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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites....9/28/17

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 09/29/2017

"We're looking at a new record at the beginning of next year. This time around though it's my solo stuff;  just a piano and me. There is such a dynamic range in the music which allows me to do things vocally that I can't do with my band," says lead singer and front man of Blues Traveler John Popper as he readies for an appearance at the Union County PAC on Saturday September 30.

Born in Ohio, Popper bounced around a bit as a child, finally settling in Princeton, NJ and graduating from Princeton High School. During and post high school Popper had thoughts of being a comedian but it was a portrayal of a "Blues Brothers" skit which altered his plans, leading him to the path of music. During this time, John and his high school chum, Chris Barron, along with some other band mates moved to New York City after graduation due somewhat to an ultimatum they received. "We graduated high school and our parents gave us an ultimatum," he said with a slight laugh. "We were told to go to school or get a job. So there was this jazz school in New York where we could learn jazz and play music all day and at night work in a club called Nightingales where we could sell booze and make people dance all night; so basically, we lied to our parents so we could keep playing music (laughs). Before 1986 there was an ordinance called the cabaret law or something to that effect where you were not allowed to have any more than three people on stage at one time. So you'd have three musicians on stage and the bass player would use an extra long chord and sit at the bar. Some bands would get really creative in finding ways around it but thankfully that law was repealed in '86 and the bar business exploded. There was this wonderful renaissance of music and musicians could find bigger and better gigs; it was like throwing gas on a fire, it was truly a great time." 

Princeton, NJ also produced some other talented musicians around the same time who've achieved recognition. Trey Anastasio has gone on to have success with Phish as well as other recording and touring projects and the aforementioned Chris Barron with The Spin Doctors but was there enough room for these three growing bands to each have a piece of the proverbial pie as they attempted to gain commercial success? 

"We were all pretty close, Trey was a couple of years older than us and Phish was, well let me say this, those guys are geniuses. They were different from us musically. They're more of a jam band and were different from what we were doing but the Spin Doctors; we were close with those guys, we come from the same cauldron. When we made the move to New York, we would hang out and jam at Chris's place, he lived above a record store so it was near perfect!" 

Popper has had multiple side projects over the years and credits his most recent one, "John Popper & the Duskray Troubadours" with steadying him personally as well as setting a spark within Blues Traveler. He makes no bones about giving the majority of the credit to his producer Jono Manson whom he calls a, "Mentor." "Jono worked with me on the "Troubadour" album and did become a mentor to me. I needed someone who could give me lessons in co-writing and someone that I could trust and he was both. Once we began working together we took co-writing to the next level, one that I had never experienced. I came away from my time with Jono very inspired which was great because I felt that Blues Traveler had become somewhat stagnant and this jump started it." 

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Saturday evening at 8 p.m., "An Evening with John Popper and Friends" rolls into the Union County PAC on the Main Stage, located at 1601 Irving Street in Rahway, NJ. Doors open at 6 p.m. with an opening act of Katrina Wolverton. Popper says that this venue was chosen in part due to its proximity to New York City and that one can expect many sides of him as a performer. "This is an anomaly to my solo tour," he explained with an air of excitement in his voice. "Friends of mine from the New York music scene were asking me when I was going to be there and this is the only stop on my solo tour where we are doing things this way just so I can have a few join me. Those coming to the show will see just about every aspect of my life. There will be a jam vibe, some traditional things, some stuff of my friends, maybe some Blues Traveler and of course my solo material. This will be a fun night. I'm looking to connect and reconnect with some friends and fans and there will be stuff from old to new to the as yet unheard." 

