New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media




BIG NEWS! Here's the latest Issue of NJ Stage Magazine -- Click here

Makin Waves Record of the Week: Mike Montrey Band’s ‘John Street’


originally published: 01/25/2018

Makin Waves Record of the Week: Mike Montrey Band’s ‘John Street’“John Street” is an extremely special and well-made project that is by far the best album Mike Montrey ever has made, including the two with Water

I’ve always liked how Mike Montrey Band can get soulful and funky like Prince, then downright down home, like Neil Young, depending on the track and its arrangement. Montrey does that with his new masterpiece, “John Street,” but particularly flexes his Young muscles with the help of sought-after session player Dave Pearlman on pedal steel and dobro. An exceptional lead guitarist in his own right, Montrey leaves most of the lead parts to Pearlman and focuses on some tasty pickin’ ‘n’ strummin’ on acoustic and the best use of a whistle since Otis Redding’s “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.”

A great deal of help also comes from two Grammy winners: producer-engineer Jim Scott (Wilco, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Santana, and Tedeschi Trucks Band) and keyboardist John Ginty (Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Citizen Cope). With his signature Hammond B3, Ginty helps Montrey pour his soul into this record, while Scott also gets fantastic performance out of longtime Montrey bassist Anthony Duca and co-vocalist Jen Augustine and new drummer Rob Smith. He weaves them all together nicely with a wonderful sense of timing that heightens the emotions of each of the songs, such as with the steel guitar and whistle that come in after a cacophony that seems like a false ending on “Slow and Easy.” Scott also contributes a fun toy piano on tracks. 

The many excellent duets and counter harmonies Augustine offers on about half of the 11-song album is another high point. Her smoky alto complements Montrey’s soulful, scratchy falsetto beautifully, especially on the fun-hearted “Coffee and Suspenders,” the call-and-response of “Everytime the Sun Begins to Show,” the aforementioned “Slow and Easy,” the Neil Young-inspired “Aether and Chaos, Beauty and Wine,” and “I Am a Freight Train,” which recalls Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow.

“John Street” also features some of Montrey’s strongest lyrics, such as on the opening angst of “Blanket Full of Dust”: “So can you hear me now, I’m screaming with my voice worn down. My soul is tired, but it’s full of hope, and leaps and bounds. I need a railing to hold onto before I hit the ground. I need a chisel and some sandpaper to scrape away the rust and stagger towards my blanket full of dust.”

I also like the visual line in “Coffee and Suspenders”: “Like chameleons in the forest haze, we’re dancing in our own charade, disguised in the afternoon.” And then there’s a harvest of gold in two Neil Young-inspired tracks. In the aforementioned “Aether,” Montrey shares, “Sometimes I think that it’s all just a sham/Hour by hour, minute by minute, through each grain of sand/One second you’re older, one second you told her, one second you ran/And in an instant he grew up, before you knew what, who, where or when.” And then in “For Her,” he pines, “You leave that window closed for rain, always ready for the doom, impending pain. But you left your dreams outside to rot, like it or not.”

This is the first album of the year to make me think about my top 10 list. I am very confident that “John Street” will sit there all year long. Check it out with Mike Montrey Band’s new live pedal steel player, Steve Benson, when they celebrate the release of “John Street” on March 2 at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park opening for Gregg Allman Band guitarist Scott Sharrard and March 3 at John & Peter’s in New Hope. Tour dates will include March 14 and 15 at SXSW in Austin; March 23 and 24, Cape May Singer-Songwriter Festival; March 28, Bitter End, New York City; April 26, Elbo Room, Chicago, and May 25, Shakedown Bar, Vail, Colo.  

Bob Makin is the reporter for www.MyCentralJersey.com/entertainment and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at makinwaves64@yahoo.com. Like Makin Waves at www.facebook.com/makinwavescolumn.




For more by this author, click here




More Articles You Might Like

Celine Dion To Perform At Prudential Center On March 7, 2020
Celine Dion To Perform At Prudential Center On March 7, 2020
Prudential Center Adds Second Show For Celine Dion
Prudential Center Adds Second Show For Celine Dion
Three of the Most Acclaimed Instrumentalists: Zakir Hussain, Jayanthi Kumaresh, and Kala Ramnath to Perform at NJPAC
Three of the Most Acclaimed Instrumentalists: Zakir Hussain, Jayanthi Kumaresh, and Kala Ramnath to Perform at NJPAC
"Springsteen: His Hometown" Exhibit To Run At Monmouth County Historical Association
"Springsteen: His Hometown" Exhibit To Run At Monmouth County Historical Association
Portugal's Mariza To Celebrate 20 Years of Song At NJPAC
Portugal's Mariza To Celebrate 20 Years of Song At NJPAC
The Newton Theatre Presents Keb' Mo's Jingle Bell Jamboree
The Newton Theatre Presents Keb' Mo's Jingle Bell Jamboree


Event calendar
Saturday, Dec 14, 2019


MUSIC


Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

Motor City Revue @ The Wonder Bar, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

NEW POLITICS, PLAIN WHITE T'S & THE MOWGLI'S @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 6:00pm

HOLIDAY DOO WOP VOL. II @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm


Jackie Evancho @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

DUEL OF THE DECADES: 90'S VS. Y2K @ The Wellmont Theater, Montclair - 7:00pm

GANDINI JUGGLING AND ALEXANDER WHITLEY AMERICAN PREMIERE SPRING @ Alexander Kasser Theater, Montclair - 8:00pm

Morris Choral Society Presents "Baroque Jewels and Songs of the Season" @ Morristown United Methodist Church , Morristown - 8:00pm

Imperial Brass Sounds of the season @ Grace Episcopal Church (Nyack, NY), Nyack - 3:00pm

Princeton Symphony Orchestra: Holiday POPS! @ Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, Princeton - 3:00pm and 6:00pm

The Hot Sardines @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm

Broadway for the Holidays: A Musical Revue @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 8:00pm

Quiet Storm @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm






THEATRE


It's A Wonderful Life: Live from WVL Radio Theatre @ The Avenel Performing Arts Center, Avenel - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

East Lynne Theater Company presents THE GREAT TREE AND OTHER TALES BY ZONA GALE @ First Presbyterian Church (Cape May), Cape May - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

It's A Wonderful Life @ CDC Theatre, Cranford - 2:00pm and 7:30pm

Free to Be...You and Me @ Players Guild of Leonia at the Civil War Drill Hall Theatre, Leonia - 3:00pm and 7:00pm

Broadway for the Holidays: A Musical Revue @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 8:00pm

Madeline’s Christmas @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 1:30pm and 3:30pm

COMEDY


Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical @ Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, Budd Lake - 7:00pm


DANCE


NEW JERSEY BALLET'S NUTCRACKER WITH NEW JERSEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 1:00pm and 6:00pm

NUTCRACKER - AMERICAN REPERTORY BALLET @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 2:00pm and 7:00pm

The Nutcracker, National Ballet Theater of Odessa @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 2:00pm and 7:00pm


The Nutcracker @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 1:00pm and 4:00pm


FILM


Polar Express Pajama Party @ Brook Arts Center, Bound Brook - 6:30pm

View all events

















 


















New Jersey Stage © 2019 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.