On September 3rd, 1977, The Grateful Dead headlined one of the largest and most musically successful concerts of all time at Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ. In addition to the Grateful Dead, who had just completed its legendary Spring/Summer 1977 tour featuring a batch of new material from Terrapin Station, the show also featured the Dead family’s New Riders of the Purple Sage and the good-time, southern rock of The Marshall Tucker Band. This tribute extravaganza will feature healthy “doses” of selections from each band’s sets that day with a relaxed, festival style program.

As Michael Falzarano tells the tale!

Everywhere I toured with The New Riders of the Purple Sage for the past 15 years someone would come up to me at almost every show and say “I saw you guys at Englishtown.” Long story short, it seemed like a good idea to put a band together and pay tribute to that legendary September 3, 1977 show. With that, The Englishtown Project was born.

{For the full story scroll down to the bottom of this page and check out How it all began}

 

The Mission!

The mission is to pay tribute to the music played that day in 1977 by all three iconic bands: The Grateful Dead, The New Riders of the Purple Sage and The Marshall Tucker Band.  There were over 60 songs played at that show, all of which are instantly recognizable. We play an ever-changing mix of the songs at every show. From time to time we’ve been known to add songs not played that day. These bonus tunes are true to the history and legacy of the three bands. So if the spirit moves you and you have a request, shout it out. It just might get played.

 

The band consists of a core group of musicians and a consortium of other fabulous players from the Jam Band scene ready to plug in when needed.

 

The Englishtown Project 

 

Michael Falzarano

Guitar/Vocals: After decades-long stints with Hot Tuna and The New Riders of the Purple Sage, Michael has earned nothing less than iconic status as one of the most authentic figures on the blues / jam band scene. Over the years, Michael’s evocative singing, intuitive guitar playing and songwriting skills have earned him a large and loyal following worldwide.

 

Rob Wolfson

Lead Guitar/Vocals: Having already developed into a formidable blues rock player at the age of 12 by studying Eric Clapton and Jorma Kaukonen, Rob entered the world of Grateful Dead music in ’69 and has continued exploring ever since. Notable projects include Dead Sage, Joe Gallant’s Illuminati Orchestra and DeadCenter All Stars, which he established in the late 90’s with the Wetlands Preserve Club and is still going strong today.

 

Tom Circosta

Guitar/Vocals: Tom is one of the NY area’s most versatile guitarists and also happens to be the foremost disciple of Bob Weir, arguably the best and most unique rhythm guitarist in rock history. In addition to Zen Tricksters, Tom also plays with the unique Dead On Live and Jam Stampede.
 

Klyph Black

Bass/Vocals: In Klyph, along with Tom and Dave (below), the Englishtown Project is fortunate to have 3/5ths of the classic lineup of Zen Tricksters, the best and longest running Grateful Dead-centric band in the Northeast. Not only is Klyph an outstanding bassist, he is also an excellent guitarist and one of the most accomplished musicians on the Jam Band scene today.

 

Dave Diamond

Drums: Most fans of the Grateful Dead know what a great drummer Dave is, but more and more are coming to realize that Dave is a multi-talented musician to be reckoned with. In addition to his long tenure with Zen Tricksters, Dave drums for the excellent alt-rock band Assembly of Dust and his own eclectic Dave Diamond Band where he is the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter.

The Singers

Clare Maloney

Vocals: New York City-based vocalist Clare Maloney has been hailed for her "golden voice of immense range and depth" and has delighted audiences around the world with her thoughtful artistry, polished singing and heartfelt performances. Raised on Rock & Roll and trained in Classical Music and Opera, Clare's musical knowledge and her skillful ability to move between genres have established her as a go-to musician. Her interpretations of the Grateful Dead are earning her a steady following on the Jam Band scene.

 

Joanne Lediger

Vocals: Joanne is a long-standing member of the Jam Band Family having spent decades with the seminal band Stir Fried and her recent stint singing lead in Reverend Jefferson, a band that explores the music of The Jefferson Airplane. Joanne can be heard putting her spin on legendary Airplane tunes that defined a generation.

Every performance by The Eglishtown Project features one of a handful of master keyboard players. 

 

Mookie Siegel

Keyboards / Vocals: Mookie has distinguished himself over the last many years as one of the principle keyboardists on the Jam Band scene. He has played with Phil Lesh and Friends and is a current member of the David Nelson Band.

 

Scott Guberman

Keyboards / Vocals: Scott has distinguished himself over the last several years as one of the principal keyboardists in many of Phil Lesh’s homegrown projects including Phil and Friends. Scott’s reputation as one of the genre’s best and most creative players is undisputed. He also plays regularly with many other significant musicians in the San Francisco Bay area when not touring nationally.

Mark Mercier

Keyboards / Vocals: In the past few decades Mark has established himself as a well-regarded keyboardist in the Jam Band arena. His band Max Creek has been on the scene since 1971 and continues to tour today.  Playing many shows and producing its own annual festival Strange Creek, Mark and Max Creek have carved out a firm niche in this musical genre. 

 

Scott Chasolen

Keyboards / vocals: Scott is a top-class pianist and keyboardist. He is a professional session musician, songwriter, producer and founding member of the NYC instrumental jazz/funk band ulu. Scott has also written and produced his own critically acclaimed original albums and is a full-time member of the world famous Pink Floyd tribute band The Machine And Beginnings – The Ultimate Chicago Tribute Band.

