This article is from our magazine. To view it in its original format, click here
Cranston Dean Hits The Road
By Gary Wien
originally published: 07/18/2015
Far too often, bands in New Jersey tend to stay in the area. With New York City on one side and Philadelphia on the other, a case could certainly be made that there are more than enough places to play and millions of music fans to reach within a two hour ride; however, there is something to be said for challenging yourself to be that band on the road, hitting a club you’ve never hit before, walking through those doors and performing in front of people who are not your friends or family members -- just strangers.
One band that has been enjoying that challenge is Cranston Dean, who have been touring in support of Sarajevo, a record that came out on June 18.
Cranston Dean (which features Cranston on acoustic guitar, vocals and keyboards, Riley Schiro on guitar and vocals, and Ike Gutierrez on bass and vocals) has spent the summer playing in cities like Chicago, Nashville, Louisville, and Cleveland along with dates in Harrisburg (PA), Delhi (NY), and Rockland (ME). The band has been hitting many areas for the first time. Dean says going on tour can beat you up, but it also does a lot for a band.
“For me personally, it makes me feel very certain that this is what I want to do,” explained Dean, who started touring outside of New Jersey about five years ago as a solo artist. “I think for the band it makes the music a lot tighter and the friendships better. The smaller towns are like ‘What are you doing here?’ We played Rockland, Maine last 4th of July and we’ve been there four or five times since. Each time, we keep meeting cool people and they help spread the word about us. They’re just pumped that we’re going to Rockland, they’re like ‘No one comes to Rockland.’ Well, people should definitely go to Rockland, it’s a great town and only two hours north of Portland, so if you go to Boston you might as well do Portland and Rockland if you can.
“The other day we played a biker bar in Fort Wayne, Indiana and we passed out a bunch of our pins,” continued Dean. “This one dude was all about it. And we’re laughing in the car on the way out thinking about all these incredible tough bikers wearing our pins on their jackets!”
The article continues after this ad
Locally, Cranston Dean has participated in many benefit shows, performed at the Asbury Music Awards, and did a set at TedX Navesink. The band also has a close relationship with the radio station 90.5 The Night where they were interviewed in the studio and featured in the Songwriters on the Beach series in Belmar last year. On Thursday, August 13, Cranston Dean will return to the beach when they open for the New York band, Lost Leaders.
Growing up in Atlantic Highlands, Dean was a fan of 90.5 and enjoyed their songwriter shows, which were held in Red Bank until last year. He said he always wanted to be part of that series and looks forward to doing it again. While the shows in Red Bank were held in a beautiful park overlooking the marina, the shows in Belmar are on the boardwalk faceing Atlantic Ocean. “Just to be able to look out into the ocean while you’re playing is a great feeling,” he said.
The plan for the future includes more touring with the goal of getting on bigger circuits and a new record or EP. Cranston Dean’s latest release, Sarajevo is held together with wonderful songwriting and Cranston’s soulful singing. The songs blend touches of country, blues and even funk within a strong Americana base. It reminds me of something that could have come from Robbie Robertson or The Band. Great guitar riffs, beautiful piano, and aching vocals all put forth a powerful record. If you love songs that seem to contain an entire universe — those which appear to live a lifetime within a few short minutes — this disc is well worth checking out.
For more by this author, click here
Light of Day's Main Event To Be Broadcast Live at McLoone's Supper Club
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- If you couldn't get tickets for the fabled "main event" of the 2019 Light of Day Winterfest, you have another chance see the show. For the first time in the 19-year history of the festival, the "main event", the star-studded “Bob’s Birthday Bash” on January 19th (a show that has long sold out), will be broadcast live via fiber optic cable at McLoone's Supper Club in Asbury Park.
Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts To Hold Winter Open House On January 27
(BERKELEY HEIGHTS) -- Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) will host a Winter Open House on Sunday, January 27 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. The free event is open to the public and will be held at the Performing Arts School (PAS) located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights.
Billy Idol and Steve Stevens To Perform At Count Basie Center For The Arts
(RED BANK, NJ) -- Billy Idol and Steve Stevens, one of rock’s most iconic and enduring duos, will hit the road this March for their first ever tour performing as a duo: Turned On, Tuned In and Unplugged. The Billy Idol/Steve Stevens tour comes to The Count Basie Center for the Arts on Thursday, April 4th.
McDonald's Gospelfest To Celebrate The Life of Aretha Franklin With Return to Prudential Center
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The 37th Annual McDonald’s Gospelfest returns to the Prudential Center on Saturday, May 11 for the gospel event of the year. This year's event will honor and celebrate the life and legacy of the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin with an All-Star cast. The 5:00pm to 7:00pm portion of the evening will feature a rising stars competition for all ages and cultures in categories including Soloists, Choirs, Praise Dancers, Singing Groups, Gospel Comedians, Gospel Poets and Gospel Rappers. The gospel concert, beginning at 7:00pm, will feature some of the most renowned gospel artists in music history with the goal of spreading love, peace and joy to all races, nationalities and beliefs.
Bickford Theatre Presents Herb Gardner's Groundhog Jam
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- The great Groundhog Jam has a long history of prying jazz fans out of their warm burrows and into the chill of February weather in order to welcome the advent of spring. The Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum continues a tradition of hosting this event on Monday, February 4 at 7:30pm. Herb Gardner, who plays both trombone and piano, is assembling a stellar group of musicians from the New York, New Jersey, and New England areas including: Fred Vigorito on cornet, Joe Licari on clarinet, James Chirilloon guitar, Mike Weatherly on bass and Robbie Scott on drums. Daughters Abbie and Sarah Gardner will be handling the vocals and guitar.
Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes At Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme
This coming Sunday, January 20, Scott Wolfson and his band will be serving up their unique blend of Americana at the Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme series at Investors Bank Theater in Succasunna, New Jersey. The band – Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes – formed in Jersey City in 2011, and, even though the members have migrated in various directions since then, they still consider themselves to be a Jersey City band.
"He Totally Wowed Us!" John Oates LIVE! at SOPAC
It’s brisk for an evening walk on South Orange Ave. in South Orange, NJ, this Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 evening, but it’s a good road to follow as it leads us directly to the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) for a special performance by singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Oates and his backup group, The Good Road Band.
“Tons of Fun!” The Glenn Miller Orchestra LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Although Friday, December 21, 2018 is the shortest day of the year, the audience of big band music lovers here at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts is hoping for a long evening of classic swing and holiday tunes performed by the incomparable Glenn Miller Orchestra!
Mike Davis and The New Wonders
Mike Davis traces his love for the trumpet back to a Disney movie.
He grew up in a musical family, with both his parents playing strings in the Seattle Symphony. But Davis wanted an instrument of his own.
Then, at age 9, he saw “The Aristocats,” the animated film about a bunch of French felines — including a group of jazz-playing alley cats.
Ana Gasteyer's "Holiday Tipple" LIVE! at the Grunin Center
The Grunin Center stage in Toms River, NJ is set this Saturday, December 15, 2018 with drums, a grand piano, a guitar, an acoustic bass, and various microphones for vocals. A stool and several microphone stands are bedazzled with colorful garlands of shiny red, gold, and green, and wrapped gifts are strewn on stage among the instruments. Projected white snowflakes adorn the walls, and Christmas music plays as patrons enter the theater to put everyone in the mood for tonight’s holiday show — Ana Gastayer’s Holiday Tipple!