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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites...4/6/17

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 04/06/2017

There's a bridge spanning the Delaware River connecting the town of Morrisville, PA to the city of Trenton, NJ and on this bridge are the simple words, "Trenton Makes The World Takes." 

These five words have been embedded in the hearts and minds of anyone from the eastern side of the river and stand as a reminder of Trenton's once thriving manufacturing industry. Durable goods are not the only thing to have come from this state capital, entertainers and musicians have also made their marks and Kool & the Gang trumpet player Michael Ray represents just one of the many. "I'm a Trenton guy," he stated from his Houston hotel room. "I grew up not too far from Ewing and I enjoy it when I'm back."

Classified as an, "American jazz trumpeter,"  Ray toured extensively with Sun Ra until his passing and then with the Sun Ra Arkestra as well as bands such as Patti LaBelle, The Delfonics, The Stylistics, Phish and his own group, Michael Ray and the Cosmic Krewe but it's his association with Kool & the Gang that keeps him hopping. "I'm an independent contractor of sorts but I've been with Kool for over 30 years," he said with a slight laugh. "I love it, it's a big ol' nasty get down whenever we hit the stage. We're getting ready to go to Cozumel on the, "Soul Train Cruise" and our schedule is booked out to September. We're going to be going to China, Germany, France, Japan; Japan is always fun because those audiences know every word and they dance from start to finish, they really love American music."

Over the decades of music making, both Kool & the Gang and Ray have gone through changes. Personnel, personality and maturity as artists in an industry that is the epitome of trendy have all been a part of the journey. "Being part of the horn section, guys come in and out but we all work together. Recording is always fun with this group of musicians and Kool, you know, he keeps things light; keeps us staying busy. We were classified as funk for a while, then pop and also R & B, it's really hard to clarify Kool & the Gang in a genre; we change with the times and offer a little something for everyone and always have as long as I've been part of it. Heck, even I've gone through changes in my life and it was a non musical project that I got into. I was living in New Orleans and if you live there, there are storms, I was learning how to do sheetrock and take care of my own business," he said with a laugh.

Those same changes can either make or break an artist or band and so can the current times and climate. Ray says that over the years, the keys to success for Kool and himself have been consistency and marketing but sometimes even the best laid plans don't work as well as one hopes. "We've got some great songwriters in the band. Kool, Ron (Bell), Claydes (Smith), George Brown are fantastic at what they do and our last song, "Sexy," did alright, it made the "Top 10" but in this business, if you don't follow up with a video or an album things don't happen. Kool has so many different feels, jazz, funk, rock and so many things going on that we are busy in other areas and then again, take the example of the September 11 attacks; sometimes peoples attentions are focused elsewhere and things just slip by without as much attention. The beauty of it is, even though we can't get away from playing certain songs, it's still so cool to perform them and the new material too."

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Ray is proud to be part of the unit and its accomplishments, stating that it, "Never gets old going on stage with the band" and he looks back fondly on his time spent. "Yeah, it was quite an honor to have a street named after us in Jersey City (NJ). There is also the Hollywood Walk of Fame, we rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, there is a movie coming out in 2018, playing with the symphony in Holland, or the time we played to over 500,000 people in Nairobi; it's all really mind blowing. We have a great musical director and he makes it go but being on stage with these guys, there's an energy when the lights go down. that's when and where it all comes together, it's all good."

To find out more about Michael ray, please visit To see what's happening with Kool & the Gang, please go to

