Rachel Ana Dobken
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Rachel Ana Dobken

Asbury Park, New Jersey, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | SELF

Asbury Park, New Jersey, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Rock Alternative




"Makin Waves with Rachel Ana Dobken: RAD AF"

Whether curating music at Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery or rockin’ tunes live off her great new album, “When It Happens to You,” Rachel Ana Dobken totally lives up to her initials: RAD! The following long chat with Dobken will tell you just about everything you need to know about her, including how she got the Clinch gig, what she loves most about her fantastic LP, and where she will be performing it live. Upcoming dates include opening for Grammy-nominated blues-rocker Scott Sharrard on Jan. 12 at Wonder Bar in Asbury Park and the Makin Waves-curated LOD@APYC during Light of Day Winterfest on Jan. 18 at Asbury Park Yacht Club with Erotic Novels, Molly Rhythm and Little Vicious.

Question: Where did you grow up and did that influence your desire to play music?
Answer: I grew up in Fair Haven -- and aside from my music-loving family -- I had friends that exposed me to a lot of the music that influences me still, specifically Sam Sherman, Lucas Sacks, Paul Vinci. For me, it’s always about the people and relationships in an environment that truly influence, so in that regards, yes. But it is also a really beautiful area, and whenever I felt stuck either personally or artistically, I would visit the beach or the rivers and just get lost walking around. It would keep me calm and centered and allow me to enter into a more organic artistic space to create.

Q: Out of your many influences, what made you want to play music the most and why?
A: Man, I can’t answer this with just one. The first was probably Paul Simon. Growing up, my dad played him a lot. But as I discovered his work more, especially throughout college, it was more and more brilliant to me. Songs like ‘Congratulations,’ ‘Still Crazy After All These Years,’ ‘Oh, Marion.’ I have always been fascinated with Paul Simon’s ability to perfectly marry lyrical storytelling, brilliant musicality and uniqueness into one.

John Mayer is another. None of that ‘Your Body Is A Wonderland’ stuff. I’m talking deeper into his discography and songs like ‘New Deep,’ ‘Friends, Lovers or Nothing,’ ALL of ‘Continuum!’ There is a conversational way that John speaks in his work that has always influenced me. I felt I could relate to these artists, these individuals, as someone so in my own head it was so comforting to listen and say, ‘Wow, they really get it.’ Then, of course, once I heavily dove into The Band I never stopped. I realized in so many ways they are the pinnacle of what it means to create amazing, genuine and UNIQUE music, how to stay true to yourself as an artist, and absolute raw soul and talent. I tell people frequently, Richard Manuel and Levon Helm ARE the reason I play music. Other big ones: Incubus, Jeff Buckley, Fiona Apple.

Q: Are drums your first instrument?
A: My first instrument was actually guitar at 8 years old, but I was so overwhelmed by the instrument -- still am -- that I didn’t get very far. It wasn’t until college that I pushed myself.

I always knew I was a drummer. I always had a fantastic sense of time and rhythm, but did not start playing until I was 19 when I finally put my foot down with my parents. Growing up my mom said, ‘I do not want drums in the house!’ and said, ‘OK! 19th birthday present: drum lessons. I don’t need a kit. I can do everything with a pad and sticks.’ And sure enough, my parents let me. Eventually, they saw how hard I was working, that I actually had some skill and bought me a kit. Almost immediately, it was clear this was my natural habitat.

I was at Bard at that time, and I studied drumming in my jazz classes, as well as in my private lessons. I had an incredible instructor, Carlos Valdez, who made me cut my teeth to all that New Orleans stuff.

Q: You're a very multi-hyphenated talent. How much did Bard influence that and what other factors did?
A: At first it started as a necessity. I didn’t have a band, but wanted to start playing out and it became very clear, ‘You have to do this yourself, then the rest will come. If you want to succeed you can’t rely on anyone else.’ You have to be your own accompanist. I also feel that if you truly want to call yourself a bandleader, you must understand all aspects of a band. Be an expert at your craft, know everything there is to know, and that is, in part, where my multi-hyphenated interests came to be.

