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Will This Be The Next King Of The Blues?

By Gary Wien


Last year, Guitar Center's "King of the Blues" was Matt O'Ree who hailed from Monmouth County, New Jersey. The Garden State hopes to hold on to its crown for a second straight year thanks to Rob Baumiester, a 24-year-old guitarist from Deptford who will be competing in the finals after beating out thousands of guitarists from around the country.

The finals will be held on June 16th at the Music Box @ Fonda Theater in Hollywood, California. The remaining guitarists will compete for a prize package valued at over $50,000. In addition to the "King of the Blues" competition, there will be feature performances by The Black Crowes and a special collaborative set by Kenny Wayne Shepherd & blues legend Hubert Sumlin.
Baumiester never imagined he'd be one of the last standing. He took part in last year's competition but didn't get very far. In fact, he didn't even get out of his local store's battle.

"I actually thought I was done with it," explained Rob Baumiester. "I thought it wasn't worth entering again, but one of the judges kept telling me to come back. A year later, I was walking through the store and people were telling me that the competition was back on. They were telling me to enter again, so I just said what the heck and entered."

You won't find much about Baumiester on the web. He's played in some bands, and currently plays in a Christian rock band called Compelled and performs in his church, but you won't find a band website or even a Myspace page for him. He simply picked up the guitar when he was 13 and basically taught himself how to play.

"There was a friend of my father's that played guitar who gave me some pointers here and there for a couple of months," explained Baumiester. "But like anything else I just dropped out of it because I didn't want to be instructed, I wanted to learn how to play myself. I don't know how to read music or anything, I just learn songs by ear and pick up stuff by doing it that way."

Around the time Baumiester was a senior in high school he began noticing that his passion for music was much stronger than his friends'. His passion also led his natural ability to grow to the point where it was obvious he was better than others.

"Everybody else was into a lot of things other than music and just played guitar now and then, but for me it was something I had to do every day," he said. "I just had to do it because I loved it so much."

He's literally using this competition as his coming out party and doing it on a grand scale. If he wins he'll not only be crowned "King of the Blues" and receive tons of great prizes, but he'll receive 7 days in the studio with Grammy Award-winning producer Pete Anderson, a 20-minute set on the main stage during Eric Clapton's Crossroads Festival in Chicago on July 28th, and will be fetaured in Guitar World Magazine. In other words, Rob Baumiester will no longer be a secret.

"This is something I really didn't even think I could accomplish," admitted Baumiester. "It would be a huge accomplishment for me as a musician and kind of prove to some of the people who didn't think I could do this that I'm capable as a 24-year-old to hang with a lot of the people that are playing across the country. It's such a huge passion of mine that it would be very fulfilling for me. I consider myself blessed from God just be given a gift like this and to be given an opportunity to play with awesome people."

Some of the artists Rob's looking forward to meeting are Kenny Lee Shepherd and the Black Crowes. Shepherd was one of Baumiester's idols while growing up and the Black Crowes are one of his favorite bands.

Ironically, Baumiester only started getting into the blues over the last few years. As with many music fans, he was lured to the blues by the desire to learn more about the artists who had influenced his idols (guys like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton). From there, he began moving deeper and deeper into the blues.

"I started to realize just how much they were influenced by the blues and then I began buying those records and I just found myself lost in it," said Baumiester.



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State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze on Friday, December 7 at 8:00pm, Saturday, December 8 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sunday, December 9 at 2:00pm. Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a division of Cirque du Soleil, has become a critically acclaimed, state-of-the-art Broadway musical, and a fun-filled, holiday family show. Tickets range from $35-$98.
NJSO presents 2019 Winter Festival, 'Music Speaks'
(NEWARK, NJ) -- A trio of renowned guest artists with distinct musical voices—pianists Emanuel Ax and Daniil Trifonov and soprano Dawn Upshaw—headline the NJSO’s Winter Festival, “Music Speaks,” in January 2019. The Orchestra’s signature artistic event takes place across three weekends, January 10–27, in six New Jersey venues.
RVCC Chorale to Perform Annual Holiday Concert on December 8th
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) --The RVCC Chorale will give its annual holiday concert on Saturday, December 8 at 8:00pm in the Welpe Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College’s Branchburg campus. The program will feature Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata, Das Neugeborne Kindelein, as well as a cappella pieces from by Sergei Rachmaninov, Zoltan Kodaly and Giuseppe Verdi. The program also will include an audience singalong of traditional carols.
Classic Stones Live! The Complete Rolling Stones Tribute Show Comes To SOPAC
(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- The Rolling Stones, the greatest Blues band of all time, couldn’t make it to SOPAC on their 2018 tour. Instead, the acclaimed tribute band Classic Stones Live! makes an appearance on the SOPAC stage December 15 at 8:00pm for those who like to hear their Rolling Stones hits live.
Tony Trischka Presents "Of a Winter's Night" at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Of a Winter’s Night is Tony Trischka's acoustic celebration of the holiday season. Based on his CD release of the same name, this concert features Trischka’s considerable melodic inventiveness on a wide variety of seasonal tunes. He turns his inventiveness loose on bluegrass and Americana music for the holidays. This one of a kind concert will take place at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship on Saturday, December 8 at 7:30pm.


"An Amazing Musical Genius!" Brian Wilson LIVE! at the State Theatre
In the music room in the back of our house, there’s an electric bass and amp, two acoustic guitars, a microphone and PA speakers, several pieces of music recording equipment, and a bookcase filled with books on music, not to mention a slew of assorted music memorabilia. But, perhaps, one of the most highly prized items in the room is hanging directly above the piano next to the college music diplomas.
Jazz Saxophonist Don Braden LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s a breezy day for a new installment of the Jazz On a Sunday Afternoon concert series at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Sunday Oct. 27, 2018 afternoon. Today’s special 3pm performance is entitled Earth, Wind and Wonder and is presented by jazz saxophonist Don Braden.
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!










Event calendar
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018


MUSIC

New Politics @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

THE REPUTATIONS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

TOTO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


THEATRE

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

ANNIE, The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 7:30pm

Spring Awakening: The Rock Musical @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm







DANCE

PARSONS DANCE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm


FILM

Crybaby Matinee: March of the Penguins @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

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