Monday, August 5, 2013

My Hometown: A Tribute to New Jersey, 2013

Music from the Garden State

The family and I are preparing to drive to Richmond, VA tomorrow so that CoolDaughter #1 can participate in the 2013 Eastern Zone Long Course Swimming Championships. It would be an understatement to say that I'm proud of the girl.

Last Wednesday night at the first zone team practice, the coach said, "From now until next Saturday, you are no longer CJAC or Berkeley Aquatic Club or Somerset Valley Y. You're New Jersey Swimming." As impressed as I am by the fact that my 10-year-old daughter worked her butt off -- getting up all summer at 6AM to go to practice -- to achieve her goal, I'm doubly proud that she gets to be one of the kids to represent the state of New Jersey at the meet.

These are two of the three team shirts that the kids will wear on different days of the meet:

Here we are, almost ten months after Sandy; and I guarantee that some of the 170 kids on this year's zone team are still feeling the effects of the storm.

I think it's appropriate, then, to call your attention to My Hometown: A Tribute to NJ, a compilation album of New Jersey artists covering songs by other New Jersey artists with all proceeds going to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. The album, released last month by New Jersey's FDR, is 19 tracks and covers New Jersey-born pop from The Shirelles to Bruce Springsteen to Pete Yorn to Yo La Tengo.

Janet LaBelle delivers a beautifully spare, ukulele accompanied version of "Baby It's You." Yo La Tengo's moving "Our Way to Fall" (one of two YLT songs here) gets an appropriately moving cover from Roomtone. Jon Caspi & The First Gun give us a relatively epic in its 1 minute and 14 second length take on The Bouncing Souls' "I Like Your Mom." The Bongos' "The Bulrushes" gets two interpretations: One by The Tim Lee 3 and the other, paired seamlessly with Patti Smith's "Dancing Barefoot," by Jim Testa & His Inappropriately Younger Band.

Three Bruce Springsteen tracks make the cut. Keith Monacchio goes for a non-obvious choice with his acoustic version of Born to Run's "Meeting Across the River." Paper Jets do an excellent, faithful rendition of the oft-covered "Atlantic City," one of my all-time favorites. "My Hometown" was never a favorite of mine, but The Successful Failures improve on the original by getting rid of that cheesy 1980s organ.

In all, My Hometown highlights some of the great pop music that's come out of New Jersey along with some of the great New Jersey acts working today; and it's all for a great cause.

You can get My Hometown: A Tribute to New Jersey over at the FDR Label Bandcamp site. All proceeds from the sale of the album benefit the New Jersey Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.

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