 

Jordan Giangreco

Keyboards / Vocals: Based out of Branford, CT, Jordan is a brilliant keyboardist and is no stranger to the New England Jam Band scene. He plays keyboards in the band Psychedelic Breakfast and has also played with The Jen Durkin Band, Legion of Jerry, Chemical Z , Sons of Funk  and Steal Your Funk

Waynard Scheller

Keyboards / Vocals: Waynard has shared the stage with Bob Weir (Grateful Dead, Rat Dog Dead and Co), Donna Jean Godchaux (Grateful Dead, Donna & The Tricksters), John Kadlecik (Dark Star Orchestra, Phil and Friends, Furthur, Mark Karan (The Other Ones, Bob Weir & RatDog), Kenny Brooks (Bob Weir, RatDog, Charlie Hunter Quartet), and many others.

John Pittas

Keyboards / Vocals: John was at the Englishtown show in '77 and was actively playing the music of all three acts in a popular Jersey shore band at the time. His influences include Keith Godchaux as well as many of the same jazz, blues, country, and bluegrass artists that inspired the Dead. He has produced recordings by local talent including Sandy Mack and currently performs regularly with Dead On Live, Bobby Bandiera, and the Voodudes.

When Dave Diamond is not available we have some world class drummers at the ready

Jami Novak 

Jami is no stranger to the Jam Band world. Being the drummer for the band Cabinet he has tour the country extensively. His drumming skill are at a level that most never achieve.  
 

Joe Chirco

Drums: Fans of the Grateful Dead know what a great drummer Joe is. He’s been on the Jam Band scene for quite a long time, making him a much sought after drummer. He’s played in the John Kadlecik Band, Donna Jean Godchaux Band with Jeff Mattson, Zen Tricksters and Dark Star Orchestra along with Half Step. Now you can see him with The Englishtown Project.

 

Alan Lerner

Drums: Highly versatile drummer Alan Lerner is an in-demand session and live drummer throughout the Tri-State area. Known for both his power and feel on the kit, Alan has toured with the prolific Joe Gallant & Illuminati and the Zen Tricksters. He’s played extensively with bass legend Jerry Jemmott and has gigged with Mike Gordon, Levon Helm and Hubert Sumlin. Alan currently performs with the acclaimed Joni Mitchell tribute band, The Joni Project as well as various projects of Michael Falzarano's. 

Jim Weingast

Drums:  Jim has been drumming since 1987. He has recorded, performed and toured with various indie and major label acts including Dude of Life (lyricist for Phish) and Blue Roadhouse Orchestra aka Grateful BRO (a regular band at Garcia’s at the Capitol Theater). Jim has played with many great musicians including Trey Anastasio, Jimmy Vivino and Oteil Burbridge.

Alternate Bass Players

Frank Canino

Bass / Vocals: Frank is an outstanding bassist, composer and is one of the most accomplished musicians on the Jam Band scene today.  He stays busy touring the country and has played bass for The Joe Cocker Band, The Ray Charles Band, Dead Sage and the Dead Center All Stars, to name a few.

Paul Avrutin

Bass: Paul, an excellent bassist and accomplished musician in the Jam Band world has played with Rainbow Full of Sound, Wonder Jam and Dead On Live, among others.

Pedal Steel/Guitar

 

Kevin Griffen

Pedal Steel / Guitar / Vocals: Kevin has made a name for himself playing pedal steel and guitar around the Tri-State area for many years. When not on board with The Englishtown Project, Kevin can be seen with The Jellyband and/or The Electricix., one of the longest running Grateful Dead tribute jam bands on the scene. 

How it all began!

Michael Falzarano, longtime member of Hot Tuna and The New Rider of the Purple Sage, says that after the full five-piece version of Hot Tuna went on hiatus and Jorma and Jack went back to doing their acoustic duo thing in the early 2000s, he spent a year or two on the East Coast playing with various musicians.  He went on the road with Professor Louie and Garth Hudson of The Band, played some shows with Levon Helm of The Band and appeared in and around NYC many times with NRPS pedal steel player Buddy Cage. He also played many shows with the Zen Tricksters, Rob Wolfson and others. In 2004 the phone rang and it was Buddy Cage saying that he and David Nelson were putting the New Riders back together.  He asked Michael to join. The New Riders went on the road non-stop for 13 years, playing close to 100 shows a year until Buddy and David fell ill.  The band was put on the back burner for awhile while they recovered. As Michael tells the tale, everywhere the New Riders played throughout the US and Canada, someone would come up to him and say something like “I saw you guys at Englishtown.” So in 2018 Michael decided to put a band together and pay tribute to the Englishtown show that took place on September 3, 1977. The concert featured The Grateful Dead, The New Riders of the Purple Sage and The Marshall Tucker Band. It turned out to be the biggest concert in NJ history with over 100,000 people in attendance.  Michael called his old friend Rob Wolfson, and they agreed to invite the guys from the Zen Tricksters, Tom Circosta, Klyph Black and Dave Diamond. They all said yes without hesitation. With most of the band in place, Pete Shapiro (Capitol Theater/Brooklyn Bowl/Garcia’s) was contacted. He loved the idea, and the first show was booked at the Brooklyn Bowl on May 27, 2018. As fate would have it, Scott Guberman (Phil and Friends) had planned to be on the East Coast during that time and said he’d love to join in the fun. Clare Maloney was asked to sing backup and cover the Donna Jean parts. With everyone in place The Englishtown Project was born. The warm-up show at Garcia’s and the Brooklyn Bowl were grand successes as the band played to packed houses in both venues. The original concept/idea was to do the one show, have some fun playing a bunch of great songs by three iconic bands and that would be that. Before we knew it, over 40 shows were booked clear out to the end of 2019 and beyond. Well there you have it. Hope to see ya at the shows.    

The Englishtown Project

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