New Jersey Stage

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Are You Listening?" Book Featured In WBJB's Membership Pledge Drive

(BELMAR, NJ) – It was an easy decision for music journalist Gary Wien.  When asked if his new book "Are You Listening?" could be used as a reward gift for WBJB's membership pledge drive, there wasn't a moment of hesitation.  Wien knew that his book, which takes a look at his picks for the top 100 albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey artists, was a perfect fit for the local NPR station who was one of the few to play many of the artists in the book.

The membership drive takes place August 18-22.  Those making a pledge of $50 or more will get a package that includes a copy of "Are You Listening?" along with other items as a thank you for supporting the station.  To make a pledge online, visit http://www.wbjb.org/pledge/

"90.5 The Night (WBJB) plays an important role in the local music community," explained Wien.  "Without them, it's very possible that few of the artists in my book would have ever been heard.  It was an honor to have the book included as one of their reward items.  I hope those who receive it enjoy not only reading about the artists they know from the station, but learn about a few they aren't familiar with as well."

The book was the culmination of several months of non-stop listening of music by New Jersey artists released within the last decade. Constantly searching the web for any NJ artist he could find, Wien wound up reviewing over 2,200 releases. He listened to the good, the bad, and the very ugly; yet somehow remained a music fan through it all.

"Are You Listening?" represents a diverse look at New Jersey's rich rock and roll scene. Artists span from all parts of the Garden State including the music scenes of Asbury Park, New Brunswick, Hoboken, Trenton, and Jersey City. Popular national artists like Bruce Springsteen, My Chemical Romance, and The Gaslight Anthem are featured alongside independent singer-songwriters like Keith Monacchio, Brian Fitzpatrick, and Anthony D'Amato. Genres range from the folk of John Gorka to the indie rock of Titus Andronicus; from the Americana of Brian Molnar & the Naked Hearts to the punk of The Bouncing Souls; and from the Beatlesque pop of Fountains of Wayne to the post-hardcore of Thursday.

The book features stunning photographs, full record track listings, and stories about each artist and each release. In addition, the book also contains a list of the top 100 songs of the decade.  It is available at Amazon.com and select book stores and record stores in New Jersey.

Wien has long covered the New Jersey music scene. His first book ("Beyond the Palace") was a comprehensive look at Asbury Park's rock and roll history and contained interviews with over 40 artists. He followed that by creating the popular website AsburyMusic.com and the monthly print publication Upstage Magazine. An online radio station at ThePenguinRocks.com was added shortly thereafter.

From 2003-2008, Wien's work resulted in three consecutive Asbury Music Awards for Top Music Journalist, several awards for Top Music Website and Top Online Radio Station, and one for Top Music Publication in which Upstage Magazine became the first to beat out The Aquarian for the honor. He currently produces a magazine for a national association based in Princeton while freelancing and running the website NewJerseyStage.com.

For more information on the book, visit http://www.njmusic.org