This week's event listings

That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!
Backstage at Championship Bar 
931 Chambers Street TrentonSun. 5 p.m. Exiles, From The Depths, Somewhere To Call Home, Reaper's Solace, Across The White Water Tower, Years After Life. All ages, $10
Bill's Olde Tavern
2694 Nottingham Way Hamilton
(609) 586-0192
Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke Contest (Cash prizes) 
Ages 21+ 
Blend Bar & Bistro
911 Highway 33 Hamilton 
​(609) 245-8887
Tues. 8 p.m. Triviajam
Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Shaun Ruymen
Bowman's Tavern
1600 River Road New Hope, PA
(215) 862-2972
Thurs. 6 p.m. Patrick & Debra
Fri. 8 p.m. Bob Egan
Sat. 8 p.m. Hazlerigg Brothers
Sun. (12 p.m.) Ottmar (6 p.m.) Lorenzo
Mon. 6 p.m. Andy Prescott
Tues. 6 p.m. Sherry St. John
Wed. 6 p.m. John & Maggs
Candlelight Lounge 
24 Passaic Street Trenton
(609) 695-9612
 Sat. 3 p.m. (TBA) $10 (cover charge/$10 Minimum includes buffet) 
Chickie's & Pete's
183 US Highway 130 North Bordentown
(609) 298-9182
Tues. 8 p.m. Acoustic Music Night
Wed. 9 p.m. Quizzo Trivia 
City Streets 
510 Highway 130 South East Windsor
(609) 426-9400
Mon. 9 p.m. "Malibu Mondays" w/ DJ Brett Gash
Tues. 9 p.m. Trivia w/ Jessie and Chelsea
Wed. 6:30 p.m. "Wine Down Wednesdays" w/ Rich Genoval 
Main Street Hightstown 
(609) 241-7103
Check Web Site for Programming
Dadz Bar & Grill
744 Main Street Lumberton
(609) 267-4344
Thurs. 10 p.m. "Pong Tournament"
Fri. 10 p.m. Gypsy Mother
Sat. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Dubbs
Sun. 4 p.m. Al Snyder
Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Superstar Entertainment
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. Dane Rosenfeld
Fri. (4 p.m.) "Happy Hour" feat. David Dzubinski Group (9 p.m.) Shawn Byrne
Sat. (11 a.m.) "Saturday Brunch Jam" feat. Dick Gratton (9 p.m.) The Mix
Sun. (11 a.m.)"Sunday Brunch" feat. Dick Gratton (4 p.m.) Mike Ghantt
Wed. 8 p.m. Dick Gratton
Fran's Pub
116 S. Main Street New Hope, PA.
Sat. 8 p.m. Hashtag
All shows age 21+
Freddies Tavern
12 Railroad Avenue Ewing
(609) 882-0978
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Joe Vadala
Grover's Mill Coffee House
Princeton-Hightstown Road Princeton Junction
(609) 716-8771
Thurs. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Anker
Havana New Hope
105 S. Main Street New Hope, PA. 
(215) 862-9897
Fri. 8 p.m. Jumper
Sat. 8 p.m. Shot Of Southern
Mon. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Wed. 8 p.m. "Local Original Music Series" Hosted by Pat Foran 
Hopewell Valley Bistro & Inn
15 East Broad Street Hopewell
(609) 466-9889
Fri. 8 p.m. Open Mic.
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Avenue Pennington
(609) 737-4465
Thurs. 6 p.m. Pocketful Of Soul
Fri. 6 p.m. Craig Leach
Sat. 6 p.m. Just Us
Sun. 2 p.m. "Jazzy Sundays" feat. Vince DiMura
Hurricane Jacks Bar and Grill
7759 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
(267) 914-4517
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Paul Kircher
Fri. 8 p.m. All Jack'd Up
Sat. 7 p.m. "Bucks County Rock Night" feat. Strip Club Choppers, Plastard. (Hot Legs Contest,  Deep Purple/Alice Cooper Ticket Raffle)
Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Paula & Sam
Iron Plow Vineyards
26750 Mount Pleasant Road Columbus
(732) 306-9111
Fri. 6 p.m. John & Maggs
Sat. 2 p.m. Audio Pilot
Sun. 1 p.m. Bob Daley & Dave Dedrick
Ivy Tavern 
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435
Fri. 9 p.m. Generals Krank
Sat. 9 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. Diane Rose Kelly
