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Charles Laurita EP

March 26, 2010
Jersey Alive! WINE AND MUSIC

Charles Laurita stretches the boundaries of the blues
BLUE NOTES By Richard Skelly

The Trenton area has spawned many great blues and blues-rock guitarists over the years, among them: Paul Plumeri, Joe Zuccarello and Ernie White. Now there's an up-and-coming guitarist from greater Trenton who is stretching the boundaries of modern blues: His name is Charles Laurita.

Laurita is scheduled to perform a free concert with his trio from 1 to 5 pm, Saturday, March 27, at the Laurita Winery (no relation). 35 Archertown Road, New Egypt. He will be accompanies by two solid veterans of the Trenton area scene, drummer Darwin Morua' and bassist, Rick Lucherini.

Laurita comes from Laura and Rita, the wives of the two owners of the winery, Laurita, 19, of Hamilton Township explained.

"I was 11 when I started taking guitar lessons from Ernie White." Laurita said in a recent interview. "Paul Plumeri and Joe Zook were also big influences on my playing, too."

During one of Laurita's sets, aside from his spry originals and original instrumental tunes, you're likely to hear radically re-arranged familiar fare, such as a funk version of "Folsom Prison Blues," a hard rock version of "Sweet Dreams," by the Eurthythmics and funky interpretations of B.B. King's "Rock Me Baby" and Ray Charles' I've Got A Woman.

"I do original stuff, too," Laurita stressed in a telephone call from his parents' home in Hamilton. "But I also get a lot of fun out of re-arranging some songs that are classic and familiar to everyone, like "I Got A Woman" and "Folsom Prison Blues." These are classic and most people know them."

"I usually come up with the ideas in my head and it'll be a complete epiphany," he said. "Then I'll try to work it out for all the instruments and we all further work the songs out in the rehearsals."

Laurita who is majoring in entertainment technology at Mercer County Community College, also is recording his debut album as time and money permits.

"Neither of my parents play music, but they've been very supportive of me," he explained. "But a few of my uncles did play, and they were helpful when I first started out."

As for Zook and Plumeri, Laurita said, "They were always so nice to me whenever I would talk to them about guitar. Watching them live repeatedly and being able to see them play, with all the experience they have, was very influential."

Laurita has already showcased his trio at several of White's Holiday Extravaganzas at KatMandDu Route 29. in Trenton as well as for several organ donation benefit concerts.

Laurita first visited the winery in the fall of last year, with his parents of course. He is 19, after all.

"Originally when we went in there, we thought they might be related to us, and my mom quickly became friendly with the management and the owners, so this will be my second time playing at the winery." he said.

"This time, we'll have the full trio and we'll be doing three sets through the course of the afternoon," he explained. "The room is a wood-paneled room with a very high ceiling, so it should sound great with the full trio."

"If you like blues and rock, we're very heavily blues and rock-based," he said. "Also, I'll be debuting a lot of my original songs."

Richard Skelly hosts the "The Low-Budget Blues Program" 9-11p.m. Thursdays On WRSU 88.7 FM

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