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Rock On! This Week's Sound Bites...12/23/21


By Danny Coleman

originally published: 12/23/2021

“My folks got divorced when I was two so, I didn’t live with Mel Torme past the age of two. I was taken in by Hal March who married my mom and became my step-dad and all of Hal’s friends were the Borgfeld comedians. So, our dinner parties just about every weekend were Lucy and Milton Berle, Phil Silvers and Shecky Greene, Buddy Hackett and Red Buttons. So, I grew up around all of these comedians and it was great and a lot of laughs; these were the people who were our best friends. My original desire was to be a major league baseball player. I would listen to the Yankees as a kid in Westchester County and that was my first goal was to be a major league ball player; I played a lot of baseball. After hearing the games I’d listen to the radio, I would listen to the AM hits of the day and like a billion other kids when I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan I went, oh this, this is turning me on. This doesn’t sound like Jerry Lee Lewis, this doesn’t sound like Elvis, this is a completely different thing and pop music became my influence. As much as I do a lot of jazz in my shows because there is obviously some influence from my dad because I do have his genes, I cut my teeth on The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan and Todd Rundgren. Those are the people that I listened to; again, very melodic pop writers. I really kind of connected with my dad in the last 15 years of his life and we started having a more common ground musically and that’s how things kind of came about.”

So, other than being surrounded by comedic royalty, it seems that Steve March Torme grew up with the hopes and dreams of most children of his generation. These dreams and hopes that he keeps alive through memories and nostalgic looks back at the past have resulted in the release of a new Christmas song geared toward getting us to do the same and it is titled “I Remember Christmas Time.”  

 ”I Remember Christmas Time,” I did an interview the other day and someone said; “Why did you wait until now to write a Christmas song? Your dad wrote that one 76 years ago.” This wasn’t a calculated move on my part, I said, basically I had written a song called “A Different Time” from my last album and when I do my concerts, that seems to be the one that resonates the most with the audiences and the one that people want to talk about afterward if they are buying a CD; “Is this the one that has the song about your kids on it?” One of the guys that I do these concerts with here in the mid-west; we were in the middle of a 10 concert run of a show called “For Kids From 1 to 92,” we’ve got 14 people on stage, it’s a big show. He came to me about a month and a half ago and said, “I’ve always loved that song “A Different Time” but I keep hearing a different title.” I said, OK but that song is already written and he said, “I keep hearing “I Remember Christmas Time,” you might want to think about changing it.” I said, well that song is already recorded, that’s not what it’s about. Then we started talking about it and I thought, maybe that’s not a bad idea. It is about the same thing, I changed a few words to it and made it more holiday oriented and that’s how this song came about. “I Remember Christmas Time” ends up being this rather sentimental look back; everybody can look back on Christmas when they were a kid and it’s a much different feeling when you’re an adult and that’s what it is basically about.”

Looking back sometimes is the only way to move forward and often times as we lose the innocence of youth and the spirit of St. Nicholas; we at times reflect and yearn for those bygone days and those classic tunes of the holiday season that take us back to our own memories. Memories which are like snowflakes, no two are alike  and vary from person to person. Torme recognizes this and it is one of the reasons he has released this timely piece of work.

“I think that is one of the reasons that this song is resonating. Mariah Carey’s Christmas song is a fun, bouncy pop tune that has done extremely well but songs like “I’ll be home for Christmas” and “The Christmas Song” and hopefully this song I’ve written here will invoke almost a Norman Rockwell-ion feeling when you listen to it. It is nostalgic, when we were kids; when you’re eight years old, from December 1, all you’re doing is looking at the calendar; only 24 more days! You’re so excited about waking up that morning; can we get our presents now? When you become an adult, obviously that changes. You’re dreading going to the mall, it’s still a nice time of year and it’s nice to get together with family; especially the ones you still talk to (laughs) but when you’re a kid, you look out the window and it’s snowing and exciting and that’s really what I’m trying to evoke here. When I wrote the original tune, my kids were only like two and four years old and I remember going to a park with them and knowing they felt secure and safe and then it evolved into a Christmas song thinking about evergreens, twinkling lights and Christmas carols. As corny those images are, they do occur every single year and no matter how much we are in a world where everyone has their faces buried in their phones there are still young kids who are excited about Christmas and the idea of being with their families so, that’s really how this evolved.”



