Search Results for: matt o'ree


The Matt O’Ree Band, above, and a teen band from the Rockit program at the Count Basie Center for the Arts, below, performed for about 1,000 concertgoers in a free show at Riverside Gardens Park Friday night.

Check out the photos below from a delightful late-summer evening beside our beautiful Navesink River. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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matt o'ree 2008Bon Jovi’s new touring guitarist Matt O’Ree, above, plays a special ticketed-event tribute to Eric Clapton at Jamian’s this Saturday, even as JBJ and the boys perform a preview of their new album, just up Monmouth Street at Basie’s place. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

bon-jovi-eventFor fans of the homegrown institution that is Bon Jovi, the first night of October brings an event that seems gifted from the gods of classic rock: an exclusive preview concert, going on at Red Bank’s own Count Basie Theatre, an “intimate” affair in which JBJ and his core bandmates (David Bryan, Tico Torres, Hugh McDonald) perform the entirety of their new album This House Is Not For Sale — their 14th studio opus, and a release that’s slated to drop on October 21.

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matt o'ree 1 062913Matt O’Ree playing in Red Bank’s Marine Park in 2013, will share in guitar duties for the band led by Middletown’s Jon Bon Jovi, seen below at JBJ Soul Kitchen in 2011. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


bon-jovi-101911In a headline-making realignment of local music stars, pop singer Jon Bon Jovi has chosen blues guitar monster Matt O’Ree as the road replacement for Bobby Bandiera, according to reports by the Asbury Park Press and other news outlets.

The Holmdel-based leader of the Matt O’Ree Band will join Bon Jovi as touring guitarist for the band’s upcoming shows in Asia and the Middle East starting in Indonesia on Friday, the Press reports, citing multiple unnamed sources.

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matt-oree-band-live-006Matt O’Ree furnishes all the fireworks you’ll need this Fourth, when the Shore’s bluesical legend lights the fuse on another Friday Jamian’s jam.

Not so very long ago the undisputed local capital of fireworks fun (and the occasional short fuse), the greater Red Bank green has opted to keep a lower profile during recent Fourths — but if you’re wandering the downtown streets this Friday night in search of some white-hot sizzle and spark, you just might find what you’re looking for at Jamian’s Food and Drink on Monmouth Street, where Matt O’Ree provides the pyrotechnics.

It’s another entry in an ongoing first-Friday gig at the musically minded Monmouth Street watering hole — one made all the more intense by the seasonal heat, the holiday-weekend vibe, and the fact that it doesn’t get much more all-American than O’Ree, his downright Ree-gal blues guitar technique, and the musically minded crowd at Jamian LaViola’s classically casual watering hole.

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The last time redbankgreen looked in on Matt O’Ree, the Jersey Shore bluesical legend was feeling downright Reegal — understandable, given that he had just been officially crowned the Guitarmageddon King of the Blues, by decree of a King named BB.

Presented on the stage of Chicago’s House of Blues, the June 2006 award was the climax to a showdown that saw O’Ree outblast a field of more than 4,000 aspiring axe-meisters and walk away with the shock-awed respect of the judges (a distinguished panel that also included John Mayer and Cheap Trick‘s Rick Neilsen). He drove off with prizes that included a new car, a stack of endorsement deals and a “year’s supply” of energy drink (probably more like two weeks, when you consider the lifestyle of an in-demand guitarslinger).


While there’s no denying that it’s good to be the king, no bluesman ever stayed on top of his game by ignoring the call of the open road. So it figures that the favorite son of Holmdel — a multiple Azzie award winner who’s shared stages with such mindblowing note-benders as Buddy Guy, Robin Trower and Dickey Betts — has continued to ply his trade out on that endlessly seductive ribbon of asphalt.

The road finds the Matt O’Ree Band making major concert appearances tonight and tomorow in Santiago, Chile, then hightailing it back to Red Bank for a long-awaited return to the completely refurbished Downtown club this Saturday, April 12. It’s a triumphal homecoming of sorts for the 36-year old performer, as well as a DVD/CD release Party that could only be characterized as an O’Reely Big Show.

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Bobby Bandiera and Friends performing Neil Young’s ‘Like a Hurricane’ in 2011. (Click to enlarge.)


Two big-draw local musicians are slated to play concerts against the backdrop of the Navesink River in Red Bank this summer, redbankgreen has learned.

