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Red Hot Magazine

Local Favorites The Sam Sims Band Plays at the Global NAMM Anaheim Convention Center Trade Show! The trade show included 115,000 people from 140 Countries

February 18, 2018




Recently local favorites The Sam Sims Band had the opportunity to perform at NAMM on January 26, 2018!  They were selected amongst many other Global bands to perform at this amazing trade show which included 140 countries, with over 115,000 attendees. The big surprise for all attendees was the performance by global powerhouse band U2. Wow!


The Sam Sims Band says "Big thanks to NAMM, the Anaheim Convention Center Hilton, and the amazing Stage Director for creating a spectacular sound mix of their original music."


Check out the Sam Sims Band for upcoming shows around our area!


A big thank you to Estelle with CouCou Photography for taking these great pics of the band at NAMM


"Red Hot Magazine is the best local entertainment magazine in Red Bank and the surrounding shore towns. We are musicians, but make no mistake, RedHotMagazine rocks our community and highlights well "what to do in our amazing neighboring shore towns". Thanks for being there for the communities, and for us"-Dimitris Kulaga, The Sam Sims Band



National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM)


The Light of Day festival has been announcing new details about the lineups of its shows slowly, over the last several weeks, and most of the lineups are now known.

LaBamba’s Big Band and Friends will headline the main concert, Jan. 13 at the Paramount Theatre.

The festival will begin with a show at Montclair’s Outpost in the Burbs, Jan. 5, featuring Jeffrey Gaines, James Maddock, Joe D’Urso and others. Willie Nile will be on that bill, too, and will perform at at least three other shows, as well.

The Verve Pipe — known for ’90s hits such as “The Freshmen,” “Villains,” “Photograph” and “Hero” — will be part of the “Asbury Angels Induction” concert at the Stone Pony, Jan. 12. And Quincy Mumford & the Reason Why will present a Prince tribute at House of Independents, Jan. 13.

Here are the shows and the lineups that are currently known. All events are in Asbury Park unless otherwise noted.

I will update this page as more lineups are announced.

JAN. 5
8 p.m.: “Light of Day North Jersey” at Outpost in the Burbs, Montclair. With Willie Nile, Jeffrey Gaines, James Maddock, Joe D’Urso, Emily Grove, Isabella Rose, Jon Caspi, Adam Falcon.

JAN. 6
7 p.m.: “Light of Day Philadelphia” at The World Cafe, Upstairs, Philadelphia. With Willie Nile & Band, Joe Gruschecky & the Houserockers, Remember Jones, Ben Arnold Band, Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan; Jim Boggia, Graham Alexander, John Byrne, Nalani & Sarina, Vini Lopez, Isabella Rose, Lisa Bouchelle.

JAN. 7
1 p.m.: “Cover Me: Best of the Jersey Bar Bands” at Stone Pony. With Marc Ribler and Friends (The Best of George Harrison – The Beatles, Bangladesh & Beyond), Eddie Testa, Light My Fire, Soul Cruisers, Guilty Pleasure, Rockinon, Pat Guadagno & Tired Horses.

JAN. 8
Time TBA: 
“Happy Mondays” at Wonder Bar.

JAN. 10
7 p.m.: “Light of Day NYC” at The Cutting Room, New York. With Gary U.S. Bonds, Dramarama, Jonny Pi’s Punk Rock Pizzeria, Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan, The King Sings The Boss.

JAN. 11
7 p.m.: “Winterfest 2018 Kick-Off” at House of Independents. With Bobby Bandiera’s Tribute to Tom Petty, Dramarama, Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan, 
The King Sings the Boss.
7 p.m.: “First Note” at The Saint. With Dentist, The Lemats, Zaritza, JAHK.
7 p.m.: “Sandy Mack’s Wonder Jam Deluxe” at Wonder Bar. With Karmic Juggernaut, Waiting on Mongo, Secret Sound, Predator Dub Assassins, Keith Kenny, Joe Miller, Strumberry Pie, Juggling Suns (acoustic), Stu Coogan.
8 p.m.: “Monmouth University’s Blue Hawk Records Presents” at Langosta Lounge. With Vini (Mad Dog) Lopez, Bobby Mahoney and Zack Sandler, Dan Amato & the Sentimental Gentlemen, Ernest, Nicole Govel, Antonio Gonzalez, Olivia Rohlfs.

