February 20, 2021 marked the 3-year anniversary of Joseph Vincent Riggio’s promotion company, J v ARCHER ENTERTAINMENT, bringing the talent of young musicians to Highlands, New Jersey’, newest musical hub The Chubby Pickle. Riggio is a Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation board of trustees member and has kept the youth music scene alive.
Originally Riggio saw an opportunity to help young musicians find a place to share their talent and creativity. His promotion company partnered with the foundation’s newest venue member to make this happen at least once a month for the last 3 years.
When the JSJBF’s usual venue, The Women’s Club of Red Bank at The Anthony Reckless Estate in Red Bank was not available due to the pandemic, they became the new temporary home for the monthly Mark LaRochelle Youth Open Mic presented by the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation, that he hosts and coordinates as well, all Summer and Fall once COVID closures rules were lifted (after keeping the event alive first via live-stream all Spring).
A young band from Middletown NJ, Sunsets From Jupiter, was the first headliner at the J v ARCHER ENTERTAINMENT debut all-ages show back in February of 2019 and headlined again this night dubbed the “3 year anniversary Show”. The quartet is very familiar with the youth music scene. They began to share their talents along with other young musicians first at the open Mic nights at the Reckless Estate.
Two members of the band, Andrew Ahlborn and Clay Kunego, are also profundity recipients of JSJBF scholarships that recognizes young musicians that are continuing and/or pursuing music in college and beyond. Andrew also had that the honor of playing the Presidential Inauguration in January as part of his Delaware University drum line, describing the experience as “A surreal and unforgettable once in a lifetime opportunity”.
The band released an EP, “An Alien Feeling,” in 2019. The debut album is classified as Alternative Rock but they are truly so much more than that, incorporating grunge, rock, and even disco beats at times. They have spent the pandemic down time gaining management and building their social media presence as well as getting interviewed in many music publications around the country promoting the release. They continue to work on new music which they shared with their fans that night as well as their ever broadening audience on various social media outlets. They are veterans to the Chubby Pickle stage, both having their debut show and their album release party there.
They shared the stage with some other up-and-coming young artists that night, one of them being “535”. They are composed of an all-star array of the Rockit Music program members headed by percussionist, songwriter, and project producer, Jason Moran. They effortlessly navigate both original music and an eclectic array of covers with their musical flexibility being their biggest asset. They debuted and also named their band on the spot, back at one of the open mic nights in November 2020 right on The Chubby Pickle stage seconds before they played.
Singer and guitarist April Lynn opened the night. At only 17 she showed a staged presence well beyond her age. Her voice and guitar ability allows her to flow from genre to genre and decade to decade captivating the crowd with an easy and inviting delivery. This was her Chubby Pickle debut, but we are sure she will be back to grace the stage again soon.
All in all, music is alive and well with Riggio’s effort and the support of The Chubby Pickle! If up to them, the youth of our community will always have a place to express themselves and bring music to all ages. This outlet is so needed during this difficult time for all, especially young, up and coming, musicians.