Bobby Bandiera (July 27) and the Matt O’Ree Band (with a special guest, August 24) will take the stage in Riverside Gardens Park as part of an effort to spotlight local club offerings, says Jamian’s Food and Drink owner Jamian LaViola, who’s organizing the shows.

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Bluesy vocalist Eryn Shewell brings her jam back to Jamian’s in Red Bank on Saturday.

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.

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Week two of this summer’s Movies in the Park series in Red Bank features an entry from the ‘Star Wars’ catalog. Below, Layonne Holmes fronts the Motor City Revue in a return to Sandy Hook Wednesday.  

There’s a chance to imagine yourself as part of the biggest franchise in film fantasy history. Some power pop on the dock. A heat-blast of Latin-flavored jazz in the park. A little beach-music soul on the sands. And one of the world’s most beloved plays on yonder grassy knoll.

It’s all going on beneath the setting sun and stars of the Greater Red Bank Green — and all fabulously free of charge in the evenings to come.

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David-Bryan-Brad-Whitford-Matt-OReeBon Jovi band members David Bryan (left) and Matt O’Ree (right, with Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford pictured at center) are among the top-shelf classic rockers hitting the BCC campus — with Trevor Hall (below) representing rock’s next-gen freshman class — for a Rock the Farm Music and Food Truck Festival benefitting the nonprofit CFC Loud N Clear Foundation.

0627_TrevorHallIt doesn’t carry the hallowed-ground cachet of Max Yasgur’s legendary farm outside Woodstock, NY — and, truth be told, it’s been a long time since Brookdale Community College was anything resembling a farm — but when the Rock the Farm Music and Food Truck Festival sets up this Saturday afternoon, August 27, the sprawling Lincroft campus will be transformed into a world-class destination for fans of classic rock and other local-organic sounds.

Back for its third annual edition, the nine-hour extravaganza will once more be dedicated to raising funds and awareness on behalf of CFC Loud N Clear Foundation, the Monmouth County-based nonprofit that provides free counseling and support services to families affected by addiction. Here in 2016, it’s an event that’s poised to make a much bigger, more impactful noise than in previous seasons, thanks to the participation of some genuinely awesome figures from the FM wavelengths, vinyl bins, and possibly your bedroom wall circa 1973.

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011016harrys4Lynne Perry-Szwede, behind the bar, reminisced with Mary Orr, above, while Feli Donato and Mike Sakowski took a last turn at the pool table at Harry’s Lobster House. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)


011016harrys2In the end, it was more about the sounds than the food as musicians and music lovers jammed Harry’s Lobster House in Sea Bright Sunday night.

With no specific plans in the near future, longtime owner Lou Jacoubs said he’d decided to retire and close the Ocean Avenue restaurant, which had been in operation for 83 years.

“I’m 65 years old,” he said. “It’s been good, but it’s time to go.”
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ghost wolvesCarley Wolf joins bandmate Jonny Wolf on the stage of 10th Ave. Burrito Tuesday night, as the Austin-based duo the Ghost Wolves helps the new venue up the original-music ante in downtown Red Bank.

By Tom Chesek

10th ave 071415 1As reported earlier in redbankgreen, the recently opened Red Bank branch of 10th Ave. Burrito Company made its debut in the downtown restaurant wars equipped with an arsenal of assets that ranged from “165 seats, a coveted liquor license and primo views of the Navesink,” to more than 100 varieties of tequila and a not-so secret weapon: “live music – cover bands need not apply.”

While the town doesn’t often get mentioned in the same breath as Asbury Park and other musically-minded burgs, the fact remains that most every night of the week finds something for music aficionados to choose from; be it at the Basie or one of the borough’s bars, beaneries, sidewalk bumpouts or black-box performance spaces. But even as Red Bank regulars like Sonny Kenn, Quincy Mumford and Matt O’Ree have made a habit of stocking their saloon sets with generous amounts of originals, the town hasn’t truly seen a full-time venue for homegrown originals and national touring acts since the long-ago heyday of Big Man’s West. It’s a situation that 10th Ave owner Brian Katz and manager Chris Masi (formerly the music booker at the Downtown) seek to address with an attention-compelling slate of up-and-coming talents, cult favorites and best kept secrets that range from deliriously anarchic alt-rock to urban-hipster roots Americana, and even an unexpected visitor from across the pond — a schedule that really clicks into place as summer turns to fall.

