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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites...11/19/15

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 11/19/2015
"This is a one off show because I love New York," said a very enthusiastic Vonda Shepard as she preps for her one night only appearance at Manhattan's "Le Poisson Rouge." "I just got back from the U.K. and I'm home in L.A. but I'm looking forward to playing this gig." 
Born in Manhattan and raised in California, Shepard may best be known as the female front and lead vocalist of the house band featured at the end of the Fox Television series, "Ally McBeal." Shepard and her band mates provided the soundtrack for the closing scenes; shot from the drinking establishment where the cast would convene at the end of their fictitious work day. "People didn't realize or didn't know I guess, that the band was a real live band playing the actual music in those scenes and that I was the music producer during the time that I was on the show. It was so much fun getting to work with Randy Newman, Bon Jovi and all of the others, plus getting to do my own material and the Ally soundtrack; we had a great run." 
With a 14 CD repertoire to her name, Vonda has quite the catalog of material to choose from; yet she somewhat balks at being called a "Prolific" songwriter. "Oh I don't know about that," she laughed. "This is my seventh or eighth studio album, plus four McBeal albums and a couple of live albums; so I've actually only got seven or eight of my own." 
"Rookie" is her latest release and features the gutsy, edgy Vonda Shepard that we've come to know and love. Tracks like "Need Your Love," "Walk On The Water" and the title cut "Rookie," are gritty R & B type rockers, while others such as "Tell My Body," "I Just Don't Get It" and "Saturday" are piano driven pieces that feature Shepard's soulful side. "This disc, this disc took me about two and a half years to write," she stated reflectively. "Wow, yeah, the actual process of recording and putting it out only took about a year or so but it took me about two and a half to write. The first year I wasn't serious; I kept sitting down at my piano and coming up with bad material," she said with a laugh. "I didn't have writers block but it was close. Once I really hunkered down and got serious the songs flowed out pretty well. I bought a new program for my computer and that really aided in the process and made things much easier; I'm happy with the outcome." 
Just finishing up a leg of the tour and prepping for the November 21 show in the "Big Apple" have her busy but also relishing her two stalwart band mates, James Rolston and Jim Hanson; both of which have been with her many years. "James Ralston has been with me on guitar for 14 years and Jim Hanson on bass for 19 years. We perform mostly as a trio and I can't imagine doing it without them. We kid and call them "The Screw Tops" and do you know why? Because of the wine they drink (laughs), it has a screw top as opposed to a cork; so that's their unofficial band name." 
A multi-instrumentalist herself, playing piano, guitar and bass which compliment her sensual vocal; over the years, Shepard has worked or recorded with some of the industries finest. Along with the aforementioned guest appearances by many on McBeal, Vonda has done a duet with Dan Hill and collaborated with Paul Howard Gordon and James Newton Howard on different projects but unlike some artists who wish to shake the monikers of their past; Shepard doesn't mind her association with the McBeal television series. "Yeah, some performers are bothered by their past, which is kind of ironic considering in many cases it's how they got their start. I believe I need to give the people what they ask for and in my case those who come to see me remember me from the show. I do have to find a good balance though in order to keep myself happy. Sometimes people tend to forget that I wrote some really good songs of my own for the show and to play them live and have them remember and respond well to them; it is very rewarding." 
So what can we expect at Le Poisson Rouge? Shepard says that it will run the gamut of her career. There will be a few off of "Rookie" and some of her older material and some for fans of McBeal. "My two band mates and I are going to give the people an amazing trio! We're probably going to do four or five off of the new album, then usually towards the middle or the end a few of the Ally cover tunes and throughout the night we'll get nostalgic with some of my older material; there's going to be a little bit of all of me (laughs)!"
Le Poisson Rouge is located at 158 Bleecker Street in New York City in the area known as Greenwich Village; opening act for this 6 p.m. show is Julia Haltigan. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 the day of show. 
To discover more about Vonda Shepard, please go to 
That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!
