Home Culture Local Musicians Not-to-Miss in Hoboken + Jersey City 

Local Musicians Not-to-Miss in Hoboken + Jersey City 

by Lara Cohn
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New Jersey’s music scene has given birth to iconic names like Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Frankie Valli, ‘ol Blue Eyes Sinatra, Whitney Houston, Queen Latifah, Lauryn Hill, and punk bands like The Smithereens. But Hudson County is producing some new and important music in all genres to pay attention to. The vibrant music scene continues to offer a showcase for local singers, songwriters, producers, composers, musicians, and bands either on the rise, or those who have stood the test of time. Read on for a roundup of the best Hoboken + Jersey City musicians not-to-miss.

local musicians hoboken jersey city

Adam Levine

No, not that Adam Levine {we have one in Hoboken who is much cooler}, the “other” Adam Levine is not only a local musician but he has been running his own design shop in Hoboken under the name ADAMEUS for the past 10+ years. A resident of Hoboken since ‘94, he’s played his classic ‘80s/’90s rock at Maxwell’s, Willie McBrides, Green Rock, and catch him at Barbes Restaurant and events around town.

Brett Altman

Businessman by day, singer/songwriter by night, Brett Altman is a Penn State alum that didn’t start singing publicly until the age of 20. Since moving to Hoboken four years ago, Altman has established himself in the tri-state area music scene. His upbeat music is a fusion of pop and folk, with songwriting that illuminates moments of everyday life. His biggest musical influences are John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran, and Dave Matthews Band. His single “Come Find Me,” released last year and his latest single, “Full of You” is co-written with fellow Hoboken resident Chris Pattwell. Altman is giving Hoboken Girl readers a private listening link. Check it out here.

See More: Guitar Bar: A Music Lover’s Paradise in Hoboken

The Burning Bees

The Burning Bees are a four-piece rock band making a splash around the Hoboken bar scene, after warming up a few summers at the Shore. Rooted in jam but coated in honey, The Burning Bees take inspiration from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin, and the Grateful Dead to Sublime. With their unique mix of upbeat, well-crafted covers and originals, they bring the party wherever they go and continue to provide fresh music in the hottest bars around town. If you can’t make it to the Parker House, find them playing at FM in Jersey City and Willie McBride’s in Hoboken.

Demolition String Band

Fueled by a shared passion for country, rock ‘n roll, bluegrass and mountain music, Elena Skye and Boo Reiners have led their Hoboken-based rootsy alt-country band, Demolition String Band, for almost two decades. They both started out as kids, taking lessons, slowing down classic recordings, jamming with anyone and everyone and performing in bluegrass bands. Their paths first crossed at an independent bookstore in Hoboken, co-owned and managed by Elena. Their after-hours jams at Blackwater Books and nearby pubs led them to form a band, playing locally at Fox and Crow, Finnegan’s Pub, and Pete Seeger 100th Birthday Celebration at Sinatra Park.

Elevator Pitch

This teenaged jazzy Hoboken quintet band includes keyboardist and vocalist Edward Horan, son of Little City Books’ Kate Jacobs {who is a top musician in her own right with folk/pop albums on Hoboken’s Bar/None Records}, guitarist/vocalist Andrew Wholf, Martin Baker bass, Christian Conte on drums and vocals, guitarist, vocalist Robert Baxter, who immigrated from London with his family as a child and shared a guitar teacher with Wholf. Working with producer Rob Shepherd and engineer Corey Zack at The Cocoon recording studio in Jersey City, they are quickly making a name for themselves with an almost indescribable fusion of technique, creativity, and wit, playing at FM Bar, the Arts and Music Festival and events around town.

Fascinations Grand Chorus

Two rival songwriters and one audio pop experiment, these Jersey City-based keyboards and drums duo Stephanie and Andrew make great pop music together. Catch them at FM Bar, Porta, and Pet Shop JC.

Gene D Plumber

Hoboken’s own singing plumber. Listen to country swing from this OG Hoboken musician. He’s been working two jobs for a long time – a fixture under sinks and on stage in Hoboken since the 1970s. Gene Turonis, aka Gene D Plumber, is finally ready to put down the wrench and pick up the guitar full-time. From the kitchen table bohemian scene of the early 1970s through the rise of Maxwell’s, punk rock and grunge, Gene and his band, D Plumbers, keep plugging away. 

Glen Morrow’s Cry for Help

Rock, and occasionally roll, this band {Glenn Morrow on guitar and vocals, Ric Sherma, guitar, Mike Rosenber, bass, and Ron Metz, drums} is led by the owner Morrow, a local legend. He has been central to musical movements in the Mile Square for more than three decades, both as a songwriter and performer and as the head of Hoboken-based Bar/None Records, an imprint that has always flown the flag for courageous artists. He was one of the first musicians to play at Maxwell’s and it was Morrow onstage with his old bands to bring the curtain down.

Jack Breslin

Upright and electric bassist, cellist and composer, Jack Breslin is a musician raised in Massachusetts, but is currently residing in Jersey City. With a bachelor’s degree in music from Drew University and a master’s degree in Upright Bass Jazz Performance from NJCU, Jack performs regularly with his own jazz groups as well as with groups of every genre and affiliation including James Calleo, in and around the area. He also teaches bass and cello to beginners and intermediate students alike. The Jack Breslin Trio performs regularly at The Hutton in Jersey City for a jazz brunch, 12:00PM-2:00PM on the patio {weather permitting}.

