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Will work for food: Among the performers helping Michael Patrick to Jam Away the Blues for Lunch Break this Thursday are (clockwise from upper left) Sonny Kenn, Jo Wymer, Chuck Lambert, and Matt O’Ree.

We don’t run into Michael Patrick on a regular basis in our travels — he doesn’t hold down a weekly gig at some local pub to our knowledge. So when we do hear from this singer, songwriter, producer and all-around facilitator, it usually means that something special is in the works.

This is the guy who brings some of the most amazing national performers in roots music — Pokey LaFarge, and Justin Townes Earle — to a well-below-the-radar setting like The Claddagh. The guy who showed up at last spring’s Garden State Film Festival with a well-played tribute to Johnny Cash, courtesy of his Ring of Fire Band. The guy who annually organizes a daylong, one-stop showcase of regional twang under the name Jersey Country Revival.

That charity marathon of live music was presented in the roadhouse-authentic venue of Brewsters, the engaging lounge adjoining the Bradley Beach Bowling Lanes just seconds from the Asbury city limits. And it’s to “Broooseters” he returns this Thursday night, as Patrick and “pardner in crime” Emma Birchill assemble some of the Shore’s acknowledged masters and mistresses of blues for an evening entitled Jam Away the Blues.

Although it lets fly its long, lunar notes down in Bradley, the program is a benefit for the Red Bank-based nonprofit Lunch Break — a volunteer organization that provides a hot meal a day to anyone who wants one, no questions asked. Check this recent feature on our mothership site redbankgreen for a taste of what these folks do, year round and largely without fanfare — we are awed and deeply humbled by their dedication, and we like to think of them as the kind of people who will be there for their neighbors, long after the last astroturf “grass-roots” gadfly follows the last TV news truck on out of there.

Shake, Hammond and Harp: On the bill for Thursday’s Jam Away the Blues are Gary Cavico, Eryn Shewell, Matt Wade and Sandy Mack.

Get a load of this lineup — there’s Sonny Kenn, one of the philosopher kings of Shore music and among our favorite interview subjects ever. There’s Red Bank’s unofficial musical Mayor Chuck Lambert, and championship roadmaster Matt O’Ree. There’s harpin’ helpist Sandy Mack and vocalist Sarah Mack, blues-belting bandleaders Jo Wymer and Eryn Shewell, folk-blues acousticat Gary Cavico, and one of the youngest sensations on the scene — Hammond B-3 flying ace Matt Wade. Oh, plus self-styled “suburban hillbilly” Patrick, here indulging his notebending side at the crossroads of blues and country.

Naturally, they’ll be accepting donations of nonperishable food items at the door, for direct distribution to Lunch Break (anybody wants to pitch some extra cash or check to the nonprofit as well; they’re interested). This is an event that’s as sonically sound as it is sporting in spirit — and it runs from 7pm to midnight. Call (732)834-9781 for more info on this and other events in the Suburban Roots Concert Series, or (732)774-5515 for more info on Brewsters.



Revival in a bowling alley lounge: Featured in the third annual Jersey Country Revival are (clockwise from upper left) Rob Dye, John Eddie, Anthony Manno and Michael Patrick’s Ring of Fire Band.


It was the kind of a show that stays with you long after the last note fades — almost a revelation, or at least it would have been had there maybe been more people to vouch for what it was we were seeing.

To a fella like Pokey LaFarge, however, it doesn’t make much nevermind whether he’s playing to ten people or ten hundred. Squeezing out sparks with his ace acoustic band of fellow travelers, banging out a set of authoritative originals on delightfully battered thriftshop instruments (including a “GitJo” with strings ‘n screws missing, plus a kazoo with a little Victrola horn on it), the impossibly young bluegrass-folk-ragtime entertainer sold every song with a killer lyric, a funny face, a virtuoso solo and a prime Dylanesque cool.

A magical night at The Claddagh, you bet — and another feather in the cap for the man who arranged the event, local singer, songwriter and impresario Michael Patrick.

