LINCROFT: A NEW DOCK FOR CLEARWATER

Seeger-KillianClearwater Festival founder Bob Killian, seen here with folk legend Pete Seeger, makes two anniversary appearances this weekend. (Photo by Mike Berry)

Updated from previous post on redbankgreen‘s All Good page.

It began back in the mid-1970s as a free festival of music, food and environmental awareness at Sandy Hook.

Inspired by the work of the iconic folk singer and pioneer activist Pete Seeger and his Hudson River excursions with the sloop Clearwater — and founded by Bob Killian, a Shore-based singer and songwriter best known for his hyperlocal anthem “I Like The Jersey Shore” — the all-volunteer Clearwater Festival has soldiered on through the years in several locations, most recently at Long Branch’s Pier Village.

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LINCROFT: CLEARWATER COMES TO BCC

Seeger-KillianThe works of legendary folk musician and activist Pete Seeger (left) and Clearwater Festival founder Bob Killian (right) are celebrated during the 40th anniversary edition of the annual free music and environmental education event, coming to Brookdale Community College for the first time on Saturday, September 12. Killian returns to Monmouth County for the occasion, as well as a September 13 event honoring Seeger’s legacy, at the Unitarian Meetinghouse in Lincroft. (Photo by Mike Berry)

From press materials furnished by New Jersey Friends of Clearwater

It began back in the mid-1970s, as a free festival of music, food and environmental awareness; hosted at the Fort Hancock area of Sandy Hook and sponsored by the organization then called Monmouth County Friends of Clearwater. Inspired by the work of the iconic folk singer and pioneer activist Pete Seeger and his Hudson River excursions with the sloop Clearwater — and founded by Bob Killian, a Shore-based singer and songwriter best known for his hyperlocal anthem “I Like The Jersey Shore” — the all-volunteer Clearwater Festival has soldiered on through the years in several locations, most recently at Long Branch’s Pier Village.

On Saturday, September 14, the re-branded New Jersey Friends of Clearwater presents the milestone 40th annual edition of the summertime event; a one-day happening that unfolds at a brand new host venue: the Larrison Hall Commons area at Lincroft’s Brookdale Community College. Dedicated to the pioneering efforts of Seeger (who passed away last year at age 94) and Killian (whose return to Monmouth County for the occasion is a highlight of this year’s festival), Clearwater 2015 is an eight-hour burst of activity (11 am – 7 pm) that promises three stages’ worth of live music, kids’ activities, arts and crafts vendors, environmentally themed informational displays, and plenty of free parking on the sprawling BCC campus.

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ALL STARS OF RED BANK RAISE ROOF; FUNDS

poppa_and_gary_j_posada_shotPoppa John Bug (left, with Gary Wright) and Xenia Sky (below) are among the locally based luminaries performing on the debut project by The Downtown All Stars of Red Bank. The release of the CD will be celebrated tonight with a special fundraiser mega-show, upstairs at The Downtown. (Poppa John photo by John Posada)

Preservation Hall had its Jazz Band; The Stone Pony its house band Asbury Jukes. Joey Dee and the Starliters taught ’em how to do “The Peppermint Twist” at that namesake Lounge — and beginning tonight, The Downtown on West Front Street marks its own milestone, with the debut event featuring The Downtown All Stars of Red Bank.

xeniasky copy

As defined by Larry Sherman, Downtown All Stars is not so much a gigging band as it is “a community organization formed of local musicians and supporters who are working together to raise money for local charities…using the power of music.”

For their maiden-voyage event, Sherman and his fellow members of the All Stars’ Board of Directors will be presenting a CD Launch Party celebrating the release of Bright Lights on Broad Street, a compilation of original songs written and recorded by eighteen locally connected bands and solo artists.

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FINDING MR. WRIGHT, ON A STEAMY NIGHT

Blues and reggae specialist Gary Wright comes to the historic Woman’s Club of Red Bank for the latest in a series of Reckless Steamy Nights. (Photo by Terri GO Seminoles Walliczek)

By TOM CHESEK

It was no less an old bluesman than John Lennon who said, “the blues is a chair, not a design for a chair or a better chair… it is a chair for sitting on, not for looking at. You sit on that music.”

Of course, when the person in the chair is someone with the skills and savvy of Gary Wright, that functional piece of furniture can be a throne of kings. The Red Bank-based singer and guitarist (who, just to clear things up, is not this Gary Wright) shares a passion for the blues with a great many other veteran performers on the Shore soundscape — but in the hands of this southpaw stringbender, the legacy of the earliest blues recording artists comes alive. You hear the wise cat’s instinctive sizing up of the room and the audience, the troubador’s sense of social justice, and the crossroads at which the scholar’s pure research transmutes into joyous poetry.

A Red Banker for the past 28 years, the Long Island native would become known as co-fronter (with ex-wife Jennifer Wright on vocals) of Terraplane Blues, a band that released two CDs, played several major blues festivals, opened for some pretty legendary acts, and even made it to the finals of the 2000 International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

In the years since the Terraplane was permanently garaged, Wright has gigged extensively with reggae unit Predator Dub Assassins; sat in with his friend Chuck Lambert; produced the forthcoming CD by Richie Havens Band veteran Poppa John “Bug”; taken part in multi-artist benefits (such as a recent event in Asbury Park organized by the nonprofit Musicians on a Mission), and even showed up at the odd house party sort of affair — including, in the interest of full disclosure, a 2011 happening that took place at this correspondent’s digs inside the Stephen Crane House.

This Friday night,Wright becomes the latest guest performer to join in the Shore’s longest-running house party — the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation’s renewed series of Reckless Steamy Nights at the Woman’s Club of Red Bank. It’s a rescheduling of a November 2012 date that was postponed due to structural damage to the venerable venue — and if you’ve yet to attend one of these unique and intimate events inside the historic Anthony Reckless estate on Broad Street, you owe it to yourself to take in some fine and fascinating sounds, take a tour of the landmark house, and take a break for conversation and refreshment with likeminded music fans.

The Blues Desk at redbankgreen went looking for Mr. Wright, in advance of what promises to be his first (and, hopefully, far from his last) full-band solo showcase.

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