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Marshall Crenshaw

By Gary Wien


He's played John Lennon in Beatlemania and Buddy Holly in "La Bamba", but Marshall Crenshaw has never seemed comfortable playing the part of a rock and roll star. His music has always been a little too hip for the masses, and playing a cult-hero seems just fine with him.

Crenshaw will be performing as part of The Sanctuary Concerts in Chatham, New Jersey on November 12th and at Joe's Pub in New York City on November 27th. You never know what you're going to get at a Crenshaw show these days as he not only rolls out material from throughout his catalog but isn't afraid to completely change course while on stage.

"I never make a setlist when I play solo," Crenshaw explained. "I always just think about what the first three or four songs are going to be. I played a show in Chicago last weekend where I did a set where it was an old one and then a more recent one and then an old one and a recent one. And then I started getting into some cover tunes. I wound up doing a little two or three song tribute to Doc Pomus, who is a friend of mine. Then I heard somebody say something about Eddie Cochran so I did about five Eddie Cochran songs. There's some margin of unpredictability in the whole thing, but I play stuff from most of my records."

His catalog is filled with hits everyone in the world knows and misses that could and probably should have been just as big. Songs like "Someday, Someway" and "Whenever You're On My Mind" not only established Crenshaw as an excellent songwriter but remain staples of radio stations over twenty years later. The mystery is why later songs like "This Is Easy", "Valerie", "Some Place Where Love Can't Find Me", and "Better Back Off" never reached that same level.

"I really can't say," said Crenshaw. "I have about 150 possible answers to that question and on any given day I might give one of those answers. They're all some part of the truth. Other days I just go I don't know, it just happened the way it happened."

Marshall's last record, "What's In The Bag", was released in 2003. He said he's got the bug again to start writing and recording so we might be able to see a new release next year or the year after.

"The thing is that for a couple of years we were living in a rented house because we didn't know where we wanted to live," he explained. "So I had all of my gear set up in a spare bedroom. I wasn't writing much during that time. I really need to have my little sanctuary - my space. For about ten years I had a studio space set up behind our house in Woodstock. I wrote a lot of songs in that room and did the bulk of three albums there."

"We just moved in August and I just got back from looking at the back part of a barn that's on our property that these guys just finished renovating for me. They're going to have everything cleaned out tomorrow or the next day and I'm all jazzed up about that. I kind of looked around and was trying to picture where I'd put my drums and this and that. I'm eager to use that room and to make music, so I think I should be starting up pretty soon. I've got the bug to do it. I'm brainstorming it now."

Even when he's not out supporting a new album Crenshaw still does about fifty shows a year. He no longer plays the punk rock clubs like he did in the early 80s, but prefers to play nicer places like performance arts centers. He lovingly calls it the "NPR circuit".

"I remember when I started out with my band we used to play a lot of places that were kind of punk rock type venues," recalled Crenshaw. "At some point about 12 years ago I kind of made a transition where I reached the point where I couldn't stand to be in a dressing room with busted up furniture and stupid crap written all over the walls. I mean, I never liked it but I came up with a never for those places. I called them /c,C Aurock toilets' and said I don't want to play rock toilets anymore. So, the NPR circuit is like the opposite of a rock toilet. A guy my age likes to keep his dignity! I try to be where I'm supposed to be."

One place Crenshaw never expected to be is in the middle of a 19th Century recording studio. It happened one day when he went to see They Might Be Giants record at the Edison Historic Site in West Orange, New Jersey. While he was there somebody asked him if he wanted to do a session as well.

"I was taken aback a little bit, but I couldn't say no," he said. "I really loved it. I particularly liked meeting the guys who ran the recording sessions because they were just so into it. I remember talking with the guy who was the wax cylinder recording engineer. We talked about a recording artist named Billy Murray who was a huge star back in the teens and twenties. I just loved the quaintness of it and the humor in the lyrics. It was really entertaining stuff that sounded like it came from another world. And the guy who ran the wax cyclinder recording told me he had actually bought Billy Murray's old house on Long Island. I just dug it. I have a real fascination with popular music."

And you now you can hear what music makes Marshall tick every Wednesday nights at 9pm on http://www.wkze.com. Just as with his live sets, you never know what Marshall will be spinning next, but you're bound to dig it as well.



