We Love Harry with All our Heart
That’s just the way it is
Coming of age at the Jersey shore was inextricably linked to good music. The older my generation gets, some of our best lifelong memories involve clubs we frequented with our friends, bands we followed, that indelible memory of when Bruce showed up in a local club, our first kiss on the boardwalk… Good times.
Music and the youth scene was so intermingled in the 70s/80s, it’s hard for many aging boomer Jersey shore natives to recall the good old days without some kind of club or bar band experience.
Two of the best cover bands on the Jersey shore from that era, Holme and Cats on a Smooth Surface,* had one cat in common: Harry Filkin.
Surrounded by fans, family, and friends, Harry released his own original album last month at the famed Wonder Bar in Asbury Park. Although he had been writing his own original songs for decades, he confided to me,
“Inside me, I always felt that something was missing. I was not doing that one thing I really wanted to do.”
The new album, Harry Filkin, captures all the love, joy, heartbreak, frustration, and raw energy Harry’s kept bottled up for all these years.
And we’re all the beneficiaries of Harry’s emotional roller coaster. The songs breathe new life into the magic that is the Jersey shore music scene. There’s a soulful aspect to the community that comes together to support a local musician. Harry’s sold out debut party at the Wonder Bar paid tribute to that wonderful phenomenon. Even former radio DJ Mark McEwen, at legendary NYC WNEW-FM, was moved by the album and release party.
The eleven songs on the album run the gamut from searing ballad, to rockabilly, to country, to hard-charging rock guitar by the album’s masterful producer Marc Ribler. Ribler, who arranged, produced, and mixed the album assembled a world-class band including star talent such as The Spin Doctors’ Aaron Comess on Drums, Jack Daley (Lenny Kravitz) on Bass, Andy Burton (John Mayer) on Keyboards, and Tommy LaBella (10,000 Maniacs) on Saxophone. Other musicians and singers include Graham Maby (Joe Jackson), Freedom Bremner (Screaming Headless Torsos), Rodney Howard (Gavin DeGraw, Avril Lavigne), and a host of others. The album was produced at the famed Shorefire Recording Studios in Long Branch, NJ by Joe DeMaio.
Here is a sample from the new album:
*There is a charming anecdote in Bruce Springsteen’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where he cites meeting his future bandmate and wife, Patti Scialfa, at a Cats on a Smooth Surface gig.