Listen to ‘Custom Blend’ Thursday Nights in Barnegat

Jun 11, 2017
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill

If you prefer your music unplugged and rootsy, stop by the downtown gazebo in Barnegat Township on Thursday nights beginning June 15, to hear Custom Blend perform bluegrass and country tunes. The group, which plays from 7 to 9 o’clock, consists of a Barnegat couple, Paul and Maria Petrone, and Joe Zavacki of Brick Township. Paul plays guitar banjo and fiddle; his wife and Zavacki play guitar and handle most of the lead vocals. 

“We’re big fans of the old-style country music, not the country that’s popular today,” said Paul Petrone, a retired music teacher. “I got to like bluegrass because of the storytelling element in a lot of those songs.”

“We like to do a good mix,” said Maria Petrone. “That’s why we call ourselves Custom Blend.”

Custom Blend frequently offers staples such as “Folsom Prison Blues,” “16 Tons,” “Four Walls,” “Wagon Wheel” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” as well as “Ole Slew Foot,” “Just a Girl I Used to Know” and “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.” They also like putting a country twist on pop hits including “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “King of the Road,” “Brown-Eyed Girl” and “Wonderful Tonight.”

The group performs once a month at the Albert Music Hall in Waretown.

“In Barnegat, they can pull up a lawn chair, kick back and listen to us,” said Paul. “People are also welcome to sing along with us, and some folks like to get up and dance.”

Group members occasionally relate the stories behind the songs.

“We’ve been playing together for eight years, and each year we look to get better,” Paul said. “Most of all, we want to have fun playing and also want the audience to have fun with us.” —E.E.

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