JAN. 12
6 p.m.: “Open Mic” at Wonder Bar.
6:30 p.m.:
 “Asbury Angels Induction” at Stone Pony. With The Verve Pipe, Willie Nile, Boccigalupe & the Bad Boys, Bobby Mahoney, Laura Crisci, Pat Toner, Bob Polding, Miss Emily, Mad Kings, Peter Hogklint, Mike Rocket.
7 p.m.: “Rock Heavy” at The Saint. With Uncrafted, Everything Falls, Lower the Veil, Dead Fish Handshake, Ropetree, The Walk Arounds.
7:30 p.m.: “Cover Band Night” at Silverball Museum Arcade. With Moroccan Sheepherders, Billy’s Fault, Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan, Tim O’Donohue & TMU Band.
8 p.m.: Kashmir (Led Zeppelin tribute), Colossal Street Jam, Bitter Crush at House of Independents.
8 p.m.: Albert Lee Band, Bobby Bandiera and Band at Tim McLoone’s Supper Club.
8:30 p.m.: “Acoustic Carousel” at Langosta Lounge. With Williams Honor, Peter Scherer, Ray Andersen, Colton Kayser, Renee Maskin, Eryn and Matt O’Ree, Paul Whistler, Helen O’Shea, The May Darlings, Sofia Khorosh (SØF), Rick Winowski, George Wirth, Caisy Falzone, Dana Rae, Ashley DeLima, Lauren Patti & Kyle Ward.
9 p.m.: Dark City Strings, Sam Sims Band, Ashley McKinley and an acoustic jam hosted by Bobby Mahoney at Asbury Hotel Soundbooth.
9 p.m.: Cranston Dean Band, Jessie Lee Herdman and American Trappist (featuring Joe Michelini) at Asbury Park Yacht Club.

JAN. 13
 “Asbury Blues” at Wonder Bar. Billy Walton Band, Karen Phillips, Tony Tedesco & Full Fathom 5, James Dalton, Chuck Lambert, Pam McCoy, Norman Seldin (Fats Domino tribute), Joe Whyte, RB3, String Bean, Papa John Bug & The Jam Band.
Noon: “Women of Song” at The Saint. With Layonne Holmes, Tara Elliott, Maureen McCrink, Rosemary Conte, Jo Wymer, Pam McCoy, Debbie Gangemi.
Noon to 7 p.m.: “Asbury Underground” at various venues.
6 p.m.: “Bob’s Birthday Bash” at Paramount Theatre. LaBamba’s Big Band and Friends (with special guest Gary U.S. Bonds), Willie Nile Band, Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers, James Maddock & Band, Garland Jeffreys, Remember Jones, Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan, Jeffrey Gaines, Ben Arnold, Greg Kihn, Luke Elliot, Isabella Rose, Rob Dye.
6:20 p.m.: “Full Tilt Boogie Bash” at Wonder Bar. With Billy Hector, Laura Crisci, Christine Martucci, Colton Kayser, Mike Miz, Slyders, Sharon Lasher, Dawg Whistle, Strumberry Pie.
7 p.m.: Guitar Army with John Jorgenson, Lee Roy Parnell and Joe Robinson at The Saint.
7 p.m.: Quincy Mumford & the Reason Why (Prince tribute) at House of Independents.
7:30 p.m.: Greg Kihn, Ben Arnold Band at Tim McLoone’s Supper Club.
8 p.m.: “Women Who Rock” at Asbury Park Yacht Club. With Renee Maskin, Tara Dente, Mack, Pamela Flores, Lauren Patti.
9 p.m.: “Late Night Live” at Langosta Lounge. With The Doughboys.

JAN. 14
Noon: “Songwriters by the Sea Boardwalk Crawl” at Watermark. With Luke Elliot, Rachel Dobson, Arlon Bennett, Hans Ludviggson, David Vargo, Taylor Tote, John Sonntag.
Noon: “Kids Rock” at Stone Pony. With Rockit Music (Count Basie Theatre), Rock’N Music Academy (Middletown), Lakehouse Music (Asbury Park), School of Rock (Red Bank), Sonic Blume, Marel Hidalgo, RadioActive, Radioactive duo, Amanda Conti, Indigo Mane, Calling Avery.
Noon: “Musicians on a Mission” at The Saint. With Ty Mares & the Running Dog Band, Nick Ryan Band, Downstream, The Cucumbers, The Wag.
3 p.m.: “Songwriters by the Sea Boardwalk Crawl” at Langosta Lounge. Bruce Tunkel, Karen Mansfield, Pat Guadagno, Sam Sims, Kyle Ward, Frank Lombardi,
Joshua, Scott Elk.
6 p.m.: “Songwriters by the Sea Boardwalk Crawl” at Tim McLoone’s Supper Club. With James Maddock, Joe Grushecky, Joe D’Urso, John Easdale, Peter Elkas, Emily Grove, Joe Rapolla, Williams Honor, Ben Arnold.
7:30 p.m.: “Last Note” at The Saint. With Random Test, Funktion.

