Words & Photos by Doug Dresher

July 15, 2021

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If this was the prize for staying inside for a year and a half - then it was well worth the wait. A funky Dolly Parton, throw in a mix of Laura Stevenson, a history of soul singers, a little dash of P-Funk, and the sound of a 1950’s ballad playing on the AM radio in a convertible cruising down Rt. 66 - and you have Nicole Atkins. Then, place her in front of a spot-on band, and you have an experience that you won’t forget.

A NJ native with a world view, Nicole Atkins and band began with an intense sizzle and brought the audience to a boiling crescendo. And the near sold-out Stony Pony crowd went along with the ride.

It must be really cool to play such a venue in the same area you grew up. Between songs, Nicole Atkins talked about living in NJ and offered a few stories of spending the pandemic much like kids forced to stay home in their bedrooms. But in May of 2020, she released a fine album  - Italian Ice - and spent the rest of the pandemic preparing for just this concert.

In as much as it is hard to use words to describe a musical experience, let’s try a few:








Exactly what we needed.

Nicole Atkins has set the bar amazingly high for any band getting back to performing live. It will be quite challenging for other bands to captivate and hold the crowd the way she did that evening, but it will be fun seeing how other bands fare as they hit the road again. If you haven’t heard of Nicole Atkins, you are missing out and now have an obligation to become a fan. Trust me on this.

Here, have some photographs.

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Born from an existential argument between the modernists and postmodernists, I have found my home with the post-punks and those who love a good slice of pizza. I live in a world of art in the age of mechanical reproduction and the ever-elusive decisive moment. Punctum and Stadium aside, I like to take photographs of people and things to see how they look photographed. While I miss CBGBs, I think Asbury Park is as close as we are ever going to get to making punk whatever we make it to be. The future is unwritten and I owe it all to Mr. Bradley and Mr. Martin. Let us now praise famous men and ask the little prince for his thoughts. Sometimes I'm on the road, but If it wasn’t for the honor of the thing, I’d rather walk. My loving wife supports this albatross of an obsession and my kids put up with me well. BA, MFA, M.Ed., BCEA, Tri-X, and Nikon.

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