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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites....8/3/17

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 08/03/2017

"I've worked hard at it and it's not easy. You're constantly having to raise the bar to stay relevant, it's a lot of hard work," said legendary performer/composer/songwriter Neil Sedaka as he discussed his long and illustrious career prior to his appearances; August 11 at The State Theater in New Brunswick and August 12 at The Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, NJ. 

Considered a "Prodigy" at the tender age of nine, Neil began playing piano at the urging of a school teacher who sent a note home to his parents. "I was considered a child prodigy," he stated with an air of confident recollection. "I was sent to a college prep school and while I was there, I began to pick out tunes by ear on the piano. My third grade teacher sent a note home urging my parents to buy me a piano. My dad was a cab driver, so my mother took a job at a department store so that they could purchase a used upright piano for me."

A classically trained artist, Sedaka first desired to be a concert pianist but was detoured along the way when he discovered rock 'n' roll in high school.  "I always wanted to be a concert pianist and it's still what drives me but things don't always go as planned and the few twists and turns have worked out for me so I'm happy about that." 

Howie Greenfield was one of those twists and was introduced to Neil by his mother when Neil was only 13 years old. Little did a young Sedaka know that this would lead to one of the most prolific song writing teams of all time as well as help to produce the famous, "Brill Building Sound." "Howie and I were the first to be published from the group of writers that were in the Brill Building. What a great job, well on most days (Laughs), no, really, it was a job where we'd show up at 10 a.m. and write music and songs and jingles all day until 5 p.m. five days a week. We were there at the right time, it was the late 1950's and people were still making records. I brought them Carole King; did you know that? Did you know that Carole and I dated in high school? Not many know that but I brought her there, she's so talented." 

Success followed Sedaka around every turn as he and Greenfield continued writing hit after hit for multiple artists such as Connie Francis whose versions of, "Stupid Cupid" and "Where the Boys Are" would propel Sedaka to new heights in his and their careers. This however was the early 60's and a funny thing happened on the way towards further success and that was called, "The British Invasion." Sedaka's career experienced a downward twist as American pop stars and music styles were rapidly replaced by their UK counterparts. Led by The Beatles, this revolution of sorts saw teen idols and heartthrobs pushed aside for mop tops, electric guitars and a more edgy sound.

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Despite all of his success, Neil found himself without a record label as RCA Victor, who he had been with from the start, refused to renew his contract. Faced with waning popularity at home in the States, Sedaka's saving grace was a thriving fan base in Australia as well as in the UK. Tours of both countries and modest commercial successes with recordings led him to uproot his family and move to Great Britain where unknown to him at the time, his comeback would begin. "Elton John, I'm a huge fan. He resurrected my career and signed me to his record label "Rocket Records." "I'm so glad that he was a fan of my work and when he asked me to sign and we put out, "Laughter In the Rain," that started my comeback. I consider that my crowning achievement really. The early '70's were a bit rough but that was 1975 and I've been very fortunate ever since." 

With a return to prominence came more writing, more tours, more sold out performances and guest spots on shows such as, "American Idol." Sedaka was back and that's exactly how he liked it. The year 2016 saw the release of, "I Do It For The Applause," and the current tour in support of the disc. "I've written more than 600 songs over the last 65 years," he said with a chuckle. "This album is 14 new songs and I'm very proud of it, I really am. You know, it's not easy (Laughs) but I've been very lucky that others have wanted to cover my material and I've written so much for others; it's very flattering. This is all me so I am very proud of it. I wish they'd bring back record shops because this is one where I'd run down and buy two copies, one for me and I'd mail one to a friend (Laughs)!" 

Counting, Frank SinatraPatti Page, various disc jockeys and certain radio programs among his influences, he has still never lost sight of his desire to play classical piano. "Joie DeVivre" has evolved from his years of experience and means, "Exuberant enjoyment of life," something Sedaka can relate to. "As I mentioned earlier, I always wanted to be a concert pianist and I love classical music. I've performed all over the world and I've performed with the London Symphony; so the title says it all for me." 

When asked what or who he enjoys listening to today and who he feels has the ability to enjoy longevity in music, his answers were somewhat surprising. "I think there are some good ones out there today," he said as he started to hesitantly elaborate. "Bruno Mars is very talented, I like Ed Sheeran, I like melody and I'm not a big fan of rap. I was raised on Gershwin and Rogers, melodies and lyrics are very important to me. I love the singing shows on TV especially when they make these young singers go back to the standards and older songs but to answer your question; Taylor Swift. I think she's great and will last a long time because she's been able to adapt. That young lady has gone from country to pop music and has the ability to re-invent herself no matter what style. She's not afraid to cross or blur the lines." 

So what can those attending the upcoming shows expect? "All of my hits! I never get tired of performing them; as long as people enjoy them so will I. I'll do a couple of my new ones and it'll be fun. Performing is still an adrenaline rush for me. I love the stage and singing and playing and I feel blessed to be able to continue doing so." 