JAN. 15
10:30 a.m.: “Goodbye Brunch” at Robinson Ale House.

The Two River Times

Christian's Music Musings

Another Weekend Brings Another Great Rock Festival to New Jersey

Colts Neck Rockfest 2017 featured close to 30 bands from the Garden State

To folks who know me and regular readers of the blog, it’s not a big revelation that I greatly enjoy going to music concerts. I’ve certainly been maximizing the live experience so far this year, especially with outdoor events over the summer, ranging from famous to not so famous artists. I must have seen more than 30 acts, and overall the quality has been pretty impressive. Most importantly, I had a great time, which is what music should be all about. And guess what? I’m still hungry for more!

The latest in a long series of outdoor events I visited happened yesterday: The Colts Neck Rockfest in Colts Neck, N.J. Until a few days ago, I had never heard of this annual music festival, even though the venue is fairly close to my house, and this was the 10th year they put it on. I found out about it through a Facebook post from Decade, a terrific Neil Young tribute band I first saw last weekend at Rock The Farm, announcing they would play Colts Neck Rockfest.

Colts Neck Rockfest 2017 Lineup

Unlike Rock The Farm, about which I previously posted here, the Colts Neck Rockfest focused less on tribute acts. Of the 28 bands that performed there Friday night and Saturday, only two fall into that category: Decade and Snow Dog, a tribute to Rush. Instead, most of the performers were cover bands, while the remaining acts mixed original material with covers.

Similar to Rock The Farm, there were relatively few people in the beginning. I suppose Saturday during the day, when many folks do their shopping and run other errands, is a tough proposition. When I got to Colts Neck in the early afternoon, there were perhaps 20 people (not counting the musicians). One guy I spotted right away was John Hathaway, the “Neil Young” from Decade.

Usually, I’m a bit reluctant to approach performers, figuring they may not necessarily like it, especially prior to a gig. But Decade’s performance wasn’t slated until much later in the afternoon, so I figured ‘what the heck.’ John turned out to be very nice guy. We ended up chatting for 15 minutes about his passion for Young, how long he has been doing this, his guitar, etc. I also exchanged a few words with the band’s great lead guitarist Joey Herr and learned his cool-looling Gibson SG is from ’71. It was a pleasant experience.

Like at Rock The Farm, the sets yesterday were very tight, so Decade once again didn’t have the time to switch to acoustic. But I learned they will do a much longer gig including an acoustic set at the end of October at The Stone Pony, a well-known music club in Asbury Park. That’s where artists like Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny started out. In fact, Southside Johnny and his Asbury Jukes played The Stone Pony in July. The city continues to be a stronghold in the local Jersey music scene.

Following I’d like to highlight four of the bands I saw yesterday, which I enjoyed in particular.

Sam Sims Band

The Sam Sims Band combines original music written by singer-songwriter Sam Sims with covers. I think their Facebook page nicely characterizes their style as “acoustic-based folk-rock with melodic guitar, soulful ukulele and authentic vocal lyrics.” According to the band’s website, Sims has been writing original songs since we was 14. The now 37-year-old, who plays ukele, guitar, dobro and harmonica, has released four studio albums and one single since 2009. Born in Huntsville, Ala., Sims currently resides in New Jersey. Other members of the band include Kyle Ward (guitar, backing vocals), Dimitris Kulaga(drums, percussion, backing vocals) and Aaron Manzo (bass, backing vocals).

The Sam Sims Band

To me the band’s set included two highlights: An incredible acoustic version of Dire Straits’ Sultans Of Swing, during which 21-year-old Ward absolutely killed it; and an original song, Positive Vibration. Apparently, Sims released this beautiful tune earlier this year as a single. Here’s a clip of the studio version.


Sam Sims Band has organically grown into a vibrant, yet laid-back melodic sound. The music has island feel and is rooted mostly in folk-rock, reggae and blues. Sam has been writing songs for over twenty years. The band plays both originals & covers and features first class musicians including: Kyle Ward, a guitar genius and soon to be graduate of Berklee College of Music; Dimitris Kulaga, life-long percussionist in Latin, rock, and folk music styles; Aaron Manzo, an outstanding bass player, guitar player and songwriter with a natural sense of rhythm.  Sam’s songs have been featured on prime-time television shows (CBS’ Hawaii 5-0 aired Sam’s Hawaiian Christmas Song in 2013 and 2014). With four full-length albums and a single to date, Sam’s heartfelt music encompasses melodically-voiced acoustic guitar, ukulele, exquisite lyrics, and soulful vocals. Kyle Ward is looked at by many as one of the best guitarists around the Jersey Shore, having won many awards at the young age of only 21. Dimitris Kulaga is always an entertaining performer who plays many different percussion instruments from all over the world. Lastly, Aaron Manzo brings in nice sounding low-frequency with his graceful, extremely tasteful bass guitar style. The band has shared stages with well-respected acts such as the Legendary Wailers, Willie Nile, Steve Forbert and Rob Machado. The group has been recording, working with Bruce Springsteen’s producer; they plan to release a full-length album in 2017.        SAMSIMSMUSIC.COM