I am also a drummer, and I absolutely love being behind the kit, and I always will. As much as I may not lead from behind the kit, I will never not play the drums. They can exist together.

In regards to Bard, I truly owe my professors everything when it comes to my musical career because they gave me the tools I needed to succeed. I did not study music prior to Bard and sitting in on jazz classes taught me how to improvise. In ‘Jazz Harmony,’ it was a requirement to learn piano -- because all of the theory was taught from that -- so that’s where that came from. I was also studying voice and drumming, but my comp professor, Erica Lindsay, made me do ‘Jazz Improv’ for guitar. So I learned, took lessons, learned modes, and how to solo; although I did so poorly. But I really appreciate these things now because it makes my life so much easier to understand not only how a band functions, but how to write, how to PLAY and how to LEAD.

Q: The initials of your full name are RAD. Do they inspire you to be the best you can be or are they just rad initials?
A: (Laughs) I never thought of it that way. I think they are just RAD initials. Thank you MOM AND DAD!

Q: In the two years that you've been curating the gallery, what is the funniest thing that has happened and/or the most fun you've had?
A: Oh man, there are so many amazing moments. OK, it’s two. The first would be the day G. Love showed up, and Danny and I got to play with him. He was playing at the Algonquin Theater, and Danny had invited him down. I showed up that day in July (it was Fourth of July weekend 2017), and Danny goes, ‘Rachel, you wanna jam? I asked my friend Garrett (G.Love) to come by.’ Next thing I know, he’s got my guitar, I’m behind the kit, and he and Danny are having a harmonica showdown. His baby is snatched onto his leg dancing!!! It was amazing, adorable, so organic and so much fun!

The second I have to say was during our Two-Year Anniversary Blues Jam. We had a little while back when Brian Fallon came onstage and I asked him, ‘Do you know ‘Ophelia?’’ And he goes, ‘Yes, of course, let’s do that!’ So, he played ‘Ophelia’ with me pulling a Levon -- drums + singing. It was totally unexpected and a blast. I’m so grateful my buddies The Cranston Dean Band were playing with us, as well as Rogers from Blind Melon! A total, ‘Are you kidding me?!’ moment!

Q: What celebrity musicians you've played with at Transparent Gallery taught you most, how and why?
A: OK, there’s a few: Robert Randolph, G. Love, Brian Sella from The Front Bottoms, Christopher Thorn and Rogers Stevens from Blind Melon, Blind Melon, Tash Neal, Brian Fallon, Nicole Atkins, Rayland Baxter, some of the guys from Phil Lesh’s band, some of the guys from Portugal. The Man, Vini Lopez … I think there’s more, but let’s start there. My experience playing with the guys from Blind Melon, specifically Rogers and Christopher, both of whom I love, has taught me the most because I got to spend some time chatting with Christopher and Rogers about life and music and the entire process. When I came in the day Blind Melon was playing, I showed Rogers the form of ‘My Babe; and he was all, ‘You should totally play with us on this,’ and I was like, ‘No, it’s OK! It’s not necessary!’ And then he insisted. So during sound check, I ran it, then Danny goes, ‘Rachel sing a verse.’ And the guys we’re all into it, so then it happened live! I was so thankful for that.

Those are the most meaningful moments for me because one, they keep you on your toes and make you a better player, and two, they aren’t expected so when they happen, you can truly appreciate the organic nature and shape they take. They sort of test you, make you realize, everything in this moment has brought me to this place where I know I can do this.

Q: Were there any who made you nervous to play with?
A: Yes! I was terrified to play with Blind Melon!!!!! When Rogers said, ‘OK, you should totally play on this with us,’ I was like, ‘Alright, here we go!’ But it all worked out. I mean, I get nervous before every performance so there’s that.

