road and from out of town. On Friday August 1st local jazz saxman Howard Isaacson will celebrate the release of a new CD as the Somers Point beach becomes a CD Release Party for Isaacson’s contemporary melodic jazz. Familiar to anyone whose been to a Somers Point Jazz Fest, Isaacson will have some local players in his band and all his family, friends and neighbors will be there for this gig.
It’s going to be real hard to top Duke Robillard, Scott Holt, Gizzae, Lil’ Dave, but on August 8th Jill West and Blues Attack Party Band will play and may take things to new heights. From Pittsburgh, this hard edged blues band includes Nick Crano on drums, Hank Rattetto on bass, and Greg Krupa and Mark Cholewski in duel guitars, backing the fine vocals of Jill West.
August 15th is Billy Walton night. The hottest new guitarist around, Billy Walton earned a return to the beach after his hot show last summer, and he returns with his South Jersey Horns and Hot Young Jersey Boy Rockers. From Asbury Park, Walton opened for Jacque Major at the Stone Pony, and now has a strong Somers Point fan contingent. See and hear him yourself.
Things slow down a little on Friday August 22nd, when they bring in The New Old Fashioned, a Billy Joel Tribute Band, but hey, there’s a lot of Billy Joel fans out there who can now hear Billy’s songs on the beach.
But wait, this just in, a correction.
Drew Nielands checks in and reports that, "Hi Bill, I represent a band called "the New Old Fashioned." They are scheduled to perform as part of Somers Point Summer Concert Series. Somehow that band has been slated as a "Billy Joel Tribute Band". I don't know how this descirption came about but it is completely inaccurate. They do not play Billy Joel Covers. They are an original Americana band (that play a mix of eclectic covers as well). The band is signed to the CheapO Records label and regularly tour the east coast and beyond. If possible, a revision of your blog would be greatly appriciated. Thank You!
My blog has been revised to reflect the truth. And I hope to catch the show, with a bottle of red and a bottle of white and some clams at the Clam Bar.
The following week on Friday August 29th when we hear from Big James and the Chicago Playboys. It’s hard to believe that a guy who plays trombone can lead a band, but Big James Montgomery will make you a believer in the Chicago blues. Having played in the horn section behind Little Milton and Albert King, Big James struck out on his own, having recorded, "Thank God I Got the Blues," and played regular gigs at the House of Blues and Buddy Guy’s Legends, the Somers Point beach will be a different kind of gig for both Big James and for the audience.
As the summer schedule winds down, things stay interesting as blues guitarist Debbie Davies puts into the Somers Point beach on Friday, September 5th. Not as well known as the people she plays with, like James Cotton, Hubert Sumlin, Charles Musselwhite and Tab Benoit, Debbie Davies is a rare, red head guitarist who has been nominated for the Best Female Blues Artist, so she’s going to have to live up to that billing.
Boogie woogie piano player Dave Maxwell will close out the 2008 summer season on a high note, on Friday, September 12th. Maxwell, who has been nominated for Handys, Grammys and a Pinetop Perkins Piano Player Award, is responsible for the original Roomfull of Blues, and has a CD "Maximum Blues Piano," which says exactly what he does.
Most people in Somers Point may not have heard of Duke Robillard, Scott Hold, Lil’ Dave, Jill West, James Montgomery, Debbie Davies or David Maxwell before, but by the end of the summer they will if they attend the free Friday night beach concerts.
[Bill Kelly can be reached at Billykelly3@yahoo.com]