Freeman to feature Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes July 16

July 14, 2021

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes will perform at 7 p.m., Friday, July 16, at Freeman Arts Pavilion.

Over a 40-plus-year career, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes have never had a major hit single, and chances are most people wouldn’t recognize frontman Southside Johnny Lyon if they saw him walking down the street near his Jersey shore home.

Lyon, though, has no complaints about where his musical life has taken him or the busy touring schedule he maintains with the current Jukes lineup.

“The business is fine. We’re not making millions of dollars or anything like that. But there’s a lot of work,” he said. “It seems as though everybody enjoys being on the road. I’ve been touring for 40-some years. It never really gets old to me.”

His first three albums with the Jukes, “I Don’t Want to Go Home, “This Time It’s for Real” and “Hearts Of Stone,” are widely credited with helping to define the Jersey sound with their rousing mix of rock ‘n’ roll and horn-fueled soul. The albums featured quality songs written by local buddies Little Steven Van Zandt and a certain guy named Bruce Springsteen.

Lyon remains proud of those three albums, released in 1976, 1977 and 1978 respectively, although he will allow that he’d love to redo them today to improve the sound quality of those early efforts. The music, though, holds up.

He has started work on the follow-up to the 2015 Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes album “Soultime!” He’s teaming up with longtime songwriting partner and Jukes keyboardist Jeff Kazee on the project.

Fans can expect Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes to deliver their usual crowd-pleasing shows now that the group is getting to resume touring after the pandemic.

“We have five or six songs that I know people want to hear. Every time I start them, people get excited, and that carries you through, even though we’ve done them a thousand times. But we leave a lot of room on stage for us to try and improvise and do some old stuff or some cover things,” Lyon said. “We might do some new material, too.”

Alan Sculley is a freelance music journalist based in Naples, Fla. 

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