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#9 Brian Molnar and the Naked Hearts: Temperance & The Devil

By Gary Wien

originally published: 01/26/2012

As I listened to release after release, trying to make sure I didn’t leave any stone unturned, there were moments when I wondered if I really needed to go through everything on my list.  I remember reaching a period where I didn’t find a single album worthy of the Top 100 within several hundred releases and it seemed foolish to keep going.  It was during one of those moments that I stumbled upon Brian Molnar, and he made all those hours searching worthwhile.

Brian, who grew up in Lebanon Township,  has become an integral part of the Americana scene that emerged in recent years in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  He started out as a solo artist and released two very good albums (Brian Molnar and Feelin Out of Time), but the addition of a full band has allowed his music to grow and become something truly special.  He reminds me of Josh Ritter, that rare singer-songwriter who actually benefits by having a  backing band.

Playing alongside Brian in the Naked Hearts is Todd Lanka on bass, John Koneval on lead guitar, Travis Miscia on keyboards, and CP Martin on drums.  Together, they have developed an Americana/Alt-Country sound that adds elements to Brian’s music without taking away from his wonderful lyrics.  It moves his songs closer to the country rock of Steve Earle than the folk music of Bob Dylan.

Based out of Northwestern NJ, the band can usually be found playing in New York City or the clubs of New Hope, PA.  It’s an touring region that keeps them away from the spotlight of the New Jersey music scene, which is a shame because they are one of the most exciting bands I’ve come across in many years.  

Highlights include “I Did What I Did,” “Sante Fe,” “Devil Singing Backwards,” “Changin’ Lanes,” “This Road,” and “Chase What Matters.”

Photo by Doug Scott


From the book Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists by Gary Wien


Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at gary@newjerseystage.com.

 






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Event calendar
Saturday, Jan 25, 2020


MUSIC



WHISKEY CROSSING @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

An Evening with Tony Award Winner Debbie Gravitte and the Russ Kassoff Little Big Band @ The Avenel Performing Arts Center, Avenel - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

BRIAN WILSON: GREATEST HITS LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

Jim's Big Ego @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 8:00pm

Brubeck Brothers Quartet @ Berrie Center for the Arts, Ramapo College of NJ, Mahwah - 8:00pm

Lunar New Year Celebration @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 7:30pm

The Sixties Show @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 8:00pm

Little River Band @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Bob Mould Sunshine Rock Winter 2020 Solo Electric @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm

Ethical Brew presents: Reggie Harris & Greg Greenway "Deeper Than The Skin" @ Ethical Brew/Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, NJ, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Shaky Show @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm






THEATRE


Pygmalion [#NotMyFairLady] @ Black Box Performing Arts Center, Englewood - 8:00pm

All Shook Up @ George Frey Center for Arts/Fair Lawn Community Center, Fair Lawn, NJ - 2:00pm and 7:00pm

The Diary of a Mother @ Hackensack Performing Arts Center (HACPAC), Hackensack - 7:00pm

RITZ KIDZ - The Pied Piper @ The Ritz Theatre, Haddon Twp - 10:00am and 1:00pm

Brighton Beach Memoirs @ Algonquin Arts Theatre, Manasquan - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Class Act Performing Arts Studio Presents: #ThrowBackTheatre @ Hamilton Stage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 2:00pm and 7:00pm


DANCE


Nai Ni Chen Chinese New Year Celebration, Year of the Golden Rat @ Victoria Theater @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 2:00pm


FILM


Toy Story 4 @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 2:00pm

New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2020 Screening @ Voorhees Hall #105, New Brunswick - 7:00pm

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