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CD Review --"Straight to Red" by Maybe Pete

By Gary Wien

4 1/2 stars (out of 5)
There's really no better way to review a new CD by Maybe Pete than by popping open a bottle of cheap Merlot, so here goes...

"Straight to Red" is the second full-length disc by the North Jersey / Jersey Shore rock and roll band. Their first disc took several years and the songs were basically greatest hits for their fans by the time it was released, thankfully this one came out much sooner and fans will even find a few surprises in store for them.

The best news is that the band's songs continue to progress and get better and better. After one show this summer, I told lead singer, Frankie McGrath, that it's rather amazing that the band could put together an insanely good show and NOT even do most of their most popular songs. It's a testament to their songwriting and this CD is a great step forward for the band. Maybe Pete has always been a band that some have felt wore their influences a bit too close to the music; while, one can definitely hear influences by bands like the Rolling Stones, The Replacements, The Ramones, and Bruce Springsteen - this record basically shows a signature songwriting style is emerging. The songs are romantic tales of the city - New York City to be specific - and the lyrics blend with the gritty punk / rock and roll music behind them to form an honest portrayal of the world they see outside their window. With any luck, radio stations from that world may start playing this disc because there's more than enough quality tunes ready for airplay.

The CD kicks off with "Last One Standing" - a track that is a bit of an odd choice in my opinion. I think I get what the band was after (the song could be looked upon almost as a summary of the tales of the city to be found throughout the disc) but I think it probably would have worked better farther into the record rather than leading off. The song doesn't sound anything like what you'd expect from the band and the vocals seem a bit distant. The guitar work is pretty good, but it's not enough to make me appreciate this as the kick off to an otherwise great disc.

The second track is the one I would have led off with - "Another Cigarette". This song not only is an ode to Frankie McGrath's cat but if you listen closely at the beginning you can even hear the cat for a brief moment! Already one of the new favorites of their live show, this has to be considered one of their best songs to date.

"Hideaway" - another regular to their live show - follows and shows hints of Little Steven in the songwriting. It's a great song that showcases the way Maybe Pete is able to blend their NYC punk roots with their love of Jersey Shore tunes.

One of the first surprises on the disc is "Kite", a wonderfully dreamy little love song with lines like:
"Monday morning neon light
I'm still thinking about last night
No matter where you set your sights
I'll be the sky when you fly your kite"

"Someplace We've Never Been" follows with an ode to the carnival/boardwalk life done in an almost country-twinged style, sort of as if The Band wrote a song about spending a night in Asbury Park during the 1970s. There is some brilliant guitar work late in the song.

One of my favorite songs of the disc (and of the Maybe Pete catalog) is next - "This Town". This is a perfect example of the Maybe Pete songwriting style coming into focus. Here's a tremendous story of a couple falling in love in New York City with both each other as well as the city itself.

"There's a sax man up on the corner
playing a sweet soul tune.
I get lost in all the buildings
and how they stretch right up to the moon.
But the way you look across the table
as you put your wine glass down,
that's what I dig most about this town."

Perhaps the best surprise cut on Straight to Red is "Battery Park 3/14/06" - this is simply another beautiful tune that tells the story of an amazing day spent in the city. The songwriting again tells a clear story with wonderful imagery and a solid hook for the chorus that sticks with you and makes you think as well.

"As the mist rises above the harbor,
and absolves all my sins
I wonder, will it ever be like this again?"

The next to last song is "Too Far to Fall" which is a pretty solid rock and roll tune, but nothing special. It sounds good, but might be too slick. Far from filler, but definitely not one of the best tracks on the disc.

Closing out the CD is "Through the Static" which is everything that "Too Far to Fall" is not. This song continues the storytelling style and consistent theme of how wishes, the road and music are somehow all connected. It's a theme that Maybe Pete has looked into before and one in which they seem very comfortable talking about. I could easily see this song becoming a fan favorite. It's also a great way to end the record.

Fans of Maybe Pete will love this record! It's always nice to see a band grow and get better with each new song. Maybe Pete is doing that right now. This record is much better than their first one and that record contained songs they had been playing for years. What that tells me is that the band is starting to hit their stride. Pick up a copy of Straight to Red and see for yourself.

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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.
NJSO presents 2019 Winter Festival, 'Music Speaks'
(NEWARK, NJ) -- A trio of renowned guest artists with distinct musical voices—pianists Emanuel Ax and Daniil Trifonov and soprano Dawn Upshaw—headline the NJSO’s Winter Festival, “Music Speaks,” in January 2019. The Orchestra’s signature artistic event takes place across three weekends, January 10–27, in six New Jersey venues.
RVCC Chorale to Perform Annual Holiday Concert on December 8th
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) --The RVCC Chorale will give its annual holiday concert on Saturday, December 8 at 8:00pm in the Welpe Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College’s Branchburg campus. The program will feature Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata, Das Neugeborne Kindelein, as well as a cappella pieces from by Sergei Rachmaninov, Zoltan Kodaly and Giuseppe Verdi. The program also will include an audience singalong of traditional carols.
Classic Stones Live! The Complete Rolling Stones Tribute Show Comes To SOPAC
(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- The Rolling Stones, the greatest Blues band of all time, couldn’t make it to SOPAC on their 2018 tour. Instead, the acclaimed tribute band Classic Stones Live! makes an appearance on the SOPAC stage December 15 at 8:00pm for those who like to hear their Rolling Stones hits live.
Tony Trischka Presents "Of a Winter's Night" at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Of a Winter’s Night is Tony Trischka's acoustic celebration of the holiday season. Based on his CD release of the same name, this concert features Trischka’s considerable melodic inventiveness on a wide variety of seasonal tunes. He turns his inventiveness loose on bluegrass and Americana music for the holidays. This one of a kind concert will take place at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship on Saturday, December 8 at 7:30pm.

"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
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Sha Na Na LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
The audience is streaming into the Newton Theatre auditorium in Newton, NJ this Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 for a live concert starring Sha Na Na!

Event calendar
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018


New Politics @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

THE REPUTATIONS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

TOTO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

ANNIE, The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 7:30pm

Spring Awakening: The Rock Musical @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm


PARSONS DANCE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm


Crybaby Matinee: March of the Penguins @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

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