I was also pretty nervous to play with Tash because we were doing an entire set of songs with him that we hadn’t rehearsed, and some we’re definitely tougher than others, like ‘Politician’ by Cream, and he had a very specific arrangement we didn’t really know. It was one of those things that if we had even taken one time to run the song, I would have felt so much better, but you can’t always do that, and that’s why you have to be prepared on your end and know that the more you improvise and do it, the better it gets. Just do the damn thing, and you’ll be amazed at what you’re capable of, especially for next time! All about those 10,000 hours!

Q: What do you enjoy most about working with Danny both at the gallery and on its stage?
A: That’s a good question. Well, I love anytime Danny and I get to share the stage. We have a ton of fun playing, even if we are just goofing around. We love so much of the same music, especially all of that old deep blues. My passion in life is music, and I could talk forever to someone about that love that I feel so deeply, and I know Danny feels the same. This is one of the levels on which we’ve connected.

Aside from that, I feel most comfortable one-on-one with a person, and I don’t do well with surface. I’m a very honest person, and I don’t know how to be anything other than that. This is what I love about Danny, Maria (Clinch’s wife) and Tina (Kerekes, gallery manager). They are the same way.

I think the most enjoyable moments I’ve had with Danny are the ones where we really get into the nitty-gritty about life, art and the music industry, when we get to go to shows together or just chat on the phone, when we all get to just hang out as friends: Danny, Maria, and Tina. My album photo shoot with Danny was an incredible experience in particular. Aside from the fact that Danny is absolutely the best at what he does, it was just a ton of fun. We were so in the moment, and it was very genuine. He was able to tap into so perfectly the same sentiment that exists within my music. It was real, honest and personal. Time sort of existed within this bubble where you didn’t really know where or when it was. It’s hard to explain. It’s not something that even needs to put into words, per se, because I think it touches on the reality that great art exists as a means of emotional communication that people can FEEL in a genuine way. That is what this album is about, and I feel what Danny’s photographs are about. There is no need to discuss it because the work will speak for itself.

Q: How does Tina help make it possible to do what you do at the gallery?
A: Tina is one of -- if not -- the most integral part of Transparent. She is the manager, which means that she makes sure that everything at the gallery is not only constantly running but that it does so smoothly. She is there all hours of the day when we are open, manning the DC store, making sure prints are cleaned, hung and that there are places for everything. She handles sales, customers, clients, logistics, anyone who walks in the door or has a need to be connected to us. I don’t think anyone else could do that job as flawlessly, as cool, and as helpful as her. Tina truly is an amazing woman. Her dedication and love that she gives to people and that space, to art and this community … if anything has come out of this experience of working at the Transparent Gallery, it’s that I have been so blessed to meet and now have a friend in Tina for life -- and Danny and Maria, but I did not know Tina prior to this. That is something I am truly grateful for. She is one in a million, and I know I speak for Danny and Maria when I say that as well. We are a crew and a team, and without any of us, this ship wouldn’t run.

Danny and I had a conversation recently about how we are so lucky that we have the team that we do. It’s a rare thing that four, strong, powerful, driven, honest and trustworthy personalities can match so well. We all have a natural chemistry and it works. They are family.

Q: Out of all the musicians in Asbury Park, why did you think Danny went with you to curate, how did that come to be, and how did that work out well for both of you, particularly the size of your following, as well as the many musicians you invite to play?
A: I think it was a time-place and chemistry thing similar to what I said above. Danny saw how hard I worked, how much I love music and that I am serious about my career and putting myself out there (both as a player and supporter). It had an organic way of coming to be. Danny saw me drumming two years prior to my job starting at Transparent at a ‘Last Waltz’ tribute show at Monmouth University. A week later he invited me to sit in with the Tangiers Blues Band in Jersey City at Southhouse. I kept in touch with Danny and knew we would be a good fit. I wanted to work with him.