To discover more about John Popper, please visit To purchase tickets, please go to

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

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. Dave Dales Trio
Fri. 8 p.m. Bob Egan
Sat. 7:30 p.m. Patrick & Debra
Sun. 6 p.m. Lorenzo
Mon. 6 p.m. Andy Prescott
Tues. 6 p.m. The 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
Candlelight Lounge 
24 Passaic Street Trenton
(609) 695-9612
 Sat. 3 p.m.  $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)
Cedar Gardens
661 State Highway 33 Hamilton 
(609) 931-9464
Fri. 8 p.m. Charles Laurita & The Mischief "Interstellar Fortune Teller" CD Release Party. Doors at 7:30 p.m., $5
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 & Chelsea
Wed. 6:30 p.m. "Wine Down Wednesdays" w/ Rich Genoval 
Main Street Hightstown 
(609) 241-7103
Sun. 7 p.m. "Rock On Radio" feat. Andy Bernstein
Wed. 8 p.m. "The Health & Wellness Hour With Maryann Castello and Danny Coleman" feat. Dr. Ramesh Sawhney & Dr. Scott Bienenfeld
Dadz Bar & Grill
744 Main Street Lumberton
(609) 267-4344
Thurs. 10 p.m. "Pong Tournament"
Fri. 10 p.m. One Hot Mess
Sat. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Byrd
Sun. 4 p.m. Aaron Hehl & John Dutton
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. Stephen Anthony 
Fri. (4 p.m.) "Happy Hour Jam" feat. Streets of Rome (9 p.m.) Mike Estabrook
Sat. (11 a.m.) "Saturday Brunch" feat. David Dzubinski Group (9 p.m.) Brian and Mindy Cono
Sun. (11 a.m.) "Sunday Brunch" feat. Keli Vale Jazz (4 p.m.) John Marsh
Wed. 8 p.m. Joe Robinson
Fran's Pub
116 South Main Street New Hope, PA
(215) 862-5539
Fri. 8:30 p.m. Honey Spot Blvd. 
Freddies Tavern
12 Railroad Avenue Ewing
(609) 882-0978
Fri. 8 p.m. The Rich Scanella Group 
Sat. 8 p.m. Christine Warren 
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
Thurs. 8 p.m. "Meat Loaf Bat Out of Hell" feat. Tyce w/ Alex Nestor of Santana. Doors at 6 p.m., $15
Fri. (8:30 p.m.) Bigg Romeo (12 a.m.) DJ Dance Party
Sat. (4 p.m.) School Of Rock Presents: "Van Halen" (8:30 p.m.) The Naturals (12 a.m.) DJ Dance Party
Sun. (1 p.m.) Midnight Sun Orchestra (6 p.m.) School Of Rock Presents: "Van Halen" 
Mon. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Wed. 8 p.m. "Local Original Music" Hosted by Pat Foran
Hopewell Valley Bistro & Inn
15 East Broad Street Hopewell
(609) 466-9889
Fri. 8 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Hurricane Jacks Bar and Grill
7759 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
(267) 914-4517
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Paul Kircher
Fri. 9:30 p.m. The Bambu Weasels
Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Paula & Sam
Iron Plow Vineyards
26750 Mount Pleasant Road Columbus
(732) 306-9111
Thurs. 8 p.m. Ed Wilson
Fri. 6 p.m. John & Maggs
Sat. 2 p.m. Audio Pilot
Sun. 1 p.m. Bob O & Jess
Ivy Tavern 
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435
Fri. 9 p.m. El Ka Bong
Sat. 9 p.m. The Polish Nannies
All shows 21+
John & Peter's 
96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-5981
Thurs. 9 p.m. Honah Lee
Fri. 9 p.m. Hot Heads
Sat. (3 p.m.) The Rips (9 p.m.) Birdie Num Num
Sun. 3 p.m. Hank Woji
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. 8 p.m. "Lip Sync Battle"
Fri. 5 p.m. "Pork Roll Festival Pre-Game" w/ DJ Joes Hayes
Sat. 10 p.m. DJ Jimmy G
Wed. 6 p.m. "JD Music Jam for Hurricane Relief" 
Laurita Winery
85 Archertown Road New Egypt
(609) 752-0200
Thurs. 7 p.m. Laurita Idol Fall Singing Showcase: "Idol Tryouts" 
Sat. (11 a.m.) "Pound and Pour On The Lawn (1 p.m.) Lefty Mann
Sun. (11 a.m.) "Vines of Life Walk to Cure Cancer" feat. Radio Fiction
Wed. 6 p.m. Girls Night Out "10.4 Wine and Sign" 
Mamma Rosa's 
572 Klockner Road Hamilton 
(609) 588-5454
Thurs. 6 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Richard Schneider 
