ARCHIVE: Mumf’s the Word at Hair Party

QuincyMumfordNewQ the spotlight: With big voice and slinky songcraft, Quincy Mumford aims to seduce you sonically — and at 16 years of age, time is most emphatically on his side.

By TOM CHESEK (First published on Red Bank oRBit October 2, 2008)

“What were you doing when you were sixteen?” the press release mocks. “Maybe groaning over the monotony of high school, the angst of teenage years, learning to drive, or going to as many concerts as possible.”

“Most likely you were not a budding singer-songwriter like Quincy Mumford, performing most nights, and winning over audiences of all ages.”

Quincy Mumford, as they say, is living both of these lives in perfect harmony — whereas we only managed to nail the groaning and angsting parts of the equation at that dropout age. But don’t hate Quincy Mumford because of his youth, his surprisingly mature vocal skills or obvious sense of songcraft. Don’t hate that he’s already got a full-length CD to his name; that he manages more gigs than a lot of people who don’t have assignments to read and report on Ethan Frome over the weekend; that he surfs and skates and snowboards and puts it up on his MicePace for all to see.

No, hate Quincy Mumford for his parents. His wonderful, fully supportive parents who happen to be the Mumfords behind the amazing Mumford’s Culinary Center with its top-notch catering and lunching creations. Rather than force him into a life of helping to roll the fennel-risotto rice balls, they’ve evidently been rooting for their son and his artistic aspirations — and have consequently produced a young man who says of his calling, “I like to call it feel-good music.” Groan; angst…

The Allenhurst resident and Ocean Township High School junior is a busy and focused kid who’s played all the places that an under-21 sensation should use to build a fanbase — from his first gig at Espresso Joe’s in Keyport; to Asbury’s Twisted Tree and SICA Gallery in Long Branch; to the Clearwater Festival and Brookdale College, where he opened forDeSol last month. He’ll even play a place where he’d be refused a wristband, like The Saint and Ross’s Dockside. This Saturday night, the Mumf appears with his band (bassist Brian Gearity, drummer Skip Robinson) in a public-invited party at a most unusual place: the deft and designey hair salon Glen Goldbaum 72 in Red Bank.

Red Bank oRBit visited Goldbaum’s renovated building at 72 Bridge Avenue (the one with the fading painted ad for Wrigley’s Gum on the side) this past August, for a similar sort of event featuring the music of Laura Warshauer. The Fair Haven-bred songstress set up in a fence-enclosed courtyard out back of the salon as guests mingled indoors and out; enjoying hors d’oeuvres and rubbing shoulders both with solid citizens and us local-media freeloaders.

Lording over the pleasant scene was host Goldbaum, a recent Manhattan transplant who now lives with his wife Stephanie and two children in River Plaza — and who seems genuinely delighted to be a part of Red Bank, where he’s been promoting the notion of using his studio space to “introduce a totally new creative energy to Red Bank’s West Side.”

We get a kick out of the contrast between Goldbaum’s cosmopolitan space (the stylist worked for years as a leading  instructor with Vidal Sassoon and Paul Mitchell) and his next door neighbor, the endearingly rambling old-Red Bank fixture Dave’s Car Wash. In fact, the two businessmen hit it off very well, with Goldbaum going on record as saying “you couldn’t ask for a better neighbor” — indicating that Dave had generously allowed the salon to store some of its furniture inside the car wash to make room for the revelers that night.

Saturday’s event promises to be a fun night as well, with Quincy — who cites as his preferred musical intake ” a lot of reggae, the Dead, Jack Johnson, surfing music…stuff that’s uplifting” — bringing his agile vocal stylistics to bear on a set of songs that seem wise and confident beyond what are still normally niched as the Disney Channel years. As if you needed any further prodding to drop in, word has it that the affair will be catered by Mumford’s.

As for the question of how young Q came to be playing a hair salon on a Saturday night?

“My mom gets her hair cut there,” the singer fesses. “She gave them one of my CDs; they’ve been playin’ it and lovin’ it.”