‘Stuck Inside New Jersey,’ Dave Kleiner and Liz Pagan

The cover of the album "Stuck Inside New Jersey," by Dave Kleiner and Liz Pagan.

The cover of the album “Stuck Inside New Jersey,” by Dave Kleiner and Liz Pagan.

Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” is just one side of the story. For every New Jersey tramp, itching to set out on adventures and “walk in the sun,” there’s someone who just can’t get going. And that’s who the veteran New Jersey husband-and-wife folk duo Dave Kleiner and Liz Pagan sing about on the sweetly melodic title track of their 2011 album, Stuck Inside New Jersey.

“Like a lamb upon a skewer/I’m a thinker, not a doer,” sings Kleiner.

It’s not that he didn’t want to get out, like Springsteen’s hero. “So many, so many times that I have tried/To take a one-way ride/But I’m back, like a boomerang or yo-yo/There’s no place I can go, so/Here I am, stuck inside New Jersey.”

Kleiner, who lives in Bloomfield, grew up in Hunterdon County and has lived in Warren County, and the song is full of references to his childhood, he says. “Summers by the pond,” for instance, refers to a “muddy pond” in Lebanon Township his grandfather created, and charged people to swim in.



Backing Kleiner and Pagan on the song is drummer Dennis Diken of The Smithereens, and bassist Graham Maby, who has played with Joe Jackson, They Might Be Giants, Natalie Merchant and many others.

And the video below, by the way, was made using Kleiner’s iPhone.

For information, visit their Facebook page.

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.


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Ken Galipeau November 10, 2014 - 3:48 pm

Here is a song that I wrote and recorded. It was used to make this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=racpaplQHcg

Little Old Prof November 13, 2014 - 8:58 am

Dave Kleiner is a NJ treasure. I vote for “Stuck Inside New Jersey”.

Linda Gross-Giorgianni September 28, 2016 - 8:04 am

Great to see you, even if not in person. Love the song. Sign me up.


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