By Charlie Wuth
On a beautiful, early autumn Friday evening, I headed out to the Highlands. My destination: The Chubby Pickle. I arrived and parked my car a few blocks down. As I walked down the street, I noticed the silence in this quiet little shore town. Anticipation gripped me, as I got closer to my destination, knowing full well that soon I will hear some of the top bands playing fantastic blues music, hang with others who love the genre, and be around my friends in the blues and jazz community.
This was not always the case. It seems like only yesterday that two gentleman, Board Members of the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation, joined forces to implement a plan to bring more jazz and blues music to the area. It was a goal that the Foundation supported in order to take another step toward achieving its mission of preserving jazz and blues. The Chubby Pickle – Blue Collar Blues event is hosted by The Incinerators and Joseph Vincent Riggio’s J v Archer Entertainment productions. These Blue Collar Blues events present bands from the local area as well as from out of state.
As I got closer, I heard the thumping of the drums, and the pulse of the bass guitar, rhythmically playing the beat that tells me, this is the blues! It got louder as I got closer and, at least in this part of town, there was no longer silence, there was only joy.
Anyone who has ventured out to the Pickle on the first Friday of the month to enjoy a night out with the Blue Collar Blues has not been disappointed. The two bands I was heading to hear on that evening were The Incinerators, and Peter Veteska and Blues Train. These are two well-known bands with top musicians. As usual, The Incinerators delivered hard driving guitar riffs, sizzling solo leads, fierce drumming and bass guitar with Miss Kimmie adding sharp harmonies and songs.
Peter Veteska is a well-known musician and, with the Blues Train, they master the groove and drive of a solid blues beat. Blues Train includes keyboards which added to the blues sound. To further expand their sound, Peter invited a well-known blues harp player, Gary Neuwirth, up on the stage to play. I don’t know about you, but I love a great blues riff on a harp delivered by such a master as Gary Neuwirth. These two bands provided a stellar evening of blues music. I, along with others in the crowd, could not keep their feet from tapping.
We owe a debt of gratitude to John Fernandez and Joseph Vincent Riggio, who work hard on producing this event, and to the musicians that travel to come and rock out the night with us at the Chubby Pickle. It is bands like this that keep the blues alive.
If you haven’t come to one of these shows, make it a point. There’s a different showcase band each month. Check it out and put it on your calendar today!