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A New Direction: The NJ Alt-Folk Americana MOvement

November 21, 2014
The Rail House /Rahway, NJ

“A New Direction: The NJ Alt-Folk Americana Movement “
by: Shawn Butler/Writer/BNS Sessions

Those who were fortunate to experience the brilliant production and bands that graced the stage at The Rail House in Rahway, witnessed the revitalization of the Alt Folk Americana Movement in New Jersey. The creative output and production on the surface level may have appeared as your run of the mill working class suburban town that is yearning for something other than the awful stereotypes associated with life outside of any major city, which is typically people who congregate at a bar while doing little conversing and socializing because sports screens and TV’s have distracted, co-opted and overtaken the role of a hypnotist. After all, we are talking about anywhere USA in the middle of one of the most mocked states on this landmass where supposedly nothing fun and innovative happens. Therefore, why would one want to leave the plethora of city life and accessibility for a show in New Jersey?

It is quite simple; to experience the dismantling of these stereotypes and injection of life and passion by producer Brittney on Fire and the sonic output of Rose Boulevard, Cold Weather Company, Lowlight, and Small Planet Radio, which can be heard beyond NJ and the tri-state area. Immerse yourself into a standing room only crowd of people witnessing sincere, genuine, skillful, and passionate playing from beginning to end. Each band brought an energetic cohesiveness and intrigue with enough breathing room and elasticity that kept the attention and curiosity of 175 people for 4.5hrs. Fueled with a fury of influences that ranged from Leadbelly, Neil Young, Patsy Cline and Townes Van Zandt to Uncle Tupelo, Calexico, and Neko Case, they emitted an innovative sound of compositions that cemented its own flavor and dialect without copying those that preceded them.

What we are witnessing is the new movement of NJ Alt-Folk Americana and it is happening in the triangular scene between Princeton, New Brunswick, and Asbury Park. Rarely over the past decade has an ensemble of talented musicians collectively gathered before us with such passion and awareness. It was a co-active arrangement between the bands and audience, a call and response between sender and receiver. They delivered to us sensational movements and vibrations that touched the soul and evoked emotions from our inner being. By 2am we walked away craving for more with that “wow” and “blown the fuck away” feeling from the impact of the entire lineup. In the state that has produced and delivered Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen and most recently Sharon Van Etten, Nicole Atkins, and Roadside Graves, we realize that talent is permeating all over this wondrous state. For Rose Boulevard, Cold Weather Company, Lowlight, and Small Planet Radio, they will continue to play, captivate, and leave their imprints along the way. All across this country and others with material and worldwide releases due out in 2015.

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