Why Music Lovers Cannot Miss

What A Wonderful Year 2019

By Diane DiMemmo

December 17, 2019

There are many opinions out there as to what makes Asbury Park so special.  Beautiful beaches, trendy restaurants and bars, unique shopping, the overwhelming feeling of acceptance and support you feel when here.  I could go on and on. And although all of that's accurate, it's no secret what I think is one of the best aspects of our City. 

The music scene here is absolutely, positively first rate. And it's not only because of the legendary venues with a plethora of opportunities to see live music night after night. What makes this artistic community so special are the musicians who are from this area and who utilize the Asbury Park music scene as their proving grounds. These are some of the most hard-working individuals I've ever met and they literally crush the stages here every single week. And they are all so unbelievably good! If there's one thing for certain ... it's that Asbury Park artists have created a VIBE here that's exciting, tangible, compelling and addicting.

If you've never made the time to see a show with all of this local, home-grown talent ... well have I found the event for you! On Dec 26th AND 27th, the third annual -What a Wonderful Year - will be held at The Wonder Bar. Founded by Joey Henderson (front man of the band - The Burns), the idea was to build an annual end-of-year celebration of this special music community in Asbury Park. 

Check out the amazing line-up below:

Now, it's important to mention some additional reasons that make this event so special. People should know that a portion of the ticket sales and sponsor contributions will be donated to the Asbury Park Music Foundation to support youth music education. And for the second consecutive year, event sponsor Telegraph Hill Records will be releasing a compilation playlist consisting of 18 new tracks from artists working with the label. About half of those bands will be performing at What A Wonderful Year. Telegraph will also be documenting the show, recording both video and audio again. Come out and you might be a part of a live album! HOW TOTALLY COOL IS THAT?!?! Last year's show resulted in a live EP released from Connor Bracken and the Mother Leeds Band, which you can view here

Additionally ... Tito's Handmade Vodka has created 4 specialty drinks that are sure to please show-goers (as well as get a laugh). Other event sponsors include Asbury’s favorite food stop - MOGO Korean Tacos, the app that connects artists and fans - Live Music Loyalty and the best source for info on the music scene – Makin Waves. (Hopefully Asbury Park Vibes is a close second? 😉)

So, let's go back to what I said earlier about this City being filled with people who are accepting and supportive of one another. I highly recommend that music lovers- as well as those who want to experience the exceptional atmosphere and vibe of Asbury Park  -  attend What A Wonderful Year and support these amazing artists. It will be everything that is unique and special about the musicians who make Asbury what it is today. As event organizers stated, "We hope this continues as an annual event that everyone looks forward to for many years and keeps Asbury Park a close-knit community."

Tickets are $20 at the door but discounted to $16 for pre-sale tickets available from most of the bands on the bill or at The Stone Pony Box office.

Learn more about the musicians who'll perform at What A Wonderful Year below. The music runs non-stop starting at 7:30 pm sharp with performances alternating between the main stage and a side stage. What a Wonderful Year is all about celebrating the year as well as looking ahead to what’s next for Asbury Park! 

Rachel Ana Dobken

“Rachel Ana Dobken (drums, guitar, piano, vocals) isn’t satisfied with the ordinary. Her work is a brilliant amalgamation of extraordinary jazz influences, heart-aching soul rhythms and incendiary indie rock instincts.  Rachel Ana Dobken is described as 'My Morning Jacket-meets-Lake Street Dive.' She has a knack for blending indie-rock and soul, and has been featured by @btrtoday @thedelimag @substream @relixmag @asburyparkpress @theaquarianweekly @nytimes @njdotcom & many more. Her LP, When It Happens To You, is out now.”

Connor Bracken and The Mother Leeds Band

"Connor Bracken and the Mother Leeds Band have put people on notice that they are a rock and roll band to be reckoned with. In 2016 they released the full length album entitled The Light in the Day, which has increased their audience rapidly. Connor and the band have received national exposure on SiriusXM Radio through airplay of the song "Like a Dog" and a live studio session that has sent the band into new territory. The same year, the band was also featured in "Classic Rock Magazine." CB&MLB are taking every opportunity to bring their sound to people right in front of them. They don't try to be anything but themselves and when they take the stage you can tell that they love being there, and you'll hear it in the music.”

Tara Dente

“Tara Dente is an inventive songwriter with a powerful voice and heartfelt, whimsical stylings. She grew up around the sounds of Celtic music and spirituals, later latching on to folk and Americana music. Tara was nominated for an Asbury Music Award for Top Local Album Release for her album, The Gleaner, in 2018.”

The Foes of Fern

“The Foes provide a full-bodied experience with an open heart, a lot of soul and a wild head of hair...don’t hesitate, join right in.” 