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Hometown News

The Monmouth Journal

Rock Revolt Magazine

Office of the NJ Governor

CFC Loud N Clear Foundation "Rock The Farm" Music and Food Festival

  • Event Date: August 27, 2016

Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno joins CFC Loud N Clear Foundation's "Rock The Farm" Music and Food Festival at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft. The benefit raises funds in support of the Foundation's mission - Rebuilding Lives, Healing Families and Supporting Recovery. (NJ Office of Information Technology)

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The Monmouth Journal

The Coast Star

The Monmouth Journal

Highlands Annual Clamfest opens Aug. 4

Friday, July 22, 2016

HIGHLANDS (July 25, 2016) – Food and music lovers will fill the streets at the Highlands Business Partnership’s 22nd Annual Clam Fest from Aug. 4 to Aug. 7 at Huddy Park on Bay & Waterwitch avenues.
The famous Clam Fest is a four-day spectacular event featuring a 120’ seafood court serving the freshest food from many of Highlands’ restaurants. Other festival favorites include the Lions Club Funnel Cakes and the Highlands Fire Department BBQ tent.
Admission and parking is free, and the event takes place rain or shine.
The 22nd Annual Clam Fest will feature a huge Beer and Wine Garden on the corner of Waterwitch and Bay avenues sponsored by Shore Point Distributing Company, Lil John’s Construction and Frank Rahm Landscaping. Blue-sky Amusements will set up the midway with portions of Waterwitch and Bay avenues closed to street traffic to accommodate the thrill rides, games of chance, specialty vendors and the succulent food court.
On Thursday, Aug. 4, the action takes place from 6 - 10 p.m. Opening night is “Pay-One-Price Bracelet Night,” when visitors can enjoy the amusement rides all night from 6 - 10 p.m. for $30. Local favorite, Brian Kirk and the Jirks will perform from 7 - 10 p.m. and DJ Johnny Jonze will emcee the festival.
Clam Fest hours are 6 - 11 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5, with entertainment by The Moroccan Sheepherders, performing from 7 – 11 p.m.
On Saturday, Aug. 6th, the festival begins at noon, with the Highlands Community Singers featuring their hit, “Happy As A Clam,” followed by the Phil Engel Band from 12:30 - 3:30 p.m. The Josh Zuckerman Band takes the stage from 4 - 7:30 p.m. finishing with the Jonzes who will perform until 11 p.m.
Clam Fest hours on Sunday, Aug. 7 are 12 - 8 p.m. with Pay-OnePrice ride bracelets available for $30. The Sam Sims Band will be performing on the stage from 12 - 3 p.m. The popular Baby Costume Contest, “A Day at the Shore,” directed by the Highlands Department of Recreation takes place at 1 p.m. on Sunday in Huddy Park.
The Clam Fest’s world-class clam-shucking competition kicks off at 3 p.m. sponsored by Lusty Lobster and has first-, second- and third-place prizes to the fastest clam shuckers. The famous All You Can Eat Clam Contest sponsored by the Highlands Business Partnership will begin promptly at 3:30 p.m. This is also first-, second- and third-place contest to the person who can eat the
most clams in five five minutes. The All You Can Eat Clam Contest will be limited to 20 entries. Registration for all Contests begins at noon.
Steel Rail Blues will perform from 4 - 8 p.m.
The Highlands Business Partnership’s “King of the Clam” super 50/50 raffle will be drawn on Sunday, Aug. 7 at 9 p.m. Also, purchase a chance to win a getaway to the Cayman Islands; chances are $5 and include eight nights, airfare, transfer fees, attractions and more. Proceeds to benefit the Highlands Police
Explorer’s Learning For Life Program. Cayman Airways, Marriott Resort-Grand Cayman and Sunshine Suites-Resort Grand Cayman make this spectacular getaway for two possible.
Clam Fest 2016 is made possible with the generous support of sponsors, including Seastreak, Cayman Island Tourism, Comcast NBC Universal, WRAT 95, Hufnagel Tree Experts, T&M Associates, Shore Point Distributing Company, Bayshore/Montecalvo Family of Companies and TriBar Services.
For more information on the Highlands Business Partnership’s events or programs, please call 732-291-4713 or visit

