About Sonny Kenn

2 Aug 2012 by admin, No Comments »

Sonny Kenn was awarded the 2007 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT Award at The Asbury Music Awards. Sonny has been burning up the Shore music scene since opening for Jerry Lee Lewis in 1965. He has performed with and influenced nearly every musician who’s passed through the scene since.

From Sonny and the Starfires in 1965,

through Sonny Kenn and the Wild Ideas

to his current band

Sonny Kenn is the Shore’s great unsung blues and rock and roll guitarist.

“Kenn was the Shore’s first real rock ‘n’ roll guitar star. As the front man in the popular mid-60′s group Sonny and the Starfires, Kenn was the one who cut the path Springsteen and virtually every other Shore rocker would follow in the late 60′s.”

-Robert Santelli, Asbury Park Press 9/3/93

“After leading a procession of bands through the 60′s and 70′s, including a trio called “Maelstrom” with Southside Johnny, Kenn has concentrated on playing classic blues and blues-rock since the 80′s.”

-Richard Skelly, The Asbury Park Press 6/12/99

“It’s hard to imagine what the Jersey Shore music scene would have been without the musical input and vast talent of guitarist and singer Sonny Kenn, he truly deserves the title ‘legendary’.”

-Robert Santelli

“But then, Sonny Kenn -with blond pompadour and sharkskin jacket-bounds on stage…pounding out a “Lucille” that peels the paint off the walls…”

-Jane Goldman, New York Magazine


“The leaner, meaner corollary to the horn-bloated Asbury scene made his debut decades ago, we get the wild idea he’ll keep on doing what he does ’til he’s the last guy off the embassy roof”

-The Asbury Park Press


“He’s a Jersey Shore blues legend, wowing crowds at every gig.”

-Ben Buchwald, Jersey Style Magazine


“The blues taps into real feelings, its intensity can stop you in your tracks. Improvisation is more real, and on a more visceral level, more emotional. To be real, you can’t separate music from humanity. I still play because I want to…what I play is real for me. I don’t play anything I’m ashamed of – and people feel that.

-Sonny Kenn to Ben Buckwald, NJ Style Magazine


Call Sonny at 732-842-2121 to book the band


Uncle Mike of the Two River Times wrote a great review of our set at the 11th Annual Asbury Music Awards:

“It was wily old veteran Sonny Kenn and his band that stole the show.

“Accompanied by bandmates Dan Mulvey (upright bass) and Vic Bayers (drums), Sonny rocked the Stone Pony with revved up renditions of Carl Perkins’ “Matchbox” (Sonny ripped it on guitar), Little Walter’s “Blues with a Feeling” (Sonny gets down & dirty and gives all the young turks a lesson in the finer art of playing guitar, Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” (Mr. Kenn and the boys rock) and last, but certainly, not least, Link Wray’s “Jack the Ripper” (most inspired play of the night).

“Actually, I felt bad for the bands that had to follow the Sonny Kenn Band, who just blew the doors off The Stone Pony. But I wouldn’t expect anything less from the man Bruce Springsteen called “one of the legends of Asbury Park” and who more often than not stole the show at the Riverfest Jazz and Blues Festival up in Red Bank with his scintillating performances.

“Look, as long as I’ve been covering the local music scene, The Sonny Kenn Band has always risen to the occasion and the Asbury Music Awards was no exception. Sonny Kenn was the guy who set the standard for all the local axemen back in the day. The old-timers call him “the dean” and with good reason.

“Take it from me, Sonny Kenn hasn’t lost a damn thing!”


Sonny has a chapter on his life as an Asbury musician and the Asbury scene of the 60′s and 70′s in Gary Wien’s book “Beyond the Palace”, a survey of the Asbury music scene, past, present, and future.

Sonny also has a chapter in the excellent “LOCAL HEROES The Asbury Park Music Scene”, by Anders Martensson with photos by Jorgen Johansson, published by the Rutgers University Press.

Sonny’s new CD “SCREAMS, GROOVES, AND BRAND NEW BLUES” is now available. Please come out to a gig and get one!


Sonny, Vic, and Dan did some improvised music and interaction with Belmar poet Bill Arneth on his CD “LAST CALL”. Check out Bill’s website.


Sonny does some custom guitar work, restorations, repairs and set-ups with our friends at RARITAN BAY GUITAR REPAIR. They are a good group of guys, all active musicians, who are passionate about music and their work reflects that passion.


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Upcoming Shows

Contact Sonny about
his music or art at
or on facebook
Click on the new page
to check out Sonny's art!

You can catch Sonny every
Thurs at Stevie Tomato's
in Naples 6:30 - 9:30.




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