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brittninesAbove: Britt Savage and the Nines recall those 1980s nights of 75-cent ‘kazis and roses for the ladies, when they reunite for a throwback Friday at the Downtown… while below, Ziggy Shock turns Fair Haven’s K of C hall into the best kept secret on the Shore music scene. 

Friday, January 24:

ziggy-shock-would-be-johnny-cashRED BANK: With recent overnight temps threatening to put the Greenland into the greater Green, being “dressed to the nines” has tended to mean wearing nine extra layers of unfashionably lifesaving thermals.

But for just one cold dark night, clubgoers of all ages can wayback to those 1980s summers when the drinking age was 18, closing time was 3 a.m. — and the mega-barbands ruled a clubscape dotted with fortress-like institutions like the Tradewinds, Fountain Casino and Club Xanadu. Tonight, the Downtown welcomes what might just be the first-ever Red Bank appearance by one of the era’s most fervently followed cover combos — the Nines, featuring vivacious vocalist Britt Savage. Now based in Nashville, the in-demand session singer (and 1992 grand prize winner on TV’s Star Search) reunited with her classic band lineup — guitarist Adam Roller, bassist John Rogers, drummer Mick Gormaley, and Bill Dellicato subbing for the late keyboardist Bobby Gordon — for a July 2013 show in Asbury Park that brought in so much love, they up and did it again during the recent Light of Day music festival. Britt and the boys will be taking it upstairs at the double-wide Downtown for several sets of VICE-vintage favorites that could reasonably include everything from “She Blinded Me with Science” and “Kids in America” to some radio-ready originals from Britt’s recent Music City projects. And you can take it right here for a full interview with this most noble of Savages, or take it just around the corner for more frosty fun at the jiggle end of January.

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kylegroomsAbove: Standup guy Kyle Grooms is among the headliners taking part in Saturday’s annual Laugh Out Loud Comedy Show fundraiser for 180 Turning Lives Around. Below, it’s a triple-header of Jim Gaffigan shows at the Count Basie. 

A quadruple-whammy forecast of snow, ice, epic low temps and, uh, snow can put a klondike kibosh on the best-laid plans for the holiday-hangover weekend. But those willing to boldly go beyond home and hearth will find some  entertaining people who aim to make it worth the trip or slip. All served up with a smile and a laugh — and all, we feel compelled to add, subject to schedule changes.

jim-gaffigan copyFriday, January 3:

RED BANK: The chilly autumn landscapes of Nebraska and other Plains locales might appear downright tropical when you’re coming into Red Bank Bow Tie Cinemas from the Navesink riverside cold. But if you’re looking to defrost your extremities by the glow of a heartwarming father-son bonding scenario, you’ll need to do the hard miles with Alexander Payne’s comedy-drama road trip, through the kind of quirky relationship dynamics that the writer-director mastered in Sideways and The Descendants. 1960s Hollywood rebel Bruce Dern has his best role in decades as a drinky, distant deadfish of a dad who’s convinced that a direct-mail sweepstakes prize awaits him in Lincoln, NE — and he’s fortified by a strong cast that includes Will (SNL) Forte, Bob (Breaking Bad) Odenkirk and fellow codger contrarian Stacy Keach. At times broadly silly and bracingly sad, Nebraska nurtures a warm ember of humanity at its heart — and it’s playing on White Street with Inside Llewyn Davis, the Coen Brothers’ seriocomic sojourn of an ambitious folkie adrift in the crashpads and coffeehouses of Camelot-era America. Take it here for showtimes throughout the weekend.

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rb street fair 041413The Red Bank Street Fair late summer edition returns Sunday. The Count Basie Theatre, below, is home to a weekend-long food extravaganza called ‘Appetite.’ (Click to enlarge)

Friday, September 6:

basie marquee 1 090213MIDDLETOWN: The first and third Friday’s of the month mean Teen Art Club at the Middletown Public Library. This twice-monthly teen-led art session requires few tools: a drawing pad and pencil. Teen Art Club begins at 4 p.m. 55 New Monmouth Road.

RED BANK: The Count Basie 365 Cultural Series presents some cool Friday night jazz  to cool down the summer heat in the pocket park at Shrewsbury Avenue and Drs. James Parker Boulevard. The concert begins at 7 p.m.

SANDY HOOK: Celebrate the end of summer as the Sandy Hook Foundation presents local caterers, live music and auction items at the End of Summer Party. Proceeds benefit the restoration, maintenance, and education projects of the National Park Service. The farewell to summer runs from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Sandy Hook North Beach.

