New Jersey Stage

Friday, December 31, 2010


(Stanhope, NJ) -– January 2011 Less than six months after the re-opening of a legendary venue, the Stanhope House has managed to pack January with big events! Musical legends, old favorites, and new talents are all starting to flock to the historic roadhouse for great music five days a week and a brand new menu all about home cookin' and comfort food!

Here are a few highlights:

The first act coming to The Stanhope House for 2011 are The Shockenaw Mountain Boys headlining January 6th with Matt O'Ree as the opener.

The Shockenaw Mountain Boys are a quartet that consists of Tim Carbone, Andy Goessling, John Skehan and Johnny Grubb of the national touring act Railroad Earth. The much loved Railroad Earth is a roots and Americana-based amplified Bluegrass band from Stillwater, New Jersey. They've released two albums on Sugar Hill Records (2002's "Bird In A House" and 2004's "The Good Life") and one on SCI Fidelity (2008's "Amen Corner"). They've also amassed a huge and loyal fan base that follows them from show to show. The Shockenaw Mountain Boys, a smaller branch of Railroad Earth, play music that combines elements of bluegrass, rock and roll, jazz, celtic and more. The group is also known for its extensive live improvisation and lyrical songwriting.

The Matt O'Ree Band, a local four piece Blues-Rock based band, won't be an opening act for too much longer. Matt O'Ree, Eric Safka, Scotty Bennert, and John Hummel are an electric force when on stage together they put on a high energy performance you won't forget. Matt O'Ree, who was influenced by a range of guitarists including Albert King, Howlin' Wolf, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan formed a band built on a down and dirty, nasty tones that have a sexy aftertaste. O'Ree beat out 4,000 other guitar players to win the national Guitarmaggedon guitar competition in 2006. The band is also a four time 2005 Asbury Park award winner.

On Friday, January 14th another local Blues great, Billy Hector, will be gracing the Stanhope House stage. Billy Hector began playing guitar over 40 years ago at the age of nine and his influences include artists like Freddie King, T-Bone Walker, The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix. Billy Hector has twice received the Best Guitarist Award from music critic Bob Makin of the East Coast Rocker who states, "Billy plays with guts and displays some of the best chops you'll see anywhere." Billy and his band shared billing with Bonnie Raitt at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "Tribute to Muddy Waters". Afterwards, Raitt said the beauty of Hector's sound brought tears to her eyes. 

Billy recently took home 3 Asbury Park Music Awards for "Best Guitarist", "Best Blues Band" and the "Living Legend Award". Billy Hector is recognized as one of the hottest guitarists and songwriters playing the original circuit and serves up what more than one reviewer has called "one of the best shows you'll ever see". The Stanhope House is thrilled to have him!

On January 28th the Stanhope House welcomes Kim Wilson And His All Star Blues Review. Wilson is famous from his days as the lead singer and front man, from the uber-popular, Fabulous Thunderbirds.

NPR said it best... "As front man for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Kim Wilson has proven to be a consummate performer and devoted blues lover. But it's in his solo work that he truly shines. A musician's musician, many consider Wilson to be one of the premier blues harmonica players in America. His style is grounded in the past -- as evidenced by the many classic blues and R&B tunes he covers -- but it's also uniquely his own. And his vocal style rivals -- or outshines -- any blues singer out there today: his tone is buttery and rich, slightly scarred, and never in a hurry. Raw and yet refined, this contemporary blues will make you be glad that you've got the blues." NPR Weekend Edition - Saturday, June 21, 2003.

Although Wilson has often been compared to legendary harmonica player Little Walter, he calls the analogy "sacrilegious." He says his biggest influence was Muddy Waters, whom he befriended after moving to Austin. Although he acknowledges the influence of many great blues harmonica musicians, he calls his own playing a "very modern" take on a traditional music form that is thoroughly his own. "I think that you have so many influences and you steal so much stuff that finally it just gets mixed up into you," Wilson says.

The Stanhope House is one of the last blues bastions left in America. The former private home, stagecoach stop, general store, post office, tavern, rooming house (some say brothel) and hotel became well-known in the early 1970's for featuring a list of performers that reads like a who's who of Blues-Rock history. Paul Butterfield, Charlie Musselwhite, Dr. John, Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson, Billy Branch, Lonnie Mack, Son Seals, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Hubert Sumlin, Johnny Copeland, Richie Havens, John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Albert King and Buddy Guy rocked the stage, most more than once. For this year make The Stanhope House a go-to stop for your 2011 New Year's resolution!