The Monmouth Journal

FilmOneFest sees 1,000 patrons show up on Sunday rain date

FilmOneFest Event emcee and judge Jon Crowley (from left), judge Joan Ellis, Director’s Choice Award winners Rich Elliot and Ryan Barry, FilmOneFest Managing Director Corinna Thuss and judge Victor Zak congratulated the filmmakers for their winning film, “Bridge The Gap.” Photo courtesy Sally Stopper • StopSallyStop Photography

Friday, July 22, 2016

By Heidi Hackett

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS — (July 22, 2016) - Saturday’s rain did not dampen the spirits of organizers of Atlantic Highlands’ popular festival of supershort films — FilmOneFest. Even though it forced postponement of the event until Sunday, nearly 1,000 viewers still journeyed to Atlantic Highlands Marina Park to experience New Jersey’s unique film festival that celebrates films under two minutes in length from all over the world.
These guests were rewarded with a great evening, not just of film, but also of music, food, drink, art and socializing under the sun and stars.
“FilmOneFest is our favorite local event,” said resident Sarah Chiles, whose family had arrived early for choice seating on the great lawn. “Even though there is so much going on, it’s also relaxing to sit here in the park, by the water, and watch these amazing films. We never miss it.”
This year, some viewers opted to watch the program from their cars, at FilmOneFest’s new drive-in area, a nod to a New Jersey invention. 
Event co-founder Robert O’Connor said, “Viewers, young and old, relived a classic American experience.”
Drive-in Chair and Emcee Jon Crowley added, “We are so happy about the enthusiastic response we received.”
By the 5 p.m. opening Sunday, the afternoon sun had erased any memories of the Saturday storm. Arriving guests staked out comfortable viewing spots on great lawn, and then strolled the area, visiting craft vendors and local food stands offering Thai, Mexican and other cuisines. Many guests enjoyed the stilt walker, face-painters and clowns, while others settled in with friends, family, food and drink to enjoy the early program.
The popular, local Sam Sims Band opened the event with laid-back, reggae-infused folk rock that blended well with the warm afternoon sun and breezes. Event Emcees Marie Jackson and Jon Crowley then introduced ‘FilmYoungFest,’ an impressive program of films submitted by filmmakers under 18. Award-winning blues vocalist Regina Bonelli followed, delivering on a mix of original and classic blues songs. The evening’s musical lineup was capped by a return appearance of Working Class Hussys, a Southern-flavored, NJ alternative rock band that got some in the crowd, even the stilt-walker, up and dancing.
At 9 p.m., the main screening of the 44 selected supershort films began. Judges’ top picks were announced, and the Audience Choice award was selected in real time by the audience. The winning films were:

Special Awards
FilmYoungFest Award: “Spliced” (Canada).
Director’s Choice Award: “Bridge The Gap” (USA).
Gartenberg Award for Excellence: “One Minute” (Russia).
Best Animation: “If the Cuckoo Don’t Crow” (UK).
Audience Choice Award: “Where’d You Go, Boy?” (USA).

Jury Awards
“I’ve Grown Up” (France).
“Success” (UK).
“Cool Unicorn Bruv” (UK).
“Class” (Iran).

FilmOneFest has grown in size and prestige over the last eight years, becoming an important festival stop for supershort filmmakers. Even with this growth, however, it is a non-profit organization, committed to “free access to the arts at the community level,” said O’Connor. 

It takes multiple fundraisers, and the generous help of supporters, to bring FilmOneFest to life each year. All proceeds are donated to Monmouth County Foodbank, Atlantic Highlands Food Pantry and the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council (AHAC). The AHAC holds a series of fundraising events throughout the year: a benefit dinner, Sony Pictures Classics movie premieres, and a launch party. This year’s launch party, held at A.J. Dillon Gallery in Atlantic Highlands, honored Dido and Sark Krikorian, local business owners (Blue Bay Inn, Copper Canyon and Gaslight restaurants) and long-time supporters, with the Community Leadership Award.

