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Michael Askin

By Gary Wien


Michael Askin, a New Brunswick area singer-songwriter, first made an impression in the Jersey Shore music scene when he joined the popular Asbury Park band known as Divine Sign sometime around 2006. At the time, he was known as the "guitarist with mystique" -- part of the band's expanded lineup which led the acoustic duo towards more of a full-fledged rock and roll sound. He would move on to the indie band My State of Attraction, before deciding to head out on his own. With a stripped down, alt-country/acoustic guitar sound, Askin writes deeply personal lyrics that remind me of classic songs from the '70s.

Askin was born and raised in Skillman, NJ (Montgomery Township) and has lived in the New Brunswick area for the past few years. According to his bio, "Askin, like everyone else, has pondered his place in the world, cursed his day job, fallen in and out of love, and searched for happiness." While pondering, he's been steadily fostering a nice following through shows at coffeehouses like Espresso Joe's in Keyport and performances in Princeton, where he's been part of Sarah Donner's Indie Music Night at the Solley Theater. He returns to the Arts Council of Princeton venue on Friday, October 14 to celebrate the release of his first solo EP. Jersey Shore artist Danny White will open the show.

The EP contains four songs: "Captain of a Sinking Ship", "Home Now", "Spoke Too Soon," and "One and the Same." You can hear the last two at Michael's Ourstage.com page: http://www.ourstage.com/profile/michaelaskin

"I've always been a huge fan of the classic rock heavyweights--Neil Young, the Stones, etc," said Askin. "I also like contemporary artists of that ilk -- Wilco, Ryan Adams, Drive-by Truckers, Spoon, etc. I'm a sucker for good ear candy, such as that 'Pumped up Kicks' song.

"I had great experiences in Divine Sign and My State of Attraction and am still friends with everyone in those two bands. I was also in a band called Loud Earth until about 2005. We had a British blues-rock sound. I still keep in touch with some of the guys from the band. The drummer and guitarist play in an excellent group called Infernal Overdrive which plays that kind of style. I guess I've mellowed out over the years!"

Preproduction of his EP began roughly a year ago. Askin says he was fortunate to work with Amanda Duncan and Joanna Burns, two talented performers and songwriters who also happen to be great producers. The EP was recorded in two places. Acoustic guitars, vocals, and bass were done at Joanna Burn's place in Hazlet, while drums and strings were recorded in a local studio.

"The songs are mostly about someone trying to persevere despite long odds," said Askin. "Except for 'Spoke Too Soon'. That song's just kind of a downer. I could not be happier with the way things sound."

While Askin hopes the new EP will help him branch out a bit into new venues throughout the region, he's already had the opportunity to play one of the best places in the area for a singer-songwriter -- The Tin Angel in Philadelphia. On one occasion, Askin was part of a lineup entirely comprised of artists from New Jersey, which also included Tony Tedesco, Michael Brett, and Keith Monacchio. A van trip from the Shore to Philly organized by Tony Tedesco brought artists and local fans and helped pack the club.

"The Tin Angel is a great room, and that was a great show," recalled Askin. "I think we independent musicians know how humbling it can be to play to empty seats, or a disinterested audience. To see a house packed with friends who had travelled so far to see NJ musicians was amazing. It just shows how strong the Jersey music community is."

One of the artists who helped perform with Askin that night is his significant other, Jerzy Jung. Together, they form yet another tremendously talented couple in the New Jersey music scene. In addition to sharing stages, Askin has even appeared in several of Jerzy's popular "Friday Face" posts on Facebook -- something which has developed a cult following of its own.

"Friday Face has really taken on a life of its own," continued Askin. "I know its creator sees the world with a child-like sense of wonder and is a very positive person. It's great to see people responding to that."

Askin's EP release takes place Friday, October 14 from 7pm-10pm at the Arts Council of Princeton (102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton). Admission is $10. Jersey Shore songwriter Danny White will open with an acoustic set.