Alchemist & Barrister
28 Witherspoon Street Princeton
(609) 924-5555
Thurs. 9 p.m. "Thursday Jazz" feat. Sam Ward Trio
Sun. 9 p.m. Ed Wilson
All shows 21+
Amalfi's Restaurant
146 Lawrenceville-Pennington Rd. Lawrenceville
(609) 912-1599
Fri. 8:30 p.m. Bears Choice
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Papa Delux
Wed. 9 p.m. Blue Meanies
Amarones Windsor Inn
29 Church St. Windsor
(609) 448-7144
 Fri. 8 p.m. Kindred Spirit
Sat. 8 p.m. Sounds Of The Street
Blend Bar & Bistro
911 Highway 33, Hamilton
(609) 245-8887
 Tues. 8 p.m. Triviajam 
The Backstage at Championship Bar 
931 Chambers St. Trenton
Fri. 7 p.m.  Layers And Frames, (TBA). All ages, $10
Sat. 5 p.m. Sex With Rollercoasters, Wild Rabbit, The Unlikely Hero, Chiaroscuro, Never Fall Silent, (TBA). All ages, $10
Candlelight Lounge 
24 Passaic St. Trenton
(609) 695-9612
 Sat. 3 p.m. Stacy Dillard Tenor Sax Quartet (No cover-$10 minimum)
Cedar Gardens Princeton Manor Banquet Facility                                                
661 Hwy. 33 Hamilton  
(609) 587-0930 
Wed. 8 p.m. Kevin Toft & The All Stars, The Rooftop,Charles Laurita & The Mischief. $5 (cover charge)
Chickie's & Pete's
183 US Highway 130 North Bordentown
(609) 298-9182
Tues. 8 p.m. Acoustic Music Night feat. The Dawgs
Wed. 9 p.m. Trivia Night
City Streets
510 Route 130 South East Windsor
(609) 426-9400
Fri. 9 p.m. 80's Undercover
Cool Cricket
216 4th Street Fieldsboro
(609) 291-9110
Wed. 9 p.m. 80's Undercover
Dog & Bull Brew House
810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA.
(215) 788-2855
Thurs. 8 p.m. Dick Gratton
Fri. 4 p.m. "Happy Hour Jam" feat. Cecil Middleton
Sat. (11 a.m.) "Saturday Brunch Jam" feat. Jazz 180 (9 p.m.) Kevin Toft & The All Stars
Sun. (11 a.m.) "Sunday Brunch" feat. Keli Vale Jazz Duo (3 p.m.) Mike Cono Duo
Mon. 8 p.m. Brian Cono
Tues. 8 p.m. Mark Macmanus
Wed. 8 p.m. Heather Heather
Fran's Pub
116 S. Main St. New Hope, PA.
Mon. 8 p.m. Open Blues Jam
All shows 21+  
Glory Days Tavern 
1200 Hornberger Avenue Roebling
Sat. 8 p.m. Brandon Franks
 (609) 499-0896
Fri. 9 p.m. DJ Geek Boy
Havana New Hope
105 S. Main Street. New Hope, Pa. 
(215) 862-9897
Thurs. 10 p.m."Beat The Clock" College Night DJ Dance Party
Fri. 8 p.m. "An Evening with Sonny Landreth." Doors at 6 p.m., $30 (advance)
Sat. 8 p.m. Noah Hunt / Mato Nanji. Doors at 6 p.m., $35 (advance) $40 (day of show)
Sun. 8 p.m. Brad Whitford & Derek St. Holmes Hosted by WMMR's Jacky Bam Bam. Ages 21+, Doors at 6 p.m., $39.50 
Mon. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Ron
Wed. 9:30 p.m., DJ Dance Party
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Avenue Pennington
(609) 737-4465
Thurs. 6 p.m. "Thurs. Jazz" feat. The Hazlerigg Brothers
Fri. 6 p.m. Pocketful Of Soul
Sat. 6 p.m. The Lifters
Sun. (2 p.m.) "Sunday Jazz" feat. Bill Breusch
Ivy Tavern 
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Fri. 10 p.m. The Ernie White Band
Sat. 10 p.m. Beatle Pie
Wed. 10 p.m. "Thanksgiving Eve Party" w/ Soul Custody
All shows 21+
John & Peter's 
96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-5981
Thurs. 9 p.m. Manifested
Fri. 9 p.m. Rainbow Fresh
Sat. (3 p.m.) Modzilla (9 p.m.) Vinyl Approach
Sun. 9 p.m. Moon Motel
Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Tues. 9 p.m. "Dance Party" w/ DJ aggrEschen
Wed. 9:30 p.m. The Invitational
All shows 21+
JoJo's Tavern
2677 Nottingham Way Hamilton
(609) 586-2678
Wed. 10 p.m. Karaoke
McStews Irish Sports Pub
5316 New Falls Rd Levittown, PA
