Good music with good people…

I meant to get this posted a little while ago, but surprise!  I got distracted!

Anyway, back in November there was a mild star alignment, and my girlfriend’s favorite band happened to be playing on the night of her birthday at this absolutely outstanding club near my house…  Additionally, they were generous enough to help make her birthday by letting us get up and sing a song with them, which my buddy Justin caught on video..  So without further ado, here’s Chelsea and I singing “Wagon Wheel” with the good folks in CB Radio!  Click here or the pic below to watch…

 

 

Some Recognition!

Well, not for me.. but 2 of the places I play just got some major praise!

This past Sunday, January 25, was the conclusion of a week worth of voting to rank the best bars in the state… There were categories for Dives, Neighborhood bars, Sports Bars, Whiskey/wine bars, and most importantly to me… Craft beer bars!
While I’m no connoisseur, I do have a “healthy” appreciation for craft beers, and am always happy to try a new one.

For years, the place I’ve gone to do so has been The Stirling Hotel, so I was pretty thrilled this weekend to see it land at the #4 BEST CRAFT BEER BAR IN THE STATE!  Frankly, I’m not at all surprised, and if you’ve ever visited there I’m sure you wouldn’t be either, but its nice to see a place that does things so well get the recognition it deserves.

On top of it being a favorite stop of mine, its also the new home of Ross & Friends on the first Monday of every month!  We play from 7 – 10pm out on the back patio (in a heated tent when its cold), and we’ve had some great guests join us during the past few shows.  If you haven’t been yet, come by on a Monday to check the place out and sing some songs with us!

Finishing just one spot behind at #5 in the state was Hailey’s Harp and Pub (Metuchen), where I’ve been playing every other month since last summer.  Its a great town bar with an excellent beer selection and a friendly crowd.  Its also a big soccer bar, so whether you like good craft beer, music, soccer, or any combination, its well worth a visit.  Stop by on the 1st Tuesday of any month for the “Beer Senate”:  try a bunch of new craft beers, and vote on which one should be added to their tap list!  Not bad!

Founders Brewing Tap Takeover @ The Stirling Hotel **UPDATED

Unfortunately, our show during the Founders Tap Takeover has been canceled due to impending inclement weather.  The Tap Takeover will still be taking place though, so go support The Stirling Hotel and try some outstanding Founders beers!

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Something frighteningly delicious is happening at The Stirling Hotel on October 23rd, and it has nothing to do with Halloween…

Around 6pm or so, Founders Brewing Co. will be taking over the entire tap line in the Grove (the big back bar on the other side of the parking lot), and serving 11 of their outstanding varieties for as long as they last!  The legendary Kentucky Breakfast Stout will be back at 6pm sharp, but don’t be late; last year it sold out in under 30 minutes!

Here’s the full list of brews: KBS (will be tapped at 6pm)
Centennial IPA
All Day IPA
Red’s Rye
Dark Penance
Double Trouble
Porter
Breakfast Stout
Nitro Pale Ale
Imperial Stout 2014
Old Curmudgeon 2014
Backwoods Bastard 2013

The Hotel has also been generous enough to invite David, Richie, Tim and I back to provide the background music for the organized chaos that’ll be taking place!  We’ll be kicking off around 6:30, but make sure you’re there earlier so you don’t miss the KBS keg!   Whether you come for the beer, the tunes, or both, we hope to see you there!

The Amorphous Music Circus…

…returns to Beneduce Vineyards from 2 to 5pm on  Sunday September 14!

For a while now I’ve been doing gigs under the name Ross & Friends, but that didn’t quite seem to capture the unpredictable, rotating cast of characters that have been coming together at Beneduce Vineyards recently…  So after (not very much) careful consideration, I’ve landed on something a little more appropriate.. The Amorphous Music Circus!

While I almost never know who’s going to show up, the entire cast is pretty damn extensive!  Frankly, I can’t think of any other place that I’ve see a violist, a mandolin, a world class harmonica player, a banjo, a rare sax appearance, and a handful of singers, guitarists, and bassists all coming together on the same stage.

Still not sure what to expect?  Click on the picture to hear, and then come see us on Sunday!  No cover charge, BYO food, and delicious wine… can’t go wrong!

Amorphous

 

Highlands Clamfest with Root Glen

Had a great day this past Sunday!  Root Glen got together after a few months off, and played an afternoon show at the 20th annual Clamfest by the shore in Highlands, NJ.  We had an absolute blast being there, got to do a few tunes with our good friend and blues hall of famer Big Nancy Swarbrick, and stuffed ourselves with seafood afterwards.  It was a great day overall, but one of the highlights for me was the recording of “This Time Around” that my girlfriend, Chelsea, caught on video.   Hope you guys enjoy it!