We have a lot in common. I’m actually a photographer. I don’t shoot anymore because music is my 100 percent artistic focus and majored in it at Bard with a ‘minor’ in jazz. We both grew up at the Jersey Shore and have a similar love for music. I worked as a designer/editor/assistant for Elliott Landy right out of college -- the photographer for Bob Dylan, The Band, Janis Joplin and much more -- and knew that eventually, Danny and I would cross paths in a working environment. It makes total sense that it is in this capacity. I have met so many wonderful musicians and people working there and that has definitely helped to expand my fan base.

Q: Danny told me that one of the reasons he wanted you to curate was because he was very impressed with the level of talent of a lot of your friends. Beyond just giving them an opportunity to play, how and why has the gallery made the strong Asbury Park music scene even stronger? Please provide an example of that.
A: Prior to the last couple years, I have viewed the Asbury Park music scene as one that exists sort of insularly: talent, but not really the means to get out of the bubble that was surrounding it. Lately, I feel that the bubble is bursting, and it’s a lot of ‘time-place’ factors that have built up. The town has built-up rapidly. Young artists can’t afford living in New York City and move down here. And now here it’s unaffordable, but it’s much more feasible. There are bands that have the talent and are constantly raising the bar and challenging one another to be better and better. Venues are not joking around when it comes to shows: APYC/Langosta, Wonder Bar, Pony, Saint, Asbury Lanes. There is certainly no lack of serious talent, and I feel Danny and Transparent have come around at the best time to really put the icing on the cake. All the people that Danny has brought through those doors -- all his friends in particular who have come to see how cool this place is -- for us to connect with, and vice versa. On my part, bringing in the awesome talent that is around here has really helped grow all of those other things in tandem. Sea.Hear.Now is a huge example of that.

Q: A few of the musicians who play often at the gallery also are in your band. Who are they, what do they play in the band, how did you come to play with them, and which of them are on ‘When It Happens to You’?
A: I had an incredible band of fellows, all of whom have played at the gallery. Dan Haase (bass), Ryan MacLean (guitar), Joey Henderson (helped engineer, also played guitar on ‘Always’ and ‘Intro’), Andy Jackle (drums on ‘Intro,’ ‘Got Away,’ ‘Taking My Time’), Mark Masefield (Hammond B3), Chris Dubrow (bass on ‘Us,’ ‘Taking My Time’), Danny Clinch (harmonica!), Ian Gray (trombone), Bruce Krywinsky (trumpet), Denis Daley (sax). I played drums, guitar, piano, sang and produced it.

Most of these guys I’ve met throughout my years in the Asbury scene -- Joey, Chris and I in particular -- have become very close … and they really helped me throughout this entire process. Ryan and I met in college and have been playing music together for eight years. He is one of the most incredible musicians I’ve ever known, and I owe him so much for pushing and believing in me. Tim Pannella and Joey Henderson engineered the record for me, and it was an absolute pleasure to work with them. We recorded it at Cedar Sounds in Oceanport.

Q: How is ‘When It Happens to You’ a departure from ‘Detach’ and why?
A: On all levels, I feel ‘Happens” is a superior record. For one, I have grown so much as a player at all my instruments (voice, guitar, drums, piano). And two, I feel my songwriting maturing and going in a direction that I am proud of. I can feel myself ‘trimming the fat’ and getting more to the point. ‘Detach’ was my first legitimate work of art. Also, it’s an EP and ‘Happens’ is an LP. It was more as a means to get stuff out there. But this record (“Happens”) really felt like it holds some true meaning for me, and I’m truly proud of the way it came out.

Q: How and why did your production chops improve from one record to the next and can you provide an example of that on ‘Happens?’
A: I have crazy control issues, hence, playing four instruments and producing this record! (laughs) I hear everything in my head and have such a specific vision that I wanted to produce it.

‘Detach’ was a breeze. We had been playing those songs for years and flushed out the parts. We did the entire record in two days in the studio, so there wasn’t much thought required in terms of producing parts and making decisions.