(215) 949-9570
Fri. 10 p.m. 44 Fridays
Wed. 10 p.m. Fish Out Of water
Millhill Basement
300 S. Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-1600
Check web site for upcoming events
Palermo's Of Hamilton
310 Klockner Rd. Hamilton
(609) 838-7979
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Sat. 9 p.m. Radio Fiction
All shows 21+ 
Patriot's Crossing
1339 River Rd. Titusville
(609) 737-2780
Fri. 7 p.m. Buffalo Trixx
Sat. 8 p.m. Blues In Disguise
Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Ave. Hamilton
(609) 585-8008
Fri. 9:30 p.m. Infinite Bandwidth
Sat. 9:30 p.m. Kindred Spirit
Randy Now's Man Cave
134 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 424-3766
Please check web site for upcoming events
RHO Waterfront
50 Riverview Plaza Trenton
(609) 393-7300
Thurs. 9 p.m. "College Night" Wessy Wes. $15 ($5 w/ college ID)
Fri. (4 p.m.) Happy Hour Buffet. $10 (9 p.m.) Good Company
Sat. 10 p.m. "a Mina Buddafly" w/ DJ Nina Sky. Hosted by Billy daKid Thomas w/ DJ Noize, DJ Finesse, Bill Da Butcha & Wes Burket. $40

Tavern On The Lake
101 Main St. Hightstown
(609) 426-9345
Fri. 9 p.m. Warhammer
Sat. 9 p.m. Black Rose
Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night / (TBA)
The HOB Tavern
146 Second Street
(609) 291-7020
 Sat. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Tues. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
The Ivy Inn
248 Nassau St. Princeton
(609) 921-8555
Thurs. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Ron
Fri. 10 p.m. Seth Tieger Band
Sat. 10 p.m. Diablo Sandwich Band
Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzo w/ Bob E Luv
Wed. 10 p.m. "Wednesday Wheel Night Spin To Win Karaoke" w/ DJ Rockn Ron
The Record Collector
358 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 324-0880
Sat. 8 p.m. "3rd Annual Cigar Box Guitar Festival" feat. April Mae & The June Bugs, Hugh Poole, One String Willy, Cigar Box Stompers. All ages, doors at 7 p.m., $15 (advance). 
The Roost 
181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge
(609) 208-0050
Fri. 9 p.m. Ar House
Sat. 9 p.m. Drunk Monkeys
Wed. 9 p.m. El Ka Bong
The Sticky Wicket 
2465 South Broad St. Hamilton
(609) 439-0007
Fri. 9 p.m. Money Shots
Sat. 9 p.m. Dirty Red
Wed. 9 p.m. Drunk Monkeys
The Sun National Bank Center 
81 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 656-3200
Check website for upcoming events
Tir Na Nog 
1324 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 392-2554
Tues. (7 p.m.) "Rock On Radio Happy Hour" hosted by Danny Coleman feat. James Dalton. (9 p.m.) Open Mic. Night hosted by Jerry Monk
Wed. 9 p.m. Black Brant
All shows  21+
Trenton Buzz
702 Pine St. Trenton
(609) 392-6000
 Thurs. 8 p.m. Open Mic. w/ Hek Cat
Trenton Social
449 South Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-7777
Fri. 7 p.m. First Friday
Mon. 9 p.m. Monday Night Karaoke w/ Benny P
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-8300
Fri. 10 p.m. Love Whip. ($5 cover charge)
Sat. 10 p.m. Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers.($5 cover charge)
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Jam Night (Sign-ups at 6:30 p.m.)
Tues. 9 p.m. Live Band Karaoke
Wed. 9 p.m. "Thanksgiving Eve Party" w/ Black Masala. ($5 cover charge)
All shows 21+
Wildflowers Inn
2572 Pennington Rd. Pennington
Sat. 9 p.m. Acoustic Rock 
All shows 21+

Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.

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