You’ve met the Morganville-based Mike previously in our pixelated pages; whether as frontman of The Suburban Hillbillies, co-founder of the Suburban Roots Concert Series, or as leader of the Johnny Cash tribute Michael Patrick’s Ring of Fire Band, a project that he brought to Asbury Park as part of last spring’s Garden State Film Festival.

We know him as a guy who’s made it his mission to bring country music to our fair Shore on some sort of regular basis — not the processed cheez whiz that rolls into the PNC or Six Flags every summer, but the realdeal stuff that transcends state lines and statistical polling; the stuff of instrumental finesse and emotional honesty and the greatest American songcraft.

Call him a country corollary to the Jazz Arts Project’s Joe Muccioli — another guy whose expertise we defer to, and whose instincts seem unerringly on the money.

Patrick pulls a Hat Trick this Saturday, September 5, as Patrick and “pardner in crime” Emma Birchill present the third annual edition of the Jersey Country Revival, a multi-band extravaganza of alt-country, newgrass, roots retro and just plain original music that unfolds across twelve hours down at Brewsters, the engaging lounge adjoining the Bradley Beach Bowling Lanes just seconds from the Asbury city limits.

You were expecting maybe Carnegie Hall? In actual fact, the bowling alley bar makes a fine roadhouse honkytonk setting for this year’s ambitious bill, a card topped by honorary Shore rocker turned Nashville cat John Eddie.

Patrick’s Hat Trick: For the third time, Morganville musical mover and shaker Mike Patrick has assembled an ace ticket of roots talent for this year’s Jersey Country Revival.

In an interview that appeared late last year here in oRBit, Eddie observed that the older he gets, the more country he gets in terms of his songwriting and maturity level, calling today’s country music scene “70s rock and roll all over again.” Having worked closely with roots-country sensation James Otto, the recovering Jungle Boy has “Gone Nashville” on a formal if not necessarily permanent basis — debuting a twangier aspect of his sound with a recent showcase gig at the Stone Pony. He’ll be closing out the Revival at the 11pm headliner spot, following a dozen other acts that include Patrick fronting both the Hillbillies and Ring of Fire.

Also scheduled to play at various points in the proceedings are Rob Dye — the versatile singer-songwriter whose Sunday Open Mics at Jamian’s are a must for local music fans — plus Victory Gin (whom we dug as opener for The Blasters in a Saint gig last year), veteran bluesguy BBQ Bob and His Only Friends, The Bob Polding Band, Old No. 7, E~Boro Bandits, Rodeo Clowns, Anthony Manno, Chuck Schaeffer and Acoustic Thunder. Patrick’s website has an updated list with set times.

“So far, things are going off without a hitch,” said Patrick when we caught up with him a few days prior to the event. “I guess I’m just lucky; I’ve got good people to work with here.”

Having relocated the Revival to Brewsters from its previous digs at Asbury’s Wonder Bar, Patrick and company are working with a smaller room (approximately 300 capacity), albeit one that provides greater ease of moving the bands on and off stage. All performers will be donating their services for the event, with Patrick’s band and crew providing sound tech, drum kit and other equipment.

It’s all a benefit for the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to education and research on the little-known disorder that has afflicted Patrick’s wife, among many others.

“We’ve been very involved with the organization over the years,” says Patrick. “They’ve been good to us, and they’re not getting rich off of us with this event, but we’re doing everything we can to help.”

When “the dust settles” from the Revival event, the Ring of Fire Band plans to head down to the annual Johnny Cash Flower Pickin’ Festival in Starkville, Mississippi — the town where Johnny famously spent the night in jail for picking flowers in the wee hours of the morning.

“They were short a headliner, so I hooked them up with Justin,” says Patrick in reference to Justin Townes Earle, another cult-country genius that he’s brought to our fair Shore. “So now it’s Carlene Carter, Justin and us — should be a good time.”

Admission to the Country Revival is all ages, with tickets priced at an earlybird-special $10 from noon until 9pm — when the price goes up to $20 for the remainder of the night. Call (732)834-9781 for more info.


