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Joe D'Urso

By Gary Wien


Sometimes you find people in the entertainment business who like to support good causes because they're the hip thing to do and sometimes you find people who do it simply because they truly believe in the cause. Joe D'Urso is definitely of the latter. He's one of the good guys.

Joe D'Urso and his band Stone Caravan has been building their audience on stages from the Jersey Shore to venues around the world for the past decade. The band recently released their 10th record, the apt-titled "Cause."

On this disc, Joe D'Urso not only continues many of the messages that Harry Chapin instilled into him, but actually has Harry Chapin providing narration between the tracks.

"When most of the songs were done, I started coming up with this idea of having Harry Chapin's voice narrate the record," explained Joe D'Urso. "I had been listening to his Gold Medal Collection record, but I kind of wanted something more than that. Jason Dermer, who is on the Board of the Harry Chapin Foundation lent me ten cds of Harry Chapin interviews. What I did was spend the better part of Novemember and December listening to the interviews non-stop while on the road in England and Italy. And I found all of these different quotes and clips that matched the songs I was dealing with. That's when the idea of really trying to get the flow of a cohesive piece came into play.

"Here was a guy that was obviously very wise and had a lot of interesting things to say. He was outspoken and was a do-er. There's a lot of people who say the activism of the ,Aeo80s from ,AeoWe Are The World' to ,AeoHands Across America' and all that stuff was started by Harry Chapin. He was certainly not as high profile as George Harrison with the ,AeoConcert for Bangladesh' but he was someone who did it every day. Half of the shows he did he gave away his money. I've been in the entertainment business for a long time and I don't see that too often. It certainly made an impression on me."

The new record includes 16 songs divided into Side One and Side Two with topics ranging from friendship, war, marriage, oil, soul-searching, politics and lost love. D'Urso mixes his writing and music with full-out rockers and quiet observations. "Cause" was recorded with more of a live, garage rock feel than his previous releases. Besides 13 new originals, the record contains takes on John Stewart's 1979 Top 5 hit "Gold", Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" and Harry Chapin's legendary tune, "Taxi".

The idea of doing a record with narration between tracks may seem out of the norm, but Joe tends to push the boundaries with each record. For the band's last studio disc, they released "Both Sides Of Life" in 2003 - a double CD with one side featuring electric tunes and the other side containing acoustic numbers. Before that, they released "Rock and Roll Station" in 2000 which featured radio DJ's introducing the songs and gave the illusion that the listener was flipping through the stations on the radio - static included. These records are meant to be collections of songs more than just individual tracks.

"I knew that if I was saying things in between the record that I'd come off as pompous or soap box, but having someone with a proven track record - someone who's looked upon extremely kindly in history as being on the right track as a humanitarian - I knew I had a lot more leeway," said D'Urso.

In the New Jersey / New York area, his efforts to spread good karma to causes like World Hunger Year, the homeless, and Parkinson's Disease have let thousands of people know about his music and led to a tour around the country with Harley Davidson. In 2002, Joe D'Urso & Stone Caravan were chosen by House of Blues Concerts and The Harley Davidson Corporation to be the "official house band" for Harley's 100th Anniversary Open Road World Wide Tour. D'Urso was the only independent artist on the tour. He performed three day festivals in Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Los Angeles, Toronto, Sydney and Milwaukee with artists such as Bob Dylan, Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Tim McGraw, Elton John and many others. D'Urso co-wrote a thirty-minute musical production for Harley Davidson titled "Thunder" that was highlighted throughout the tour.

Around the world, the karma has reaped even better results as the band has developed into a premier name in certain areas. In some years, they play more shows in Europe than they do in America! In parts of the UK and Italy, they can easily book 10-15 dates for a mini-tour and then return in a few months.

"I'd be lying to say that I'm not tickled pink that we've become this small little cult band in certain areas," said D'Urso. "People fly in from different countries and take trains for six to eight hours... they tell me these stories and make my head spin! I know I used to do that for certain artists that I loved and the fact that someone thinks that much of us just blows me away! Maybe that's my karmic payoff for doing all these fundraisers!"



For more by this author, click here






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.
Idle Wave To Hold Record Release Party At Asbury Park Brewery
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Pop-punks Idle Wave will celebrate the release of their self-titled EP on Saturday, December 1st at Asbury Park Brewery.  The record release show also includes performances by Skyeline, Roderick, and Pollyanna.


"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.
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


MUSIC

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


THEATRE

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







DANCE

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


FILM

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

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