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Ken Shane

By Gary Wien

Some things are definitely worth the wait. That's what I thought when I first listened to Ken Shane's debut CD, "South Ridgeway Avenue". The record, which was released in 2003, is simply a remarkable ode to spending summers growing up in Atlantic City. That once proud city now fallen in decay serves as a wonderful metaphor for loss of innocence and days gone by. With a voice that evokes memories of Warren Zevon and songwriting that has been compared to Jackson Browne, the record may have taken Shane decades to make but it's a story that was worth the wait. Ken may have always lived in North Jersey but his heart clearly remains with the summers he spent along the Shore. His lyrics evoke comparisons to Bruce Springsteen largely because both artists grew up around the same time and both fell in love with seashore towns on the decline.

"That's why I enjoy Asbury Park so much," explained Shane. "I think it is much the same story on a somewhat different scale. Asbury and Atlantic City certainly had their day. Somehow, oddly enough, I get more of a feeling of hope about Asbury Park when I'm there because there's still an opportunity... I don't want to say erase the past but to start over in a way. Atlantic City had that opportunity and they blew it in my estimation by creating these monster casinos and creating a city that basically has no middle class. It's either the have nots or the haves and nothing in the middle. They've driven the middle class, which I was part of, completely out of Atlantic City."

Summers in Atlantic City for Shane meant spending time with his Grandmother (who Shane says was the closest person to him in his life) and Grandfather along with the rest of his family and his cousins. One song on the CD, "My Grandmother's Hands" tells the story about their closeness and the record is dedicated to her. Unfortunately, much of what he grew up with is nothing but memories now.

"Other people may have had summer places or other places where they grew up," said Shane. "But they can go back there now and there's some semblance left of what they remember. Atlantic City has very little of that left and it's a very frustrating feeling that you cannot recapture a lot of that feeling. There's a song on my CD called "Disappeared" that really says the most about Atlantic City and it's all about what has disappeared from the city. I've thought many times that there's no other place that I've seen that engenders the kind of reaction that the old Atlantic City does. It's pretty amazing."

Even though his name may sound unfamiliar, Ken's been in the music business for quite some time. He started out in bands in Junior High and High School then got involved with a nationally touring band called the Stanky Brown Group back in the 70s. He was the road manager for that group for about 8 years. After that he did some engineering and producing. He worked with Billy Hector with the band Hot Romance and worked with Lance Larson for a while. Shane then took a break from music and didn't get back into it until six or seven years ago.

As if it's not tough enough to get noticed in the music business these days with radio being controlled by a few corporations and clubs throughout Jersey highlighting cover bands, Shane has run into the famous shadow of Bruce Springsteen largely due to lyrics about the Jersey Shore.

"It you tell somebody you're a singer-songwriter from New Jersey they'll immediately say Bruce Springsteen," explains Shane. "Even if they haven't heard your music, that's what they're going to think. Of course when you start writing about Jersey Shore locales, as I did, it intensifies the situation a bit more."

Shane thinks that the honesty of his words and the fact that he literally did spend his first 20 summers in Atlantic City lends him credibility that others may not have. "If I was just a guy who had lived in North Jersey and started writing about the Jersey Shore, I don't think that would make me eligible. "

Ken has been busy working on his follow-up CD, which he hopes to have out by the end of the year. This next record will move away somewhat from the singersongwriter sound of "South Ridgeway Avenue" to a fuller band sound that incorporates more of his R& B and soul influences – something he knows will bring about even more Springsteen comparisons.

"I think that by putting more soul and R&B-oriented music on my second CD, the Bruce thing may get even more intense because obviously that's where he comes from too. But, we grew up on the same kind of music. That's what influenced me and I'm not going to shy away from that. I'm a huge fan of Bruce's, but I never consciously sat down and said I'm going to make this one sound like Bruce. That's certainly never been my intention.

"Rock and roll only has a certain number of melodies, a certain number of chords on the guitar, and usually the less the better. If you're writing what you know and using those rock and roll chords, well, you have as much right to it as everybody else."

