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Thomas Wesley Stern: Part Funk, Part Folk

 

By DON STINE

ASBURY PARK – It will be a little bit folksy and a little bit funky in Asbury Park Sat., July 13 as the band Thomas Wesley Stern, above, takes the stage on the Asbury Park boardwalk.

The four-member band, from Jackson Township, will host its CD release party at Langosta Lounge at 10 p.m. Admission is free.

“This band is like Simon and Garfunkel meet Steve Earl, like rebel country meets folk. They are very unique and very cool,” said local entertainment promoter Pete Mantas.

Band members are Gary Mayer (banjo and guitar, vocals), Joseph Makovieki (guitar and vocals), James Black (upright bass and electric bass), and James Herdman (drums and violin).

“The band has the ability to play different instruments, including the ukulele. We could pretty much rotate in a circle until we have played just about every instrument,” Meyer said.

The band just raised over $9,000 on Kickstarter to pay for costs to record their third CD, called “Thomas Wesley Stern,” which was released at the Strand Center for the Arts in Lakewood on June 21.

Many of the 10 songs on the new album relate to the aftermath and effects of Superstorm Sandy.

“The theme to the record was partially inspired by Sandy. My grandparent’s house was destroyed and some of the songs we wrote with that feeling in mind,” Meyer said.

And the band’s sound is both nostalgic and contemporary.

“Our music is definitely very folksy but not limited to traditional folk music or bluegrass. We are more contemporary because of our electric instruments. It’s difficult to describe our band,” Meyer said.

And Thomas Wesley Stern, which is named after the middle names of current and past band members, likes playing in Asbury Park.

“It has really changed for the better and a lot of people come and have fun in Asbury Park. We have noticed a big change and we really like playing here,” Mayer said.

 
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