Young blues-rock veterans Quinn Sullivan and Veronica Lewis team up for show at Homestead

Quinn Sullivan review


Quinn Sullivan performs at The Homestead on Morristown.

Quinn Sullivan was performing his song “You’re the One” at The Homestead in downtown Morristown, March 7, when he segued unexpectedly into Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).” If you’re thinking he was playing a song that was a hit from when he was a kid, you’re wrong. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” is from 1987. And Sullivan is only 23: That song was already part of pop history when he was born.

As you might expect — since the New Bedford, Mass., native is one of the leading blues-rock musicians of his generation — he did not play the song the way it was originally recorded. Nor did he include it as a joke. He made it sound heavier, and more yearning, than it does in its original version. It’s really a song about loneliness: Houston’s version is so uplifting you don’t necessarily notice that. But you did when Sullivan sang it.

Flying V Production has been presenting live music at the 700-capacity Homestead — full name, Homestead Bar & Kitchen — since the summer of 2022, giving New Jersey rock bands another place to play, and also bringing in occasional national acts such as Sullivan (who was doubled billed with the even younger but also very experienced blues-rocker Veronica Lewis, who is from New Hampshire). The venue has a large stage and a good sound system, and its high ceiling gives it a spacious feel; on March 7, at least, the crowd’s attention seemed fully focused on the music.

A protege of Buddy Guy, Sullivan appeared on television’s “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” at 6, released his first album at 12, and toured extensively throughout his teen years. I remember seeing him perform with Guy and B.B. King at the Beacon Theatre in New York when he was 9. It was hard not to think of him as a novelty at the time, but now he’s unquestionably the real deal: A blues-rock guitar hero for a new generation.

Backed by a three-piece band (keyboardist Chris Bloniarz, bassist Isaac Levy and drummer Bennett Vee) at The Homestead, he played in a variety of blues, rock and funk styles, stretching out with long, elegant guitar solos. As brawny as most of the music was, he did include some ballads, such as “Baby Please” — sung, partially, in an aching falsetto — and the stately “How Many Tears.”

Sullivan also showed great taste in covers, including “Eyesight to the Blind” (the Sonny Boy Williamson song that The Who used in their “Tommy” rock opera), the wrenching Derek & the Dominos song “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?” and Sly & the Family Stone’s “Let Me Have It All.” (Sullivan quoted a bit of The Allman Brothers Band’s “Blue Sky” in his “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?” solo, and Jimi Hendrix’s famous “Voodoo Chile” riff at the start of “Let Me Have It All.”)


Veronica Lewis with guitarist Brad Dubay at The Homestead in Morristown

Lewis, who played the Morristown Jazz and Blues Festival last year (Sullivan has played the festival, too, in 2013 and 2016), was very good, as well. And she complemented Sullivan effectively since his music is guitar-based and hers is built around her hard-driving piano playing (with saxophonist Joel Edinberg and Brad Dubay getting plenty of soloing time).

She counts Jerry Lee Lewis, Katie Webster (whose “Whoo Whee Sweet Daddy” she opened with) and Fats Domino among her biggest musical influence, so there is definitely a retro flavor to her sound. But she showed that she isn’t going to limit herself to that by including a new, introspective ballad, “Against the World,” and another new song on which she switched to electric guitar, which helped give it a more contemporary feel.

Sullivan and Lewis will perform at The Iridium in New York, June 30 at 8:30 p.m. Visit

Upcoming shows at The Homestead include Todd Sheaffer (of Railroad Earth and From Good Homes) & Friends, April 2; Constantine Maroulis & the Frequency, May 4; and J. Wail (featuring Natalie Cressman of The Trey Anastasio Band), June 4. Visit

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