Bobby Mahoney and the Seventh Son

“New Jersey - the home of (arguably, and we’ll argue it) the best names in rock & roll, and Bobby Mahoney and The Seventh Son have taken that as a challenge worth conquering. Sharing the stage with the likes of Bon Jovi, Against Me! and Frank Turner, as well as fellow local acts, Bobby Mahoney and The Seventh Son have spent 9 years cultivating their craft on stages, big and small. With tours in the East Coast and Midwest under their belt, the band is no stranger to the stage." 

Drew The Recluse

“New Jersey based artist Drew the Recluse believes that thoroughly, belting an impressive blend of stressed yet soulful R&B vocals over sounds ranging from trap, alternative rock, and new wave. You will feel both pain and pleasure in the discography of this talented young artists.”

Bulletproof Belv

“Bulletproof Belv will give you the inner urban city experience of Asbury Park. He has a variety of styles but will go with more of a pop rapping style for this show 💪🏾.”


"Lowlight caps off their busy, wonderful year (that included a Sea.Hear.Now Festival performance) at The Wonder Bar for What A Wonderful Year  on December 27th."

Martin Howth

“One voice, but also many. Proper instruments, haven't any. Music made with mic in hand, and heart in mouth."

8 Dayz

You can never know what to expect from 8Dayz, one thing for sure though your in for an electric, very personal, and in your face set. "I love to connect with my fans. When they see you’re a real person, not only your lyrics but your soul leaves an impression on them.” 

Jarod Clemons and The Late Nights

“Jarod Clemons and The Late Nights fused their musical talents in June 2019 and have since been a continuous driving force with their contagious passion for rock music. These five extraordinary musicians bring magic to the stage and the ability to mesmerize their audience with original music and covers which don’t disappoint.”

Natalie Farrell

“Natalie is known for her powerful, expressive contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul, rhythm and blues, jazz, pop, and rock. Natalie cites influences ranging from Halsey to Amy Winehouse, Hayley Williams, Alanis Morissette and more.” 


"Blaise’s music is alt/pop, moody and sexy with a message of self love. He’s a visual artist hell bent on creating art that entertains and empowers.” 

The Mercury Brothers

“Hailing from the sandy streets of Asbury Park, NJ. The Mercury Brothers have been bringing their bluesy, boozy, rock enthusiasm to audiences since 2015. They are a force to be reckoned with , leaving spectators with the strange mix of nostalgia and frenzied inspiration so quintessential of nights spent on the Jersey Shore. Together, The Mercury Brothers.”

Ashley McKinley

“Ashley McKinley is a singer-songwriter based out of Nashville. Her music can be described as singer-songwriter, pop with melodic country influences. She grew up performing in the Asbury Park music scene in NJ while also playing shows throughout New Jersey, New York City, and Philadelphia. She has recently joined ventures with the Asbury Park-based label Telegraph Hill Records, and is excited to be releasing new music with them this December.”

Katherine Quintana

"Katherine draws inspiration from folk, jazz, and pop music to create a simple yet poignant blend of sweet melodies and thoughtful lyrics.”

The Extensions

“With lyrics sharper than a box cutter, and hooks as sweet as grape soda. The Extensions prove themselves to be the estranged power-pop love child of Spoon and Elvis Costello.” 

Cranston Dean and Patty C

“The Cranston Dean Band and Patty C have become very close friends throughout the course of 2019. Inviting Patty C to play keyboard, sing harmonies, and perform his original songs at multiple different events and shows, they’ve had so much fun bringing their music together. Both artists really enjoy and appreciate each other’s music and songs which makes playing together feel very natural. On stage and offstage, there is always a great vibe between them and they always push each other to be the best they can. They can’t wait to play at What a Wonderful Year.”

Beautiful Scumbags

“Beautiful Scumbags is an unapologetically experimental sonic hip-hop rap duo conceptualized by masterminds Miles Winfrey & Brandon Fabrizzio . They are from Jackson, New Jersey. Their music deals with being rejected, idealism, society, and all around.”

Devon Alana

“Devon Alana is a singer-songwriter, and the front woman of Asbury-based indie rock band Fake Pockets. Her songs blend upbeat, power-pop influenced melodies with earnest, lovesick songwriting. If you want fun songs for sad times, look no further.”

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Asbury Park Vibes

ASBURY PARK VIBES is a media outlet dedicated to shining a light on the music scene at the Jersey Shore and throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region of the U.S.! We strive to provide show reviews and photographs that capture the true essence and fan experience of each concert. Our coverage focuses keenly on the artists and venues in legendary Asbury Park, New Jersey, however you'll also catch us promoting events throughout NJ, PA and NY as well! There is nothing better than the dynamic energy and vibes you feel when you experience a concert at the Jersey Shore! We're sure we'll see you at a concert here very soon!

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