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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites...3/24/16

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 03/24/2016

"My music comes out of jazz. I studied and cut my teeth on jazz and expanded funk,"  says Rhonda Ross as she discussed her upcoming March 31 appearance at New Brunswick's State Theater"I'm always looking for ways to express myself." 
Ross, a singer/songwriter, actress, speaker and the daughter of Diana Ross and Motown Founder Barry Gordy has not only cut her teeth but she has sunk them into the entertainment world and continues to leave her mark on the industry.
Rhonda has worn many hats in the limelight, along with her music career, there was her Emmy nominated role as Toni Burrell on NBC's "Another World" and movie career in films such as "Bessie Coleman: A Dream to Fly on," "The Temptations" and "Personals." However it is through music where Ross seems to express herself more so than any other avenue. Calling herself "A storytelling poet," Rhonda takes her lyrics to another level of consciousness; giving fair warning that this isn't "Your grandfather's jazz." 
"My music is steeped in jazz but with grooving bass lines," she started as she explained what one may expect at a Rhonda Ross concert. "I take my lyrics very seriously; I write story telling lyrics. My music is about life as mothers, fathers, daughters and sons; it's about what's going on in society now and the world we live in and how we have the power to digest things. I like to call it dance music for grown folk; it's not bubble gum that's for sure. I take my cue from 60's and 70's R & B and lend my style and lyric to it and hopefully it conveys well with my audiences." 
Ross says that through her music she tries to "Reflect the times as they are now" and uses terms such as jazz, soul, gospel, funk and neo-soul to describe her product. "Even though neo means new; I pull from music that came along before today. I'm saying; how can I not? I mean I can't deny who my parents are and through them the exposure that I received to so many types of music was such an education. I, anyone really, you've got to go back there and pull from it, there's no vacuum that it's stuck in and even if there was, you'd have to bring it out; break it out of there. I use that influence to shape my music today and it works for me." 
Every bit the image of her famous mother, Ross even has the breathy and at times raspy vocal that is one of her mom's trademarks. A sultry delivery is also part of her style and makes for a smooth transition from her portion of the program into Diana's. "This is a new tour with my mother," she said with excitement. "It's new but not the first time that I've done this, I'm not the opening act; I'm actually part of her show. She invited me to do this, one of only six shows like this on this particular tour where I am doing the first 20 minutes or so and then we'll slide into her portion." 
Ross's artistic side, by her own admission, is something which she likes to feed as much as possible and through any and all of the avenues available to her. Even though there are "No new deals at the time," from a film standpoint; Rhonda keeps her acting options open as well. "Another World" seems like years ago," she said with a laugh. "I was honored to receive my Emmy nomination for my role and I'm often asked if I miss acting and I can honestly say that I don't miss it because I still do it. I explore all areas available to me as an artist. I'm doing mostly theater now but they all kind of intertwine with each other so I never stray too far from any of the things that I enjoy as an artist and performer." 
Another role which Ross enjoys is that of speaker. Not one to shy away from the stage no matter the size; Ross uses her performing talents to raise awareness about social issues, "Raising global citizens," "Self-empowerment" and more. Rhonda is multilingual and is raising her child to speak four languages as well in an effort to prepare him for living in what has become a more global society. "The Global Language Project," "Hearts of Gold" and "Figure Skating In Harlem" are several of the organizations that she has ties to and she "Donates much of her time working towards children of all kinds getting their fair shot at reaching their God-given potential." 
An artist, performer, daughter, mother, wife and consummate professional, Ross enjoys the stage and wants to leave a little bit of her with all who come to her performances. "I have songs with a message. When people leave the theater; I want them thinking about it all the way home and beyond. I write songs to help me get through my life and I hope that in turn, I can help someone else do the same. We can all relate to the issues of today and I try and put them in perspective as best I can; I hope that people enjoy and relate to my message." 
The State Theater in New Brunswick is located at 15 Livingston Avenue and tickets, which range in price from $55 to $165, are going fast. Tickets for this 8 p.m. show can be purchased by going to To discover more about Rhonda Ross; please go to
That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!
Amalfi's Restaurant
146 Lawrenceville-Pennington Rd. Lawrenceville
(609) 912-1599
Fri. 8:30 p.m. Smoked Ice
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Diablo Sandwich Band
Amarones Windsor Inn
29 Church St. Windsor
(609) 448-7144
 Fri. 8 p.m. Ottmar
Sat. 8 p.m. Sounds Of The Street
Blend Bar & Bistro
911 Highway 33, Hamilton
(609) 245-8887
Tues. 8 p.m. Triviajam 
Backstage at Championship Bar 
931 Chambers St. Trenton
Fri. 6 p.m. Burn the Empire, Synergi, Ethereal Tyrant, Tower Of Babel, Winter Nights, Demonpolis. All ages, $10
Sat. 4 p.m. "Condition Critical CD Release and Video Shoot" w/ Lich King, Bah Scumbug, The Donner Party, Thrashole, Panic, Xenophile. All ages, $14 (Includes a copy of Condition Critical CD)
Candlelight Lounge 
24 Passaic St. Trenton
(609) 695-9612
 Sat. 3 p.m. Women In Jazz Compilation. $10 (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. Quizzo Trivia
Columbus Flea Market
2919 Route 206 South, Columbus
(609) 267-0400
Thurs. 5 p.m. Hiltz Squad
Fri. 5 p.m. Denis Sullivan
Sat. 5 p.m. Blue Steel 
Dempster's Pub
437 Pine Street Mount Holly
(609) 261-0500
Thurs. 8:30 p.m. DJ DNIAL
Fri. 9 p.m. DJ Chris
Dog & Bull Brew House
810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA.
