James Dalton

The St. Moritz Scene Returns Home

Singer/Songwriter jpat, an artist who has created a buzz in the New Jersey music scene, returned last month from a tour of Europe.

"Music scenes are different wherever you go, but there are still some of those common threads we all know as locals kids trying to do something," jpat said.

Upon his first arrival in Europe, jpat did not find much of a music scene. But he developed methods of tailoring his shows to a brand new audience.

"I spent six weeks or so in St. Moritz, Switzerland where, other than a few lounge pianists, I was basically the music scene, believe it or not," said jpat (a/k/a James Dalton). "Then, I was up a mountain in a cottage in western Austria followed by an enlightening week in Krakow. After that, I hung out in Prague for a week, then southern Germany, then back to St. Moritz and then to Milan for a couple days before flying home."

Jpat said it always feels good to play music outside of the Jersey scene. After doing a great deal of traveling over the last few years, he's found that any new place can be exciting. He said during his trip he learned that he needs songs with a more universal appeal, other than ones his audiences here identify with.

"I learned that people, especially women, love to dance and as much as I like the slow melancholic stuff," he said, "I need to start making some more up-tempo music. There was a lot of Latin music everywhere that really got inside me."

Of course, a trip overseas means exposure to different styles of music. Jpat many times found himself watching German MTV, which exposed him to a lot of interesting and "sometimes humorous" hip-hop and dance songs from throughout Europe in many other languages.

He already has established himself around New Jersey by appearing solo, as well as sitting in and backing up artists such as Mimi Cross, Nicole Atkins and Virginia. Jpat, who has been known to bring down the house with his voice, harmonica or mandolin, was also a member of Secret Sound and the Josh Zandman Trio. He has hosted open-mics at Tumulty's Pub in New Brunswick and the Internet Café in Red Bank, and appeared at the Saint and Stone Pony, both in Asbury Park.

Jpat - who normally pre-books his own gigs - received help getting shows in Switzerland from a booking agent. The agent may also help jpat go to China this winter. Jpat said he plans to head out on a few more trips like this one over the next year. For now, he will continue workshop Soul Stew - a full-band concept held Fridays in October at Asbury Park's Wonder Bar. He said he is also working on "a few official-style releases."

"And, hopefully next spring I'll be out as a support act doing some domestic touring, among other things," he said.

[ Website: www.jpat.info ]

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.