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Music Acts Will Take Center Stage at Bottle Hill Day

Joyce Wu

Thursday, September 12, 2013 • 12:00am

MADISON, NJ - Live music acts will be featured prominently at Bottle Hill Day, Madison’s biggest event of the year organized by the Downtown Development Commission. The annual street fair that attracts crowds of more than 10,000 people is set for Saturday, Oct. 5. The lineup includes 15 local bands coordinated by the Madison Arts and Culture Alliance (MACA) with scheduled performances throughout the day on three separate stages.

The Swampgrass Jug-Band returns to Bottle Hill Day with its arsenal of weird and wacky instruments including jugs, kazoos, washboard, and paper bag. The band has entertained the New York metro area for over 40 years and performs original songs in the styles of blues, American Roots, and classic jug band music. The five-man ensemble includes Jeff Tyler, Dave Rubin, Jim Vasconcellos, Jared Grubow and Donald Bowen.

Madison music teacher Kathleen Wallace leads Sunnyside Jazz, a local band that offers their own jazzy twist on tunes from the American Songbook. Sunnyside Jazz adapts familiar songs from Broadway musicals and popular composers including Duke Ellington and Irving Berlin. The band, which includes Peter Woolley on piano, Ken Rachlin on guitar, Matt Ellison on bass, and Richard Bradshaw on drums, guarantees, “This music will make you want to get up and dance, or at least, tap your toes.”

Rock band, The Project, was formed when four Central Avenue School dads discovered their shared taste in classic rock. Lead vocalist Chris Bias, guitarist Mike Preston, drummer Marc Cozzolino, and bassist Mike Shugrue quickly took their garage jam sessions to the stage, entertaining audiences throughout New Jersey. They will be joined on Bottle Hill Day by special guest, Val Schuszler on the guitar.

Jeff Webb, a solo guitarist and singer from Madison, is a regular at open mic nights in the local area. His acoustic covers of popular hits from The Beatles, Johnny Cash, and Jimmy Buffet are certain crowd pleasers, and Jeff adds variety to his musical repertoire with obscure favorites of his own.

Ginny Johnston & Mosaic will be performing folk rock interpretations of familiar songs, as well as original pieces composed by lead singer, Ginny Johnston. The group, including guitarist and banjo player Donald Bowen, percussionist Dan De Rienzo, and bassist Bob Funesti, brings their diverse musical background together in a contemporary fusion of folk and rock sounds.  

Kings Road, a band made up of Madison and Chatham parents, regularly plays classic and alternative rock songs at local venues. A seasoned Bottle Hill Day performer, Kings Road will be entertaining audiences of all ages with their versions of songs from the Counting Crows, Sheryl Crow, the Decemberists, and more. Band members include Johanna Habib (keyboards), Diane Kirsch (vocals), Bill Meyer (bass), Michael O’Keeffe (guitar), Doug Owen (guitar), and Chris Wolfe (drums).

The Unplugged will perform their acoustic versions of classic, alternative, and grunge rock songs. The band features Chris Bias on vocals, Val Schuszler on guitar, Nelson Aguiar on bass, and Dave Hartkern on percussion. Expect to hear favorite hits from bands including Bad Company, Foo Fighters, and Pearl Jam.

Madison alumni Neil Mastrobuono and John Lepre will perform at Bottle Hill Day as a part of rock band, The Houserockers. The two musicians first played together as students at Madison High School and continued performing after graduating, entertaining local fans with their takes on rock songs from the 1960s through today.

Current Madison High School students make up The Dairy Farmers, a local band that plays a mix of alternative and classic rock. Musicians Doug Witte on lead vocals and third guitar, Ben Hansen on lead guitar, Tyler Simeone on bass guitar, Matt Hansen on second guitar, and Brian Culligan on drums, have experience performing at distinguished venues such as Gramercy Theatre and Crossroads. Their repertoire includes music by artists Radiohead and Modest Mouse.

These nine music acts and six more will headline a full day of live music at Bottle Hill Day. In addition, there will also be activities for the whole family. Don’t miss exhibits by local vendors and community groups, a wide range of culinary delights at the food court, the 22nd annual car show, rock-climbing, a beer garden for adults, and much more.

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