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Guitar slinger Matt O’Ree rocks Jamian’s, and an exhibit of contemporary at at Gallery U are among the weekend highlights. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, June 7

SHREWSBURY: Stay in touch with old friends using new technology. Alexander Saulon demonstrates how to use Skype and Facebook to connect with friends and family by using the guide he created to teach his mother. He will also discuss Internet security issues associated with social media websites. First Friday for seniors starts at 11 a.m. Middletown Public Library, 1001 Route 35.

RED BANK: VASARA, a group exhibition of contemporary art, celebrates its opening reception at Gallery U featuring mixed-media artwork by more than 20 talented artists. The reception runs from 6 to 9 p.m. 80 Broad Street.

RED BANK: Marty & the Martians invade the Walt Street Pub. The show starts at 8 p.m. 180 Monmouth Street.

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At the Basie Saturday afternoon: dogs and cats rescued from shelters and given a new, ahem, leash on life as circus performers. Matt O’Ree, below, brings his guitar chops to Jamian’s tonight.  (Click to enlarge)

Friday, May 3:

RED BANK: The high-energy Marty and the Martians make their debut in a series of Friday night appearances at the Walt Street Pub, playing an upbeat set including hits by Neon Trees, U2, Foo Fighters and more. The show begins at 8 p.m. 180 Monmouth Street.

RUMSON:  Join the electro-acoustic/pop/rock singer Brian Bisbee at Molly Maguire’s Black Point Inn, 132 East River Road, at 9 p.m.

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Jersey Shore barband legend Brian Kirk (above, at the 2001 Oysterfest in Red Bank) and his band of partystarting Jirks come to the Count Basie on December 20 for a sold-out Sea Bright Rising benefit. Below, actress-musician Jill Hennessey is also slated to appear. (Click to enlarge)


The way Brian Kirk tells it, the slender “city” of Sea Bright has been his home in more ways than one. “It’s where I met my wife, where I spent my youth and is the home base for my cover band, Brian Kirk & the Jirks,” he says.

While the long-running combo continues to gig regularly around the region’s wedding halls, outdoor stages and nitespots, the Red Bank resident’s legacy as an entertainer is entwined with Donovan’s Reef, the landmark beach bar  where the Jirks held down a Sunday night stand that outlived nearly all the original anchors of 60 Minutes.

With Hurricane Sandy having (at least temporarily) consigned Donovan’s Reef to Davy Jones’ Locker, Kirk looks homeward on Thursday, December 20, when he and the Jirks team up with the seagrass-roots organization Sea Bright Rising for a benefit show from which all proceeds will go directly to Sea Bright “residents, businesses and the community as a whole.”

Occurring in the wake of the December 5 concert that brought San Francisco-based band Train to the edge of the battered borough’s tent city, the special Santa for Sea Bright extravaganza – officially sold out as of this posting – takes place at the Count Basie Theatre, the elegant setting for one of the displaced town’s council meetings in recent weeks. Kirk & the Jirks will be joined for the 7:30 p.m. show by a fellow stalwart of the Shore barscape, championship bluesmaster Matt O’Ree, as well as a promised set of “special guests” that includes TV series star (Crossing Jordan, Law & Order) turned singer and songwriter Jill Hennessy.

redbankgreen caught up with a beyond-busy Kirk for a conversation about good times, hard choices, and the big challenges facing the little town that so many of us feel a connection to.

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Heavy-chops bluesman Matt O’Ree plugs in at Jamian’s in Red Bank tonight, and author Karen Schnitzspahn autographs her new book on the history of food at the Shore, below.

Friday, December 7
MIDDLETOWN: Each year, Poricy Park Nature Conservancy hosts a seasonal shop with the help of a volunteer staff. Entering its 25th season, the handcrafted holiday craft shop runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through December 2. Items for sale include all homemade quilts, jewelry, ornaments, jams and jellies and more. Kids can also get their picture taken with Santa for a small fee. 345 Oak Hill Road.

SHREWSBURY: At 11 a.m.m the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County library will host a Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day observance featuring Tom Minton, who will discuss the activities that took place at Fort Hancock and around the Sandy Hook peninsula during World War II. Free admission. 1001 Rt. 35 North.

RED BANK: Free yoga session at the Red Bank Public Library by Amy Richardson at 1 p.m. No registration required, bring your own mat. 84 West Front Street.