‘WIHTU’ was much different. I went into the studio with about 40 percent of the record done, meaning parts of drums and lead guitar were flushed out, and knew that a lot it would come together during tracking or post-production. This was way more than I had anticipated. I don’t think I realized how much was still left to finish. But all that being said, I know so much more now and know what my ‘sound’ is going into the next album.

I absolutely love being in the studio, getting lost in that world and learning what it takes to make a great record. I’m really happy with the guitar tones. I have to give so much credit to Tim, Joey and my mixing engineer Kyle Joseph. I wrote a lot of those guitar riffs and sonically, they turned out exactly how I wanted them to. The main lick to ‘Always’ and also the outro in ‘Understand’ when the guitar and bass double one another, that guitar tone is my favorite in the entire record!

Q: What song from ‘Happens’ do you like performing the most and why?
A: When I have the entire band, it’s either ‘Always’ or ‘Understand.’ When we do ‘Always’ live. we jam it out at the end and it’s just a ton of fun. I know that’s always an audience favorite too. I love ‘Understand’ for the ending. ‘Everybody Wants’ is a great one too also because I usually just get to sing, and that is where my vocals can always shine. It’s nice to be able to just sing and I’m trying to put more of those songs back into my set so people can really see what I’m capable of vocally!

Q: Did anything bad in your life inspire an element of the album that you makes you proud? If so, what is it, what did it inspire, why are you proud of the results, do those results make it all worthwhile and how?
A: In regards to what inspired elements or the album in general, I think just life and whatever human relationships I’ve made over the past couple of years. My fascination with life and art is our undying desire to relate to one another and find connection, and that will always be present in my work. In particular, the album was inspired by a poem that came to me about three years ago. It’s about the idea that you don’t know what you know until you go through it yourself. People can give you advice and warn you, but until you have experienced a given situation, you won’t know ‘Until It Happens to You.’

Q: So what's next for you? Are there any tour, video or other plans in relation to the record?
A: I’m currently mapping out 2019, which will include a music video and hopefully a couple of one-off shows, potentially a mini tour! Stay tuned!

Q: What shows are coming up for you and for the gallery?
A: In regards to shows, we have a big full-band show on Jan. 12 at The Wonder Bar supporting amazing guitarist Scott Sharrard. Then, of course, our show with you at APYC the following week for Light of Day! We are super excited for that one!! Next show at Transparent is for Jan. 19 during Light of Day.

Q: Have you played Light of Day before? If so, what is it about that you’re looking forward to experiencing again? If not, what are you looking forward to most?
A: Besides the stuff we have done at Transparent, and the epic 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday jams from last year at Light of Day, no I haven’t ‘officially’ played it like we will be this year for your show at APYC! We’re looking forward to that experience. I’m looking forward to playing with the other bands on our bill and meeting some more incredible musicians both that night and all around town!

I’m hoping there will be another late night jam at the gallery. We are preparing for it! We will have ‘Music at the Gallery’ that Saturday at Transparent, probably around 3 (p.m.), and Danny and I will probably play a bit -- or just me if he’s running around like crazy! I’m solidifying that lineup as we speak! - The Aquarian Weekly

"Groove is in the Heart: An Interview with Rachel Ana Dobken"

For those of us living in it right now — we might not realize how much of a wild music scene Asbury Park is right now. It’s a scene where original music is not just on display — it’s celebrated. It’s a scene where national touring artists don’t just stop because that’s where they’re booked — they come here to jam, and to create, and to get inspired. It’s a scene where the people in it work together, gig as often as possible, and support each other’s artistic visions.

If we had to crystallize this scene in one artist — one could easily make the argument that Rachel Ana Dobken embodies the current nature of the Asbury Park music scene.

The Fair Haven native who cut her teeth musically at both Bard College in New York, and the hip Brooklyn scene before returning home about two years ago. Walking into the scene she was a woman with songs in her head, and drumsticks in her back pocket. In that time she went from just another face in the scene, to someone (as we mentioned) embodies what this scene has become. She’s recorded a fabulous solo record — collaborating with an immense pool of talent from the Asbury scene.