“Even with all these events, though, we still could not do it without our amazing sponsors,” said Managing Director Corinna Thuss. “Thank you to our distinguished panel of judges, our media sponsors Wells Fargo, Thomas Paine House and Valkyrie Squash Club, local sponsors and advertisers, Tom Bernard of Sony Pictures Classics for providing us with world-class films for our benefit premiere screenings, the Monmouth County Arts Council for their continued belief in our vision, Fred and Mickey Rast and Atlantic Cinemas, Mayor Randi LeGrice, Borough Administrator Adam Hubeny, Harbor Commissioner Frank McDonald, Harbor Master John Amici and the Atlantic Highlands Harbor Commission, and the business community and residents of Atlantic Highlands for supporting this festival.”
She also thanks PepsiCo, Sickles Market and ZOOP! catering for donating wonderful hospitality tent and VIP foods, and Whole Foods for FilmOneFest’s celebratory cake and assorted donated food to the public, including fruit, smoothies and desserts. Leftover fruit was donated to the food pantry.
FilmOneFest is a project of AHAC, a registered 501(c)3 organization. Its mission is to strengthen community through the arts. For information, visit FilmOneFest is made possible in part by Monmouth Arts through funding from the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and The New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Asbury Park Press

Asbury Park Press

The Two River Times

Music Connection

Eagerly awaited every December, the Music Connection Hot 100 puts the spotlight on superior live performers who caught our eyes and ears over the past 12 months. Contributors to this list are not onlyMC staffers and freelance writers, but club bookers and other industry pro’s nationwide. Music Connectioncurrently has reviewers in Los Angeles, New York, Austin, Nashville, Chicago, Boston and Detroit. If you’d like to put yourself in the running for a live review, go to It’s always free and always easy.

Photo by Jody Domingue

Each Artist below is listed in alphabetical order and includes the following: Artist Name, Genre, Hometown and Website.

Sam Sims
Folk Rock
Rumson, NJ

Music Connection

Music Connection

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The Sam Sims Band at Windansea in Highlands

Music of the Islands in Highlands

By Chris Spiewak

There is an all-too-common scenario at the end of the typical work week: you’re exhausted, stressed and just want to grab some good food and catch some local music, but nothing too raucous or loud. Or, perhaps you’re at the shore on vacation, and want to sample some of the best ambiance and entertainment that Monmouth County has to offer. The solution to these quandaries is not difficult; catch the Sam Sims Band, and visit the Windansea restaurant in Highlands. A recent visit to the popular Shrewsbury Avenue establishment brought out the best of both worlds.

The Windansea has been in operation since 2001, and owner Dan Shields, husband of NJ State Senator Jennifer Beck, has transformed the old Branin’s Wharf into a top-notch restaurant, and they continue to hire the best musicians year after year. One of the acts to consistently “make the grade’”at Windansea is the Sam Sims Band, featuring singer/songwriter Sam Sims.

Sims is a shore area regular, and his young age belies his musical experience. Learning piano at age 7, he began his songwriting career at age 14 and has released three full albums and an EP in the last seven years. His style is best described as Folk/Rock, with a significant Hawaiian island influence, and Sims’ music is just perfect for an easy, laid back evening in the summer time. There is also a dash of reggae faintly heard in his music, making it all the more fitting for a shoreline setting. His first two releases, “Neon Signs” and “Moments,” were well received by his fans, and his 2013 CD, entitled “Into The Blue,” is perhaps his best work to date. One of the most popular songs from this album is “Swim,” and can be heard at nearly every Sims show. “Saturday Morning” is another upbeat, catchy number, luring those with good footwork to the dance floor, and “Open Roads” has a James Taylor-esque feel to it. Sims is a classic storyteller; each song penned is a chronicle of life, love and everyday trials and tribulations. Each album reflects a part of Sims’ life, and as life is a work in progress, so is the music catalogue for this talented man.

Performing all over the eastern U.S., Sims focuses on New Jersey in the summer months (although a “road trip” may take him to D.C., Virginia or North Carolina as bookings present themselves) and Florida during the winter months. While in New Jersey, Sims associates himself with two of the shore’s finest musicians: guitar prodigy Kyle Ward of Rumson, and percussionist extraordinaire Dimitris Kulaga of Little Silver. Currently studying at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Ward lends his phenomenal talent to the band, working the fretboard with surgeon-like precision, and adding backing vocals when needed. Only 19 years of age, Ward performs with the skills of those many years his senior, and he is a great complement to the steady rhythm guitar of Sims. Ward is a fast rising star, and can also be seen performing with Sofia Nicole, GNGR band and the Elk-Manzo-Ward trio. One of his greatest honors to date is his acceptance into the Holiday Express troupe, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the tristate region, performing benefit shows during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season.

If it can produce a beat, Dimitris Kulaga can play it. From an ordinary drum kit, to bongo drums, conga drums, tumba drums and a plethora of other devices (cowbell, chimes, tambourine, timbale), Kulaga will keep the tempo no matter the music or venue. Taking inspiration from his childhood friend, Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres, Kulaga set out at an early age to hone his skills. A financial career got in the way for many years, but the passion returned, and the talent never went away. Impressed by former Prince percussionist Sheila E, Kulaga eventually leaned towards hand percussion, and his conga work is very well known in the area. When space permits, he will perform with his unique foot-pedal operated tumba drum, which is essentially a larger diameter conga drum turned on its side with custom stands. It acts much like a bass drum on a standard drum kit, but with different tonal qualities. Not one to settle for the ordinary, Kulaga comes well prepared to every gig, and is a regular at the open mic nights at Jamian’s in Red Bank on Sundays, and at Molly Maguire’s in Rumson on Tuesdays.

