For years, the intimate lecture room space at the Stephen Crane House in Asbury Park has been one of the local arts community’s best kept secrets; hosting numerous story and poetry readings, classic film screenings, lectures, original theatrical works, and occasional musical programs.
On the afternoon of Sat., Jan. 11, the music returns to the historic home at 508 Fourth Ave., in a special “Winterfest warm-up” to the season’s most hotly anticipated live music happening on the Jersey Shore.
Going up at 3:00 p.m., “Songwriters at the Crane House for Light of Day” represents a first-ever alliance between the home base of the Asbury Park Historical Society, and the nonprofit Light of Day Foundation. The fundraising entity for Parkinson’s Disease awareness and research presents its 20th annual “Light of Day Winterfest” between Jan 16 and 19; an expansive and eclectic schedule book-ended by special events that run from Jan. 10 through Jan. 25. With the myriad music venues and downtown businesses of Asbury Park as its canvas, the Winterfest slate of events has drawn the enthusiastic participation of hundreds of other multi-generational music makers from the greater Asbury area and the region beyond — most famously Bruce Springsteen, from whose song “Just Around the Corner to the Light of Day” the ever-expanding endeavor takes its name and its inspiration.
For this first public event of 2020, the Crane House will team with Shore music veterans George and Brenda Wirth, whose activities on the local scene have ranged from the co-founding of the Musicians on a Mission collective, to an acclaimed series of “Rosie’s Cafe” house-party concerts at venues that have included their Brick Township home. As an extension of George’s own long-running “Words and Music” series, the January 11 matinee will find the singer-songwriter and guitarist hosting, conversing and jamming with a pair of special guest artists, in addition to performing Wirth originals that include such poetic slices of Shore life as “The Lights of Brigantine” and the Asbury Park epic “Memorial Drive.”
Sharing the Crane House stage with George will be two of his own favorite collaborators from past editions of “Words and Music.” Stockholm, NJ-based Regina Goldy is a crafter and interpreter of folk-blues compositions who has staked out a fervent following in just a few short years of live performance, while Middletown’s own Frank Patrouch has spent decades honing his wryly observant takes on local life, among them “Used to Look Like Springsteen” and “Jersey Pines.”
Doors open at 2:30 p.m. for the 3 p.m. performance of “Songwriters at the Crane House,” with complimentary refreshments served and limited general admission seating available on a first-come basis. A suggested donation of $10 will be taken at the door, with proceeds dedicated to the Light of Day Foundation. Contact the Stephen Crane House at (732)361-0189.