To purchase tickets or read more about Neil Sedaka and his legendary career, please go to

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

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This week's event listings

Bill's Olde Tavern
2694 Nottingham Way Hamilton
(609) 586-0192
Thurs. 9 p.m. Trivia
Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke Contest (Cash prizes) 
Ages 21+ 
Blend Bar & Bistro
911 Highway 33 Hamilton 
(609) 245-8887
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia  Jam
Bowman's Tavern
1600 River Road New Hope, PA
(215) 862-2972
Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Eric Mintel Trio
Fri. 8 p.m. Bob Egan
Sat. 7:30 p.m. CJ Steinway
Sun. (12 p.m.) Brunch With Ottmar (6 p.m.) Andy Prescott
Mon. 6 p.m. Andy Prescott
Tues. 6 p.m. Fermenters Trio
Wed. 6 p.m. Lorenzo
Brickwall Tavern & Dining Room
19 E. Union Street Burlington
(609) 733-3562
Fri. 10 p.m. DJ Shorty Rock
Sat. 9 p.m. Zendog
Sun. 5 p.m. Grace Delores
Candlelight Lounge 
24 Passaic Street Trenton
(609) 695-9612
 Sat. 3 p.m. Madame Pat Tandy. $10 (cover charge/$10 Minimum includes buffet) 
Tues. 6 p.m. "Tuesday Jazz Jam" Open Session feat. James Stewart / Tom Littwin Trios. $5 (Lite appetizers)
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
Sat. 9 p.m. Out Of The Red
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
Please check web page for upcoming schedule
Cream Ridge Winery
145 Route 539 Cream Ridge
(609) 259-9797
Sun. 1 p.m. John & Maggs
Dadz Bar & Grill
744 Main Street Lumberton
(609) 267-4344
Thurs. 10 p.m. "Pong Tournament"
Fri. (6 p.m.) Kyle Kelly (10 p.m.) Al's Pals
Sat. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Byrd
Sun. 4 p.m. Eric & Aaron
Tues. 9 p.m. Sara James
Wed. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Superstar Entertainment
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 Jam" feat. David Dzubinski Group (9 p.m.) Mike Estabrook
Sat. (11 a.m.)"Saturday Brunch" feat. David Dzubinski Group (9 p.m.) Michael Leggerie
Sun. (11 a.m.) "Sunday Brunch" feat. Dick Gratton (4 p.m.) Mike Ghantt
Mon. 8 p.m. Keith Lesnik Trio
Wed. 8 p.m. Nytrous
Freddies Tavern
12 Railroad Avenue Ewing
(609) 882-0978
Fri. 8 p.m. Gyrl Band
Sat. 8 p.m. Off The Record
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. The Steppin Stones. Doors at 6 p.m., $10
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Greg Howe feat. Stu Hamm. Doors at 6 p.m., $35
Sun. 2 p.m. Midnight Sun Orchestra
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. Night
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Avenue Pennington
(609) 737-4465
Sat. 6 p.m. Acoustic Rock 
Sun.  (1 p.m.) Vineyard Tour w/ Complimentary Wine Tasting.  (Registration 12 p.m.). (2 p.m.) "Jazzy Sundays" feat. (TBA) (6 p.m.) Sangria Making. Ages 21+, $26.95 
Iron Plow Vineyards
26750 Mount Pleasant Road Columbus
(732) 306-9111
Fri. 6 p.m. Don The Medicine Man
Sat.  1 p.m. Ed Wilson
Sun. 1 p.m. Bob & Dave
Ivy Tavern 
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435
Fri. 9 p.m. El Ka Bong
Sat. 9 p.m. The Ernie White Band
All shows 21+
John & Peter's 
96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-5981
Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic.
Wed. 9 p.m. The Invitational
All shows 21+
Killarney's Publick House
1644 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton
(609) 586-1166
Thurs. 5 p.m. Dave Murray
Fri. 9 p.m. The Polish Nannies
Wed, 5 p.m. Radio Fiction
Laurita Winery
85 Archertown Road New Egypt
(609) 752-0200
Thurs. 7 p.m. "Laurita Idol" Junior Idol Finals
Fri. (Closed for a private event)
Sat. "Laurita Irish Festival" feat. (11 a.m.) Tom Brett & Bill Felix (2:30 p.m.) The Snakes (6 p.m.) The Successful Failures 
Sun. "Laurita Irish Festival" feat. (11 a.m.) Ballyhaunis (2:30 p.m.) Round the House (5 p.m.) Six Mile Cross
Wed. 6 p.m. "Girls Night Out" Yoga and Wine
Levitt Amp Trenton Summer Concert Series
Mill Hill Park (Corner of Front & South Broad Streets)
Thurs. 5 p.m. The Steppin Stones / Paul Plumeri Blues band
Mamma Rosa's 
572 Klockner Road Hamilton 
(609) 588-5454
Closed until Aug. 18 for vacation
McGuinn's Place
1781 Brunswick Avenue Lawrence
(609) 392-0599
Sat. 9:30 p.m. Asylum Choir
Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Ages 21+
