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!

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.

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

Side Project Saturday

Whats up everyone,

We have an interesting confluence of Root Glen related music for you guys, coming up on Saturday, August 10th…  For those of you who’ve made it out to see me or Root Glen several times, Saturday will be full of brand new songs and people, so don’t miss out!

Assuming we can pull ourselves back together after Andres’ birthday show on Friday the 9th at Rolf’s, Dave and I will both be doing shows with other bands on Saturday evening!  Thankfully, they’re close enough together that if you’re feeling motivated, you can probably make it to both..  Here’s the info:

 

vineyardrichie

6:30 to 7:30 pm – My side project, Graywood, will be making its live debut at Montclair Center Stage in Montclair NJ.  I’ll be doing about half the show solo, and then inviting Richie, Dan, and Joe up on stage to help me finish it off right!  For those of you wondering what your ears are in for, the songs are a bit of a blend between my solo acoustic sound, and the groove of Root Glen.  Oh, and its outside!!

 

 

applewagon

 

10pm – 1am – Dave’s band Applewagon, legends of the Hamilton College campus (from where Root Glen stole its name..) will be taking over Drom on Avenue A in NYC for 3 solid hours of groove.  They’re excellent musicians & a blast to see live.. and there’s also a rumor of a Root Glen mini-set during their break!

 

Be well, and hope to see you at both!

– Ross