South Ridgeway Avenue
'How does one make a rock n' roll album about growing up on the New Jersey shore, without sounding like Bruce Springsteen? Somehow singer/songwriter/guitarist Ken Shane has done the impossible and crafted a wholly original record. First off, Shane grew up in the culturally unique pre-casino years of Atlantic City, far to the south of Springsteen's beloved Asbury Park. Second, his primarily acoustic arrangements and vocals sound nothing like the Boss; Shane's voice is more akin to the deep, warm tones of Ralph McTell or Richard Shindell. 'Summer and Smoke,' 'Disappeared,' and the album's title track capture perfectly those seaside towns, and the ghosts that remain of their once glorious days. 'Grace' is a classic love song, set to an easygoing rock beat, while 'Sacred Heart' is a stunning mix of poetry and music that recalls the best of writers like Jackson Browne, and it deserves to get airplay. Not completely immune to Springsteenmania, there is a very fine hidden track at the end, which is a loving tribute to Shane's grandmother, set to a very E Street sounding organ refrain. Shane is an artist to watch.' Lahri Bond - Dirty Linen Magazine (December '03/January '04 #109) 'His voice reminds me of Warren Zevon, his songwriting is reminiscent of Jackson Browne and his subject matter takes Springsteen's Jersey Shore imagery further down south to the Atlantic City area. The biggest question I have after listening to 'South Ridgeway Avenue', the debut record by Ken Shane, is what the hell took him so long? From the opening track, 'Summer and Smoke', listeners are transported into a virtual Jersey rock opera. If you've grown up by the beach or have lived here for a long time, these songs will sound like a soundtrack to your life. Not every song deals with the beach, but you're bound to recognize moments from your own life in every song. It's a testament to the power of Bruce Springsteen's lyrics that you even think of Bruce when listening to Ken Shane. It's almost as if Springsteen is close to having a copyright on Jersey Shore beach songs. Almost, but not quite. Ken Shane proves that these experiences are part of Jersey life. His lyrics ring true because they're from his experiences. He's not trying to copy Springsteen, he's just being Ken Shane. And Ken's vision of Jersey is every bit as important and as relevant as Springsteen's. It's about time Jersey songwriters STRESSED where they came from instead of hiding out of fear of being compared to Bruce. The comparisons will undoubtedly come (and I guess I'm guilty of that as well) but Shane's voice neither sounds like Springsteen and the music bares little resemblance to the traditional sax-induced Jersey Shore sound.' AsburyMusic.com - February 20, 2004 Ken Shane - guitar, vocals Walt Stacey - guitar Herb Maitlandt - guitar Jerry Cordasco - drums Rich Bunkiewicz - bass Chris D'Amico - keyboards, background vocals Jim Brown - keyboards.