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IS McLOONE ‘THE VOICE OF NEW JERSEY?’

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Musician, sports commentator, restaurateur and marathon man Tim McLoone is featured in today’s New York Times, which calls him “the voice of New Jersey.”

Now, before any Sinatra, Springsteen and Jon Bovi fans blow an artery, it’s not meant to be a serious claim. Instead, the story is a riff on McLoone’s near-ubiquity, whether playing with either of his two bands — Holiday Express and the Shirleys — some 150 nights a year, or working as an announcer at basketball games and marathons.

From the story:

You can hear his dulcet tones in venues as cavernous as the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford and as cozy as a bar at the Jersey Shore. Or outdoors at a band shell at the beach or on the grass at Monmouth Park, between horse races.

The Eastern goldfinch might be the state bird, but Mr. McLoone, who lives in Little Silver with his wife and four children, is doing much of the singing in the Garden State.

The article seems inspired by the writer having spent a relaxing evening at McLoone’s Riverside in Sea Bright, watching the proprietor put on one of his extended feel-good gigs.

Author Joe Brescia conjures McLoone “in front of a piano nursing a Tom Collins, his face framed by two candles,” as he runs through a two-hour set of songs by the Drifters, the Beach Boys, Electric Light Orchestra and Coldplay.

His playing and voice were harmonious; his vocal style might be described as Vic Damone meets Jeff Lynne, the lead singer of Electric Light Orchestra. His first set went on for two hours, with songs punctuated by jokes and self-deprecation.

After he finished a request for the Beach Boys’ “In My Room,” he chuckled, “That almost sounded good at the end.”

In fact, as Brescia notes toward the end, McLoone isn’t as ubiquitous as he used to be. He no longer calls Nets games at the soon-to-be-nameless Continental Airlines Arena, and the article talks about his 10-year stretch as a television commentator for the New York City Marathon in the past tense.

Still, the guy’s inarguably a dynamo of achievements across a number of fields, several of which emphasize his vocal abilities.

There are a couple of obligatory anecdotes about Springsteen, a McLoone pal who today just so happens to be announcing tour dates in support of ‘Magic,’ his upcoming new LP with the E Street Band.

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