After twenty years of Light of Day, the events were cancelled in 2021 and all set for their return this past January, when Omicron forced them to postpone for two more months. Finally, all events returned in March, but for blues lovers there was only one place to be, the Wonder Bar for Asbury Blues and JSJBF member band Peter Veteska and Blues Train with special guest, former IBC semifinalist, Mikey Jr. The host, our 2022 IBC solo/duo representative, James Dalton, had a short opening set cut even shorter due to car problems, and the driving rain which later turned to snow didn’t help either.
After a drink with the band and outgoing IBC chairman Gene Iadanza, they took the stage for a six-song set. Without ace keyboard player Jeff Levine, Mikey got plenty of room to ply his signature harp solos behind the rock-solid rhythm section of Alex D’Agnese on drums and Coo Moe Jhee on bass. “Wrapped Up in Love Again,” a gem from Albert King, was highlighted by Peter V’s fierce guitar playing and singing, with Mikey’s harmonica standing in for the horns on the original. On the Peter V penned “Baby Please Come Home,” they reprise their collaboration with Mikey Jr. from the recently released CD, “So Far So Good” with excellent results.
Next up “Find Me A Little Bluebird” by Little Milton slowed things down, showcasing Peter’s soulful guitar and singing. “Big Fat Momma” featured Mikey Jr. doing what he does best, belting out rollicking lyrics and blowing some mean harp. “I Miss You” and “Blues This Morning” closed out the set which ended with a terrific drum solo by Alex, showing why he is one of the Jersey Shore’s best.
Mikey Jr. brought along some copies of his current CD “Mikey Junior’s South Philly Blues Party Live.” The CD was recorded live with no overdubs at an honest to goodness house party just prior to the pandemic but not released until this year. It consists of 12 cuts, with three being originals and nine curated covers. If these songs don’t get you up and dancing, nothing will!
He is accompanied by his long-time guitarist, Matt Daniels and the best players that the Bucks County Blues Society has to offer. Mikey’s songs are in that sexy, swampy blues sound which points us in the right direction for “Traveling South,” which talks about a woman’s traits in “She’s Good At Being Bad” and praises the love of his life “Katie Lynn.” Highlights from the covers include Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Ninety Nine,” the Muddy Waters classic “She’s Nineteen Years Old” and Freddy King’s “The Stumble.”
If you want to get your party started, this is definitely the music that will do it. Watch for Mikey Jr. to make a return trip to the Jersey Shore with his band to preview this and other great songs at one of our JSJBF member venues in the near future.