Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dynamite debut from Brooklyn rocker

By Joe Maniscalco

Sometime between now and the middle of June, singer/songwriter Randy Stern will get around to taking his 1998 Hyundai Accent into the shop for a well-advised oil change - it’s got over 110,000 miles on the odometer.

That done, he’ll climb behind the wheel and hit the road for a multi-city summer tour of the south land culminating over 1,700 miles away in Austin, Texas in July.

“It’s just going to be me, my guitar, my clothes - and my laptop,” Stern laughs. “I haven’t figured our where I’m going to stay yet - hotels will exhaust my bank account.”

If Stern - co-founder of Brooklyn punk-party band The Nerve - sounds like a guy riding high without a care in the world, it’s only because after two, long, arduous years in the making his debut solo effort called “Give” is finally out on Heyday Records.

To celebrate, Stern and a talented five-piece backing band will play a special show at the world-famous Bitter End in New York City on June 13 at 8 p.m.

“It’s going to be hot,” Stern promises. “People are going to get a chance to hear me like they’ve never heard me before.”

Fans already familiar with The Nerve over their 10-year indie career will no doubt find much about “Give” that they already know and love - cool hooks, rocking tempos and unabashed energy.

But across the 12 eclectic cuts that comprise Stern’s new record, they’ll also confront an evolved artist that has organically grown into a man of a great many musical tastes - melding, mixing and modifying styles without ever sacrificing his own singular voice.

“I wake up in the morning and I can’t believe what I’m doing,” Stern says. “I feel like I’m working on my dream.”

Tracks like “In the midnight, “Give” and “Rita” find the musician at his most candid, courageously confiding in the unnamed listener his deepest thoughts, feelings and emotions.

“I’m putting myself out there and sometimes it is weird,” Stern confesses. “Every once in a while, I think to myself, I’m singing this to strangers. I’m telling people my story.”

While “Give” is Stern’s story, lyrics like Now that the past is gone where you gonna go? Now that the past is gone who you gonna be? and Cold sky through the window of an elevated train/try to deny it but I still feel that pain could be most anyone’s interior sound track on lonely walks back home from a tough night at the bar.

Who couldn’t identify with Stern’s undaunted hope for “Better Days” or his desire for “Home.”

This summer Stern - who normally gigs around the tri-state area with his trusty acoustic guitar - will be many more miles away from his hometown, but the solitary road holds a certain allure for this Brooklyn native raised mostly in Kensington and Gerritsen Beach.“

Being alone is part of what I’m looking forward to,” Stern says. “I’m looking at it as a healing thing.”

While making “Give” Stern sacrificed almost everything he had. Even going so far as foregoing a roof over his head so that he could pour all of his financial resources into making the record. He’s gotten by over the last two-and-a-half years bouncing from place to place house- and pet-sitting for friends.

A relationship with a former girlfriend would not survive the experience.

Now, even though Stern has found a new home at long last in Park Slope, and the lost love has become his muse, life alone on the road still looks inviting.

“It’s already helping me feel like I’m getting clarity,” Stern says.

Right now, the only things Stern appears to really need is MapQuest and Google.

“Technology has helped a lot [putting this tour together],” Stern says. “I don’t think I could have done it otherwise. Now I think - ‘how the f---k did people do this back in the day?’”

Randy Stern’s CD release party for “Give” at the Bitter End,147 Bleeker Street, is on June 13. Showtime is 8 p.m. $10 admission at the door.

“Give” is available at Amazon and other online retailers.


Anonymous,  June 4, 2009 at 11:38 PM  

Go, Randy, Go!
"Give" is great!

Tracy,  June 5, 2009 at 1:26 PM  

I am so proud of you! You have grown musically and personally in so many ways. I love the new album and find it hard to have just one favorite song because there are all amazing!

Anonymous,  June 5, 2009 at 2:06 PM  

Love your album!! It was fun to see you in Tarrytown..Good luck & enjoy yourself on the tour! PIA

Mice,  June 5, 2009 at 7:25 PM  

What more can I say that I haven't already said except "Sorry I gobbed on your carpet squire!!"
See you on Bleecker!

Patrea,  June 5, 2009 at 9:13 PM  

Randy you are amazing and I am so happy for you and like I have told you before the album rocks. See you on the 13th, can't wait!

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