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Riverside Rhythm and Rhyme Presents Patrick Fitzsimmons On December 16
(SUCCASUNNA, NJ) -- Riverside Rhythm and Rhyme (RR&R) presents Patrick Fitzsimmons on Sunday, December 16 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at the Investors Bank Theatre in Succasunna. Tickets are $20 for general admission; $15 for RAA/SSG/JAM members; and free for those under 18.
Outpost in the Burbs Presents Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams
(MONTCLAIR, NJ) -- Outpost in the Burbs presents Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams on Saturday, December 8th at 8:00pm at the First Congregational Church, 40 South Fullerton Avenue.  Opening the show will be New York City-based singer-songwriter Leslie Mendelson. Outpost volunteers will be accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys for the holiday season for Toys for Tots at the show.
Jann Klose and The Voice's Josett Diaz To Perform At Ethical Brew To Benefit A Cause Close To Home
(TEANECK, NJ) -- On Saturday, December 8th, singer-songwriter and recording artist, Jann Klose will perform at Ethical Brew on behalf of Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center, a community arts and cultural center for children and teens located in Bronx, New York.  Doors open at 7:30, show begins at 8:00pm.
Kenny Chesney To Perform At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- Focusing on smaller venues and markets not directly impacted by his massive stadium tours, Kenny Chesney sought to make his Songs for the Saints 2019 Tour mirror the intimacy of its namesake album. Inspired by the resilience of the people around him, Chesney doubles down on the human connection for his 2019 tour by seeking those members of No Shoes Nation who have spent the past decade and a half making the trip to stadium markets for what is now a summer tradition. On Saturday, May 11, 2019 he brings the tour to Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena in Atlantic City, NJ.
State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze on Friday, December 7 at 8:00pm, Saturday, December 8 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sunday, December 9 at 2:00pm. Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a division of Cirque du Soleil, has become a critically acclaimed, state-of-the-art Broadway musical, and a fun-filled, holiday family show. Tickets range from $35-$98.

"Great Music!" Tavares and Harold Melvin's Blue Notes LIVE! at the Strand Theater
The music of the 1970s is alive and well this Saturday, November 3, 2018 at Lakewood, NJ’s Strand Theater with a concert by the ’70’s R&B and soul groups Tavares and Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes!
"An Amazing Musical Genius!" Brian Wilson LIVE! at the State Theatre
In the music room in the back of our house, there’s an electric bass and amp, two acoustic guitars, a microphone and PA speakers, several pieces of music recording equipment, and a bookcase filled with books on music, not to mention a slew of assorted music memorabilia. But, perhaps, one of the most highly prized items in the room is hanging directly above the piano next to the college music diplomas.
Jazz Saxophonist Don Braden LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s a breezy day for a new installment of the Jazz On a Sunday Afternoon concert series at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Sunday Oct. 27, 2018 afternoon. Today’s special 3pm performance is entitled Earth, Wind and Wonder and is presented by jazz saxophonist Don Braden.
Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge LIVE! at The Strand, Lakewood
The stars are out this Saturday Oct. 26, 2018 evening in Lakewood, NJ for a “Golden Oldies” concert featuring Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge!
PODCAST: Grammy Winner Terri Lyne Carrington At TD James Moody Jazz Festival
Drummer, leader, and composer Terri Lyne Carrington made history as the first woman to win a Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz for her album “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.” Now, she brings her interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Money Jungle” to the TD James Moody Jazz Festival at NJPAC on November 11, 2018, as part of a program called “Jazz Vinyl Revisited.” Producer Susan Wallner talks to Carrington about her connections to the jazz greats Clark Terry and Max Roach; her newest project, the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice; and why she thinks drummers make natural leaders.

Event calendar
Tuesday, Nov 20, 2018

The Madness of George III @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 2:00pm and 7:00pm


Warren Miller’s Face of Winter @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 7:30pm

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