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Cranston Dean Hits The Road

By Gary Wien

originally published: 07/18/2015

Cranston Dean Hits The Road

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!”

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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.  

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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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