This week’s Scene Report also features MOTO Records and Etherius.
Two-time Makin Waves Guitarist of the Year Billy Hector is back with a scorchin’ CD, Some Day Baby; he’ll celebrate its release, along with his 62nd birthday, Aug. 25 at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park. This is blues at its best, and Hector has been New Jersey’s best blues ambassador throughout the 30-plus years I’ve been writing about him. It brings me tears of joy that this record is so great.
The 13 tracks include the opening Texas shuffle of “Wizard of Babylon,” which sizzles like a brisket coming out of the cooker; the bluesadelic title track, which flirts with the horn-driven rock ‘n’ soul of Asbury’s glory days, and the honey-drippin’ funk of “Butt Naked and Funk,” which delightfully features tinges of hip-hop. There’s also the exotic raga-flavored “Moonlight in Her Eyes”; “Bareback,” an instrumental reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan; “Jolene,” a fun bar-room broiler in the spirit of George Thorogood; new arrangements of traditional tunes “Alabama Bound” and “On Your Bond”; and the Asbury Jukes-like closer “Road to Happiness.”
Longtime musical and life partner Suzan Lastovica comes alongside her man as co-writer on eight of the 11 originals, as well as an exceptional co-vocalist on “Alabama Bound” and “Road to Happiness.” Hector’s all-star studio band also includes Rollins Band/Ween drummer Sim Cain, Steve Morse drummer Van Romaine, Soul Asylum bassist Winston Roye, keyboard great John Ginty, sax great Tommy LaBella, harmonica great Dennis Gruenling and many others with whom he’s played for 40 years.
In addition to winning two Makin Waves Awards, Hector also has won several Asbury Park Music Awards for Best Guitarist, Best Blues Band and Living Legend, as well as the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He also was invited by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to pay tribute to Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, SRV’s Double Trouble and the great blues harpist Charlie Musselwhite. And he played the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., with Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, Lucinda Williams and Buddy Miller in honor of Leadbelly.
Everyone knows that the multi-hyphenated talent of Chris Pierce is amazing, but Book Chop Express Booking is going out of its way to prove that with Piercefest, a show on Aug. 25 at Mill Hill Basement in Trenton where he’ll play drums with three bands in one night: Mikey Erg Band, School Drugs and Erotic Novels. Whew! At least he gets a break during a performance by Coach’s Son, featuring former members of The Great Explainer. Pierce also will play guitar in his fabled punk band Doc Hopper in which Erg plays drums on Sept. 8 at Hub City Sounds: ROCK New Brunswick in Boyd Park with Hub City Stompers, Sharief Hobley, Pleased Youth, Silent Knight, Nalani & Sarina, Experiment 34, Professor Caveman and more.
Speaking of Hub City Sounds, New Brunswick Cultural Center’s annual summer concert series continues on Aug. 25 with the 3rd Annual Caribbean Festival, also in Boyd Park. Performers will include Arita, Menny Moore, The Young Picassos, Universal African Drum & Dance Ensemble, King Tappa, Black Circle Symphony, Soca Twerk, Haitian All-Starz and much more. Attractions will include a jerk chicken cook-off whose judges will include lil’ ol’ me. For the fam, there’ll also be a moon bounce, face painting, a petting zoo and more.
Asbury Park-based MOTO Records is throwing a shindig on Aug. 29 at Asbury Park Yacht Club featuring a chunk of its young roster, including Leah Nawy Band and Lauren Gill. MOTO Records Live! also will feature several young performers from Lakehouse Music Academy’s Artist Program, including Kayla Hutchins, Vianna Schibell, Davis Dugan, Chelsea Palermo, Will Bezerra, Ryan Fiorello, Abby Kenna, and Alec Demello.
New Jersey-based progressive metal quartet Etherius will release their new instrumental EP, Thread of Life, on Aug. 24. The five-track offering will be available on all the usual digital platforms and can be sampled in part on Spotify. The record comes with a new bass playthrough (streaming above) of the title track, featuring Chris Targia performing amidst a beautiful forest setting. The video was produced by Michael J. Adams of Blackline Studios and recorded at High Tor State Park in New York. Also to promote Thread of Life, Etherius will play Sept. 2 at Mercury Lounge in New York, with The Astra Cadence and Book of Harmony.
Bob Makin is the reporter for MyCentralJersey.com/entertainment and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. And like Makin Waves at facebook.com/makinwavescolumn.