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Rock On! This Week's Sound Bites...6/3/21

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 06/03/2021

"A big thing for me with this album on top of putting out number two and the special guests who are on it; it is actually going to be on vinyl. I kid you not, I wrote out my bucket list and having my original music on vinyl is on there. So, soon I'll get to check that off and that's very, very big; I'm very excited about it," stated Johnathan Pushkar as he gets set to release his second album on June 4; an album which features special guests, a new single and one that has him positively over the moon with enthusiasm. 

Pushkar's first release, an independent DIY effort hit the shelves late summer pre-pandemic and from there things didn't just snowball; they became a full-blown avalanche. 

" I do have a new album and it's called, "Compositions," he began, "It's my second album actually; number two. My first album, "Straighten Up"  came out in September of 2019 and it was really exciting because the lead single from that was called "The Girl Next Door" and it got placed on Sirius XM in pretty great rotation for a while; Rodney Bingenheimer played it and that's how Marty Scott of JEM Records found me and he signed me within 48 hours of the song hitting Sirius XM. So, things really happened quickly, I went from independently releasing my record to being on legendary JEM Records in 48 hours which was amazing for me at the time being that I was only twenty-three. Marty said, "Hey, we're going to want to do more albums," that's how the contract was put out but he didn't necessarily say how soon or when they had to come out but he also said, "You don't want to drag your feet either" and I'm a very creatively minded person in all things that I do and I didn't want to say, I'll do another one in three or four years; the plan was to do it a year to the date later but needless to say it has been about 18 months since it has been all said and done but it is still really exciting. Then of course, the pandemic happened and locked us all down; I was supposed to go in and record the album in late March of 2020 and needless to say that wasn't going to happen. So, my producer Wyatt Funderburk is the producer and writer with Kurt Baker and The Connection; lots of great Little Steven comrades of mine. We did it at his house which is about 10 minutes from me which is awesome and we wanted to wait until we both felt safe being in a room together and we ended up starting it about a year ago and worked all through the summer on it and it was tough because I wasn't necessarily sure that I wanted to do it during COVID. My biggest fear with the album was that 10 or 15 years from now I didn't want to look back and say, oh, that was the 2020 album; the one where we were all locked up and depressed and kept apart. The music, I feel has a very uplifting undertone to pretty much all of the songs; even the ones that are a little more dire in consequence have an uplift at the end of the chorus or the moral of the story if you will. So, looking at it in retrospect now, it's actually very cathartic for me. Instead of being fearful of looking at it and saying, it's the 2020 album, now I look at it and I'm proud to say it's the 2020 album. I grew through the pandemic and I hope most people did through professional growth or personal growth; I'm very proud of how I came out of it and it is ironic that I went into the album fearful that it would be representative of 2020 and now I wouldn't have it any other way."

Releasing a debut album and then six months later having all live shows and many avenues of promotion closed off is not exactly what one would call an ideal situation but he was buoyed by the shutdown due to COVID-19 and where many artists would have been frustrated; Pushkar went right back to work and he not only found new material but the new album title as well. 

"I started writing this album the day my first one came out because like I said, I really wanted to challenge myself to get the next one done and with that comes a whole new blank slate. I found myself looking at a bunch of empty pages that would eventually turn into songs but I love the idea that every song on this album was brand new and fresh and then of course the play on words with musical composition and that just kind of lended itself to the Composition Notebook with it. This was a lot of fun and I love the way the design came out and the blue notebook; blue is my favorite color."

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Johnathan stops short of calling his music "Pop" instead, he shies away from categorizing himself; his influences however, speak volumes. 

"I grew up just south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the Greensburg/North Huntingdon area and our claim to fame was that in the early 60's, Tommy James' "Hanky Panky" was popularized by a local DJ in my hometown and it's my understanding that some of The Shondells were actually from my hometown; well, at least the iteration that we know of and so, of course I'm a big Tommy James fan; it's like being from New York or New Jersey and not being a Springsteen fan, it's unheard of (laughs)." 

"My dad would drive me to school in the mornings listening to one album; "The Beatles Greatest Hits" and I'd always say that it was like The Beatles getting injected directly into my veins everyday as a little kid; exposure therapy. I grew up loving The Beatles and when I was a teenager my friends and I started a Beatles tribute band; I think we were all about 13 at the time and I was Ringo and that was something fun and different. I was singing too and doing a little more than just the Ringo stuff and playing drums back in those days and as we grew up and we did that for about six or seven years; my interests kind of went backward. While the other guys kind of got into more modern stuff, I was looking back and saying, man this Bill Haley stuff is great and this Buddy Holly stuff is great, Eddie Cochran, Carl Perkins; I actually dialed back a bit while my band mates at the time were getting into Top 40 and Punk. That stuff is great too, don't get me wrong but I've just always been kind of stuck in that mid to late 50's and 60's kind of sound; I've always loved that kind of pop music." 