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
Thurs. 10:30 p.m."Beer Pong" w/ DJ RV & MC Slim
Fri. 10 p.m. "Frisky Fridays" w/ DJ Favs. & MC Fredo Ages 21+
Sat. 10 p.m. "WSOBP Tournament" w/ DJ Robbie Remix 
Tues. 7 p.m. Quizzo hosted by Mike
Millhill Basement
300 S. Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-1600
Fri. 9 p.m. DJ Priority, Kosan the American Ninja, Stuck B, Cashroc
Sat. 9 p.m. 96 Ghosts, Ramona, Meeko Brando, Erotic Novels, Pink Angels
Sun. 9 p.m. Butch and the Fat Doobs, Methanphetamoms, Over Everything
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
Check Web Site for Upcoming Events
Nook's PourHouse
2043 Route 130 South Florence
(609) 447-0927
Thurs. 8 p.m. Karaoke 
Sat. 4 p.m. "Chowder Fest" feat. Radio Fiction 
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
Sat. 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 +
Randy Now's Man Cave
134 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 424-3766
Sat. 8 p.m. Jet Weston & His Atomic Ranch Hands. $10
Mon. 7 p.m. The Safes / The Successful Failures. $5
Salt Creek Grille
1 Rockingham Row Princeton
(609) 419-4200
Fri. 8 p.m. Party Of 3
Sat. 8 p.m. Carol Lynne
Small World Coffee
14 Witherspoon Street Princeton 
(609) 924-4377 x2
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Mr. Chris & Alley
1867 Sanctuary 
101 Scotch Road Ewing
(609) 392-6409
Fri. 8 p.m. Solo and Chamber Music Concert Series. $20
Sat. 8 p.m. Vin Downes and Heidi Breyer. $20
Tara's Tavern 
1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown
(609) 286-2300
Fri. 10 p.m. Ernie White Duo
Sat. 10 p.m. Infinite Bandwidth
Tavern On The Lake
101 Main Street Hightstown
(609) 426-9345
Fri. 9 p.m. ArHouse
Sat. 9 p.m. One Flight Up
Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night
The Cool Cricket
216 Burlington Street Fieldsboro
(609) 291-9110
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Sat. 9 p.m. (TBA)
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. (TBA)
The Ivy Inn
248 Nassau Street Princeton
(609) 921-8555
Thurs. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Rockin' Ron
Fri. 10 p.m. Dueling Piano Dudes
Sat. 10 p.m. The River Dogs
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. Brian and the Coconutz
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.) Reverend Chris (8 p.m.) Will & Grace Viewing Party (10 p.m.) All Male Revue
Fri. (7:30 p.m.) Sam Krivda in "Maybe I'm Crazy" (9 p.m.) Michael Ferreri (10 p.m.) DJ Dance Party
Sat. (5 p.m.) Dena Underwood (10 p.m.) DJ Dance Party
Tues. 8 p.m. "Bearlesque In The Oak Room"
Wed. 7 p.m. Dena Underwood
The Record Collector
358 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 324-0880
Please Check Web Site for Upcoming Events
The Roost 
181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge
(609) 208-0050 
Sat. 9 p.m. El Ka Bong
The Sticky Wicket 
2465 South Broad Street Hamilton
(609) 439-0007
Thurs. 9 p.m. "Throwback Thursday" w/ DJ Chillio
Fri. 9 p.m. Running With Scissors
Sat. 9 p.m. Branded Ink Society,
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. Mike Nabinger
Sat. 9 p.m. Mary Courtney
Sun. 3 p.m. "Irish Sessions" 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
Wed. 6 p.m. Dick Gratton
Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-8300
Fri. 10 p.m. Full Grown Men. $5 (cover charge)
Sat. 10 p.m. John Patrick & The Outside Voices. $5 (cover charge)
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Stage Night (Sign ups at 6:30 p.m.)
All shows 21+ 
Wildflowers Inn
2572 Pennington Road Pennington
(609) 773-2392
Thurs. 8:30 p.m. Ernie White
Sat. 9 p.m. Acoustic Rock Night
Mon. 9 p.m. "Moonshine Mondays" Trivia
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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