 
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“In another interview that I did recently, someone asked me specifically what my favorite Christmas ornament was,” he continued; “My kids are 17 and 15 and they just love when the tree comes out every year and we all put up ornaments together and they are always the same ornaments and every year they love looking at them because you don’t look at them for 11 months. They go away into a box and then 11 months later there is a nostalgic feeling; oh yeah, I remember this one or I remember when we got this one, ooh look how small we were at this time. So, I think, maybe at this time of the year or maybe at Thanksgiving really kind of evokes those kind of feelings of yeah, I like the fact that there is a permeance about this. If I had to pick a favorite ornament, when my wife and I first got together, our first Christmas as husband and wife we went and got an ornament that kind of looks like a Faberge egg and its got red and blue fake gems that represent our birthstones.”

With nostalgia playing such a big part and the timeless classics of the past already written; does Torme see anything like those compositions in today’s music?

“Again, this was not a calculated move on my part but being a musician and doing this for a living, doing concerts and someone who also writes; it’s not for me to sit here and criticize today’s music, that’s just stupid,” he said emphatically. “I do know that there is a huge change in what is being put out today as opposed to even 20 years ago let alone 40 years ago much less 60 years ago. When you start talking about the old songs you start sounding like your grandparents; when the Beatles came out, my grandfather was like, “To hell with the yeah, yeah, yeah and the long hair” and I get it but the truth is they wrote great songs. Irving Berlin could’ve written “Eleanor Rigby,” they ended up writing great tunes with great melodies. My dad wrote a great melody with “The Christmas Song” and what turns me on is melodies and a lot of today’s music is beat driven but it is what it is and it’s not for me to say it’s good, bad or indifferent. I wanted to find something that still had a melody so that 15 years from now when you hear it you can say, oh yeah I know that song, ba-da-da-da-da-da-da-ba-da-da-da-da; a melody. That’s what “Sleigh Ride” has, that’s what “Let It Snow” has, they have melodies.”

Torme also recognizes that there is a different tone in today’s music which in part is why he released “I Remember Christmas Time.”

“There are more people like Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon who are in their 70’s that are considered “Modern” songwriters compared to the Irving Berlins and Richard Rodgers who really were great imagery writers. There are still some people today that write great lyrics, I have been hosting a radio show for 10 years so, I do listen to a lot of music but I can’t listen to everything and as the world has unfortunately gotten a little nastier and a little more desperate; there are not a lot of flowing flowery images being written in music. There is a lot of angst, a lot of anxiety and depression and its too bad and Americana music has a lot of it. The longer we go on and the next generation comes up, we are hearing a lot of; hey, what’s the point? The planet is poisoned, you guys did this, your generation didn’t take care of the planet, people hate each other, politics is dividing us; what’s the point? That’s a horrible place to be in and I’m not being Pollyannish about this, I’m very cognizant of the fact that there are a lot of problems but geez, music is supposed to be an escape so, it’s nice to have something positive out there.”

To discover more about Steve March Torme, please visit www.stevemarchtorme.com .



 
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To my friends, readers and supporters with a special thank you to Gary Wien and New Jersey Stage Magazine; I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season!

That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!



