Ken Shane
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Ken Shane

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"Circle Magazine Review"

Must be something in the water. Or maybe it's those Jersey tomatoes. People from New Jersey can really carry a tune. Let's see, there's Sinatra, Springsteen, and Paul Simon. Jon Bon Jovi and Dionne Warwick and The Four Seasons and Fountains of Wayne.

And now there's Ken Shane. Raised in Atlantic City, Shane has created his own category in New Jersey's impressive list of musicians. The music on Shane's debut CD, South Ridgeway Avenue, resonates with haunting images of summers come and gone. Painting pictures of a pre-casino South Jersey, the singer/songwriter's voice warms like surprise sunshine on a balmy boardwalk morning. Shades of Jackson Browne-like writing weaves throughout the tracks, luminous in images, emotions, and reflections. Shane's music muses of beginnings and endings, and with smooth vocals as soothing as the ocean's motion, the lyrics carry the listener on the waves of a journey that hasn't yet ended.

The opening song, "Summer and Smoke," sets the tone for the album with a reminiscence of seaside days long gone. Bittersweet yet hopeful, the song's poignant meditation on summer's end leaves the listener on the edge of a dream, waiting for more.

Lyrics of broken dreams, searching for faith, endless nights, and crawling to the light infuse the second track, "Good Friday," with an aching beauty accented by perfect percussion and a gorgeous guitar lead.

Themes of loss and redemption thread seamlessly throughout the album, with poetic shadows and memories flickering through songs such as "Disappeared" and the title track, "South Ridgeway Ave

In the wake of September 11, the songwriter captures the uncertainty and surreal feelings of tenuous days in "The Motions," with its lyrics of grief and healing.

A hidden track at the CD's end pays a tender tribute to Shane's grandmother in the son,"My Grandmother's Hands," which ends on a note of longing and faith in a future when all those who once lived at South Ridgeway Avenue will be together once again.

Shane's vocals and guitar are backed up by a band of talented musicians which includes Stanky Brown Group drummer Jerry Cordasco, Rich Bunkiewicz on bass, & guitarists Herb Maitlandt, and Walt Stacey of Big Orange Cone. Daze of Rain's Chris D'Amico plays keyboard and adds backing vocals to the mix.

"My music is about what's been lost, both personally and as a society, but it is also never without hope for the future, and a chance for redemption," says the artist, who often performs live in Asbury Park and at various venues throughout northern Jersey.

The listeners of South Ridgeway Avenue have a hope for the future: that Ken Shane releases another album, soon. The ghosts of his first album linger in the mind long after the silence falls and the carousel runs out of steam. The CD is as magical as the place where the shore meets the sea.

Linda Oatman High
The Circle Magazine

(October, 2005 - Volume IV Issue 3/4) - Linda Oatman High

"Dirty Linen Review"

"How does one make a rock n' roll album about growing up on the New Jersey shore, without sounding like Bruce Springsteen? Somehow singer/songwriter/guitarist Ken Shane has done the impossible and crafted a wholly original record. First off, Shane grew up in the culturally unique pre-casino years of Atlantic City, far to the south of Springsteen's beloved Asbury Park. Second, his primarily acoustic arrangements and vocals sound nothing like the Boss; Shane's voice is more akin to the deep, warm tones of Ralph McTell or Richard Shindell. "Summer and Smoke," "Disappeared," and the album's title track capture perfectly those seaside towns, and the ghosts that remain of their once glorious days. "Grace" is a classic love song, set to an easygoing rock beat, while "Sacred Heart" is a stunning mix of poetry and music that recalls the best of writers like Jackson Browne, and it deserves to get airplay. Not completely immune to Springsteenmania, there is a very fine hidden track at the end, which is a loving tribute to Shane's grandmother, set to a very E Street sounding organ refrain. Shane is an artist to watch."

