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John Sheehan Makes It Happen at Maggie's

by Rich and Laura Lynch

On Thursday, June 21, 2018 we made a return to Ringwood, New Jersey to revisit one of our favorite local events - an Open Mic Night hosted by the talented guitarist John Sheehan - at the recently overhauled Maggie's that was doing a brisk business on the first day of summer in this New Jersey Highlands town.

RJR (Rich John & Roger) make their debut at Maggie's in Ringwood.

John is a mainstay in the region consistently playing out in addition to hosting these singer-songwriter showcases. Sheehan is known for his dedication to a complex, complicated and fiery form of fingerstyle guitar. But, he's also very patient as a teacher and mentor and that is perhaps his biggest gift as he generously shares the spotlight with a bevy of aspiring and established local talent.

Sheehan opened the night with his always charming "Trip to Spain" followed by the new "What It Feels Like". John is a longtime independent artist and he confirmed that his most recent sales are occurring via the streaming model. He reported that a few fingerstyle related Spotify curators have picked up his tracks including one in Nashville. So, we'll concur. If you want a worthy artist to feature on your guitar-oriented playlists make sure to add this guy to the mix!

Fingerstyle guitar extraordinaire John Sheehan.

John also helped out his old friend and founder Rich Lynch by arranging Lynch's latest single for "Those Days" ( | CD Baby | Google Play | iTunes) for performance on this night. Together the pair were joined by Roger Astudillo for a one-time formation that could have been called RJR. The trio flawlessly ran threw a solid take on the track with almost no rehearsal completely on the fly and it worked. The love song from Rich to the music that inspired him in his youth received some applause from the patrons inside the packed Passaic County bar and restaurant. The floor was then turned over to the rest of the large slate of players on this evening.

One of them was the previously mentioned Roger Astudillo himself a fixture on the local music scene. Roger had just completed hosting his 960th consecutive weekly live band open mic the night before just down the road in Oakland. The captivating and charismatic entertainer has also recently taken up a position holding down bass duties in the emerging old school rock outfit called "The Eck's Men" who are starting to generate a big buzz in the region.

John Sheehan gets a Rich Lynch Band T-shirt and more scenes from the open mic.

Another standout was Rich Adams whose original compositions and style reminded one of a John Eddie meets Bruce Springsteen and that was just fine on a June night in Jersey. But, Adams is not stuck in the Garden State. Rich was headed out this week for a show in Denver with additional national dates to be announced soon proving the fact that Ringwood remains a hotbed of surprising musical talent in a wide range of genres.

Maggie's in Ringwood is a noticeable improvement over its previous incarnation. Its inviting interior and white walls was an amazing testament to what a fresh coat of paint can do. Well, that and the expanded menu and long list of crafts and drafts provided by owner Matthew and his courteous and attentive staff. If only we still lived in Ringwood we know where we'd be spending a lot of our time. But, alas, we're in Music City for the moment so it's back to covering the singer songwriter nights here on the Nashville Scene.

More scenes from Maggie's in Ringwood.

Related Links: For more information on JOHN SHEEHAN and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- John Sheehan | Rich Lynch | Roger Astudillo | Rich Adams | Maggie's


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