"Compositions" has 11 tracks, 10 original songs and one remake of a classic Wings song. He didn't cut corners when it came to the session players on this disc; going as far as recruiting the man who laid down the drums for the original recording. 

"Junior's Farm" is just one of my all-time favorite McCartney and Wings tunes. I just have always loved it, it has got so much drive behind it; I think a lot of people look at McCartney and don't necessarily think of him as a power-pop guy but I really feel that "Junior's Farm" kind of embodies that kind of sound and that's what I wanted to capture. It all came together in 2019 here in Nashville when Geoff Britton came back to visit and Geoff was the drummer for McCartney and Wings when they came here in 1974 and recorded that song. So, when he came here in 2019, I got to spend several days with him and we became friends and got to spend some really quality time together and that was before my first album came out. I gave him a promotional copy of my first album and he said, "Oh my gosh! I love this! The only thing I don't like about it is that I didn't get to play on it" and I said, well, there's another one in the works and the invitation is open. He was excited; he was supposed to come back in the summer of 2020 and we were going to record it then and once again, all roads lead to the lockdown. So, I don't have to explain why it didn't happen but thanks to technology he was able to record the tracks from where he was and send them back. So, it ended up working out and it was a lot of fun and we're already making plans to do some recording the next time he comes back; hopefully sooner than later. He is on "Junior's Farm" and three of my original tracks which is dynamite."

Pushkar is a drummer by trade who has also mastered the guitar but he had no problem sharing the drum work with Britton and another seasoned player. 

"I play drums on about half of the album; the very first track, "Any Second Now" has Sandy Gennaro; he played with Cyndi Lauper, Joan Jett, The Monkees and so many of my pop music favorites and then Geoff played on the others; so, I played drums on about half the album once all was said and done. I picked everybody who played on the album except Mandy Funderburk who is Wyatt's wife and a school music teacher here in Nashville and she played the strings on the last song, "No One Ever Said You Had To Stay" and Matt Thompson played the kind of Carl Perkins guitar part on "Just Friends" He plays in a band with Wyatt called "Sail On" a Beach Boys tribute band; it was really cool to bring in all of my buds on this. Kris Rogers also plays keys on "Alexandra" and he is an artist on Little Steven's label." 

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Jonathan says, "The album has been in pre-order since April 26" and is available at retailers, "Target, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and, Spotify" but does say that with such an uncertain climate still enveloping music venues; live performances are still a work in progress.

"It definitely is a bummer, we did get to do an album release show for the first album and it was really great. The band was so tight and so great and we just started rehearsing again to grease the gears again to get going but living here in Nashville, for better or worse it is pretty progressive with re-opening and staying open. I can go out and do anything as long as I have a mask and it is a whole separate conversation as to whether that is good or bad but as far as shows; June is here and I'm pretty optimistic that we will be able to do something even if it is limited capacity. We'll do something to celebrate it, my band is on board, a lot of my fans and friends locally are on board. We are going to do something fun but it is still kind of  in development as to what we can do." 

To discover more about Johnathan Pushkar and "Compositions," please visit .

