Joe D’Urso will celebrate milestone birthday with friends at Wonder Bar

d'urso birthday bash

The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park will host Joe D’Urso’s 60th Birthday Bash, June 28.

For more than two decades, singer-songwriter Joe D’Urso has been one of the primary organizers of the Light of Day Festival, whose centerpiece concert is called “Bob’s Birthday Bash,” in honor of founder Bob Benjamin. On June 28, D’Urso, who turned 60 on June 24, will have a Birthday Bash of his own with his band Stone Caravan at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, with proceeds benefiting The Light of Day Foundation (of which he is president) and The Alzheimer’s Association of New York.

“Since it is kind of a special milestone birthday, I thought I would bring in a whole bunch of people who have been doing stuff with me, either solo or with Caravan, over the years, at the Shore, and obviously through Light of Day,” says D’Urso. “So I’m having Vini Lopez join me — he actually recorded on my record (2018’s Jersey Diner) when I did ‘Hold On,’ which has become a song that I do at almost every show now. And then Jon Caspi is going to join me on ‘Let It Go,’ because it’s a song that has become so associated with my former bandmate Mr. Lou (the late Lou DeMartino), and Jon and Lou played together in a few different bands in Jersey before I ever met them.

“So that’s kind of the theme. I’m going to have Miss Emily and Bobby Mahoney and Chris Fritz and Joe Rapolla, Chuck DeBruyn and Zack Sandler all join in. Basically, I’ll come out and do the first song with Caravan and then do the next eight or nine songs in a row with a guest on each song, almost like The Band’s ‘Last Waltz’ (laughs). And then ending it all … the band and I will probably do another song, and then bring everyone up for an encore at the end, so it’s a big party.”

This will all take place after two opening sets, by The Billy Walton Band and The Jake Thistle Band. “I’ve known Billy — first when he was the guitar player in Boccigalupe & the Bad Boys, and then went on to Southside Johnny & the Jukes, and now is doing his own thing — for a long time,” says D’Urso. “So having those two great bands will definitely lend to the party vibe of the whole day.”


Joe D’Urso, left, and James Maddock perform at the Outpost in the Burbs in Montclair, in 2019.

This may be a “Last Waltz”-style concert. But as Richard Manuel sang in The Band’s “Last Waltz Refrain,” “that don’t mean the dance is over.” D’Urso says his performing schedule remains as full as it ever has been.

“The age part hasn’t taken effect,” he says. “All of us, as writers, want to stay relevant. But I think if we’re being honest with ourselves, it’s very rare that any 40-, let alone 50-, 60-, 70-year-old writer is relevant to any of the Billboard Top 10 charts. But fortunately I never measured my career as being pop-relevant. I was trying to be relevant in the community that I existed in, and in what I was trying to say and do.”

In addition to his work for Light of Day, D’Urso has been a WhyHunger board member, and supported other charitable organizations as well.

“We all have some records that may be better than others — for whatever reasons, better songs visit you as a songwriter than at other times,” he says. “But the work you’re getting done (for causes) never diminishes. Whereas a song might not be as good, the work that you’re getting done always stays strong.”

He mentions the song “Steep Stairs” (listen below), from his 2023 album Thurman.

“It’s about other people, but I think a lot of times, it might be about yourself,” he says. “No matter what we do, it always feels like a struggle. Like I’m climbing steep stairs. But now, after all these years, they’re just plain old stairs. I’m used to things not coming easy and having to work for it. And that’s ok.

“At the end of the day, we get to go onstage and play music for people and have fun. I’ve never been a big fan of people who take that way too seriously. I take the outcome seriously: The emotional relationship between audience and artist. But not (the music) itself.”


From left, Jake Clemons, Joe D’Urso and Jeffrey Gaines at the 2017 Rockland-Bergen Music Festival in Tappan, N.Y.

Since 1991, D’Urso has put out 15 records with Stone Caravan, and 17 in all. In addition to his work for Light of Day and WhyHunger, he also has organized the Rockland-Bergen Music Festival, and various fundraising events.

“About 20 years ago, maybe 24 years ago,” he says, “something clicked inside of me: It wasn’t enough for it to be about (people) buying my CD, buying my T-shirt. I needed the ripple effect of it to keep going on, which is definitely something that comes from my Harry Chapin influence, where when the night ends, it doesn’t end. There’s something else that keeps rippling down.

“You have to be honest with yourself as you’re getting close to 40 years old, which, you know, 20 years ago I certainly was. But now at 60, I look at the next bunch of years and, obviously in our Light of Day family, seeing Bruce (Springsteen), and Willie Nile, and (Joe) Grushecky, and all these guys who are 15-plus years older than me or maybe a little more than that. Southside (Johnny). And they’re still doing it. So it leads me to believe that, hey, as long as you hopefully keep good health and have something to say, then you can keep on going out and doing this.”

Joe D’Urso’s 60th Birthday Bash will take place at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, June 28 at 8 p.m. Visit

For more about him, visit


Since launching in September 2014,, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.


Custom Amount

Personal Info

Donation Total: $20.00

Leave a Comment

Sign up for our Newsletter