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The Jersey Shore Music Scene To Celebrate The Life Of Bob Colyard On November 18
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Memorial Day weekend was somber this year for the Jersey Shore music community who lost one of its biggest supporters in Bob Colyard.  An avid music fan who often went to live shows in Asbury Park, Colyard, 68, passed away on May 20th after a bike ride through the Manasquan Bike Trail.  The music community will gather to remember Bob on Sunday, November 18th at The Saint in Asbury Park.  An afternoon of music featuring several of Bob's favorites will run from 11:00am to around 4:30pm. Admission is $10 and proceeds will be donated to Musicians On A Mission.  
SOPAC Presents The Klezmatics
(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- The foremost and best-loved Klezmer band, The Klezmatics, offer a program from their Grammy Award-winning collaboration with Woody Guthrie’s lyrics for Hanukkah. The Klezmatics bring their hip, East Village sensibility to the South Orange Performing Arts Center on Thursday, November 29 at 7:30pm.
Mayo Presents Dave Koz & Friends
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Santa Koz is coming to town! Multi-Grammy® nominee and saxophonist extraordinaire Dave Koz returns to Mayo Performing Arts Center for a spirited holiday celebration on Monday, December 3 at 7:30pm. Tickets range from $49-$89. Special Guests joining Dave this year will be saxophonist Mindi Abair, guitarist Jonathan Butler, keyboard sensation Keiko Matsui and vocalist Sheléa.
Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts Presents An Evening of Holiday Music with Musicale Amice
(BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ) -- Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) continues its Salon Series with an Evening of Holiday Music featuring Musicale Amice on Thursday, December 6 at 7:30pm at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights. Wine, cheese, and hot cocoa will be served and the concert will end with a festive sing-along. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for seniors, and free for Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts students. Tickets are available at the door or by calling 908-790-0700.
The Life Of Tom Richards To Be Celebrated On Saturday, November 17
(WALL TOWNSHIP, NJ) -- The cover story of New Jersey Stage magazine Issue 44 was on Tom Richards, a musician born and raised in New Jersey, and his battle with an aggressive and incurable form of cancer.  At the time, Tom believed he had a year or two left and was fighting to complete an album in that time.  Sadly, Tom lost his battle on October 2, 2018.  A  celebration of his life will take place at the O'Brien Funeral Home in Wall Township on Saturday, November 17 from noon to 4:00pm.


Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge LIVE! at The Strand, Lakewood
The stars are out this Saturday Oct. 26, 2018 evening in Lakewood, NJ for a “Golden Oldies” concert featuring Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge!
PODCAST: Grammy Winner Terri Lyne Carrington At TD James Moody Jazz Festival
Drummer, leader, and composer Terri Lyne Carrington made history as the first woman to win a Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz for her album “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.” Now, she brings her interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Money Jungle” to the TD James Moody Jazz Festival at NJPAC on November 11, 2018, as part of a program called “Jazz Vinyl Revisited.” Producer Susan Wallner talks to Carrington about her connections to the jazz greats Clark Terry and Max Roach; her newest project, the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice; and why she thinks drummers make natural leaders.
Sha Na Na LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
The audience is streaming into the Newton Theatre auditorium in Newton, NJ this Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 for a live concert starring Sha Na Na!
"Magical!" Poco LIVE! at SOPAC
Music fans are filing into the beautiful South Orange Performing Arts Center auditorium on this gorgeous Saturday, October 13, 2018 evening for a performance by a group that helped to define the genre of country rock — Poco!
“I Felt the Love!” Diana Krall’s “Turn Up the Quiet” Tour LIVE! at the State Theatre
Many years ago, after Tony Bennett made a singing appearance on The Tonight Show, host Johnny Carson told him how great his voice sounded that night. When Bennett appeared surprised, Carson asked him if there was anything different about his voice, and Bennett sheepishly replied, “I have a cold.”










Event calendar
Monday, Nov 12, 2018


MUSIC

DAVID SANCIOUS & WILL CALHOUN @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

WHEN BROADWAY GOES DARK, VAN DYK GOES LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

Bickford Benefit All-Stars @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 7:30pm

In Dreams: Roy Orbison in Concert – The Hologram Tour @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 7:30pm

MUDDFEST 2019 @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 7:00pm


THEATRE

Elf The Musical @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 7:30pm

Auditions: Cinderella or the Story of Bigfoot @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 6:30pm







FILM

Free Solo @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 7:00pm


LITERATURE


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