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Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers

By Gary Wien


"I think of myself like Seabiscuit, an underdog." So begins the bio of songwriter Stephen Kellogg who will be releasing his fifth and sixth records on Valentine's Day (well, actually midnight on Valentine's Day or February 15th if you want to be exact). Kellogg and his band will be making a stop at the Saint in Asbury Park on February 16th along with two other great artists - Virginia Coalition and Matt Wertz.

For several years now, Stephen Kellogg was a hard-working independent artist logging over 150 shows a year but this release will change all that. His upcoming CD, simply called "Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers", will be released by Universal Records giving the band greater exposure than ever before. He might still be an underdog, but, as with Seabiscuit, the odds are getting better.

The band's music is like classic rock with a touch of country mixed in, but Kellogg tries to avoid mentioning that as much as possible. "I don't talk about country because for whatever reason in certain parts of the country it can be like a four letter word to people," said Kellogg. "They'll be like, 'I like everything but opera and country' or something like that. So, I don't ever really define us as having a country flavor, but I think ultimately that it's rock and roll with a little bit of country flavor - at least at times."

Kellogg and his band are from Massachusetts and having been touring steadily for the past few years. On his first tour he performed solo, but the experience wasn't as rewarding as he hoped it would be. The band he has now, The Sixers, are comprised of two guys who are mainstays in the band now. Together they have helped Kellogg's music evolve into a true band effort. This latest record and tour mark the culmination in an effort to really make the music more from a band than before.

"The truth is that when I was a kid I really wanted to be Bon Jovi. I mean, I still do. I loved the camaraderie. I saved this newspaper article that I read about Bon Jovi talking about him and his buddies and their leather jackets. That, to me, is what playing music has always been about. I'm not a very angsty guy; I like traveling with the guys.

"I don't know that we're the finest collection of musicians ever, but we certainly have a good time together," said Kellogg. "Especially once I realized that fame and fortune might not be mine as twenty-five came and went. So I thought if you're not having a good time what's the point? I think when you're a kid the idea of being famous has some lure. But as I was out there playing and stuff, I think over the last few years I really redefined what it was that was important to me. I realized that what's important to me is having a good time and hearing songs like "Take It Easy" by The Eagles. That's one of those songs that when I hear it I think, 'this is a great song.' It feels legendary to me and it sets up the goal for me to make something that is as good as that song. Let's make stuff that feels like that."

In addition to their first release on Universal Records, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers will also be releasing a limited-release record called "One Night In Brooklyn". This CD is being released to independent record stores and packaged with the main record for as long as supplies last. The record was recorded as old-school as you can get. The band basically rehearsed some tracks then headed into a studio to record them live. They even recorded it analog! This was a completely different approach from the way they normally had made records in the past.

"I've always had a hankering to go and do something old school - just play with the tapes rolling and approach a record that way," explained Kellogg. "I'm a big fan of The Band and I loved the way they used to make records. But I never really wanted to necessarily put everything on the line like that and put out something that raw as the record - especially if you're only getting to put out one record per year. And it just hasn't been right or we haven't been in the right situation until now. When I was recording this record I met Mike Daly who was one of the guitarists from Whiskeytown (the band Ryan Adams came from). While we were making the new record he was doing some songwriting in a studio just down the hall from where we were. I was telling him about having some of the songs that I felt were some of our strongest material that weren't right for the situation we were in. One night he says, 'why don't we just go in and do it old school and then there won't be this pressure to make a single. We can just make some music."

So, the band decided to go for it and added Daly and some friends of his to join the cast for the record. Kellogg said he loved the experience but admitted that going analog might have been a bit much because his ears are so used to things recorded digitally that it was a little awkward. Still, the experience worked so well that he can foresee them doing it again someday.

"I could definitely see us doing a record like that again because there's something nice about not being able to polish the door knob too much. In some ways, I think it preserves the energy a little bit."

