Friday, May 27, 2011

Billy Walton w/Southside Johnny


Billy Walton now plays guitar with Southside Johnny's Asbury Jukes
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Southside Johnny, with Billy Walton on guitar

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes at Ocean City Music Pier
Saturday, May 28 • 8:00pm - 11:00pm
Ocean City Music Pier
Moorlyn Terrace & Boardwalk
Ocean City, New Jersey
Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 on the day of the show and are available online [] for this all ages, all seated show.
Doors open at 7:30 PM.

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes could be the best party band at the Jersey Shore, but they've been around the block and up and down the boardwalk a few times, so we're familiar with the songs and pretty much know how things will go down on the Ocean City Music Pier, but there's going to be something fresh and even more invigorating with guitarist Billy Walton playing along.

I remember when Southside Johnny did a show in the ballroom of the Atlantic City Convention Hall (now Boardwalk Hall), a totally underused venue that should be used more frequently. That had to be in the late 70s or early 80s, as I recall stopping to see Bob Campanell and the Shakes at Merrels in Margate, the best show of the night. Bob fronted the hotest band at the Shore then, and now Billy Walton does.

While Southside comes from the same vein of music, if not the same exit off the Parkway as Bruce and the boys from the Park, so does his new guitarist Billy Walton.

Anybody who goes to the Southside show at the Ocean City Music Pier this Saturday should pay special attention to Walton, who many will recognize from his Somers Point Beach concerts the past few years, and his frequent appearances at local clubs with his own band.

Billy Walton is the hottest guitarist to come out of the Jersey Shore since Billy Hector, whose a older, wiser and more refined, and also from the same school, but is outshined by Billy Walton's youthful energy. Walton started playing in bands when he was 15 years old, and now he's been doing it for 15 years and is ready to breakout on his own like a wild stallion on a leash.

The Billy Walton Band is an often expanded power trio that also includes creative bassist William Paris and solid drummer Marcus Croan, and keeps its roots close to funky blues and a jam band style that lets the thirty year old Walton shine on guitar.

Tony Mart's son Carmen Marotta was the first to spot Billy Walton's exceptonal talent and bring him down here to play a Tony Mart reunion, and he's done several Tony Mart shows since then, as well as Good Old Days at Kennedy Park, beach concerts and local bar gigs. Walton is widely considered to be the best guitarist around, and only Danny Eyer gives him serious competition.

Just as many of the British bands came over to make it here during the British Invasion years, the Billy Walton Band is more popular in the UK than it is in the USA, and makes routine tours of England, where Walton is a protege of guitar guru Roger Mayer.

Sometimes The Billy Walton Band will open for Southside and Walton will do double-duty, without a letup on his guitar licks.

Southside has a big band, usually a nine piece orchestra, complete with horn section, but if you go, you'll see how Billy Walton stands out, and whose bound for glory, so one day you can say that you saw Billy Walton when he was just a sideman with Southside Johnny.

Now with Billy in Southside's band, they have to work the Billy Walton Band gigs around the Juke's schedule, but still manage to get some local gigs in.

The Billy Walton Band will be at the Sweetwater Casino on Sunday, June 5, Breezes Bar & Grill on Rt. 9 in New Gretna (Parkway Exit 50), and will probably be back on the Somers Point Beach sometime this summer. (Beach Schedule to be announced, check back here soon).

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