New Spotify Playlist

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I’ve recently had the urge to make a playlist of all the artists who’ve helped, inspired, or played alongside me over the last year. It’s a year-end goal for 2019 that has popped into my mind as the days grow shorter and the temperature continues to drop.

With that in mind, I realized that there are too many artists who fall into the same category from 2018 who weren’t given the same anthology. So, I made a chronological Spotify playlist in honor of the musicians who have come into my life, whether they realize it or not.

Some of these bands and songwriters were added due to concerts I attended; some were added because we shared a stage. Whatever the case, the playlist is memoir of my 2018 .

In chronological order:

1 “Tougher Than the Rest - Springsteen on Broadway” - Bruce Springsteen

Of course the boss makes the list right off the bat. My brother Liam was gracious enough to invite me as his +1 to see the incredible broadway performance in on January 16, 2018. We joked that we were still in the nosebleeds even in a 900-person cap venue.

2. “Hope the High Road" - Jason Isbell

Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, NJ - February 5, 2018

3. “For the Lonely Ones” - Lucero

Crossroads, Garwood, NJ - February 8, 2018

4. “Young Dysonians” - Mercy Union

I don’t think they were out as a band yet, but Mercy Union opened for Menzingers on March 8, 2018, and it was phenomenal.

Crossroads, Garwood, NJ - March 8, 2019

5. “After the Party” - Menzingers

Headliner - Crossroads, Garwood, NJ - March 8, 2019

6. “Hudson County” - Ferentz & the Felons

After running into my buddy Matt Waz at the Mercy Union/Menzingers show in March, I was put on a bill with him and his band the following month. I met Zak and the guys the day of the show; genuine humans with the same drive.

Pet Shop, Jersey City, NJ - April 10, 2018

7. “Heartbreak” - Jernee Mill

Billed on the same Jersey City show, Jernee Mill featured some friends from Middlesex County. Pet Shop, Jersey City, NJ - April 10, 2018

8. “See You On The Other Side” - Brian Fallon

Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ - April 29, 2018

9. “Lean On Sheena” - Bouncing Souls

Acoustic Set at Crossroads, Garwood, NJ - May 11, 2018

10. “1933” - Frank Turner

I took two days off of work to see this show. Both were recovery days. The show ended, the lights came on, and I remember crowd members dancing around the room to silence. One guy held up a lonely shoe that someone had lost in the carnage. Later, my cousin Matt, Waz and I wandered the streets of Philly looking for open bars in the wee hours of a Tuesday night. We found them.

The Fillmore, Philadelphia, PA - June 5, 2018

11. “Lay It On Me” - Vance Joy

Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY - June 14, 2018

12. “Breathe” - Chris Schulz & the Barren Pines

I met these guys through their drummer, Dave Patino. Dave, Chris and the rest of the band opened the very first “full band” show I ever played for the release of This Midnight. Another group of genuinely good people, I couldn’t have asked for a better bill for that show.

The Saint, Asbury Park, NJ - July 20, 2018

13. “Ash Moon” - Ferentz & the Felons

Of course I had Zak and the guys co-bill.

The Saint, Asbury Park, NJ - July 20, 2018

14. “May 12th, 1916; A Song for for James Connolly” - Niall Connolly

The first time I heard Niall Connolly sing this song I cried like a fucking baby. He was opening for Glen Hansard at the Capitol Theatre. I spoke to him after the show, and without surprise, was one of the most humble songwriters I had come across to date. I bought a CD, and like many CDs before it, it was the only CD in my truck for the following six months.

Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY - July 27th, 2018

15. “Falling Slowly” - Glen Hansard

Hands down, the best performer I have ever seen.

Headliner - Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY - July 27th, 2018

16. “The Next Storm” - Frank Turner

I attended Campfire Punkrock during the summer of 2018. I met, sang alongside, and learned from Frank Turner amongst some of the nicest, down-to-earth and respectable people I have ever had the privilege of meeting. The week turned out to be a turning point in my songwriting, performing, and career as a whole.

Full Moon Resort, Big Indian, NY - July 20 - August 3, 2018

17. “Your Light’s Still On” - Ryan Van Slooten

I met this guy at CFPR, and found out he writes, performs, and records all of his music. All of it. Instrumentals, vocals, mixing, everything. Beyond that, he’s got that Minnesota kindness that hasn't really made its way to New Jersey yet. This resulted in sharing a few tequila shots.

