Shore-based musicians Peter Scherer, Gordon Brown and Rob Tanico performed together at the first Light of Day benefit concert, in 2001. And this January, they reunited at the main Light of Day concert at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park (the one at which an unbilled Bruce Springsteen played for almost two hours). They performed just one song together, but it was a nostalgic treat, with their vocal harmonies sounding as rich and vibrant as ever.
The song was “In My Yard,” and it was the lead single from their self-titled 1992 album — as the band, Mr. Reality — that featuring drumming by Stan Lynch (of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers) and production by Danny Kortchmar (a frequent collaborator of artists such as James Taylor, Jackson Browne and Don Henley).
For a while, Mr. Reality was one of the most heralded bands on the Shore rock scene, and their group-vocal strategy earned them comparisons to bands such as The Eagles and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Their ’70s influences help them stand out from the crowd. But they never broke through, nor did their subsequent bands Samhill and Highway 9.
Their last album together, as Highway 9, was in 2002. But it was great to hear them again, in January.
Brown is now half of the duo, Williams Honor (his partner, Reagan Richards, briefly sang during the January “In My Yard” as well). For information, visit facebook.com/williamshonor. Scherer and Tanico are active as well.
Below are two versions of “In My Yard”: the original video, and the “Light of Day” reunion performance. You might notice a slight change in the length of the musicians’ hair.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday last year. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we are marking the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. We started in September 2014, and will keep going until late in the summer.
If you would like to suggest any songs to be included, please let me know in the comments section underneath the video. And if you want to see the entire list, either alphabetically or in the order the songs were selected, click here.