As a team of Danny Clinch’s Transparent Gallery she’s the famed rock photographer’s right hand when it comes to music. She books bands, promotes them, and will often find herself behind a drum kit, or in front of the mic. And sometimes that puts her in the groove with people like Brian Fallon, or jamming at the Sea.Hear.Now Festival with a mind-blowing array of local and national artists.

Simply put, Rachel Ana Dobken is an artist born of this scene, and is now becoming one of the driving forces of it.

We sat down with Rachel to talk about her new record When It Happens to You, meeting and working with Danny Clinch, and more as she gets set to perform at our third annual Locals Christmas Party on Saturday December 8 at The Grand Arcade of Convention Hall.

You played so many instruments on When It Happens to You — pretty all of them outside of the harmonica. Does knowing so many instruments, as well as you do, complicate the writing of the music?

It complicates things in the sense that I have a certain sound that I want. I want it to sound a certain way either arrangement-wise or tonally and it’s hard to let go of that control. Sometimes there’s magic that happens when you’re playing with people and allowing them to have their own spin and voice on it. It’s a very fine line that I’ve always walked as a band leader.

In terms of like the record and arranging and writing … I will just hear things. It’s not a conscious thing. It’s funny you asked this because I was showering before and I had a song come to me. This happens all the time where I will hear a melody and then I’ll either discover a lick, or a lyric. I continue hearing the melody and I will then build the song around that.

So sometimes it will happen like it did with, “Taking My Time”… that lick is what came to me first (which became the melody for the chorus). That is what came to me first today. And then very shortly after that I hear the drum beat. I always go back to rhythm. I feel that all musicians have their given instrument that they are meant to play and be the most comfortable with. For me it is definitely the drums. It’s what comes most naturally to me and it’s always been that way. So it is helpful in that regard because I’ll hear a song and immediately I’ll know the groove.

Most drummers stay drummers. Once they get behind the kit they’re there for life. What inspired you to go from behind the kit to the front of the band?

I always knew I was a drummer but I didn’t start playing until I was 19 because my mom wouldn’t let me have drums in the house.I originally started on guitar although it was a very overwhelming instrument for me and it still is in a lot of ways. It does not come naturally to me.

I think there’s two sides to me — I’m a drummer, but I’m also a songwriter. I think about the drums as a songwriter. I’ve had people tell me before that they love my drumming because it’s so musical. That’s the greatest compliment because I think as a musician everything comes back down to listening. It’s about what a song says and as a drummer you have to understand how to be modest, not to overplay, and when to sit back. You need to know that this needs a simple push here or a little fill here. I can’t separate the two [drumming and songwriting] because I hear a song then I hear the drums. I hear the drums and then I hear the rest of the song, the two are not mutually exclusive. I mean I definitely have to have a melody first so I think it’s just always been there.

But Drums came much easier than guitar, right? Still does, I’d assume.

I like sitting down and being able to improvise on the drums. You could put me on stage at Brooklyn Bowl with 700 people in the audience and have me play a song I’ve never played before and I know I could figure it out on the spot. I cannot do that on guitar. It’s not that I’m not a good guitar improviser, but I’ve always had really good rhythm and my professors [at Bard College] always told me my strength was my internal clock. It was just that I knew the natural metronome and it’s always interesting because it’s a similar thing with singing and performing.

You got your musical start at Bard College in upstate New York, you spent time doing the post-collegiate living/playing in Brooklyn thing. So when did you get down to the Asbury scene?

I grew up in Fair Haven. Growing up I was really nervous and shy kid. I loved music and was a closet musician. I played guitar, but saying that, I never played in front of people and I always wanted to. All my friends were musicians and I was in awe.

When I was a kid, we would go to shows and my first real concert as a teenager was 311 at Convention Hall and I was 14. At the time there wasn’t really anything going on in Asbury. The summer going into college all of my friends were musicians playing The Pony and all around. I met Matt Wade when I was about 19 and he introduced me to going out in the scene. We’d go see Matt O’Ree and others. As I would come home on breaks, I would always end up in Asbury and over time met all the musicians I know now. There’s clearly been a slow burn over the past couple of years of a “building” of the scene.