Full Moon Resort, Big Indian, NY - July 20 - August 3, 2018

18. “Lucky 7’s” - Jared Hart

Opener - The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ - August 18, 2018

19. “The Boat” - Chuck Ragan

Opener - The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ - August 18, 2018

20. “The ‘59 Sound” - The Gaslight Anthem

Probably the last time I’ll see these guys play in full. Amanda and I were on the barricade at set’s beginning because we’d been around since doors. She’d never been to a concert with so much crowd surfing, and turned to me at one point and yelled, “I want to crowd surf!”

I pointed out that we were a bit far up to crowd surf, but she didn’t care. I tapped the guy next to me on the shoulder, told him the situation, and we lifted her in the air. She traveled two feet, was met by a bouncer across the barricade, and scurried around to the front of the crowd at the right side of the stage. She was up and back within sixty seconds. “That was incredible,” she said.

Headliner - The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ - August 18, 2018

21. “Save It For Later” - The English Beat

Sea.Hear.Now., Asbury Park, NJ - September 29 - 28, 2018

22. “Be More Kind” - Frank Turner

I ran into Frank on the boardwalk before his set at Sea.Hear.Now. I asked him how he’d been, and he pointed to the ocean and said, “I woke up to this, I’m fucking great!”

Sea.Hear.Now., Asbury Park, NJ - September 29 - 28, 2018

23. “Every Time I Hear That Song” - Brandi Carlisle

Mind blowing.

Sea.Hear.Now., Asbury Park, NJ - September 29 - 28, 2018

24. “Three Little Birds” - Bob Marley & the Wailers

Though Bob was there in spirit, hearing this song on the beach made 12-year-old me happier than a free breakfast buffet (I was a fat kid).

Sea.Hear.Now., Asbury Park, NJ - September 29 - 28, 2018

25. “Strange American Dream” - Rayland Baxter

Sea.Hear.Now., Asbury Park, NJ - September 29 - 28, 2018

26. “Your Wild Years” - The Menzingers

Sea.Hear.Now., Asbury Park, NJ - September 29 - 28, 2018

27. “Hard Times” - The Parlor Mob

I remember driving to my part-time job at A’s Home Center blasting this in my truck. Starting work at 7am on weekends truly is a hard time for a young man.

Sea.Hear.Now., Asbury Park, NJ - September 29 - 28, 2018

28. “Mike Walton” - Adjust the Sails

Most of the shows I play are well put together. By that I mean they’re somewhat promoted, advertised or, at the very least, confirmed. This show, however, was a genuine shit show. I couldn’t get a hold of the booker to confirm if it was even happening, so instead I called the other act that was on the bill, Adjust the Sails.

I spoke to Shane, and he told me that he was in the same boat. We decided to do the show whether it was on or not. When we did, the bar was mostly empty beside the sound guy, two bar tenders and four or five pool sharks in the far right corner who couldn’t care less about our shouts and acoustic guitars.

Didn’t matter. We played, had a few beers, and came out the other side.

29. “No Future Part Three: Escape” - Titus Andronicus

God, I love these guys.

House of Independents, Asbury Park, NJ - November 1, 2018

30. “Millionaire” - Chris Stapleton

Jon Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA - November 3, 2018

EJ’s, Seaside Park, NJ - October 13, 2018

31. “Total Disaster” - Rhett Miller

Representative of this show, I had to put down a $50 deposit for my opening slot. If I sold $50+ in tickets, I got the money back. Confident as ever, I figured that’d be an easy feat.

It wasn’t. I sold three tickets: one to my girlfriend, one to Dave (my drummer), and one to Dave’s wife, Ash. Dave and Ash live across the street from the venue.

Stanhope House, Stanhope, NJ - November 8, 2018

32. “Red Lights” - Brian Fallon

90.5 the Night had a fundraiser in the fall of 2018. I used to listen to the station from my office computer in Paterson, caught wind of the event, and jumped at the opportunity to see the show. It was like Fallon on Broadway.

House of Independents, Asbury Park, NJ - November 14, 2018

33. “Lookers” - Menzingers

Brooklyn Steel, Brooklyn, NY - November 23, 2018

34. “Silver Dollars” - Mercy Union

FM Bar, Jersey City, NJ - December 22, 2018

35. “Centerville Blues” - Ferentz & the Felons

FM Bar, Jersey City, NJ - December 22, 2018

And that about does it. 2018 in a nutshell.

2019 has been a whirlwind. The fact that we’ve entered its last quarter is mind boggling. Time to start working on that anthology…

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