If you've never heard the band's music before, the show at the Saint on February 16th is a good place to start. The band's new record (the main one) is also a great place to turn because in addition to containing 7 new songs, the record also contains 4 newly recorded versions of some of the most popular songs in the band's catalog. And you can listen to tracks from their previous records online at the band's website: http://www.stephenkellogg.com



For more by this author, click here






South Jersey Pops To Present Holiday Shows On Sunday & Monday
(CHERRY HILL, NJ) -- The South Jersey Pops, the area’s own non-profit orchestra, will take a world view of this magical season as it presents “Celebrate: A Global Holiday” on Sunday, December 16 in Medford. The second of its four performances during its 49th season, the program will feature holiday carols from around the globe including France, Germany, and Spain, local music to warm the hearts of Philadelphians, along with Hanukkah songs and popular and timeless holiday classics.
Experiment 34 To Hold CD Release At Asbury Lanes
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Experiment 34 will celebrate the release of their debut full-length album, "What Dying Feels Like," on Saturday, February 16 at Asbury Lanes. E34 are a hard, heavy, aggressive mix of punk, funk, rap, metal and psychedelic rock with an inventive chemistry and explosive bond to which audiences of all kinds react well. Tickets for the CD release show are $15 at the door and $12 in advanced. Admission will include a free copy of the CD. 
Daniil Trifonov performs Schumann's Piano Concerto in NJSO debut
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Daniil Trifonov, Musical America’s 2019 Artist of the Year, performs Schumann’s Piano Concerto in his NJSO debut, January 25–27, in the final program of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s 2019 Winter Festival, “Music Speaks.” Music Director Xian Zhang conducts the program, which also features Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra and the NJSO premiere of Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy. Performances take place on January 25 at 8:00pm at NJPAC in Newark, January 26 at 8:00pm at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick and January 27 at 3:00pm at Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown.
Audible and NJPAC Present "Jazz in the Key of Ellison"
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and Audible have announced the first three national performance dates of “Jazz in the Key of Ellison,” celebrating the musical world of the esteemed African-American novelist, critic and scholar Ralph Ellison and his remarkable collection of jazz recordings.
Centenary Stage Presents Michael Davis and the New Wonders
(HACKETTSTOWN, NJ) -- Centenary Stage Company’s annual January Thaw Music Festival returns to the Lackland Performing Arts Center featuring three musical guest artists throughout the month of January. The series launches on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 8:00pm in the Lackland Performing Arts Center with Michael Davis and the New Wonders.


Melissa Etheridge LIVE! at the State Theatre
The lobby of the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ, is buzzing with activity this Friday, November 30, 2018 evening as rock music fans ready themselves for a special Holiday Show by singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge!
Join The Greater South Jersey Chorus For "A Winter's Night" (Or Afternoon)
The holidays bring many special things and, for me, one of the best is the music. It sets a mood, invokes memories, soothes the soul and provides a seasonal soundtrack for my life.
An Interview with Chip Davis Of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
You can experience the magic of the holidays — Steamroller-style — when Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis makes a tour stop this Thursday, December 6, 2018, at New Brunswick, NJ’s historic State Theatre.
Max Weinberg’s Jukebox LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Something is different about tonight’s November 18, 2018 concert at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts starring Max Weinberg, celebrated drummer from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band!
PHOTOS: Matt O'Ree Band at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The Matt O'Ree Band returned to The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Friday, November 16 and photographer Estelle Massry of Coucou Photography was on hand to take some photos.  David Bryan from Bon Jovi was one of the special guests that night.






Event calendar
Sunday, Dec 16, 2018


MUSIC

CHRIS GULLACE BAND - A BENEFIT FOR ST. JUDE @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 2:00pm

SOLAR CIRCUS / DOOBIE DECIBEL SYSTEM @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

ELEVEN ELEVEN @ Lobby Bar at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 2:00pm

SUNDAY JAZZ @ Hard Rock Cafe at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 10:00am

Joy to the World: A Christmas Suite @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 4:00pm


THEATRE

Elf, The Musical @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 2:00pm

A Christmas Story @ Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, Budd Lake - 2:00pm

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm

Seussical @ CDC Theatre, Cranford - 2:00pm

Peter pan @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 1:00pm and 5:00pm

A CHRISTMAS CAROL @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 3:00pm

Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn @ Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn - 1:30pm and 7:00pm

A Wonderful Life @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 7:00pm

Junie B. Jones The Musical at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 11:00am

A Charlie Brown Christmas @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 1:30pm and 3:30pm

Hudson Theatre Works presents "And My True Love Gave To Me" @ Hudson Theatre Works, Weehawken - 5:00pm







DANCE

Cocktail Hour: The Show Featuring the B-Twist Orchestra @ White Eagle Hall, Jersey City - 6:00pm

NEW JERSEY BALLET’S NUTCRACKER WITH NEW JERSEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 1:00pm and 6:00pm

The Nutcracker: The Russian National Ballet @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 2:00pm and 7:00pm

Carol of the King: The Irish Dance Christmas Spectacular @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 3:00pm

Bolshoi Ballet: Don Quixote @ Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 3:00pm


KIDS

Shopkins LIVE! Shop It Up! @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 11:00am

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