Local Celebrity Singer and Self-Taught Piano Virtuoso Eric Hayes Hosts “Monday Night Jam Sessions” at The Dark Horse Lounge

via Morristown Patch  

  • Where: Dark Horse Lounge, 4 Dehart St, Morristown, NJ 07960 (ERIC HAYES CELEBRITY ENTERTAINER/PERFORMER)
  • Date: Weekly on Mondays
  • Time: 7:00pm–1:00am
  • Next on: Monday, August 15, 2011

 Eric Hayes has opened for acts like the Dave Matthews Band, Gavin Degraw and Ziggy Marley. He has played New York’s famed Bitter End and the House of Blues in Vegas.

But the gig that excites him most these days is Morristown’s Dark Horse Lounge.

On Feb. 28, Eric kicks off a weekly music series in the nightclub. It’s a first for a place better known for ear-splitting deejay techno and young singles on the prowl.

“We’re trying to resuscitate live music and artistic creativity in a more intimate environment,” said the Far Hills native, who is a friend of Dark Horse partner Mike Walsh.

Until now, however, there really hasn’t been a venue for up-and-coming alternative and indie acts.

“There is no place to go in Morristown where you can sit back, relax and watch different talented people perform,” said Eric, 28, a self-taught pianist who writes bluesy and jazzy songs influenced by everyone from Ottis Redding and Miles Davis to Jimi Hendrix, Susan Tedeschi and Radiohead.

Eric played the Piano Bar in Morristown before it became David Todd’s City Tavern. The William Paterson University graduate is organizing the free Dark Horse Monday night series, which will feature a mix of top area performers and amateurs who just want some exposure in a friendly setting.

“This will be a relaxed lounge atmosphere,” said Mike Walsh, 30, whose family also owns Sona Thirteen and Tashmoo in Morristown. “I really like live acoustic music.”

The cave-like basement will be transformed on Mondays with comfortable couches, throw rugs and an intimate stage. One half of the space will be closed off, to further enhance the feeling of a small club.

Mike caught one of Eric’s Thursday night gigs at the Bernards Inn and has been a fan ever since.

The Dark Horse Jam Sessions will feature blues, jazz and acoustic acts, with original music and covers. Eric says he anticipates guest appearances by keyboardist extraordinaireRobert Randolph and guitar wizard Junior Mack (the Allman Brothers Band).

“We’re not going to be playing heavy metal,” Eric said.

Patrons will be encouraged to bring their instruments and their songs. The sessions will run from 7 pm to 11 pm.

The series is intended for grownups (21 and older) seeking a respite from the dark headlines of the day, Eric explained.

“I’m a big lover of news,” he said, “but there’s not much to look forward to when you wake up every day.”

Music is the answer, he contends.

“Anybody’s welcome. That’s the point. We don’t want talented people sitting home. Music is therapy. That’s what I’ve learned.”

 

BILLBOARD ARTIST REVIEW 

The soulful conviction of Eric Hayes floods his audience with a hearty stew of rich tones and silky vibes. Even those whose thirst is never quenched cannot help but set down their drink, close their eyes and give in to the seductive musings of this rising star. Hailing from New Jersey, Hayes is so much more than your all-American musician. His music possesses a stirring, earthy sound that leaves his fans aching for more. His voice is robust. His talent is pure. His passion is unmatched.

The 28 year old Far Hills native and William Paterson University graduate has been the recipient of several positive reviews by prestigious critics and has been featured in the Star Ledger, New York Village Voice Magazine, New York Post, The Bernardsville News, the ASPCA and a host of online blogs and pop culture media sites.

Hayes’ credits include collaborating and performing with several big name artists such as Gavin Degraw, Martin Sexton, Bill Withers, Reggae legend Ziggy Marley and soul artist Joss Stone.

2010 has been and continues to be an incredible year for Hayes. He appeared as a guest vocalist for Martin Sexton at the Nokia Theater in Manhattan for a sold out show. In November he will open for Gavin DeGraw and John Mayer.

Hayes is well known for his musical charity work and has headlined exclusive events held by some of the world’s most elite circles of hosts including the opening dinner ceremony for the United States Olympic Wrestling Team. He is inspired by both male and female artists including Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Susan Tedeschi and Radio Head. Recently Hayes performed at an annual ASPCA fund raising charity event, attracting more than 2,000 people, during which he reportedly helped raise more than $25,000.

To date, Hayes has put out a rough Demo, an EP and is now hard at work recording his first full-length album at Sony Battery Studios in New York City and William Paterson University Master Sound Engineering Studio.

Upcoming events: Eric Hayes will be opening for Gavin DeGraw and John Mayer at the Industrial Park on Fairfield Avenue in Stamford, Connecticut on November 19, 2010. Hayes has also been invited to appear for a live performance and interview on 105.5 WDHA “New Jersey’s Rock Radio Station” with radio host Lindsey Klein in late December. 2011 promises to be an exciting year as Hayes will kick it off with a performance at the House of Blues in Las Vegas in January 2011 with Blues legend Junior Mack, who is currently touring with Gov’t Mule, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks and The Allman Brothers.

Musical Influences: 

Martin Sexton, Gavin Degraw, Ottis Redding, Moe Holmes, Joss Stone, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Phish

 

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