Time to get your JAMMYs on.

It’s widely known that I grew up in Sayreville, New Jersey. And in great musical company, I have to add. Back in the ’70s our little town was raising some heavy hitters – Dave “Snake” Sabo of Skid Row (my schoolmate), Greg Evigan (my neighbor), and of course Jon Bon Jovi (my sister’s … best friend’s … neighbor). [eye roll]

There was no budding music scene in Middlesex County, no Charter High School for the Performing Arts, no School of Rock, not even a bohemian arts community within 30 miles, and yet, these guys went on to be *stars*. They ate, slept and breathed their art. I remember plenty of those “Battle of the Bands” at S.W.M.H.S. in the early ’80s.

The closest I got to that was hanging out at my friend Lisa’s house in Hopelawn. We taught each other those signature Joan Jett and Pat Benatar songs, trying to one-up each other’s Stevie Nicks imitation. Good times, I remember so well.

I moved to Pennsylvania in 1987, began to raise a family, but the music kept nagging at me. By 1998, I was back at it – for real this time. Partnered with Nina Peterson, I found myself playing in New Jersey again. We teamed up with Beth Sherby in 2001, formed Jackknife Betty and kept on going. We hit Long Beach Island, Asbury Park, Philadelphia, Allentown, Bethlehem, the Poconos and all those places in between that I can’t remember any more. It was fantastic.

Geez, I digress.

Now I’m doing this singer/songwriter thing. Wow. I’m probably more surprised than anyone. With the release of Logic and the Heart, I’ve been inspired to write more, and perform more. I’m constantly on the lookout for those great little listening rooms where the artist can connect with the audience on an intimate level, and you never know what direction the show’s gonna go. Throw the set list to the wind, I say! [Mike Fritz eye roll]

So, onward, and upward. This week I was nominated in two categories of the 2012 Jersey Acoustic Music Awards (JAMMYs). Best Song – Woman in Me, and Top Female Performer. I have no grand illusions of actually winning either award, but the recognition alone has me blown away. Thank you to the fabulous New Jersey music community – especially the Asbury Park scene. The energy there is comparable to what we have here in the Lehigh Valley. I just wish I had known about it 20 years ago!

More about the JAMMYs:

Awards show spotlights low-profile performers

Published: Tuesday, March 15, 2011, 8:00 AM

  By Jim Testa/For The Star-Ledger The Star-Ledger

“The second annual Jersey Acoustic Music awards show not only drew twice the audience as the previous year, but more important, provided ample evidence of the impressive breadth of talent that brings original acoustic music to the Jersey Shore all year long.” …  Read More

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