Country music event to benefit Cooley's Anemia Foundation | | Asbury Park Press

Country music event to benefit Cooley's Anemia Foundation

Wendy Purcell • September 3, 2009

Michael Patrick's 3rd annual Jersey Country Revival taking place this Saturday, Sept. 5th at Brewster's in Bradley Beach, is going to be bigger and better than ever!

Featured artists include John Eddie, Bob Polding, Michael Patrick & The Suburban Hillbillies, Victory Gin, Old No. 7, Chuck Schaeffer, Anthony Manno, Rodeo Clowns and many, many more! I recently spoke with Michael Patrick about this annual event.

Michael Patrick is the undisputed Country music Evangelist of New Jersey. Not only has he founded the Jersey Country Revival, but also Suburban Roots Concert Series; a series of intimate concerts in the New Jersey area featuring national and local Americana, Roots, Folk and Country music artists.

Michael also fronts his own bands, “The Suburban Hillbillies,” and his Johnny Cash tribute band, “Ring of Fire,” and both will be featured players in this year's Jersey Country Revival. In recent years he has shared the stage with many national artists including Randy Travis just last month, Marty Stuart, Roseanne Cash, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Outlaws, Justin Townes Earle and David Allen Coe to name a few.

This year's Jersey Country Revival's mission is two-fold in that it is celebrating its 3rd year of showcasing Country music artists in New Jersey, while raising awareness of and donating proceeds to The Cooley's Anemia Foundation. Cooley's anemia (or Thalassemia) is a fairly common blood disorder, and one that is close to Michael's heart as it affects members of his family.

In layman's terms, Thalassemia is a genetic disorder that occurs when there are not enough red blood cells being produced. The treatments, which include blood transfusions (sometimes bi-weekly), lead to an overabundance of iron in the blood, which then leads to even more severe medical complications which also need to be treated. Cooley's anemia can be a very expensive, physically debilitating and fatal disorder, one which takes a toll not only on the sufferers, but also their family members and loved ones. The Cooley's Anemia Foundation (CAF) is participating in the event by volunteering with staff, many of whom are sufferers of the illness.

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There will be raffles and prizes supplied by donors Colts Neck Custom Shop (Finest Guitars on the Jersey Shore), Mattison Marquette, Robin Trower Concert Tickets, The CBS Late Show with David Letterman and others, with proceeds benefiting CAF. The biggest contributor helping to get this year's event off the ground is Michael Patrick's good friend and Suburban Roots Concert Series co-promoter, Emma Birchill, who along with Michael Patrick, has been pounding on doors and working her special breed of charm to secure great artists, prizes, promotions and PR.

This year's JCR headliner is singer/songwriter and NJ rocker John Eddie, a legend on the Jersey Shore who has also left his mark across the map. In recent years John has added a more Country/Folksy flair to his musical repertoire. This is most apparent in his latest, critically acclaimed CD, “Who The Hell Is John Eddie?” on Lost Highway Records. His songs are witty and honest, and his performances are gritty and electrifying.

The other acts in this year's Revival are no slouches either. The show begins at Noon when The Rodeo Clowns take the stage leading up to the final acts which include Michael Patrick's "Ring of Fire" at 7:00, Bob Polding (who just this past Sunday opened for Peter Frampton at The Stone Pony) at 9:00, "The Suburban Hillbillies" at 10:00 and John Eddie at 11:00 til' the cows come home!!!

The 3rd Annual Jersey Country Revival on September 5th is about bringing people together for a day of music, awareness and most importantly fund-raising. Whether people come out because they are already familiar with the effects of Cooley's anemia/Thalassemia, or they come because they are fans of great Country music and know little to nothing about Cooley's, they're certain to leave entertained, excited, informed and feeling good knowing they did their part to help out a great cause.

Whatever it is that brings people to the show, the word about New Jersey Country and Cooley's anemia is sure to reach a whole new, larger audience and achieve record-breaking donations. The event is an all day affair starting at noon for a $10 admission fee, and $20 admission after 9:00pm. Guests can leave and re-enter once they purchase their wristbands.


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