I’m not sure whether it is fate, a pure coincidence or the influence of Little Steven’s show, but some of my favourite musical influences in recent years have been from New Jersey. There is much more to the state than The Sopranos and Jersey Shore.
I got to Little Steven via Javi, a Spanish friend. I was crashing at his place for a week and The Underground Garage show was running on one of my friend’s favourite radio stations. Little Steven was a guitarist with Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street band. He was replaced by Nils Lofgren (another one of my favourite artists) on the band in the ’70s but nowadays he has one of the best rock’n’roll radio shows available. You can listen to the show on a weekly basis on his site. You need to register, but it is completely free of charge and gives you access to all the shows in the archive (about 500 of them!) They offer an insight into music like no other. This guy was there when music was still at its rawest. He hung out with legends and manages to secure interviews with the Gods of music on a regular basis.
The Gaslight Anthem
If there is one thing I am eternally grateful to Little Steven for, it is The Gaslight Anthem. He played American Slang in two consecutive shows, and I looked them up but thought nothing more of it. The next week I was researching a festival I was going to (Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park, London). I saw they were playing there and was over the moon. I wasn’t disappointed – in fact I now listen to all their material a couple of times a week at the very least. They are currently recording their fourth (full-length) album, which should be out this year.
The Gaslight Anthem: American Slang
The Gaslight Anthem hit the big time when The Boss unexpectedly joined them on stage at a concert. He loves their music and has supported them heavily along their way to success. I, on the other hand, arrived at Bruce Springsteen via The Gaslight Anthem. I was always aware of his music, but was never a big fan. I could not see past a couple of his big hits. When I got into his albums, however, I found that there is a lot of depth in his lyrics.
The Horrible Crowes
The Horrible Crowes are the dark and mellow side-project of Brian Fallon, the Gaslight Anthem’s front-man. They take the emotional side of The Gaslight Anthem and remove the punk-like riffs and upbeat music to produce music which is drenched in emotion. Forget liking them on your first attempt at listening to their music. You will need to take it in slowly – one song at a time – to fall in love. Once you do, however, I can pretty much guarantee they will haunt you forever. Elsie, their debut album, was my favourite album from 2011.
The Horrible Crowes: Behold The Hurricane
And that, my friends, is the end of our short musical tour of New Jersey. That is what you get for living in the shadow of New York City and having your name shamed by crass TV shows.
This article is (#17 of 366 X 2012 project)