September 14, 2014

SPIRITED AND RELAXED

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers/Steve Winwood
PNC Bank Arts Center — Holmdel, N.J.
Sept. 11, 2014

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It was a hot and beatific night for rock ’n’ roll in Holmdel, N.J., as Steve Winwood and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers combined to treat the PNC Bank Arts Center crowd on Sept. 11 to vibrant old-school renditions of classic originals and covers.

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September 08, 2014

SIBLING UNITY

Nalani & Sarina are comfortable with their career pace

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They’re a mere 21 years old, but an old-school aura surrounds identical twin sisters Nalani and Sarina Bolton, the singer-songwriter duo billing themselves as Nalani & Sarina.

Growing up in New Jersey’s Hunterdon County, they heard lots of folk and blues around the house, thanks to their parents playing music by the likes of Bob Dylan and Ray Charles, among others. This past spring, Nalani & Sarina met and jammed with one of their favorite singers, soul legend Sam Moore, during a joint appearance on SiriusXM satellite radio, and days later, they performed with Moore and his band at City Winery in New York (and held their own on the Sam & Dave classic “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby”).

Then there’s the pay-your-dues approach the Bolton sisters have taken to building an audience: playing one show at a time (on average, a handful of gigs per month) and focusing for now on New Jersey, where they still live, and its bordering states.

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September 05, 2014

‘TWO’ FOR THE SHOW

Social Distortion/The Whigs/Jonny Two Bags
Starland Ballroom — Sayreville, N.J.
Sept. 4, 2014

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Since the early 2000s, Jonny “Two Bags” Wickersham has helped anchor the reconstituted lineup of legendary California punk band Social Distortion, grinding out guitar riffs, contributing backing vocals and, for the most part, leaving the splashy solos and showmanship to singer, guitarist and band co-founder Mike Ness. But Wickersham has recently stepped into the spotlight himself; he released a strong debut album, Salvation Town, in April, and he is performing opening sets on Social D’s current tour.

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September 02, 2014

FEELING MINNESOTA

Sena Ehrhardt hires home-state heroes for Live My Life

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Of all the new and different people who worked with Minnesota-based blues singer Sena Ehrhardt on her latest Blind Pig Records album, Live My Life, two really jump out from the pack.

The first is Minneapolis-bred producer David Z, a favorite of hers going back to his days working with Prince.

“He was just a joy to work with in the studio,” she says. “He is someone who is extremely creative and willing to experiment with different things. No ideas were really off-limits.”

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