BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Starting this week, the first of two summer concerts at the Ross Farm in Basking Ridge will heat up the local live music scene. The End of America, performing rock and Americana, is scheduled to perform this  Thursday evening, June 29.

JD Eicher is also scheduled to take the stage at Ross Farm on Sunday afternoon, July 16. These are the final concerts until the music series resumes in October.

The End of America has played two opening sets at the Farm: first in 2015 with Matt Hires as part of the Autumn Acoustic Afternoon series, and then with Christian Lopez for last year’s Celebrate Summer concert. RSVPs are already being taken in at www.rossfarm.org/event/teoa-2017/ for their headlining show later at the end of June.

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The Philadelphia-based trio is a band of friends, singers and travelers who blend three-part harmony with rock and Americana. They master a style that resonates with fans of Ryan Adams, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, and Dawes.

All frontmen of previous bands, Brendon Thomas, James Downes and Trevor Leonard met on tour in 2005. They went on to form a trio that highlights their vocal chemistry and captures the raw honesty of their performances. They recently released their self-titled debut LP The End of America, a follow-up to their previous EPs, Shakey and Steep Bay.

With the album released, the band geared up for a full year of touring. Anyone who has seen TEOA can attest to their powerful harmonies and stage presence. They became a Ross Farm favorite after their first show in the Music Room of the historic home and they helped fill the Barn with an enthusiastic audience on a stormy summer night last year.

The End of America has performed at SXSW, Savannah Stopover and the Baltimore Folk Fest. They have shared the stage with Larry Campbell, David Bromberg, Gary Louris (The Jayhawks), Simone Felice (The Felice Brothers) and joined Beck in Los Angeles to perform for his Song Reader sheet music release show. The trio's appearance at the show aired live on KCRW and received praise from SpinFilter and The Hollywood Reporter.

Ross Farm Music Series at historic estate off North Maple Avenue

The Ross Farm Music Series is hosted by the Friends of the Boudinot-Southard-Ross Estate, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, at the historic estate located at 135 N. Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge. A suggested donation of $20 for adults and $10 for students for each concert can either be submitted via PayPal when RSVPs are entered or at the door for the concerts. As these shows are expected to be staged outside weather permitting, guests are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs although some seating will be available if needed.

JD Eicher also to return to Ross Farm

RSVPs are also being accepted for the July 16 concert with JD Eicher and Mike Mains at www.rossfarm.org/event/eicher-mains/. Eicher returns to the Ross Farm following a big year personally and professionally. He and his wife welcomed a baby daughter in the fall, and JD also delivered a soundtrack of his original songs to accompany best-selling author Nicholas Sparks’ latest book, Two by Two. Pairing a soundtrack to a novel was a unique concept, and Eicher was invited to accompany Sparks on his book tour, singing to the crowds while they waited for Sparks to sign their novels.

“The music that I’m writing and releasing is really mirroring who I am and where I am at that time in my life. It’s easy to perform songs when they’re very true,” said Eicher in his online bio. The Youngstown, OH-born and bred musician added, “I’m really glad that my career has taken the longer, ‘scenic’ route, because the music I’m writing now has a certain truth to it that I’m not sure I would have found otherwise.”

Eicher’s Rust Belt upbringing seeps into, or serves as, the foundation of his songwriting. “I think it definitely affects the music,” he affirms, “even in the way I approach touring and my overall work ethic with songwriting and recording. There’s a world-wariness that comes out of this area that gets into the songs. I think there’s a realism that comes out of this part of the country, too, and I think that gets in there as well.” It’s no wonder that Pittsburgh, PA, not far from his Ohio hometown of Youngstown, has embraced the performer and his music as their own, too.

With his band, The Goodnights, Eicher’s soaring and graceful pop-rock songcraft garnered favorable comparisons to Coldplay, Keane, The Script, The Killers, and Death Cab for Cutie. Alternative Addiction named the group one of the top 10 unsigned bands. Virgin Atlantic airlines used one of the band’s songs in the teaser for the airline’s movie, Departure Date. Live, JD Eicher and the Goodnights shared the stage with such diverse and respected artists as the Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay, Train, Maroon 5, Bryan Adams, Kelly Clarkson, Sister Hazel, and Matt Nathanson, among many others.

Eicher will be accompanied by bandmates drummer Dylan Kollat and bass player Jim Merhaut. Opening this show is Mike Mains. According to the Detroit-based musician’s bio, he loves rock and roll and the creative craft of large hooks and lyrical sensibility. “His earnest honesty is evident in his music, his shows, and his life. Mains approaches his musical passion with lunch pail in hand, hammering out meaningful, well-crafted songs like a skilled tradesman,” the document reads. 

Performing over 300 shows the last three years, Mains has built a committed fan base. His shows have proven to be high energy, interactive and exciting. Mains is recording his third full-length LP this year, and it is expected to be an expansion of his already-established foundation: exciting rock and roll.

Local business scholarships help support music series

Sponsorships from local businesses for the first time this year have helped support the Ross Farm Music Series. The FoBSR invites fans of its live music to consider patronizing the sponsors’ businesses or services and thanking them for their support! 2017 Music Series sponsors are: Atelier Salon, Back to Nature Home & Garden, Bobi Commer – Coldwell Banker, The Café @ Liberty Cycle, Concert Audio, Couch Braunsdorf Insurance, Country Mile Gardens, Crawford Academics, Minuteman Restaurant, Mockingbird Café, Safety & Aquatic Solutions, TAPinto Basking Ridge, TrueLeaf Kitchens, and Tull’s Foreign Auto Body.