Fri. 9 p.m. Gondola, Human Adult Band, West Jersey Airport, Company Corvette
Sat. (3 p.m.) Dirty Soap Blues Band (9:30 p.m.) Wineskin
Sun. (3 p.m.) Jamie Salvatore (9:30 p.m.) TBA
Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night w/ Justin
Tues. 9 p.m. Matt Setzer
Wed. 9:30 p.m. The Invitational
All shows 21+
Killarney's Publick House
1644 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton
(609) 586-1166
Thurs. 5 p.m. (TBA)
Sat. 9 p.m. DJ Jimmy G
Sun. 3 p.m. "Session Sundays" Live Irish Music
Laurita Winery
85 Archertown Road New Egypt
(609) 752-0200
Thurs. 7 p.m. "2017 Laurita Idol Singing Showcase" Adult Tryout.
Sat. (10 a.m.) VinoVynassa with Mettamade (12 p.m.) "Girlfriends Getaway Weekend" (1 p.m.) Lefty, the man of 1,200 Songs
Sun. (12 p.m.) "Girlfriends Getaway Weekend" (1 p.m.) Ben Weiner
Wed. 6 p.m. "Girls Night Out" Easter Cupcake Class
Legend's Tap
318 High Street Burlington City
(609) 386-3001
Fri. 7 p.m. Moon Days
Sat. 7 p.m. Jesse James Band
Mamma Rosa's 
572 Klockner Road Hamilton 
(609) 588-5454
Thurs. 6 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Richard Schneider 
McStews Irish Sports Pub
5316 New Falls Road Levittown, PA​
(215) 949-9570
Thurs. 10:30 p.m."Beer Pong" w/ DJ RV & MC Slim
Fri. 10 p.m. "Frisky Fridays" w/ DJ Favs and MC Fredo
Sat. 10 p.m. Sins of Magnus, LRB, The Fredz, Bottomz Up, Dudes Named Fred
Tues. 7 p.m. Quizzo hosted by Mike
Millhill Basement
300 S. Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-1600
Tues. 10 p.m. "Local Artist" Hip Hop, Experimental EDM and Bass Music Showcase 
New Hope Winery
6123 Lower York Road New Hope, PA
(215) 794-2331
Fri. 8 p.m. "Cash Is King" Johnny Cash Tribute. Doors at 7 p.m., $30
Sat. 8 p.m. "Yellow Brick Road" Elton John Tribute. Doors at 7 p.m., $30
Nook's PourHouse
2043 Route 130 South Florence
(609) 447-0927
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia Tuesday w/ Quizoholics
Nottingham Fire House and Ballroom
200 Mercer Street Hamilton Square
(609) 890-9834
Wed. 6:30 p.m. The Meg Hanson Group feat. Billy Hill. $25 (Complimentary buffet, cash bar)
Olde Liberty Tavern
2114 Liberty Street Trenton
(609) 396-2262
Sat. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Palermo's Of Hamilton
310 Klockner Road Hamilton
(609) 838-7979
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
All shows 21 +
PANJ Radio
Bridge Street Lambertville
(609) 460-4673
Sun. 7 p.m. "Rock On Radio" feat. The Paper Jets
Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Avenue Hamilton
(609) 585-8008
Fri. 9:30 p.m. (TBA)
Sat. 9:30 p.m. Einstein Bridge
Randy Now's Man Cave
134 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 424-3766
Check Web Page for Upcoming Events
RHO Waterfront
50 Riverview Plaza Trenton
(609) 393-7300
Thurs. 10 p.m. "College Night" feat. DJ Paul Desisto. Ages 21+
Small World Coffee
14 Witherspoon Street Princeton 
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Princeton Jazz
Sun. 7 p.m. Princeton Bluegrass Jam
South Rio
120 South Warren Street Trenton
(609) 943-2123
Thurs. 7 p.m. "All You Can eat Crabs." Music, Drink Specials, Sports on TV
Tues. "$2 Tuesday"
1867 Sanctuary 
101 Scotch Road Ewing
(609) 392-6409
Sun. (2 p.m.) Mosaic & Photography Exhibition "Peace, Love, Come Together" (7 p.m.) "The Wright Brothers: Those daring Young Men and their Flying Machines." $20
Tara's Tavern 
1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown
(609) 286-2300
Fri. 10 p.m. Billy Hector
Sat. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ Big Daddy G
