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Three Local Shows Worth Checking Out

By Gary Wien

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The local scene has got three very different regular shows worth checking out each month for the music fan. Rick Barry's "Works in Progress", Bobby Strange & Friends, and Twisted Covers.

If you've never been to a "Works in Progress" you're missing out on one of the most unique shows I've ever seen. The idea is to have artists perform only brand new songs ? generally written just for the show ? in front of an audience for the first time. I've seen artists who literally finished the song backstage minutes before their set. There was even an artist who said they finished the song while driving to the show (and they were the one driving!)

Rick has been able to maintain an incredibly high quality for these shows based on the talent he's been able to lure. The list of performers have included such artists as Glen Burtnick, Arlan Feiles, Dylan St. Clark (of the Milwaukees), George Wirth, Bob Burger, Jon Caspi, and Val Emmich. The show takes place once a month at the Saint and always contains a set of brand new songs by Rick Barry as well. It's definitely a show worth checking out and once again proves that the best shows are generally the ones that take place during the week. The next show is on

Another great show, which made its debut in October, is Bobby Strange & Friends. This show takes place on the first Thursday of each month at the Twisted Tree Cafe. The first show featured songs by Bobby Strange and Arlan Feiles. A third scheduled artist had to cancel, but George Wirth became a late replacement when he showed up at the show. This is a bit of a more traditional singer-songwriter show, but stands an excellent chance of always having a solid lineup because nearly everybody is friends with Bobby. Plus the Twisted Tree is the perfect place to see singer-songwriters in action. The next show is scheduled for Thursday, November 6th at 7pm.

Finally, the Twisted Tree is also the home for the monthly Twisted Covers show. This series features artists performing covers of the featured artist of the month as well as original tunes. The show is loosely based on the popular "Loser's Lounge" shows done in NYC and always features a stellar lineup of artists from the area. Twisted Covers first started last year and has been run each month with the exception of a break for the winter holidays.

Artists covered during Twisted Covers have included Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, U2, The Replacements, Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, and solo work by the Beatles. The next scheduled show is Sunday, October 26th with HEART as the featured artist. As with all Twisted Covers shows, the music begins at 5pm and runs until 8pm. If you are a musician interested in being part of a Twisted Covers show, check out http://www.twistedcovers.com for more information.

Some of the artists to take place in previous Twisted Covers shows include Jon Caspi, Michael Patrick, Michael Brett, Keith McCarthy, Arlan Feiles, James Dalton, Rick Barry, Divine Sign, George Wirth, Jo Wymer, Anthony Fiumano, Tommy Strazza, Joshua Van Ness, Pat Roddy, Keith Monacchio, Janey Todd, Joe D'Urso, Danny White, Eryn Shewell, Michael Scotto, Tony Tedesco, Joe Harvard, Sheli Aarden, Mike June, Frankie & Kelly McGrath, and Meagan Brothers (to name just a few!)

Future shows for 2009 are being planned for Simon & Garfunkel, Tom Petty, The Beatles, and Jackson Browne.

Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at gary@newjerseystage.com.

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