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

Arts Council of Princeton     
102 Witherspoon Street Princeton     
(609) 924-8777  
Sat. 5 p.m. Pride Princeton Community Picnic (Takes place at Princeton Family YMCA Field)
Bailey's Bar & Grille   
6922 Bristol-Emilie Road Levittown, PA   
(215) 946-7992   
Sat. 7 p.m.  Soul Custody
Bill's Olde Tavern     
2694 Nottingham Way Hamilton     
(609) 586-0192     
Thurs. 7 p.m. "Ladies Night"
Tues./Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ "Super" Dave Curtis
Ages 21+    
Broken Goblet Brewing   
2500 State Road Bensalem, PA   
(267) 812-5653   
Thurs. 7 p.m. Mike Estabrook 
Sat. 8:30 p.m. "First Saturdays" w/ Bridge Beat Duo
Wed. 8 p.m. Open Mic w/ Cara Cartney 
All Shows 21+
Cadwalder Park
299 Parkside Avenue Trenton
(408) 335-4400
Sat. 4 p.m. New Jersey Capital Philharmonic. (FREE event / Rain date Sunday) 
Championship Bar   
931 Chambers street Trenton   
(609) 396-5457  
Tuesday 8 p.m. "Jam Night" Hosted by Nikki & Caleb   
Ages 21+     
125 South Main Street Hightstown     
(609) 241-7103
Sun. 7 p.m. "Rock On Radio" feat. Asbury Amp's Jenn Souder and Yvonne Clayton
Cooper's Riverview 
50 Riverview Plaza Trenton 
(609) 393-7300
Thurs. 8 p.m. Ear Candy
Fri. (5 p.m.) "It's 5 O'clock Somewhere Happy Hour"  (8 p.m.) Drunken Clams
Sat. 8 p.m. 80's Undercover
Sun. 11 a.m. " Sunday Latin Jazz Brunch" w/ Victor Tarassov 
Mon. 7 p.m. "Sunny Monday Blues Jam" and Country Music Night
Tues. 7 p.m. Karaoke w/ Karen and Mark
Wed. 12 p.m. "Wine Down Wednesdays'
All Events Ages 21+
Dacey's Pub 
215 West Philadelphia Avenue Morrisville, PA 
(215) 295-4838 
Fri. 6 p.m. Acoustic Music Night 
Wed. 8 p.m. Quizzo 
Dog & Bull Brew House     
810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA.     
(215) 788-2855     
Thurs. 1:30 p.m.
Fri. 6 p.m. Brian Elliot
Sat. 4 p.m. Eddie
Sun. 4 p.m. Ray Pierson
Eddington House Bensalem
2813 Hulmeville Road, Bensalem, PA
(215) 639-1220
Fri. 8 p.m. Gary Yost
Sat. 8 p.m. Jeff Perlman / Rob Groden
Grounds For Sculpture   
80 Sculptors way Hamilton   
(609) 586-0616    
Thurs. 9:30 a.m. Wellness Walk
Sat. 10 a.m. "Member Mornings" 
Havana New Hope 
105 S. Main Street New Hope, PA.     
(215) 862-9897    
Fri. 8 p.m. "Romeo Delight" (Van Halen Tribute) Doors open at 7 p.m. 
Hopewell Valley Vineyards     
46 Yard Avenue Pennington     
(609) 737-4465     
Fri. 5:30 p.m. Christine Havrilla
Sat. (1 p.m.) Silent Q (5:30 p.m.) "Music & Merlot" feat. Modern Rewind
Sun. 1 p.m. "Jazzy Sundays" feat. Ashley Pettet
Iron Plow Vineyards     
26750 Mount Pleasant Road Columbus     
(732) 306-9111  
Fri. 6:30 p.m. Joe Chianese
Sat. 6:30 p.m. Monk & Monk
Sun. 2 p.m. Jo Wymer Band
Ivy Tavern     
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton     
(609) 888-1435     
Thurs. 9:30 p.m. "Thursday Night Dance Party" 
Fri. 9 p.m. Sara and the Sound
All shows 21+     
John & Peter's     
96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa     
(215) 862-5981    
Fri. 9 p.m. "Reunited with Acoustic R & B" feat. Stephanie Chin, (TBA)  
All shows 21+   
Killarney's Publick House     
1644 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton    
(609) 586-1166    
Thurs. 5 p.m. Radio Fiction
KUO Social
2360 Route 33 Suite 106 Robinsville
(609) 208-9988
Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Mark Sacco
Laurita Winery     
85 Archertown Road New Egypt     
(609) 752-0200   
Fri. (6 p.m.) Pasta Night "All You Can Eat." $29 (7:30 p.m.) "Yeast Coast Comedy" Hosted by Eddie Gallagher w/ Pat House feat. TuRae. Doors open at 7 p.m., $25 (Outdoor event)
Sat./Sun.12 p.m. "Wine In The Grove Weekend" 
Makefield Highlands Golf Club
1418 Woodside Road Yardley, PA
(215) 321-7000
Fri. 5 p.m. Keep The Change Duo
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     
Sat. 9 p.m. Steal Your Face
Music Mountain Theater
1483 Route 179 Lambertville
Fri. 8 p.m. "The Fantasticks" 
Sat./Sun. 3 p.m. "The Fantasticks" 
New Egypt Flea Market Village
933 Monmouth County Road Cream Ridge
(609) 758-2082
Sun. 8 a.m. "Scavenger Hunt" Hosted by Tye Dye Amy's
New Hope Winery    
6123 Lower York Road New Hope, PA   
(215) 794-2331   
Fri. 8 p.m. Eaglemania
Sat. 5 p.m./8 p.m. Eaglemania
Sun. 1 p.m. Stranger Things
Newtown Brewing Company
