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New Jersey State Council on the Arts Names Allison Tratner as Executive Director Click here for the story!


By Gary Wien

One look at the van's odometer and you realize just how hard L.P. and her band work. They drive that van from one side of the country to the other; over and over again. They practically live out of it, and just might from time to time. For a touring band, a good van means everything. And L.P. certainly pushes their van to the limit. Just as she does with her music.

The van recently broke down about ten miles outside of Denver and forced them to miss a show in Indiana. "We've driven this van about 85,000 miles in a year," she explained. "There was some kind of a wheel or hub thing. We couldn't steer so we had to get off of the highway. Then we thought that the transmission was acting a little funky. It's still under warranty for the first 100,000 miles. It will probably go right at 101,000."

Things might have been a little different for L.P. if she hadn't been screwed by her first record company. As with many artists, the record company tried changing the rules of the contract at the last minute. Unlike many artists who are simply happy at having a deal, L.P. didn't give in to their demands.

"Right before the record was about to come out... I mean, records had been pressed and the tour was booked... They wanted my publishing and they wanted me to sign on for another two records. And I was getting wind that they weren't even really going to spend enough to get this one off of the ground. So, I wasn't going to give them my fuckin' publishing for nothing, or for very little money, and then give them two more records.

"They didn't shelf the record, but they put it out with nothing behind it," she explained.

Since that time L.P. has been doing it on her own. She released the brilliant record, "Suburban Sprawl & Alcohol" last summer on an indie label and has been touring hard in support of it. Every place she plays she blows the crowd away with the band's intense live show. Her singing is not just powerful but dramatic. She doesn't beg to be heard, she demands that you listen. After one song you're wondering "why the hell isn't this band big?"

Her singing is so powerful it's no surprise to find out that she grew up singing opera. Nowadays she focuses on rock and roll, but uses vocal exercises that are based on opera techniques.

"They've got it down to a science," says L.P. "They've got exercises that help me so I know exactly what to do to get my voice into shape that day. The opera kind of gave me the background and the setup and the control."

Control is definitely needed because the band plays around 200 dates a year. Since she goes so far out with each song, she needs the exercises to keep her voice intact for the entire tour. She admits to testing the limits every night. It's like having a corvette and never leaving second gear, L.P. knows she has a gift and wants to use it as much as possible.

"Almost in every song I can't help myself, I have to go to the wall," she says. "Sometimes I'm like I've got to hold off, but I can't help myself. It just feels really good and the crowd gets into it."

The band recently played the South By Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. L.P. had been there before a few times with the band Cracker (whom L.P. tours with occasionally) but this was the first time for the band.

"It was great!" said L.P. "We did three shows at Coyote Ugly. It was totally rocking! All of the girls dance on the bar there. The first two nights were our nights more; the third night there were about four bachelor parties taking place and the girls were insanely amazing. That night the girls won. I felt more people were watching them than us!"

With a zillion bands in town for SXSW, it's not hard to run into a famous musician or two. L.P. had her own encounter; unfortunately she had no idea who she was talking to. It turns out it was Ian Hunter. Not knowing what he looked like, L.P. asked if he played with Ian Hunter. He said, "No, I am Ian Hunter."

From festivals to club shows, the band is committed to having as many people hear the last record as possible although it can get a little tiresome playing the same songs each night.

"As a writer, you're like if I don't play a new song these people are going to throw shit at me!" said L.P. "But they're just getting into the record and if you love a record you don't care how many times you see it live."

On the band's website, L.P. talks about how she never gets tired of hearing people say "how come you guys aren't big?" but those words can begin to wear on you.

"I feel a little crazy sometimes. The things that people will say to you on the road... I have a little suitcase in my head where all that stuff goes and I've just got to lock it up because its swimming around in there. I'm always like, "why aren't we big?" But there's so many great bands out there and there is no rhyme or reason; you just have to keep doing it for the love of what you're doing. I believe that if you just keep going, good shit will happen to you."

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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
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


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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