Karyn Kuhl continues to make inspiring rock as leader of new Gang

by CINDY STAGOFF
karyn kuhl 2024

KAREN SHEINHEIT

KARYN KUHL

Karyn Kuhl, who fronts Karyn Kuhl & the Gang, will return to Fox & Crow, Jersey City’s intimate bar venue, Feb. 9, with her inspiring and well-crafted songs and sizzling guitar playing.

The band will play two sets, one electric and one acoustic, featuring songs from Kuhl’s albums released with her former group, The Karyn Kuhl Band. She also will perform unrecorded new material that “lends itself well to an acoustic approach,” she said. “I’m singing in a lower register and just can’t be heard above that din.

“These days I’m working with Charlie Nieland on guitar and Lou Ciarlo on bass. This shift has made the songs at once more sensual, ethereal and heavy. Drummer Jonpaul Pantozzi is still behind the wheel driving us.”

Her newly formed band performed powerfully at The Hoboken Arts & Music Festival in October. I have high hopes for another dynamic show.

Kuhl plans to release a new single, “No Traces,” in April, on Dromedary Records. “We’re releasing it digitally and as a 7-inch single,” she said, adding that “I’m really happy about the vinyl. It’s been a while since my last release and I wanted to do something fun. The song was produced by Nieland and features my former Sexpod bandmate Billy Loose on drums.”

The B-side features “The Tower,” recorded a few years ago, produced by Larry Heinemann, and featuring James Mastro on guitar. Both Heinemann and Mastro played in The Karyn Kuhl Band.

BILLY LOOSE

Karyn Kuhl & the Gang (from left, Kuhl, Charlie Nieland, Jonpaul Pantozzi and Lou Ciarlo).

Kuhl said in a prior interview that offstage she is happy painting and tending to her cats. But onstage she feels “more like who I truly am than anywhere else.”

Radiating the heart and soul of the Hoboken ’80s music scene, Kuhl is part of what sustains the vitality of rock in Hudson County. Her songs performed with The Karyn Kuhl Band include an unapologetic anthem about smashing patriarchy (“It’s Over”), dreamy love songs (“Drunk on Beauty”), biting songs about disappointing relationships (“Lobster Girl”) and songs that remind us to awaken our youthful activist exuberance (“Hey Kid”).

Her brilliant covers include “I Feel Love,” the Donna Summer disco hit. Her cover of “It Was a Very Good Year” — Sinatra’s classic, combined with the rhythm of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” — sounds surreal and fresh.

Will her new songs focus on different or similar subjects as before?

“I veer off course occasionally, but basically every song I write is my version of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Annabel Lee,’ a poem about young lost love that really stuck with me. Grief is a catalyst for my creative process. Most of my songs are an attempt to heal from loss.”

Karyn Kuhl & the Gang will perform at Fox & Crow in Jersey City, Feb. 9 at 9 p.m. Visit foxandcrowjc.com.

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