After having to skip its 2020 installment because of the pandemic, Glenn Alexander’s annual Pig Gig resumes, Oct. 24 at the Italian American Hall in Scotch Plains. The lineup will include Southside Johnny (who will guest with Alexander’s Shadowland band) along with The Weeklings, James Maddock, The Lonesome Pines and Blue Americana.
“That’s the plan,” said Alexander, referring to the benefit’s annual growth. “When I started this, I had huge ideas about doing it, and I had to scale way back and be realistic. But yes, I think it’s growing every year. We have more sponsors on board this year than ever before.”
The Pig Gig, which gets its name from the pig roast that provides some of the food, benefits the Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation in honor of Alexander’s nephew, Jay, who died in 2011 from the rare disease, at the age of 20. The last Pig Gig, two years ago, raised $16,000.
Tickets are available via ticketbud.com.
Alexander, who plays guitar for Southside Johnny’s Asbury Jukes, fronts Shadowland, which features three current Jukes in addition to him (saxophonist John Isley, trumpeter Chris Anderson and trombonist Neal Pawley) and plays a mix of rock, R&B and blues that is similar to the Jukes’ mix. They will close the show. And Blue Americana — the acoustic roots duo that Alexander forms with his daughter, Shadowland member Oria — will open it.
“I’m thrilled to have The Weeklings,” said Alexander. “I’ve known all those guys for a long time, and I think they have a really good following. And James Maddock, who’s a really great singer-songwriter. Then I have this band called The Lonesome Pines. They do their own material, which is cool. Maybe a couple of covers. But kind of a country-ish, folkish, Americana-type thing.”
Alexander said he suggested to The Weeklings that they headline. “They didn’t want to do that,” he said. “They were cool. They were like, ‘You got Southside. We don’t want to headline.’ So they’ll go on and do an hour or so, and then Shadowland will do a few songs, and then have Southside up and we’ll do six or seven or, whatever, eight tunes (with him). And then he’ll leave, and Shadowland will finish the night out.”
In addition to performing with The Jukes — and in his own groups, and in other musical projects — Alexander runs the jazz and blues department at Sarah Lawrence University in Bronxville, N.Y.
“I taught all through the pandemic,” he says. “Most of it was on Zoom, all classes and lectures, and my ensembles became recording groups. But I did teach my private lessons in person. Sarah Lawrence is super strict. All teachers and all students have to be vaccinated. I have to wear a mask all day. They’ve got air purifiers and everything is checked regularly. And I’m okay with that, because I want to go back to work, and teaching over Zoom … it was great because I didn’t have to leave my house, but frankly, it just isn’t as good for the students.”
Alexander also has been presenting “Quarantunes” concerts, some with Blue Americana and some with Shadowland, on his Facebook page, throughout the pandemic.
“We’re doing those less (now), but we’ll probably do them in the fall, maybe twice a month, if we can. For us, it was fun, it was creative, and we connected with a lot of people. So we’re trying to keep it going as much as it should, now that people are doing other things (and not stuck at home all the time). It’s not as well attended as it once was, but it’s still pretty good.”
Pig Gig 6, a benefit for the Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation in honor of Jay Alexander, takes place at the Italian American Hall in Scotch Plains, Oct. 24 from 2 to 8 p.m. Tickets are available via ticketbud.com.
General admission tickets include all you can eat or drink (including beer or wine).
The band schedule will be:
2:30 p.m.: Blue Americana
3:30 p.m.: The Lonesone Pines
4:30 p.m.: James Maddock
5:30 p.m.: The Weeklings
6:45 p.m.: Shadowland with Oria, The New York Horns and special guest Southside Johnny
NJArts.net is a co-sponsor of Pig Gig, along with Ace Brothers Service Center; American Blues Scene; Bill’s Ineffable Automobile Rehabilitation; Cioffi’s Convenience Corner; Danny Clinch Photography/Transparent Clinch Gallery; Craig R. Stock Landscape Design; Custom Construction MDH; East Coast Emergency Lighting; Father John Paladino; Grano Italian Tavern; Grillestone; Green Village Packing Co./Swine Time; Health and Fitness Professionals; JVD Towing; Joe Nizzardo; K9 Resorts Luxury Pet Hotel; Lawn-Gevity; Lou’s Automotive; Mountain Deli; neuNERDesign; RBC Wealth Management; Romano Landscaping; Roosterspin; Rossi Funeral Home; Silverstein Works; Scotch Plains Police PBA Local 87; Scotch Plains Fanwood UNICO; TapInto Scotch Plains-Fanwood; and Westfield Local NJ.
For more on Shadowland, visit glennalexandershadowland.com.
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