(215) 788-2855
Thurs. 8 p.m. Sister Blue
Fri. (4 p.m.) "Happy Hour Jam" feat. Keli Vale Jazz (9 p.m.) Soul Custody Trio
Sat. (11 a.m.) "Saturday Brunch Jam" feat. Michael Leggerie (9 p.m.) Dustin Beck & the Wild Bunch
Sun. (11 a.m.) "Sunday Brunch" feat. Keli Vale Jazz (3 p.m.) Lenny G & The Soulsenders
Fran's Pub
116 S. Main St. New Hope, PA.
Sat. 8 p.m. Honey Spot Blvd.
Mon. 8 p.m. Open Blues Jam
All shows 21+
Glory Days Tavern
1200 Hornberger Ave. Roebling
(609) 499-0896
Fri. 8:30 p.m. Karaoke
Havana New Hope
105 S. Main Street. New Hope, Pa. 
(215) 862-9897
Fri. 8:30 p.m. Coast 2 Coast
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Hot D
Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Avenue Pennington
(609) 737-4465
Thurs. 6 p.m. Four + 1
Fri. 6 p.m. Hopewell Valley Vineyards Jazz Ensemble
Sat. 6 p.m. Craig Leach Group
Sun. 2 p.m."Jazzy Sundays" feat. Sergio Neri
Ivy Tavern 
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Fri. 10 p.m. New Dawn
Sat. 10 p.m. El Ka Bong
All shows 21+
John & Peter's 
96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-5981
Thurs. 9 p.m. Bill & Fred's Excellent Adventure
Fri. 9 p.m. Murphy's Law / Ammunition
Sat. (3 p.m.) Miss Pumpkin Presents: A drag Show Benefit (9 p.m.) Hellbound Heroes / Mr. Relevator
Sun. 9 p.m. Collin J Rocker 
Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night 
Tues. 9 p.m. 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
Thurs. 10:30 p.m."Beer Pong" w/ DJ Codie
Fri. 10 p.m. Little Miss Love Jones & The Archangles, The Willies, So Easy Blues band
Sat. 10 p.m. "Saturday Night Party" w/ Dueling DJs
Tues. 7 p.m. Quizzo hosted by Mike
Millhill Basement
300 S. Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-1600
Check web site for upcoming shows
O'Connor's American Bar & Grille
1383 Monmouth Road, Easthampton Mt. Holly
(609) 261-1555
Fri. 9:30 p.m. Radio Fiction
Sat. 9:30 p.m. Crazy Ivan
Olde Liberty Tavern
2114 Liberty Street, Trenton
(609) 396-2262
Sat. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Palermo's Of Hamilton
310 Klockner Rd. Hamilton
(609) 838-7979
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
All shows 21+ 
Patriot's Crossing
1339 River Rd. Titusville
(609) 737-2780
Fri. 8 p.m. Kevin Toft & The All Stars
Sat. 8 p.m. Steve Bross
Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Ave. Hamilton
(609) 585-8008
Fri. 9:30 p.m. 80's Undercover
Sat. 9:30 p.m. Kevin Toft & the All Stars
Randy Now's Man Cave
134 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 424-3766
Mon. (5 p.m.) Meet and Greet w/ Robyn Hitchcock (8 p.m.) Robyn Hitchcock / Emma Swift. Doors at 7:30 p.m., $20 (advance) This show takes place at The Open Arts Stage 146 Route 130 South, Bordentown
RHO Waterfront
50 Riverview Plaza Trenton
(609) 393-7300
Thurs. 10 p.m. "College Night" w/ DJ Bob E. Luv. Doors at 9 p.m., 21+ 
Fri. (4:30 p.m.) Happy Hour Buffet. $10 (9 p.m.) Once Again Band
Sat. 9 p.m. A Walker Presents: "I Miss The 90's" w/ DJ Ty Boogie. $20 (advance)
Tara's Tavern 
1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown
(609) 286-2300
Sat. 9 p.m. Psycho Misfits
Tavern On The Lake
101 Main St. Hightstown
(609) 426-9345
Fri. 9 p.m. Out Of The Red
Sat. 9 p.m. Far Cry
Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night 
The Cool Cricket
216 4th Street, Fieldsboro
(609) 291-9110
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Sat. 9 p.m. Blind Lemmon Pie
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. The Ruckus
Sat. 10 p.m. Milan and The Sour Goat
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. Popa Chubby Band. All ages, doors at 7:30 p.m., $20 (advance)
Wed. 8 p.m. "Plainsong" feat. Iain Matthews & Andy Roberts
The Roost 
181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge
(609) 208-0050
Thurs. 7 p.m. Vinny Smith
Fri. 9 p.m. Ernie White Duo
The Sticky Wicket 
2465 South Broad St. Hamilton
(609) 439-0007
Fri. 9 p.m. The Drunk Monkeys
Sat. 9 p.m. No Way Out
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
Fri. 9 p.m. Mass Folk Common
Sat. 9 p.m. John Patrick Bastiani
All shows  21+
Trenton Buzz
702 Pine St. Trenton
(609) 392-6000
Fri. 8 p.m. Live Band & Open Mic. 
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. Nik Greeley & the Operators. ($5 cover charge)
Sat. 10 p.m. Tigerman. ($5 cover charge)
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Jam Night (Sign ups 6:30 p.m. at hostess stand)
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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