James Calleo

James Calleo has established himself as one of Hudson County’s most engaging and personable singer-songwriters over the last few years. Calleo originally hails from Bergen County and also spent several years of his early childhood in Japan because of his father’s work. After backpacking around the country for a while, everything eventually brought him back to New Jersey and his current family home of Hoboken. The Hoboken singer/songwriter {and yoga teacher} now performs all over Hudson County each month as a solo performer and with his acoustic trio band — as well as some live music yoga events on a regular basis. He has put a lot of work into his latest single, “Thunderstorm,” which weaves evocative lyrics into well-crafted melodies to produce a tight and moving track. Catch him around town {he recently performed at the Spring Arts + Music Festival} at Hoboken’s Elysian Café on the second Saturday of each month and his “Second Thursdays” monthly residency at Jersey City’s Fox & Crow at 8:00PM. The first set features Calleo and his band playing original music, while the second set is the music of Seattle band, Fleet Foxes. Admission is free. We hear it fills up fast, so arrive by 7:30PM to get a front-row seat. PS: You can also find him on the yoga mat — he’s a teacher at several spots in Hoboken + JC.

Karyn Kuhl Band

The Karyn Kuhl Band is a blues-influenced rock quartet led by singer, songwriter, guitarist Karyn Kuhl, who has been rocking in Hoboken since the classic ‘80s Maxwell’s days with her early bands Gut Bank and Sexpod. Their recent single was featured on the TV show Good TroubleThe current line-up includes renowned guitarist Jim Mastro, bassist Lou Ciarlo, and drummer Jonpaul Pantozzi. Their 11 song recording Songs For The Dead won best album at the 2013 Hoboken Music Awards.

Kieran Sullivan

Kieran Sullivan is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer based out of Jersey City. He has been touring as a singer-songwriter throughout the U.S. and Europe, and as the frontman for the roots rock reggae jam bands CC Roots and Jessie Wagner. With his new band BLUEOX, he is alongside music producer, composer and guitarist, Donny Dykowsky, whose boutique music agency based in Jersey City, The Ski Team, works directly with filmmakers, record labels, and artists. Kieran is a soulful and honest storyteller with a raspy voice and a bluesy swagger. You can catch him around Hoboken + Jersey City at FM, The Hutton, Porta and he will be at Elysian Cafe every third Saturday of the month throughout the fall for a free showcase with rotating guest performances by CC Roots, Blueox, and other talented musician friends.  

Long Neck

Led by Jersey City-based Lily Mastrodimos {daughter of Guitar Bar owner and top musician in his own right Jim Mastro, a prominent figure in the Hoboken music scene since the early “glory days” off Maxwell’s as a member of The Bongos}, she is the frontwoman and songwriter for the exhilarating, muscular indie-rock project Long Neck. Mastrodimos’ own personal investment in biology finds its way into Long Neck’s discography. Band members include Lily Mastrodimos on vocals and guitar, Alex Mercuri on bass and vocals, Kevin Kim on guitar, and John Ambros on drums.

Mike Buscio

Mike Buscio is an independent musician from Jersey City. He is a singer/songwriter by night {and guidance counselor by day}. Find him playing at Grand Vin Kitchen and Bar, The Hutton, Union Hall, and events around town. Enjoy his music here.

Rest Ashore

This off-kilter young Hoboken rock band that played at the Hoboken Spring Music and Arts Festival, is led by guitarist Erica Butts on guitar and vocals with, Gabriel Bond, bass and Isabelle Diamond, drums. They formed in 2011 but have just recently gained recognition. 

Rufus Jones

Soul and Blues guitarist, singer/songwriter, producer, and bandleader Rufus is a “Wall Street” trader, and by night he continues to moonlight as a musician and songwriter. In Summer 2016, Rufus initiated a multi-year monthly performance solo residency, “Soul, Blues + Originals, Too,” at the Light Horse Tavern in Jersey City, Rufus continues to perform bi-weekly on alternate Wednesdays at the Light Horse Tavern, while taking periodic gigs and private performances in and around the area. Rufus lives and works in Jersey City, with his wife Jill and son.

Read More: A Comprehensive Guide to Hoboken + Jersey City Live Music Spots

The Schramms

Original Yo La Tengo guitarist {American indie rock band formed in Hoboken in 1984} and Hoboken guy Dave Schramm just released his first album with his band in nearly 20 years. In addition, Schramm has contributed guitar to records by the Replacements, Soul Asylum and Little City Books’ Kate Jacobs. Band members include Dave Schramm on guitar, vocals, and songs, Ron Metz on drums, percussion, and Al Greller on bass. The new album, {available on vinyl and CD at Tunes} finds the Schramms on the noted Hoboken-based label Bar None, working for the second time with producer JD Foster.


Led by Jersey City’s Dave Feldman, they are on Steven Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool record label and appeared on HBO’s The Deuce. This ‘70s-stylized punk/rock ‘n’ roll group counts The Rolling Stones, The Replacements, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, and The Clash as influencers. They play at Pet Shop JC and WFMU’s Monty Hall.

Who are your favorite singers and bands in Hoboken + Jersey City? Let us know in the comments!

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