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dead-bank-greenDead Bank brings its Grateful Dead salute to the K of C this Saturday as part of a matinee musicfest in support of the Wounded Warrior Project.

Asbury Park might get the ink as the city “Where Music Lives,” but the bars, parks and sidewalks of the greater Red Bank Green can surely boast their share of bands, balladeers and bluesfolk.

This Saturday afternoon, a shufflemix of top local talent convenes in Fair Haven for a fundraiser showcase that could only be called Tunes for Our Troops.

A benefit for the nonprofit Wounded Warrior Project and its rehabilitative and transitional programs for severely injured service members, the four-hour fest takes place at the Fair Haven hall of the Knights of Columbus – Red Bank Council 3187. Kicking off at 2pm, it’s an event for which active service members will be admitted free of charge.

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thewagtraveler-097a_1293715884Think global, act local: Middletown-based band The Wag is among the Shore area acts taking the main stage at the 36th annual Clearwater Festival, scheduled for August 20. (Photo courtesy of  Larry Russo)


“We’re not just putting on a big party each year,” says Ben Forest. “Although of course it is — a party with a purpose.”

Forest, vice president of the Red Bank-based nonprofit NJ Friends of Clearwater — and a man with an irresistibly evergreen, treehug-friendly name — is referring to one of the Shore’s most successful marriages of music and message: the annual Clearwater Festival, the 36th edition of which returns Saturday, August 20.

Red Bankers know Forest as a long-serving member of the borough’s board of ed; as an active voice (with wife Amy Goldsmith) for West Side residents — and as a Mac computer specialist who keeps the often inscrutable machinery of local businesses, schools and media living to fight another day. For nearly a quarter century, he’s been a volunteer and an officer of the local chapter of Clearwater — the organization established in the 1970s as a vehicle for carrying the mission of Pete Seeger’s original enviro-awareness group to the shores of the Raritan Bay and the local Atlantic coast.

Naturally, Forest’s exalted position as Clearwater’s Committee Liaison for Environmental Policy — an office through which he’s been able to bend the ear of governors, members of Congress and the head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency — hasn’t prevented him from pulling down duty as a flipper of burgers, collector of trash and de facto roadie during past presentations of the Clearwater Fest. With this year’s free event fast approaching, the predicament — unlike some of the region’s waterways — couldn’t be more clear: Clearwater needs volunteers.

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kaboom-rides-062910A Ferris wheel and other rides were set up Tuesday in a vacant lot opposite Riverside Gardens Park. (Click to enlarge)

Now taking shape on West Front Street in Red Bank: a carnival of sorts.

Six rides, five games and chance and booths offering midway fare such as cotton candy began setting up in a vacant lot opposite Riverside Gardens Park yesterday, giving shape to an expanded KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink that this year runs for three days instead the traditional single day.

Also on the bolstered agenda: a free concert in Marine Park featuring four acts, including “Crossing Jordan” star Jill Hennessy, now moonlighting as a singer-songwriter.

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img_6371721Buskers, like this unidentified trio from Streetlife 2009, are warming up their pipes for the 2010 edition. (Click to enlarge)


It’s getting closer to that time when the streets of Red Bank become dotted with guitar slingers, mimes and magicians on Saturday nights as part of the summer-long StreetLife series.

But first, they must demonstrate their street creds.

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Dramarama6Whoa, flashback: John Easdale of Dramarama headlines the bill at the annual Dunesday event this Saturday at Donovan’s Reef.


Less than a year ago, the mood around Donovan’s Reef had a touch of doomsday about it.


The landmark Sea Bright oceanside bar — one of the last remaining sources for old-school Shore kicks in a region increasingly defined by champagne wishes and caviar dreams — had announced that the summer of 2007 was to be its last stand on the sand. Two of the three owners expressed a desire to put the property’s no-nonsense building, generous parking lot and private beach up for sale, and the club even hosted a “farewell forever” bash for its generations of loyal patrons.

As reported here on redbankgreen over the past several months, the rip-currents of the real estate market apparently provided a stay of execution for the place where summer never seems to go out of style. The upshot? Co-owner Bob Philips and his partners Chris Bowler and Robert Carducci declared that Donovan’s would live again for summer 2008 — with “the only piece of [oceanfront] property open 365 days a year between Sandy Hook and Cape May” resuming a full seven-days-a-week schedule that climaxes this Saturday with the annual day-long celebration that is Dunesday.

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