Tavern On The Lake
101 Main Street Hightstown
(609) 426-9345
Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night 
Temperance House 
5 South State Street Newtown, PA
(215) 944-8050
Thurs. 7 p.m. Blues Open session w/ Steve Guyger
Fri. 7 p.m. Steve Guyger
Sat. 7 p.m. Jeff Carpenter
Wed. 7 p.m. Live Jazz w/ John Sheridan & Friends
The Cool Cricket
216 Burlington Street Fieldsboro
(609) 291-9110
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Sat. 9 p.m. DC Duo
The Dubliner
34 North Main Street New Hope, PA
(215) 693-1816
Fri. 8 p.m. Zaire
Sat. 8 p.m. Gabriel Donohue
Mon. 7 p.m. "Monday Night Session"
The HOB Tavern
146 Second Street Bordentown
(609) 291-7020
Fri. 9 p.m. DJ Entertainment
Sat. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Tues. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Wed. 8 p.m. Deb & Mike
The Ivy Inn
248 Nassau Street Princeton
(609) 921-8555
Thurs. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Rockin' Ron
Fri. 10 p.m. DJ Fatha Ramzee
Sat. 10 p.m. Stereo 87
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 Pines Tavern
6217 North Radcliffe Street Bristol, PA
(215) 788-1659
 Sat. 9 p.m. Mike Estabrook Duo
Sun. 3 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Bill Monach Jr.
The Raven 
385 West Bridge Street New Hope, PA
(215) 862-2081
Thurs. 5 p.m. Russell Eiffert
Fri. (9 p.m.) Michael Ferreri (10 p.m.) DJ Dance Party
Sat. (9 p.m.) Michael Ferreri (10 p.m.) DJ Dance Party
Wed. 6 p.m. Dena Underwood
The Record Collector
358 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 324-0880
Fri. 8 p.m. Joe Zook & Frank Pinto / Cane Brothers. All ages, Doors at 7:30 p.m., $12 (advance)
The Roost 
181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge
(609) 208-0050 
Fri. 9 p.m. 80's Undercover
Sat. 9 p.m. Kindred Spirit
The Sticky Wicket 
2465 South Broad Street Hamilton
(609) 439-0007
Fri. 9 p.m. (TBA)
Sat. 9 p.m. Asylum Choir
Tues. 7 p.m. Karaoke
The Sun National Bank Center 
81 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 656-3200
Check website for upcoming events
Tir Na Nog 
1324 Hamilton Avenue Trenton
(609) 392-2554
Fri. 9 p.m. Oliver McElhone
Sat. 9 p.m. Diarmuid MacSuibhne
Tues. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Taylor Reed
All shows  21+
Trenton Buzz
702 Pine Street Trenton
(609) 392-6000
Fri. 8 p.m. Live Band & Open Mic. 
Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market
675 South Clinton Avenue Trenton
Sat./Sun. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Admission $5
Trenton Social
449 South Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-7777
Thurs. 8 p.m. "Audio History of Funk and Soul" w/ Professor DJ Tangency
Mon. 9 p.m. Monday Night Karaoke w/ Benny P
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Night w/ Benny
Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-8300
Fri. 10 p.m. Levee Drivers. ($5 cover charge)
Sat. 10 p.m. Philadelphia Funk Authority. ($5 cover charge)
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Stage Night (Sign ups at 6:30 p.m.)
Tues. 9 p.m. Live Band Karaoke
Wed. 9 p.m. Matthew McNeal
All shows 21+ 
Triumph Brewing Company (Princeton, NJ Location)
138 Nassau Street Princeton
(609) 924-7855
Fri. 10 p.m. Rainbow Fresh
sat. 10 p.m. The Successful Failures
All shows 21+
Wildflowers Inn
2572 Pennington Road Pennington
(609) 773-2392
Sat. 9 p.m. Acoustic Rock 
Mon. 9 p.m. "Moonshine Mondays" Trivia
Tues. 9 p.m. Ed Wilson
Ages 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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