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" Christmas In July feat. DJ Favs. Ages 21+
Sat. 10 p.m. Smoked Ice
Tues. 7 p.m. Quizzo hosted by Mike
Mercer County Park
Old Trenton Road/Hughes Drive West Windsor
(609) 303-0700
Sat. 6 p.m. Infinity / Lowrider. $10
Millhill Basement
300 S. Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-1600
Sat. 9 p.m. Pinact, The Split Seconds, Seeing Snakes, Doc Rotten. $5
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
Thurs. - Sat. 8 p.m. Raul Malo. Doors at 7 p.m., $60
Nook's PourHouse
2043 Route 130 South Florence
(609) 447-0927
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia Tuesday w/ Quizoholics
Nottingham Tavern
9 Mercer Street Hamilton Square
(609) 587-6623
Thurs. 7 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Super Dave
Fri. 9 p.m. Guenther/Toft Band 
Wed. 5 p.m. "Weekend Warm-up" w/ DJ Chris Barlow
Ages 21+
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. Blacklight Circle
Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Avenue Hamilton
(609) 585-8008
Fri. 9:30 p.m. Out Of The Red
Sat. 9:30 p.m. (TBA)
Randy Now's Man Cave
134 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 424-3766
Fri. (7 p.m.) Jenny Cat/Jeffrey Gaines. $25 (9:30 p.m.) Lisa Bouchelle / Jeffrey Gaines. $25
Sat. 8 p.m. "Film In The Man Cave" feat. The NYHC Chronicles
Mon. 8 p.m. Melanie. $35
Salt Creek Grille
1 Rockingham Row Princeton
(609) 419-4200
Fri. 8 p.m. Keith Franklin
Sat. 8 p.m. Jackie Jones
Small World Coffee
14 Witherspoon Street Princeton 
(609) 924-4377 x2
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Tom Trovas
1867 Sanctuary 
101 Scotch Road Ewing
(609) 392-6409
Thurs. 8 p.m. Allen Krantz. $20
Fri. 8 p.m. Nate Phillips Quartet. $20
Sat. 8 p.m. Jim Arkus. $20
Tara's Tavern 
1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown
(609) 286-2300
Fri. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ Big Daddy G
Sat. 10 p.m. Unleashed
Tavern On The Lake
101 Main Street Hightstown
(609) 426-9345
Fri. 9 p.m. Vince Sasso Band
Sat. 9 p.m. ArHouse
Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night 
Terhune Orchards
330 Cold Soil Road Princeton
(609) 924-2310
Fri. 5 p.m. "Sips and Sounds Summer Music Series" w/ Darla Rich Trio
Sat. 10 a.m. "Peach Festival" 
Sun. 12 p.m. "Peach Festival"
The Cool Cricket
216 Burlington Street Fieldsboro
(609) 291-9110
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Sat. 9 p.m. Radio Fiction
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. John & Maggs
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. Papa D'lux and the Main Street Groove
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
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. 10 p.m. DJ Eddie Martinez
Mon. 9:30 p.m. "Lipstick Monday Drag Show"
Wed. 6 p.m. Dena Underwood
The Record Collector
358 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 324-0880
Check web site for upcoming events
The Roost 
181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge
(609) 208-0050 
Fri. 7 p.m. John & Maggs
Sat. 9 p.m. Bob and Dave
The Sticky Wicket 
2465 South Broad Street Hamilton
(609) 439-0007
Thurs. 9 p.m. "Throwback Thursday" w/ DJ Chillio
Sat. 9 p.m. Einstein Bridge
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. Billy McGovern
Sat. 9 p.m. Billy Walsh
Sun. 3 p.m. "Irish Session" w/ McDermott's Handy
All shows  21+
Trenton Buzz
702 Pine Street Trenton
(609) 392-6000
Fri. 8 p.m. Live Band & Open Mic. 
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. (TBA). $5 (cover charge)
Sat. 10 p.m. (TBA). $5 (cover charge)
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Stage Night (Sign ups at 6:30 p.m.)
All shows 21+ 
Triumph Brewing Company (Princeton, NJ Location)
138 Nassau Street Princeton
(609) 924-7855
Fri. 10 p.m. James Calleo
All shows 21+
Wildflowers Inn
2572 Pennington Road Pennington
(609) 773-2392
Thurs. 8:30 p.m. Open Mic/Jam Night Hosted by Ernie White
Sat. 9 p.m. Acoustic Rock
Mon. 9 p.m. "Moonshine Mondays" Trivia
Ages 21+
Yardley Golf & Country Club
1010 Reading Avenue Yardley
(215) 493-4531
Fri. 6 p.m. Tom Reock, Ernie White & Friends

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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