How’d you end up working with Danny Clinch?

I used to work at Relix Magazine. I was an intern and then I got hired to do freelance graphic design. The way I originally met Danny was I designed The Gentlemen of The Road newspaper, and we ran an interview with Danny. I remember thinking he and I had so much in common — both from the Jersey Shore, both musicians, both photographers.

We had a quick hand shake at that show but it wasn’t until about November of that year [2015]. I played in The Last Waltz Tribute at The Pollak Theater at Monmouth University. I played drums and Danny was in the audience and I recognized him immediately because I saw the hat. We didn’t get to talk but I sent him an email because we had talked previously over e-mail. I was like, “Hey, I saw you, we should link up.” He responded “Oh yeah you’re the drummer girl with the jumpsuit on. My wife and I loved you.” And then he was like if you’re around tomorrow night my band [Tangiers Blues Band] is playing Jersey City, you should come. I ended up sitting in that night on the drums.

After sitting in, I moved back home and I walked into the gallery, right around when they opened up. At first he asked me about the equipment they had for bands. He asked me “Hey, if I had a band come by, or some of my friends and they wanted to jam would this be good, or no way?” And I was like, no, this is totally legit. He bought a great bass line and then he told me about his vision for the gallery and I was like, well, if you want I can help you with some music. I know a bunch of musicians around here. And then like, that’s how that all started

How has this impacted you and your musical career?

I mean it’s enormous. I’ve met so many amazing people through Danny and there’s so many great people who just walk in off the street every time I’m there. They come in and talk to Tina [a Clinch employee] and myself. So many of them are interesting artists and creative people — you never know who’s going to walk in. One day out of the blue Mickey Raphael is there — he’s Willie Nelson’s harmonica player. He’s Danny’s idol, but Danny was out of town. He and Willie’s bass player we end up having a 20 minute conversation about The Band, and he ends up inviting me, and a few others to PNC where they were playing that night. So we all end up back stage that night.

Aside from that all the playing and the band leading — it’s definitely made me a better band leader. It’s definitely stressful because we don’t ever rehearse. We play very frequently together and we have to come up with things on the fly. We’re always sort of improvising when we’re up there. It certainly makes you a better musician having to do that kind of stuff.

Speaking of being a band leader — you definitely had an a ton of excellent Asbury musicians on hand to play on this record whether it was Ian Gray (Remember Jones) or Chris Dubrow (The Burns), or Bruce Krwynski (Waiting on Mongo). How much did that influence the record having guys like that on the sound of the record?

I am extremely lucky. Joe Henderson and Chris Dubrow (of The Burns) are like my brothers. I would go to the ends of the earth for those guys. Dan Haase is my normal bass player and Dan is incredible. I’m extremely lucky that could he could play on the record; I think musically we are a fantastic fit. He really came up with all those parts of themselves. He and I got along because when I was behind the drum kit, he knew the groove I wanted, and where it was going to go.

My drummer [Andy Jacle], he’s amazing too. He takes my ideas and then put his own spin on it and then we’ll end up collaborating in that way. He’s always like, ‘I love working with you because it’s definitely what you want, and it’s challenging but it makes sense and it’s cool’.

We all make sense together musically. Joey and Chris were my right hand men on this record. Chris helped me with a lot of the pre-production stuff; he helped me organize my brain. I had all these songs in my head. But I also had to get them out, and I was drumming a number of them, and we weren’t doing most of the songs with live bass, drums, bass, drums, guitar except two or three songs.

I had a groove in my head and I had the song but Chris and I, and Dan and I would get together and then I would have to play them on guitar then the drums so Dan would know the groove I was going for — especially since those songs were never played live before.

I love music and I love playing music and I love all the musicians, all the musicians that worked with me and we all kind of, we’re all on the same wavelength. I’m lucky because I’ve met these guys through these kinds of mentalities and just because they see how hard I work and how like there’s like a mutual love and respect amongst all of us.