103 Penns Trail Newtown, PA
(215) 944-8609 
Thurs. 7:30 p.m. Marvel Trivia Night
Fri. 7 p.m. Brian Lally
Nick's Roast Beef
4501 Woodhaven Road West Philadelphia, PA
(215) 637-5151
Thurs. 6 p.m. Keep The Change
Fri. 6 p.m. Shot Of Southern
Sat. 6 p.m. The Launch
Sun. 4 p.m. Sir Rod
NJWeedman's Joint
322 East State Street Trenton
(609) 437-0898
Sun. 2 p.m. Ziggy
O'Fowley's Tavern & Grill
200 State Road Croydon, PA
(215) 785-6998
Fri. 8 p.m. DJ Entertainment
Olde Liberty Tavern
2114 Liberty Street Trenton
(609) 396-2262
Fri. 8:30 p.m. Paul Plumeri Band
Palmer Square
40 Nassau Street Princeton
Thurs. (4 p.m.) "Locals Night" w/ Live "Strolling" Musician (6 p.m.) The Beagles Do Beatles
Sat.12 p.m. Swingadelic
Sun 4 p.m. The Moroccan Sheepherders
Pasquale's Sports Bar
9078 Mill Creek Road Levittown, PA
(267) 202-6268
Fri. 5 p.m. Happy Hour feat. (TBA)
Sat. 7 p.m. DJ or Live Band Entertainment 
Tues. 7:30 p.m. Quizzo
Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic
Patriots Crossing     
1339 River Road Titusville     
(609) 737-2780    
Thurs. 8 p.m. Open Mic Night
Wed. 7 p.m. "Quizzo"   
2295 2nd Street Pike Newtown, PA
(267) 491-5408
Fri. 7 p.m. Shameless
Revere Restaurant
802 River Road Ewing
(609) 882-6365
Fri. 6 p.m. Two For Flinching
Rosedale Mills
101 Route 31 North Pennington
(609) 737-2008
Sat. 1 p.m. Outdoor Line Dancing. $10 (Rain date Sundays 12 p.m.)
Tankard Pub
440 Keim Boulevard Burlington
(609) 306-5079
Thurs. 7 p.m. The Williamsboy
Tara's Tavern    
1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown     
(609) 286-2300     
Fri. 9 p.m. The Williamsboy
Temperance House     
5 South State Street Newtown, PA     
(215) 944-8050     
Fri. 7 p.m. Dan Decker & Sean Hicks
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia w/ Righteous Jolly 
Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic Night w/ Cara Cartney 
Terhune Orchards  
330 Cold Soil Road Princeton  
(609) 924-2310  
Sat. 1 p.m.  "Weekend Music Series" feat. Fabulous Benson Boys
Sun.1 p.m. "Weekend Music Series" feat. Rich Seiner
The Bank of Princeton
10 Bridge Street Lambertville
Fri. 6 p.m. Just Jeff
The Bog (Cranbury Golf Club)
49 Southfield Road West Windsor
(609) 799-0341
Sat. 7 p.m. Braxton Hicks
The Buck Hotel
1200 Buck Road Feasterville, PA
(215) 396-2002
Fri. 7 p.m. Love Junk
Sat. 9 p.m. The Mix
The Cool Cricket     
216 Burlington Street Fieldsboro     
(609) 291-9110     
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke  
Sat. (4 p.m.) Black Zeppelin (8:30 p.m.) Kindred Spirit 
The Irish Horne Bar & Restaurant
882 2nd Street Pike Richboro, PA
(215) 942-4000
Fri. 8 p.m. Ron-D
Sun. 4 p.m. The 60's Brigade
The Morrisville Tavern
376 West Trenton Avenue Morrisville, PA
(215) 295-5310
Mon. 7 p.m. "Country Night" 
The Sycamore Grill     
255 North Sycamore Street Newtown, PA     
(215) 908-6326     
Fri. 8 p.m. Danny Lynch Project
Sat. 8 p.m. Monique and RJ
Thomas Sweet Ice Cream
183 Nassau Street Princeton
(609) 683-8720
Sat. 7 p.m. The Counterfeits
Tindall Road Brewing Co.
102 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown   
(609) 526-8651    
Sat. 7 p.m. Anker
Tir Na Nog     
1324 Hamilton Avenue Trenton     
(609) 392-2554   
Fri. 9 p.m. Billy O'Neal w/ Joe Zook
All Shows 21+    
Trenton Buzz     
702 Pine Street Trenton     
(609) 392-6000     
Sat. 10 p.m. "Buzzed Saturdays" 
Triple Sun Spirits  
126 South State Street Newtown, PA  
(215) 944-3057  
Fri. 7 p.m. "Fundraiser For Miss Mariah" 
Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)     
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.     
(215) 862-8300     
Thurs. 8 p.m. Trivia   
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Stage 
All shows 21+   
Water's Edge Gastropub and Lounge
1067 Totem Road Bensalem, PA
(267) 332-2095
Thurs. 7 p.m. Cornhole "Blind Draw." $10 
Sat. 7 p.m. "Comedy on the Crick" 
Sun. 12 p.m.  Drag Brunch
Wed.7 p.m. Drag Bingo & Karaoke
Working Dog Winery     
610 Windsor Perrineville Road Hightstown     
(609) 371-6000 
Sat. 1 p.m. Bob & Dave
Sun. 2 p.m. Chris Swatt
WWFM 89.1 FM HD2 Radio
MCCC Old Trenton Road West Windsor
Mon. 7 p.m. "Danny Coleman's Got The Blues" 

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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