Songwriters In The Raw At The Turtle Club

On April 10, 2012 the tradition of singer/songwriters gathering at 936 Park Ave in Hoboken made a triumphant return



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Reaching for the door I was detached from myself. Like I was watching a film of some other guy opening some other door. This was not my hand on the handle. How could it be? Am I really here? This would be my first time back in this space since the closing of my favorite Hoboken bar The Goldhawk on July 11, 2009.

I’ll admit it, for a while I stayed away from The Turtle Club (936 Park Ave, Hoboken) out of resentment. That feeling slowly faded away as I started to hear wonderful things about the food and the atmosphere. There would be the occasional live music night such as when Val Emmich would play an intimate set or Motorboat would blow out the wine-stacked walls.

Eventually, my absence from this place would be caused by the same thing as my absence from anywhere. Life’s changes that simply found me frequenting bars less. I was no longer obsessed with the whole “these guys took my bar away” sorta attitude. After all, before The Goldhawk was The Liquid Lounge. There’s a history of great music at this address.

Tonight may not have been the first night of music at the Turtle Club, but for me and a lot of my friends, it was a significant one. Like me, many had not been here in a a very long time. And like me, they seemed to fall into comfort zones once the familiar music of David Calamoneri, Khaled Dajani, and Marc Giannotti filled the room.


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As in days gone by, I found myself sitting in my usual spot at the bar. My camera perched on a beer glass, snapping abstract visions of the night. I’d move about the room from time to time, reminiscing as well as taking in the new atmosphere. It’s a very nice place. Warm, inviting. An old-world feel with heavy wood and exposed brick. The acoustics could use a little work, but first things first. Let’s get the music back here on a regular basis.

On this night, the three singer/songwriters (all Hoboken Music Award recipients) performed in a round-robin format. Each would take a moment to tell a story about the origins of one particular song, then play that song. The others would subtly join in or listen along with the rest of us. The format was inspired by Scott E. Moore‘s old Writer’s Hang which showcased in this space both when it was The Liquid lounge and The Goldhawk.

Each performer came armed with something uniquely his own to the night. Calamoneri with his politically charged folk. Dajani with his fusion of exotic music styles. Giannotti with his raw rock ballads. Brought together by long-time host of The Peoples Open Mic and founder of the Hoboken Music Awards Dave Entwistle, it was a night of discovery and familiarity. Of comfort and new beginnings. Of memories and hope.

For now, this will be a monthly engagement. However, if this first night was any indication, I feel (or at least I hope) it will become a weekly event.

About The Turtle Club
When The Hoboken Turtle Club was founded in 1796, it was the first organized social club in America. Yes, yet another Hoboken first. Early Turtle Club membership included Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and John Jay. In 2009, the club was re-established at this location to carry on the traditions of the original.

“It must first be premised that this is no ordinary club, from the day of its foundation it has existed for but one thing, the principal of epicurean pleasure” – Founder Col. John Stevens

I for one would like to add musical pleasure to that order.

See Also:
The Turtle Club
David Calamoneri
Khaled Dajani
Marc Giannotti
Hoboken Music Awards
100 Hoboken Firsts


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