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Monmouth University Presents Matt O'Ree Band
originally published: 01/11/2019
(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) -- The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University presents a concert by Monmouth County’s own Matt O’Ree Band on February 9 at 8:00pm. Hosted inside the Pollak Theatre as part of the 2018-2019 Performing Arts Series, the one-night engagement represents a showcase for the blues-rock guitarist who made his first nationwide splash as a winner of Guitar Center’s prestigious King of the Blues competition.
Whether playing to tens of thousands of fans on several continents, as tour guitarist for Bon Jovi — or keeping the home fires burning at some of his favorite stages in places like Asbury Park and Red Bank — the Holmdel, NJ native brings a level of intensity and sense of songcraft that transforms any setting, indoors or out, into an audience with a “Ree-gal” master of the axe.
The night also presents a rare opportunity for coastal New Jersey music fans to experience the acclaimed O’Ree Band lineup in a seated theater style concert; a format that dispenses with the distractions of a noisy nightclub, even as it places the deeply soulful, dynamic (and, yes, danceable) music front and center.
While the electrified technique of bandleader Matt O’Ree remains the star attraction here, the band that bears his name also boasts a pair of vocal talents who are headliners in their own right. A Shore music scene favorite through her work with Jon Bon Jovi, Tim McLoone, Darlene Love, and (with her mother Delores) Bruce Spingsteen, sought-after singer Layonne Holmes brings the deeply rooted musical knowledge and unerring instincts that continue to win her new fans through such projects as The Motor City Revue and Gonzo’s Funky Family, as well as tributes to artists ranging from Billie Holiday to David Bowie.
Long before she became the wife of the guitar man, Eryn O’Ree established her own separate and successful career under her original name Eryn Shewell, as a singer and songwriter of powerhouse pipes and glamorous style. Her union with Matt has proven to be a musical marriage of multiple influences, complementary skillsets, and the kind of crowd-pleasing showmanship that the late great Ed Sullivan might have branded an “O’Reely big Shew.”
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Whether supercharging a vintage Chicago blues standard, rocking the foundations of a torchy R&B classic, or dealing out an original like “My Everything Is You” (co-written by Bon Jovi bandmate David Bryan), The Matt O’Ree Band packs a festival’s worth of energy and passion into one supremely talented musical organization. With this inaugural concert event of 2019, the arts program that has brought an entire world of cultural experience to the doorstep of the coastal New Jersey audience fulfills another core component of its mission: to celebrate the amazing sounds that issue forth from our own big back yard.
Tickets for the February 9 appearance by The Matt O’Ree Band are priced at $25 and $35, and can be reserved through the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online. Tickets for other upcoming Performing Arts events — including Lonesome Traveler: featuring Peter Yarrow (March 9), and the Pollak Theatre debut of Stray Cat Lee Rocker (April 13) — are also available now.
Photo by Estelle Massry
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