This week's event listings


Allentown Borough
8 North Main Street Allentown
Wed. 6 p.m. New Year Manifestation, Meditation and Vision Board. (Takes place at #12 North Main Street)
Al's Airport Inn
636 Bear Tavern Road West Trenton
(609) 883-5252
Mon. 5 p.m. Brian Elliot
Tues. 7 p.m. The Vagabonds
Wed. (4 p.m.) LGBTQ Happy Hour (7 p.m.) Jessica DiDonato
Arts Council of Princeton   
102 Witherspoon Street Princeton   
(609) 924-8777
Fri. 10 a.m. “Studio Time” at Princeton Makes Hosted by Adriana Groza (Takes place at Princeton Shopping Center 301 North Harrison Street) 
Bill's Olde Tavern   
2694 Nottingham Way Hamilton   
(609) 586-0192   
Thurs. 3 p.m. Ugly Sweater Happy Hour Holiday Party w/ Chris Barlow
Mon. 7 p.m. Trivia Night
Tues./Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ "Super" Dave Curtis
Ages 21+
Blend Bar & Bistro   
911 Highway 33 Hamilton   
(609) 245-8887 
Thurs. 7 p.m. Santa-Con / Ugly Sweater Party w/ DJ Anthony Pasqua
Bowman's Tavern   
1600 River Road New Hope, PA   
(215) 862-2972   
Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Dave Dales Trio
Fri. (5:30 p.m.) Bennett Lee (8 p.m.) Bob Egan
Sun. (12 p.m.) Steve Guyger (6 p.m.) Lorenzo
Wed. 6 p.m. Andy Prescott
Broken Goblet Brewing 
2500 State Road Bensalem, PA 
(267) 812-5653 
Thurs. (7 p.m.) Mike Estabrook Happy Hour (8 p.m.) “Die Hard and Jolly” w/ Righteous Jolly
Candlelight Lounge   
24 Passaic Street Trenton   
(609) 695-9612   
Thurs. 6 p.m. Thursday Night Blues Jam Hosted by The Mojo Gypsies. $5 (Includes hot buffet)
City Streets   
510 Highway 130 South East Windsor   
(609) 426-9400 
Wed. 6:30 p.m. "Wine Down Wednesdays" w/ Rich G. Aveo
COARadio.com   
125 South Main Street Hightstown   
(609) 241-7103
Fri. 7 p.m. "Danny Coleman's Got The Blues" Christmas Edition
Sun. 7 p.m. "Rock On Radio" feat. “13th Annual Rock On Radio Christmas Spectacular” w/. various artists
Cooper's Riverview
50 Riverview Plaza Trenton
(609) 393-7300
Thurs. (7 p.m.) (9 p.m.) Club Night feat. Rotating DJs (inside event)
Sun. 11 a.m. " Sunday Latin Jazz Brunch" w/ Victor Tarassov 
Tues. 7 p.m. Karaoke w/ Michael Hoffman
Wed. (12 p.m.) "Wine Down Wednesdays" (7 p.m.) Blues Jam on the Deck / Disco Hustle Night (Inside)
All Events Ages 21+
Dadz Bar and Grill
744 Main Street Lumberton
(609)267-4344
Thurs. 7 p.m. Open Mic Night
Havana New Hope   
105 S. Main Street New Hope, PA.   
(215) 862-9897  
Thurs. 7:30 p.m. Open Blues Jam Hosted by The Slidewinder Blues Band
Sun. 4 p.m. Tea Dance Party LGBTQ + Sunday Out
Mon. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Dwayne
Wed. 7 p.m. Jumper Duo
Hopewell Theater    
5 South Greenwood Avenue Hopewell   
(609) 466-1964  
Sun. (2 p.m.) Holiday Film Fest: “Gremlins” $12.50 (4:30 p.m.) “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” $12.50
Wed. 7 p.m. Holiday Film Fest: “Elf” $12.50
Hopewell Valley Vineyards   
46 Yard Avenue Pennington   
(609) 737-4465   
Sun. 1:30 p.m. "Jazzy Sundays" feat. Hopewell Valley Vineyards Jazz Band
Hurricane Jacks Bar and Grill   
7759 New Falls Road Levittown, PA   
(267) 914-4517   
Mon. 7 p.m. Motown Monday w/ DJ Code Redd
Iron Plow Vineyards   
26750 Mount Pleasant Road Columbus   
(732) 306-9111
Sun. 2 p.m. Spoondrift
Ivy Tavern   
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton   
(609) 888-1435   
Thurs. 9:30 p.m. Karaoke
Sun. 6 p.m. Karaoke Latinos
All shows 21+     
John & Peter's   
96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa   
(215) 862-5981  
Thurs. 9 p.m. Skunkmello
Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic (Sign-ups start at 8 p.m.)
Wed. 9 p.m. The Invitational   
All shows 21+ 
Killarney's Publick House   
1644 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton  
(609) 586-1166  
Thurs. 7 p.m. Guns 4 Hire
Sun. 10 a.m. Boxing Day Brunch
Laurita Winery   
85 Archertown Road New Egypt   
(609) 752-0200 
Thurs. 5 p.m. Fire Pits and Wine
Wed. 6 p.m. Girls Night Out Ages 21+
Marie's Kozy Korner
