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J-Pat on Wave Gathering 2007
James Dalton
Sometimes we all forget who is around playing all the same clubs and cafes, or maybe we don't even know because unlike a lot of other regions we have loads of artists and bands out and about, for better or worse. - James Dalton
by Josh Davidson
James Dalton
James Dalton

It was about 30 years ago, when day-glow art lined the walls of many Asbury Park clubs. Rock 'n' roll, rhythm and blues and traditional blues music filled the night time air. The spirit of cooperation among the musicians, fans and club owners was unprecedented and many of its facets are yet to be matched.

From May 18-20, a new crop of fans, bands and promoters (not excluding those of the past) will try to revive that spirit in an event called the Wave Gathering.

During the event, Asbury clubs like the Stone Pony (913 Ocean Avenue), the Saint (601 Main Street), the  Wonderbar (5th & Ocean Avenues) and Deep (1000 Ocean Avenue) will feature acts such as Readymade Breakup, Toby Lightman, Stringbean and the Stalkers and Jason Stanley - and that's on the opening night alone. The event will continue with bands and musicians like Val Emmich, Bobby Strange and James Dalton.

It will be a gathering of top-notch artists from the area and beyond, each who support the rebirth of one of most renown music scenes in rock 'n' roll history.

Dalton, an eclectic local musician who recently returned from a touring Europe, will play the Wonderbar at 1:40 p.m. on May 19; the Brickwall (522 Cookman Avenue) at 10 p.m. on the same date and Sunset Landing (1215 Sunset Avenue) at 12:30 p.m. on May 20.  (Note: Performance times are subject to change, so check all dates and times at www.wavegathering.com.)

His bluesy, deep-ranged vocals have always complimented his creative use of harmonicas, acoustic guitars and mandolins. Also known as J-Pat, Dalton plays an old-school style of music in a modern manner.  His music is rootsy, sincere and uninhibited, as it delves into the core of its performer's soul.

Chorus and Verse recently asked Dalton to talk about the Wave Gathering and its contribution to the Asbury scene.

How did you get involved with Wave Gathering?

Last year when they initially started this cool little festival, I had heard it through the grapevine that Gordon Brown (Wave Gathering promoter, formerly of the bands Highway 9 and Mister Reality) was trying to contact me to do a slot.  I was really flattered, but I was already committed to be in Europe around that time. Don't get me wrong, this festival looks exciting and I am happy that this year I am around and Gordon and company caught up with me, but Europe is Europe and all that.

I think that they were interested in reaching out to me because I have been involved around the Asbury scene for what feels like ages now. I have played everywhere and with everybody and even though this will be a regional and national thing, I think they respect who is in the backyard, which says a lot about them.

What are some advantages to having so many local bands play at once?

Sometimes we all forget who is around playing all the same clubs and cafes, or maybe we don't even know because unlike a lot of other regions we have loads of artists and bands out and about, for better or worse. And it's good to be able to run around and catch as many as possible. For me, I travel a whole lot now and I am always missing what's going on at home and this gives me the opportunity not only to play lots of music, five sets at this year's fest for me, but it will turn into a really cool social event, giving me the chance to see people and hear people I don't get to anymore.

How will this contribute to the growth of the Asbury scene?

Well, besides putting a stamp on the town that tells people that not only is this a music town, but a festival one as well, it definitely brings regional camaraderie to our local area. I think since so many of us don't get the chance to hang out together like this very often. You will see a lot more different people socializing and maybe even working together in the future.

Do you think the Asbury scene is in a positive state right now?

I think that the Asbury scene is in a positive direction right now. Despite my involvement over the years, I have kind of been on the outside looking in, as of late. That's one of the reasons I am so stoked to be involved, because I feel like I can come back in, you know?

But looking in over the last two years from the outside, I have been disappointed with "scensters" taking themselves too seriously. There was this big fish/little pond thing going on and I think it has started to fade out so, like I said, it's back in a positive direction, which is cool.

[ Websites: www.jamesdalton.info, www.wavegathering.com ]

Josh Davidson
Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and njcoast.com. He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.
©2007, Chorus and Verse
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