Sims’ popularity led to the band being chosen to open for the legendary Wailers (of Bob Marley fame) in 2014 and 2015 at Jenks Club in Point Pleasant Beach. Sims’ recent show at the Windansea Tiki bar proved that he and his band can entertain the local music patrons at the highest level, mixing his original music with popular cover songs like “Layla,” “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Fields of Gold.” The Windansea has a fabulous outdoor stage, with great views of the Navesink River and Sandy Hook, and a friendly, courteous staff that makes every visit special. Working four and five nights a week, it’s not hard to catch the Sam Sims Band in the Monmouth County area, so point your browser to for all the latest info on these talented musicians. There’s still time left in the summer to catch Sam and company outdoors, the perfect way to enjoy a little island music; don’t miss out on a great show!

***Chris Spiewak is currently the bassist for Rock/Blues cover band VyntEdge.***

Concert Blogger Music Magazine

The Wailers, Sam Sims, Random Test Rock the Jersey shore

wailers temp

July 13, 2015 | Jenk’s Pavilion, Point Pleasant, NJ -  With the Atlantic Ocean as a foreground, Sam Sims hit the first notes of “Sunday Sun” and the night was off to a feel good start; complete with the kind of vibe that says, “Every Little Thing is gonna be alright.”

Jenk’s Pavilion in Point Pleasant, NJ recently hosted SimsRandom Test and The “Legendary” Wailers for a night of rock and reggae that defied the most stiff of leg to stay still, warmed the coldest hearts and provided an evening filled with singing and a vibe of togetherness rarely seen from one band let alone three.

Random Test, hailing from Red Bank, NJ and their front man Danny Love took the baton that Sims passed off and the second leg of this three legged race picked up steam and picked it up quick. Wasting no time, Love and his band mates performed a high energy set; even having the chutzpah to throw a Bob Marley tune in the mix as a tribute to the very band waiting to take the stage next.

With the crowd now in a shoulder swaying, knee bending state; The Wailers took to the stage at 10:03 p.m. EST to a packed house. The beach, mostly empty now, void of those who had just arrived or had no interest in the opening acts; provided a perfect setting as the ocean now became a tide of bodies attempting to get closer to the stage.

The first beats of “Cobra Style” split the now cool night and the band was off and running; actually more like “Running Away Crazy” which was the second offering of the evening. The crowd expressed its pleasure and joined in and sang along with the first of the mainstream selections; that of the popular“Buffalo Soldier.”

Photo: Cal Schwartz

Photo: Cal Schwartz

“Pimper’s Paradise,” “Roots Rock a Reggae” and “Stir It Up” proceeded the ever popular “Could You BeLoved” which took it up yet another notch as the crowd was by now in full Rasta mode.

Several tunes later the night began a steamroll towards its end when front man and vocalist Dwayne Anglin uttered, “I shot the sheriff but I will tell you this; I did not shoot his deputy.” That is all of those in attendance needed to hear as they sang the timeless classic in unison from start to finish and were now raring for more.

“Heathen” was followed by another favorite, “Three Little Birds,” and the show was then brought to a temporary close at 11:30 p.m. EST with a lengthy version of “Jamming;” which had hands waving, interpretive dance and once again, hundreds of vocalists helping the men and lady along.

A three minute wait turned into the first encore and as the first finger picked chords of “RedemptionSong” permeated the captive audience, a calm fell over the room with all eyes trained forward; not even noticing the remaining band slowly filtering back in place. They did notice them however as they next hammered the night home with “Get Up, Stand Up,” literally bringing everyone to their feet to join in this battle cry off of the 1973 album “Burnin’.”

Another great night from a great band; three great bands is a more apt way to say it as Jenk’s rocked hard from start to finish with the rock/reggae party of the year. Their members may change over the course of time but the music does not; long live the memory of Bob Marley and long live the Wailers!

Asbury Park Press

Two River Times

Who is the Singer

American Songwriter Magazine

Two River Times

Fund Raising Event: "Mary's Place By the Sea, is a Jersey Shore comfortable retreat where women battling cancer can go to heal their mind, body, and soul".

The Sam Sims Band was honored to be invited by the Quincy Mumford Band, and be part of this worthy and humbling cause. This Concert raised money to benefit women struck with this terrible disease.

