For a performer whose torchy, bluesy vocalizings are normally a study in confidence and timing, Eryn Shewell lost complete control of the situation during a crucial moment of a December, 2016 gig at Asbury Park’s storied Wonder Bar. That’s when her guitarist, Matt O’Ree, halted her cover of the Christmas pop classic “Santa Baby” (on the line “forgot to mention one little thing… a ring”) and proposed to her before a cheering crowd, right there on the stage of the circuit landmark where the two had met some 10 years prior.
With the couple’s September 9 ceremony is fast approaching, there’s still apparently plenty of time for fan appreciation, in between the myriad mini-crises (you did remember to order the ice sculpture swan, didn’t you?) that make a wedding special. And this Saturday, Shewell invites the public to take that first dance in advance, when she revisits another favorite local watering spot — Jamian’s Food and Drink in Red Bank.
O’Ree — the blues-rocker whose most recent career milestone was his elevation to a coveted touring-guitarist position with Bon Jovi — has long been a mainstay at Jamian LaViola’s music-friendly downtown space, maintaining a more-or-less monthly residency. And though she’s contributed her talents to numerous sets as a member of the Matt O’Ree Band, Shewell has only recently stepped into a spotlight role at Jamian’s, even as she concluded a regular Tuesday night stand at the landmark Fromagerie restaurant in Rumson.
This time out, Shewell’s the center-stage star of Saturday’s show as the singer-guitarist-bandleader displays the stuff that’s seen her score several Asbury Music Awards and win praise from her considerable European fanbase as “light years ahead of so many of the signed artists out there.”
Expected to hear the versatile vocal dexterity that’s manifested itself via carefully curated covers of artists from Sam Cooke and Al Green, to Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, as well as savvy originals that hail from Shewell solo releases, which include a celebrated self-titled 2013 album with her band, the Whiskey Devils.
Also on display will be Shewell’s trademark sense of style: a vintage-flavored visual complement to her musical craftswomanship, one that mixes a self-professed appreciation of “1950s pin-up culture” (check the online gallery from a photo shoot collaboration with boardwalk shop Bettie’s Bombshells) with elements of classic jazz divas, and maybe even a healthy dollop of the great Mae West.
First note floats at about 10 p.m. Saturday. Take it here for a rundown of weekend musical menu items at Jamian’s, as well as a reminder of the regular weekly stands by Shore legends Bobby Bandiera and Pat Guadagno, plus reggae masters Random Test and one of the area’s worthiest open mic features.