Full band closeup

New venues

I’ve been on a bit of a booking frenzy, and will be playing a bunch of new venues over the coming months this spring and summer!  Some are outdoor shows, some are duo or trio, but all are at great places, so I hope to see you at any that you can make it to… Without further ado, here are the new spots, in chronological order..

The Claremont Tavern – Friday, May 23rd, 8pm

A unique, cozy British pub in Bernardsville with an outstanding beer list and excellent modern comfort food.

 

 

Hailey’s Harp & Pub – Thursday, May 29th, 8pm

Irish pub in downtown Metuchen.  Extensive craft beer selection, and a fun, friendly crowd.

 

 

The HAT Tavern – Friday, June 13th, 7:30pm    (and Fri July 11th, 7:30pm)

By far the best bar in Summit, NJ.  Local art for sale on the walls, rotating selection of local craft beers, and THE BEST burger I’ve had in a long time…  Located downstairs in the Grand Summit Hotel.

 

 

The Grand Colonial – Wednesday, June 25th, 7pm

Outdoor show on the patio at the Grand Colonial, one of Hunterdon County’s premier establishments

 

 

Riley & Jake’s – Saturday, July 12th, 7pm      (and Friday, Aug 1st, 7pm)

Outdoor show on the patio at Riley & Jakes, right on Rt. 31 in Clinton.

 

 

Publick House – Saturday, July 19th, 7:30pm

Duo show at the Chester Publick House, a beautiful brick Inn built in 1810.

“Restore the Raptor Trust” fundraiser

We’re just 2 weeks away from an awesome event that I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in!raptorv3

Wednesday, April 2nd, The Meyersville Inn will be hosting “Restore the Raptor Trust,” a benefit to help The Raptor Trust raise money to repair cages damaged by storms and heavy snow fall.  The night is going to feature a ton of excellent musicians, great food and drink, a silent auction including local wildlife photography, raptor related events, and hand made items.

For those who aren’t familiar, The Raptor Trust is a non-profit rehabilitation center for injured birds of prey.  They’re located right on the edge of the Great Swamp, a 9000 acre National Wildlife Refuge that is a perfect habitat for many of the species of birds they treat.  The RT’s goal is to rehabilitate and re-release every bird they take in, but they also have options for birds who are injured in ways that prevent them from being able to fly or hunt again.

Over the years that it has been open, the Raptor Trust has built a compound of cages that house all types of birds of prey; hawks, owls, falcons, even bald and golden eagles.  The grounds are open to the public on a daily basis, and provide an up-close look at many species of birds that would never be approachable in the wild.

Unfortunately, many of these cages sustained serious damage last fall during a microburst, and many more have suffered under extensive snowfall.  The goal of the “Restore the Raptor Trust” benefit is to raise money to help offset the cost of rebuilding, so the Raptor Trust can continue its mission of education and rehabilitation.

We hope you’ll join us on April 2nd; The Meyersville Inn will be donating 10% of all sales from the night to the Raptor Trust, so whether you come for the night or just a drink, you’ll be helping increase the amount that we’re able to give.  There’s going to be live music from 6 – 9pm featuring me, Andres, Richie, Gary Reed, and a guest appearance by Chris Soucy, director of the Raptor Trust and former lead guitarist for Sally Talyor, daughter of James Taylor.

Reservations are recommended as its expected to be busy, the Inn’s number is (908) 647 – 6302.

Here’s the Facebook link: Restore the Raptor Trust FB

Hope to see you there!

– Ross

The start of something new

This post may already be old news to a substantial portion of its viewers.. but be that as it may, I’m confident that those who read it will find at least some new shred of information within.

For about the last year and a half, I’ve been working on a solo album in addition to playing with Root Glen and doing acoustic gigs.  I suppose calling it a “solo” cd is somewhat misleading, as there are a ton of other musicians helping out with it.  The “solo” aspect really only applies to the origin and creative direction of the songs.  Each track on it comes from a different fragment of song that I came up with over the course of a year or so, and have continued to flesh out with varying amounts of assistance in the form of added instrumentation or verbal criticism.  Not only am I lucky enough to be friends with a wealth of talented musicians who are able to play on the album, but also to know a select few willing to listen to tracks as they develop and offer constructive feedback on how they can be improved.

