Cremcaffe. Second Avenue near Third Street, East Village. Acoustic music lovers are under table umbrellas applauding Carl Chesna. Suddenly some dude falls from the sky, crashing through an umbrella. Seems he'd been chilling out on a rusty fire escape overhead and it gave way. Only in New York kids, only in New York.
Carl Chesna & Co.: Press
From the uplifting "You're Gonna Shine" to the rockier "New Orleans", singer-songwriter Carl Chesna captures the moment and takes a look into the future with "The Psychology of Waiting"... Chesna's distinctive vocal gives the album its continuity. He seems quite comfortable with the folky "You're Gonna Shine," but also shows he can do the blues-rock thing with songs like "Dream's Wake". In an interesting twist, Chesna delivers a Bowie-esque performance covering Chrissie Hynde's "Up the Neck."
Add Chesna's name to the growing list... songwriters snagging attention... "You're Gonna Shine" - a nicely structured tune - seek it out on the fine album, "The Psychology of Waiting."
As a young boy growing up in Tarrytown, N.Y., Carl Chesna would go out on family outings in their boat along the Hudson River. "One of my favorite things to do was to sit in the back of the boat and watch the trail of water. My parents said, 'Well, that's the wake. It's our path where we've been,'" says Chesna from his home in the East Village. For the past six years, Chesna has plied his trade as a singer and songwriter in the fold of his contemporary, Daniel Cartier, performing at East Village spots such as The Spiral, the now defunct Cafe Sin-e, CBGB Gallery, Under Acme, Brownies, and more recently The Baggott Inn.... "When I write songs, it's not so much about telling a story as it is expressing a feeling," he says. "I've always been interested in the environment, equal rights and humanitarian concerns and I do sometimes address these social issues in my songs, but I don't want to be too preachy. There's a certain folk esthetic and rock sensibility to my stuff", says Chesna, whose "Psychology of Waiting" (Regular Records) varies from the upbeat, happy "You're Gonna Shine" to the psychological dream world of "Dream's Wake." "I try to express a positive energy," he says. "Our society as a whole focuses entirely too much on results and not about the process towards success and defining what success is. So much of it is about status and I have a big car, a mortgage and a big house in the country. Whatever these little prizes are that people are running around with. Most things don't just happen. Each process is a struggle. How did you get there? I see people waiting a lot in their lives before they start to live. People place a lot of conditions on their happiness", says Chesna. Chesna, 29, found himself trapped in the same cycle as he struggled to make ends meet and pay college tuition working at corporate sales jobs in Manhattan while studying, first as an electrical engineering and business major and then shifting to the more artistic side of English Literature and creative writing at Pace University. Chesna decided to give up the corporate dreams for life as a musician and songwriter, and just two courses away from finally getting his B.A. in English Literature from Pace, he's upon the wake of his dreams. "That's where life happens," he says. "Once you get there, you can always change and say, 'Now I want this,' because the idea of success in life is really fluid anyway. My idea is to be happy in the struggle, because that's where life happens."
In Review - Carl Chesna - The Psychology of Waiting (Regular Records). There's a lot of empowerment in this album. From the positive message in "You're Gonna Shine" to the revelations in "New Orleans." Carl seems comfortable with exposing deep feelings and memories in his sensitive songs.
NYC singer/songwriter Carl Chesna's song "St. Anthony" was recently chosen over 200 other songs to be included on The Acoustic Rainbow Sampler, Volume Four, which will be released to over 1,000 radio shows. "St. Anthony" is from Chesna's self-released debut The Psychology of Waiting.
The Asbury Music Awards annually bring together the Jersey shore’s music community for a night of congratulations and camaraderie. But more than the trophies, the night’s performances — carefully chosen to represent every genre of music being played in area clubs — provide a rare chance to take the pulse of the Asbury Park music scene.
This year, it is beating strong.
Produced by Adam Weisberg and Scott Stamper, co-owners of the Saint nightclub, the AMAs show started as an intimate gathering at the old T-Birds Café and has grown over the years until finally finding a home at the Stone Pony. On Saturday, the 18th annual Asbury Music Awards filled the Pony with an enthusiastic audience that ranged from gray-haired old-timers to fresh-faced youngsters who hadn’t been born when the first awards show took place.
Radio personality “Rockin’” Robyn Lane (of 95.9 the WRAT-FM) emceed the event graciously and briskly, keeping the award presentations and performances flowing so smoothly that the show ran ahead of schedule most of the night.
Lane remembered moving to New Jersey to work at her new station and said the first question she asked was: “How far is Asbury Park from Belmar?” When told it was “just down the road,” she made her first trip to the city and instantly fell in love with its history and musical traditions.
In the past, local performers such as April Smith, Val Emmich, Rick Barry have benefited from their exposure at the Asbury Awards ceremonies while launching national careers.
This year, as always, the show presented an eclectic array of local talent, showcasing the sensuous orchestral folk of Carl Chesna, the upbeat power-pop of Almost There, the laid-back grooves of Quincy Mumford and the Reason Why (who won the award for Top Young Band), hard rock and metal from Scott Liss and the 66, and the theatrical pop of Capt. James and the Pain, whose 10-piece band and campy persona suggested the early B-52s.
But the standout performance of the night came with the inspired pairing of local chanteuse Eryn Shewell with the young blues-rock combo Outside the Box, who simply tore the room apart with sizzling torch songs powered by Shewell’s impressive pipes, guitarist Jeff Cafone’s blistering leads and keyboardist Mark Masefield’s soulful organ.
The combination of such inspiring musicianship and Shewell’s fiery vocals proved that the blues remain alive and well in Asbury Park. Even with all of the Stone Pony’s vaunted history, this was a performance that people will remember years from now. Masefield would later win Top Keyboard Player, and Outside the Box was awarded Top Rock Band.
Veteran folksinger George Wirth was named Top Male Acoustic Act, Asbury pop-rockers Status Green won for both Best Local Release and Top Live Performance, and River City Extension earned Top Americana honors.
In the “Beyond Asbury” category, saluting performers who have moved on to national careers, the Bouncing Souls won for their January “Ghosts on the Boardwalk” album, whose title track was inspired by Asbury Park. (The Souls will present their annual “Home for the Holidays” charity concerts at the Stone Pony, Dec. 26-29.)
A full list of winners will be posted at the Saint’s website, thesaintnj.com.