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John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band Cruise Into with Nashville with a Memorable Debut Fifty Years in the Making

by Rich and Laura Lynch

John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band formed in 1973 and are currently on a run of dates celebrating their 50th anniversary of being one of the country's hardest working bar bands. They brought their roadshow to the sold-out City Winery on Friday, March 01, 2024 and by all accounts they set the popular club located at 609 Lafayette Street on fire. The nearly two-hour show was powered by mostly good time rock and roll - and the evening's engagement was, incredibly - their first-time ever playing in Music City.

Aging like a fine wine - John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band.

It is no secret that Cafferty peaked in the early 80's when he was recruited to compose the chart-topping soundtrack for 1983's Eddie and the Cruisers. That record benefitted from extensive airplay, heavy rotation of its popular videos on MTV and songs that leaned heavily into the Springsteen craze that was then sweeping the nation.

Despite the comparison Cafferty was no mere Bruce imitator. At one point early on in their career the Rhode Island road warriors were pointed in the direction of the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey where John befriended that cast of characters who were brewing up the famed Jersey shore sound.

The dark side was calling in Nashville.

Yes, he was already doing it on his own - but by rubbing shoulders and sharing microphones with the likes of Springsteen, Little Steven and Southside Johnny - the experience certainly helped him solidify his own rootsy approach as John honed a style that drew on a slew of truly American influences - from R&B, to Blues and The Boss.

In Music City, they opened with a pair of their biggest songs - the title track from his 1985 Scotti Bros. debut "Tough All Over" and the smash hit "On the Dark Side" from the Cruisers franchise that had fans clapping and singing along. Next, Cafferty told a story about visiting Nashville once prior in the 80's at the invite of Sawyer Brown's Mark Miller. John relayed how the execs here acknowledged his songwriting talent and that they were aware of who he was.

They told him that in order to really make it, he would need to come back often to hang and mingle with the Nashville industry insiders more regularly. Cafferty reported that was a deal breaker as he was giving all of his free time and energy to raising his family.

Sax player Michael "Tunes" Antunes was in the house.

So, that sort of answers what happened to John through the years as his musical output dried up following a second Beaver Brown Band offering Roadhouse along with the soundtrack to the Eddie and the Cruisers sequel in 1989.

However, Cafferty shared that his trip to Nashville was fruitful as he pitched "Boardwalk Angel" to country star Billy Joe Royal before playing the track with a fitting "Under The Boardwalk" intro. John was in fine form and his band added plenty of punch to the mostly up-tempo concert that included a "newsbreak" from John who stated that they had new music that was some thirty-five years in the making that was ready to drop soon.

The group has been teasing album tracks and testing the waters with Cafferty stating that a single released last year on Spotify called "A Day in the Sun" just hit #1 on a North Carolina chart so he sent the snappy song out with a dedication to all the beach lovers back east.

Striking a pose at the City Winery.

John with his talented team kept the good grooves going on a "Some Like It Hot", "Blue Moonlight Drive" and the "Tender Years" which Michael Antunes - the sax player on stage who also starred in both of the Eddie movies - declared is a forever song. In closing, Cafferty thanked his audience, remarking that at least he finally made it back to Nashville and he hoped to return again soon - accentuating the thought with a determined version of "Just A Matter Of Time" during the encore.

At the City Winery we spotted Cafferty admirer, friend, and fellow Jersey-shore alumni John Eddie who was intently watching his old pal do his thing for the first time in front of a Nashville audience. But, it probably won't be the last. We can envision a scenario where both of these gentlemen become regular guests on stage when another New Jersey rocker - Jon Bon Jovi - opens his own branded juke joint in town this July. Stay tuned.

The City Winery was founded in NYC back in 2008 by Michael Dorf who wanted to combine culinary and cultural experiences. The chain including the Nashville location operates as a restaurant, venue and wine bar. The City Winery can be booked for private events, and it hosts a wide range of concerts such as John Cafferty.

This was the setlist for the John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band debut in Nashville.

Related Links: For more information on JOHN CAFFERTY and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band | City Winery Nashville


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