March 13, 2008

What Is It About Jersey?

March 13th, 2008

Jon Bream from the Star Tribune states that New Jersey is the butt of national jokes — and also a hotbed of American music. What makes this state so special?

Per capita, the fertile Garden State has probably turned out more big-name music stars than any other state. Bream asked several music experts what makes Jersey the musical hotbed.

“Greetings from E Street” author Robert Santelli notes that in the 1950s and ’60s, there were vibrant musical neighborhoods then and street-corner pollination between ethnic groups, but it was hard to make it in the recording business.

That’s why Santelli looks so fondly at Jersey Boys, the Broadway hit about 1960s Jersey vocal sensations Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons that opens Wednesday at the Orpheum Theatre. (Valli himself will come to town with the Four Seasons on May 17 at Mystic Lake Casino.)

Like Minnesotans going to see A Prairie Home Companion. According to Santelli, it’s “become a ritual and almost a rite of passage for New Jersey baby boomers to take their kids to see ‘Jersey Boys’ in New York City to explain what proving yourself was all about. Everyone in my family has seen ‘Jersey Boys’ on Broadway.”

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