Lahri Bond Dirty Linen Magazine

(December '03/January '04 #109)
- Lahri Bond

"Upstage Magazine Review"

"His voice reminds me of Warren Zevon, his songwriting is reminiscent of Jackson Browne and his subject matter takes Springsteen's Jersey Shore imagery further down south to the Atlantic City area. The biggest question I have after listening to "South Ridgeway Avenue", the debut record by Ken Shane, is what the hell took him so long?

From the opening track, "Summer and Smoke", listeners are transported into a virtual Jersey rock opera. If you've grown up by the beach or have lived here for a long time, these songs will sound like a soundtrack to your life. Not every song deals with the beach, but you're bound to recognize moments from your own life in every song.

Summer has ended again this year
The carousel's run out of steam
September is always so bittersweet
The beginning and end of a dream
And me I just missed the pageant
Miss America turned a blind eye
The world in my hand, turned into sand
I guess I'll never know why

"Summer and Smoke"

Ironically the love of one's hometown and the hope that it can come back that Shane sings about in "South Ridgeway Avenue" mirrors the chorus found in Bruce Springsteen's "City of Ruins" song.

Everything's gonna be alright
Everything's gonna be alright
Close your eyes and just hold on tight
Everything's gonna be alright

"South Ridgeway Avenue"

It's a testament to the power of Bruce Springsteen's lyrics that you even think of Bruce when listening to Ken Shane. It's almost as if Springsteen is close to having a copyright on Jersey Shore beach songs. Almost, but not quite. Ken Shane proves that these experiences are part of Jersey life. His lyrics ring true because they're from his experiences. He's not trying to copy Springsteen, he's just being Ken Shane. And Ken's vision of Jersey is every bit as important and as relevant as Springsteen's. It's about time Jersey songwriters STRESSED where they came from instead of hiding out of fear of being compared to Bruce. The comparisons will undoubtedly come (and I guess I'm guilty of that as well) but Shane's voice neither sounds like Springsteen and the music bares little resemblance to the traditional sax-induced Jersey Shore sound." February 20, 2004 - Gary Wien


South Ridgeway Avenue (LP) 2003



Ken Shane is a performing songwriter from New Jersey who has been in the music business nearly all of his life. “I’ve done pretty much every job this business has to offer,” he says. In addition to an active career as a performer, Ken has worked as a recording engineer and producer, sound and lighting technician, and he has managed other artists, including his current role as manager of the Asbury Park-based band, Days Awake.

Ken is also a frequent contributor to The Aquarian Weekly, and the regular music columnist for the monthly newsmagazine NYC Plus.

Even while working behind the scenes, Ken never stopped writing songs. In the last few years he has resumed his performing career, and audiences have enjoyed him at every stop on the road.

Over the years, Ken’s songs have appeared on other people’s albums, both major label and independent, but he has never recorded his own material until now. Finally, his album, “South Ridgeway Avenue”, named after the Atlantic City street on which he grew up, is scheduled to be released in April 2003. “It took me a long time, and the help and encouragement of many friends, to make this album,” he says. “The good news is that I’d built up a large catalog of songs, and so I had a lot of material from which to choose. Plus, I had help from some of the best musicians in the area.”

The rhythm section of NJ’s legendary Stanky Brown Group anchors the band. Jerry Cordasco’s steady and creative drumming, and Rich Bunkiewicz’s outstanding bass playing create a solid backdrop for the highly personal, and often deeply moving songs about loss and redemption. “We’ve been friends for a long time, and that’s the best thing about playing together,” Ken adds. “These guys know me. They know where I come from.”

Recently the band added guitar player Herb Maitlandt to the lineup. “It was fate. We were recording the album in Jerry’s studio, and Herb moved in next door,” Ken notes. In addition, Walt Stacey, guitarist with top NJ band Big Orange Cone, appears on the album, and Chris D’Amico of Daze of Rain adds keyboards and backing vocals.

“My music is about what’s been lost, both personally, and as a society, but it is also never without hope for the future, and the chance for redemption.”