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Tommy Castro & The Painkillers To Return To Lizzie Rose Music Room
​​​​​​​(TUCKERTON, NJ) -- Tommy Castro & the Painkillers return to the Lizzie Rose Music Room on Wednesday, April 17 at 7:30pm.  Whether he’s squeezing out the deepest blues or playing the funkiest soul grooves, legendary blues and soul giant Tommy Castro knows how to ignite a crowd. Tickets are $38.00 Advance and $45.00 day of show.
Experience Hendrix at NJPAC on March 29th
(NEWARK, NJ) --  Celebrate the music and legacy of Jimi Hendrix as Experience Hendrix comes to Newark’s New Jersey Performing Arts Centeron Friday, March 29 at 8:00pm. This critically acclaimed multi-artist tribute to Hendrix features performances by Billy Cox, Joe Satriani, Dave Mustaine, Jonny Lang, Dweezil Zappa, Eric Johnson, Doug Pinnick, Chris Layton, Mato Nanji, Kenny Aronoff, The Slide Brothers, Henri Brown, Kevin McCormick and special guest Taj Mahal.
World Famous Bachata Artists To Take The Stage for Uforia Bachata Fest 2019 At Prudential Center on Saturday, March 16
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Uforia Bachata Fest 2019 at Prudential Center will bring together the world’s best Bachata artists including, Frank Reyes “The Prince of Bachata”, Hector Acosta “El Torito”, Zacarias Ferreira, Luis Vargas and Raulin Rodriguez "El Cacique”. Uforia Bachata Fest 2019, presented by Zamora Live, Euforia Radio (Univision) and Corona Extra, will be held on Saturday, March 16 at 8:00pm.  The contagious Caribbean rhythm known as "Bachata" will have its gala night, marking the first time in history these world-renowned artists will perform on the same stage. 
Youth Symphony and Youth Orchestra To Perform at Princeton University January 27
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- The New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) continues its 40th Anniversary with a concert featuring the NJYS Youth Symphony and Youth Orchestra on Sunday, January 27 at 4:00pm at Richardson Auditorium at Princeton University located at 68 Nassau Street in Princeton. Youth Symphony will open the concert with Mahler Symphony No. 1 in D major followed by Youth Orchestra performing Dvořák Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88.
Rickie Lee Jones To Perform At Grunin Center
(TOMS RIVER, NJ) -- Two-time Grammy winner Rickie Lee Jones exploded onto the pop scene in 1978 and has made a career of fearlessly experimenting with her sound and persona on more than 15 critically acclaimed albums. She brings her show “An Intimate Evening with Rickie Lee Jones” to the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts on Friday, February 22 at 8:00pm.  


The Empire Strikes Back in Concert with the NJSO LIVE! at the State Theatre
Some of our favorite childhood memories growing up at the Jersey Shore involved going to our town’s grand old movie palace, The Community Theater, in Toms River. Built with colonial architecture and featuring large white columns in the front, paned glass windows in the lobby, a circular brick walk from the sidewalk to the box office, and a white picket fence which enclosed a lawn and a flower bed, this local gem presented the latest Hollywood films. For kids like us back in the 1960’s, that meant pictures like Mary Poppins, Cinderella, The Love Bug, and Flipper.
Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes At Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme
This coming Sunday, January 20, Scott Wolfson and his band will be serving up their unique blend of Americana at the Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme series at Investors Bank Theater in Succasunna, New Jersey. The band – Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes – formed in Jersey City in 2011, and, even though the members have migrated in various directions since then, they still consider themselves to be a Jersey City band.
"He Totally Wowed Us!" John Oates LIVE! at SOPAC
It’s brisk for an evening walk on South Orange Ave. in South Orange, NJ, this Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 evening, but it’s a good road to follow as it leads us directly to the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) for a special performance by singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Oates and his backup group, The Good Road Band.
“Tons of Fun!” The Glenn Miller Orchestra LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Although Friday, December 21, 2018 is the shortest day of the year, the audience of big band music lovers here at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts is hoping for a long evening of classic swing and holiday tunes performed by the incomparable Glenn Miller Orchestra!
Mike Davis and The New Wonders
Mike Davis traces his love for the trumpet back to a Disney movie. He grew up in a musical family, with both his parents playing strings in the Seattle Symphony. But Davis wanted an instrument of his own. Then, at age 9, he saw “The Aristocats,” the animated film about a bunch of French felines — including a group of jazz-playing alley cats.






Event calendar
Tuesday, Jan 22, 2019

Sorry, no events listed for today.
Here are some upcoming events.


2019-01-23
Rechnitz Halls DiMattio Gallery, Monmouth University @ 10:00am
West Long Branch

2019-01-23
Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University @ 7:30pm
West Long Branch

2019-01-24
New Jersey Repertory Company @ 8:00pm
Long Branch






















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