Even with all this help, the project spasms daily through seemingly opposite emotions; incomparably fulfilling to crushingly defeating, and though the tally of hours invested continues to rise, the incomplete tracks loom over the small pieces of free time I try to spend not working on music (or sheetrock.. because music still doesn’t pay all of the bills!).  Admittedly, I’m looking forward to wrapping it- to having a complete album in hand, and being able to look at the finished work that I’ve invested all this time in.  Its not all negative though; I’m excited to finally hear each song finish the transition from idea to completed work, especially because I’m working with an incredibly skilled recording engineer in John Bross.  Before we get there though, I want to go back to the beginning for something…

As I’ve talked about this project with friends and family, I’ve heard a similar refrain enough times to want to devote a few posts to it: “I could never write a song, I wouldn’t even know how to start..”   To be fair, I felt the exact same way a few years ago.  I had played music as a hobby for some time, but it wasn’t until shortly after college that I started to take it a little more seriously.  I was working at The Gow School (a boarding school for dyslexic boys located just south of Buffalo, NY), and spent many weekends restricted to supervising a dormitory.  The guitar found its way into my hands a lot more often, and as I played and let my mind drift, a riff or progression would occasionally emerge and snap my attention back from wherever it had wandered.

Over the next few entries, I’m hoping to illuminate how these brief moments of inspiration (sometimes just the right combination of 2 chords) can eventually become a finished song, with one of my own tracks an an example.  There are so many different ways to go about that, but rather than try to illustrate a bunch of them, my aim is to do one thing; to show that songwriting doesn’t have to be mysterious, but rather, that it can be incredibly accessible once the components are understood.

I hope you guys enjoy getting to learn how this first fragment became a song, and how much fun writing can be once the process is a little more intelligible.

Back soon!

Any plans on Wednesday nights for the next year?

Looking to liven up your Wednesday nights a bit?  Well, I may have just the thing for ya…

mvillesign

For almost two years now, I’ve been spending my Wednesday nights at the Meyersville Inn in Gillette, NJ.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, the Inn is an outstanding Cajun/Creole restaurant right on the border of the 9,000 acre Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.  They do Cajun food the way its supposed to be done, serve nice big portions (so you can take home lunch for the following day), and have a cozy bar area that I set up and play in between 6 and 9pm.

 

The ambiance there is great, due in a large part to the efforts of the owners.  If you come in on a Wednesday, you can expect to meet Patty and Carl, half of the ownership team and two of the friendliest and most genuine people I know.  They make an effort to treat everyone who comes through the door like a member of the family, and are the reason that I’ve been playing there for as long as I have.

Another truly unique aspect about the Wednesday night shows is their inclusivity.  I absolutely love getting people involved in music, and we’ve had the chance to do a lot of that at Meyersville.  The range of people that have joined us on the stage has been unbelievable; we’ve had professional musicians from as far away as Edinburgh, Scotland, a member of the NJ Blues Hall of Fame, people who have played all their lives but never performed, some who are just picking up instruments, and even singers as young as 5 years old!

mville 6-5

Meyersville is one of the only places I know where anyone who is willing to play or sing can do so.  Its refreshing to just allow music to be fun, and not taken overly seriously.  In fact, its akin to how music has been treated for much of human history.  Only in the last 200 years have we decided that music is something to be left to professionals.  Before that, everyone played and sang.  It was a focal point for family gatherings, a way to have fun, and to create something special together.  On Wednesday nights, we’re doing our best to make it like that again, and we’d love to have you come join us.

– Ross

September Sundays at Stonehouse

My buddy Dave Tucker and I have put together whats shaping up to be a VERY nice residency for the month of September!

stonehouseEvery Sunday between 5 and 8pm, you’ll find one (and maybe both) of us making music at the outdoor bar of Stonehouse at Stirling Ridge (50 Stirling Road
Warren, NJ 07059).

Stonehouse has about the nicest outdoor bar I’ve ever been to.  Coupling that with their outstanding menu, drink list, and live music is going to make for some pretty special evenings.  We hope you’ll stop by to check the place out!

For those of you who haven’t heard Dave play before, you can expect “traditional Americana, folk and roots, to pop rock with a little country swagger.”  He put out a solo album a few months ago, and just got back from a national tour supporting it.  Check out his stuff here. 

Here’s the schedule

September 1st – Dave Tucker

September 8th – Ross Griswold

September 15th – Dave Tucker

September 22nd – Ross Griswold

September 29th – Ross Griswold

 

Hope to see you there!

– Ross