Twitter - Hawaii 5-0 Undercover

Two River Times

Florida Today

Asbury Park Press

Annual Harpin’ Help jam session to benefit area non-profit organizations

Harp players, blues singers and guitarists from all over the state will gather beginning at noon on Sunday at Bar A in Belmar for the annual Harpin’ Help benefit. Expect a great jam-session atmosphere led by harmonica player and band leader Sandy Mack.

Among those performing are the Nick Clemons Band, the Eddie Testa Band, Random Test, Lemon Juice, Rocket 88, Matt O’Ree, Sonny Kenn, Eryn Shewell, Reagan Richards, Emily Grove, Frank Lombardi, Joe Miller, Sam Sims, Arlan Feiles, Joe Harvard, Michael Askin, Gary Wright, Barbecue Bob, Stringbean, Chris LeCompte, Kelley Dewkett, Michael Brett, Deirdre Forrest, Poppa John, Jonny B, Jack Daley, Joe D’Angelo, Butchy Sochorow, Maggie McCuiston, Ronnie Brandt, Laura Crisci, Sandy Mack and more. This year’s beneficiaries are Family Promise of Monmouth County and the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation.

Patrons who bring two canned goods get in for $15, otherwise the donation is $20. Call the club, 732-681-7422 for directions or more information.

The Link

Rio Designs-Service Lifestyle PR News

Concerts Cape Journal

I recently had the chance to run down to a local hangout in Indialantic, Florida to shoot a small venue that I had just found out about the day before. I was photographing a small venue up the road, when someone approached me and said, “You should photograph my friend tomorrow; he’s playing at Lou’s Blues and his name is Sam Sims.” I had never heard of Sam Sims and I didn’t have time to listen to him on Youtube prior to photographing him as I usually do as we were visiting a friend in Melbourne. When his friend Angela told me he played the guitar, I just thought I’d give it a shot. I’m glad I did.

Sam Sims is a true artist whose gifted guitar is only surpassed by his smooth vocals. He reminds me of a young Jim Croce and sitting there listening to him takes you back to the 70’s. I like that. I like photographing musicians whose music comes from the soul. That inspires me when I photograph them. It’s not all about the photo for me. I like to feel something when I’m photographing an artist. When you can capture the soul of the artist in an image, it’s a good day.

To find out more about Sam Sims music, go to

Red Bank Green

Oktoberfest Fundraiser in Fair Haven

A tented area of the parking lot of 786 River Road (Smart Start Preschool) is the setting for a rain or shine Oktoberfest event to sponsor future Fair Haven Days events. Entrance fee includes authentic Oktoberfest food and music by Sam Sims; Oktoberfest beverages will be for sale, and a Beer Pong Tournament for prizes will be held (per game fee charged). 21 and over; click for email link to RSVP and advance tix.

Two River Times

Choose to Fly

Press Release:  Sam Sims

January 29, 2013

This appears to be the year for Singer-Songwriter Sam Sims. This multi-talented performer is taking the music world by storm.

His fourth cd, "Into the Blue", will be released in the next few weeks.  This compilation is a heartfelt reflection of the emotional highs and lows he experienced in 2012.  Saturday Morning, Kanikapila and Open Roads are some of his best works to date.  

His feel-good island vibe with acoustic Pop/Folk/Rock sounds are being well received from the Jersey Shore to Miami.  This past weekend Sam entered the music scene in Melbourne, Florida to resounding praise and booked lots of future gigs.  It seems everywhere he goes people love him and his music.

Sam will be at the Singer/Songwriter Festival in Nashville this June.  He is very excited to be in the midst of so many industry legends and to have the opportunity to play and be heard.  His songs range from Popular Alternative Folk Country to Island Reggae Grooves. When asked, Sam says his style is most similar to Jim Croce, David Gray and Jack Johnson.  Most importantly, Sam is unique and true to himself.  He is a poet and sings of the joy, angst, heartbreak and love that surrounds us all.

Sam's love of surfing has recently brought him to the beaches of Nicaragua where he has fallen in love with the people.  He is starting a music program down there for the children.  Each time he visits, he brings donated guitars and ukuleles and teaches music to students, either in the schools or at the homes of friends.  He hopes to grow this program and create a 501(c)3.

Sam is also booking a New England tour this summer.  He and his band will be playing from New Jersey to Maine and spreading the love to an ever-growing audience.

It appears that Sam Sims' lucky number is 13!  With so many opportunities on the horizon and a collection of his new, best material, he is truly ready to Rock and Roll, Island style!

Check out for more information, gig dates and links to his music.

Brevard Live

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