Southside Johnny Lyon, who will play the main, HullabaLOU stage at this year's HullabaLOU music festival at Churchill Downs, first achieved fame in the mid-1970s with his band the Asbury Jukes. They were considered the second major act to emerge from the Jersey Shore music scene, following a guy you may have heard of named Bruce Springsteen.
Southside Johnny's early records, which included guest vocals, writing, and production from the likes of Springsteen, Little Steven Van Zandt, and Gary U.S. Bonds were Stax-influenced R&B records that predated Van Zandt's own fine soulful 1982 release with the Disciples of Soul called Men Without Women. In fact, two of Southside Johnny's most well known songs are the Van Zandt-penned I Don't Want To Go Home and Springsteen's Hearts of Stone.
And while Lyon is certainly a soulful rocker at heart, in 2008, he collaborated with Asbury Jukes' trombone player Richie "La Bamba" Rosenberg - also a member of the Max Weinberg 7 - for a break from the typical Jukes' sound. Using a 20-piece big band, they recorded a cover album of Tom Waits songs entitled Grapefruit Moon. But now in the summer of 2010, the Jukes are back with a much more hard rocking Pills and Ammo release that just came out a few weeks ago. Expect them to play One More Night To Rock off the new record; it features a dual guitar crunch, horn section, and Lyon's bluesy harmonica.
Jon Bon Jovi has claimed Southside Johnny as a big influence on his musical career. Since Bon Jovi will be taking the same stage later that night, there no doubt will be rumors that he will be joining Southside Johnny on stage. Without or without Jon, Southside Johnny, however, will do his best to transform a huge racetrack into a cozy neighborhood bar.
Southside Johnny will be performing Friday July 23 on the HullabaLOU stage at 5:00.
Watch the Jukes' video for It's Been a Long Time.