111 Trenton Road Fairless Hills, PA
(215) 943-3131
Fri. 7 p.m. “Twas The Night Before Christmas” w/ Bill Monach
Sat. 2 p.m. Christmas Day Platter Special. $6.95
McGuinn's Place   
1781 Brunswick Avenue Lawrence   
(609) 392-0599  
Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke   
Ages 21+   
McStews Irish Sports Pub   
5316 New Falls Road Levittown, PA   
(215) 949-9570   
Tues. 7:30 p.m. Trivia Night
Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Paula and Sam
Naked Brewing Company
212 Mill Street Bristol, PA
(267) 544-7129
Thurs. 12 p.m. Festivus!
New Hope Winery  
6123 Lower York Road New Hope, PA 
(215) 794-2331 
Wed. 8 p.m. Dar Williams w/ Crys Matthews. $45
Newtown Brewing Company
103 Penns Trail Newtown, PA
(215) 944-8609
Thurs. 7:30 p.m.  Trivia Night
Nottingham Tavern   
9 Mercer Street Hamilton Square   
(609) 587-6623   
Thurs. 9:30 pm. Karaoke w/ Super Dave Curtis
Oldestone Restaurant
15 South Main Street New Hope, PA
(215) 862-7044
Thurs. (6 p.m.) Tour De Force (Deco Bar) (7 p.m.) Scott McAllister (Jazz Lounge)
Fri. 4 p.m. Aaron Quarterman (Deco Bar)
Old Town Pub   
135 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown   
(609) 291-9232  
Thurs. 7 p.m. Quizzoholics Trivia 
Palmer Square
40 Nassau Street Princeton
Thurs. (4 p.m.) "Skating On The Square" $10/$12 (Includes skate rental)
Fri. (4 p.m.) "Skating On The Square" $10/$12 (Includes skate rental) / Spiced Punch Caroling (4:30 p.m.) Christmas Eve Caroling
Sun 12 p.m./4 p.m. "Skating On the Square" $10/$12 (Includes skate rental)
Patriots Crossing   
1339 River Road Titusville   
(609) 737-2780  
Thurs. 8 p.m. Open Mic Night
Wed. 7 p.m. "Quizzo" 
Second Sin Brewing Company
1500 Grundy Lane Bristol, PA
(267) 812-5251
Thurs. 4 p.m. Holiday Trivia
Tavern On The Lake    
101 Main Street Hightstown   
(609) 426-9345    
Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Temperance House   
5 South State Street Newtown, PA   
(215) 944-8050   
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia w/ Righteous Jolly
Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic Night w/ Cara Cartney
The Buck Hotel
1200 Buck Road Feasterville, PA
(215) 396-2002
Thurs. 7 p.m. Kevin Kirk
Tues. 6 p.m. Danny Lynch
The Cool Cricket   
216 Burlington Street Fieldsboro   
(609) 291-9110   
Thurs. 8 p.m. DJ Ran D
Fri. 8 p.m. Karaoke
The Dubliner 
34 North Main Street New Hope, PA 
(215) 693-1816
Sun. 3 p.m. "Traditional Irish Session"
The Five Four Bar & Grill 
8919 New Falls Road Levittown, PA 
(215) 547-5525 
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Paula and Sam
The Irish Horne Bar & Restaurant
882 2nd Street Pike Richboro, PA
(215) 942-4000
Thurs. 7 p.m. Keep The Change Band’s Christmas Jam
The Ivy Inn   
248 Nassau Street Princeton   
(609) 921-8555   
Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzo w/ Bob E Luv  
Wed. 10 p.m. Total Request w/ DJ Rockin' Ron
The Morrisville Tavern
376 West Trenton Avenue Morrisville, PA
(215) 295-5310
Mon. 7 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Tim
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic
Wed. 7 p.m. Trivia Night
The Roost   
181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge   
(609) 208-0050 
Thurs. “Christmas Light Walk-thru” (Daily thru January 1, 2022)
Tir Na Nog   
1324 Hamilton Avenue Trenton   
(609) 392-2554 
Sun. 3 p.m. "Irish Sessions"
Trenton Social    
449 South Broad Street Trenton   
(609) 989-7777  
Thurs. 5 p.m. "Happy Hour Throwback Thursday"
Fri. 6 p.m. Constellation: the Tuesday Alignment Exhibit
Mon. 6 p.m. "Monday Night Karaoke" Hosted by Sweets
Tues. 8 p.m. Open Mic Night w/ Tobias & Lea (Sign-ups at 7:30 p.m.)
Water's Edge Gastropub and Lounge
1067 Totem Road Bensalem, PA
(267) 332-2095
Sat. 12 p.m.Drag Brunch
Working Dog Winery   
610 Windsor Perrineville Road Hightstown   
(609) 371-6000
Sun. 12 p.m. Justin Love
 


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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