What musical story where you’re telling them this record?

This record is really about coming into your own and just coming to terms with things. It’s about going through the motions of life and experiencing things that you may not have experienced on that level before. The whole story of someone giving you advice. ‘I can tell you this and this, but until you experience it yourself, you’re not going to know what it all means until it happens to you.’

Finally, where do you want to see yourself as a musician one year from today?

This is a tough one! I’d have to say, continuing to play important shows in the Asbury Park, NYC, and Philly markets, with hopefully a little touring mixed in. I definitely want to produce some more content — at least some more singles and videos. I would really like to say I’ve played with bands I haven’t yet in this community, and continued to play with all the folks I love around here in Asbury Park! And hopefully some collaborations. Who knows but there’d better be some dang good progress. - The Pop Break

"Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery 2 year anniversary: The Rachel Ana Dobken factor"

If the Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery has become the heartbeat of the Asbury Park music scene, certainly Rachel Ana Dobken has her finger on the pulse.

Dobken is the music director of the gallery, and as such she’s helps local acts from all over town onto the Transparent stage. The multi-instrumentalist also usually winds up playing with the music stars who have found themselves in the gallery, including Robert Randolph, Vini Lopez, Nicole Atkins, G. Love and Christopher Thorn from Blind Melon.

“It’s definitely made me a better musician and a better band leader,” Dobken said.

Dobken, who’s just released a new album called “When It Happens to You,” will be performing in the two-year anniversary of the Transparent Gallery in a show called the High Anxiety Blues Jam at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24. The Cranston Dean Band and Danny Clinch and Friends are also on the bill. The Gallery features the works of Clinch, the famed photographer of Bruce Springsteen, Tupac Shakur, Pearl Jam and more.

Dobken’s time at the gallery has informed her work.

“Some of the musicians I’ve met have influenced me to write these songs in certain ways,” Dobken said. “All the people Danny has introduced me to, we talk about art, music and photographs — all that stuff is totally related.

“It’s more of a feeling and it’s super cool to be part of that”

Jazzy phrasing, smoky reverb and unfolding melodies make Dobken’s “When It Happens to You” a real treat.

The lead single “Always” is a noir-ish love song with a big closing chorus and an even bigger heart. “Everybody Wants” is inspiring gospel blues, and “Learning How To Let Go” is a lo-fi jazzy flow where Dobken’s vocal phrasing really takes off.

The harmonica is Clinch's. By the way, many of the signature guitar riffs of “When It Happens to You” are courtesy of Dobken.

There’s not much she can’t do. - Asbury Park Press

"The year in music: The 12 best Jersey songs of 2018"

'Everybody Wants' by Rachel Ana Dobken

Rising Asbury Park star Rachel Ana Dobken can seemingly do anything and do it well when it comes to music, from drumming to singing to playing guitar. On “Everybody Wants” from her 2018 album, “When It Happens to You,” it’s her voice that gets center stage. And what a treat it is with warm phrasing, a pleasing fullness and an impressive range on the gospel jazz track. Dobken is the music director of the Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery in Asbury Park, and as such you’ll often see her backing the various music stars who come through to jam there. Here’s looking forward to her in front. - Asbury Park Press

"31 New Jersey bands you need to hear in 2019"

Here's a not-so-well-kept secret among us music nerds: there is no better time to listen to new music than the dead of winter aka right now! It's freezing outside, no one wants to do anything and you could simply spend a weekend catching up on all the bands you've been begged to hear to over the last year.

So, while the weather is still miserable, let's highlight the best few-dozen New Jersey bands lighting up the hottest scenes around the Garden State and beyond. These are the highest-flying local rock, pop, folk, punk and hip-hop acts you'll find in Asbury Park, New Brunswick, Jersey City or anywhere else all those killer tunes try to hide.

It's time to refresh your playlists, friends: these are the 31 New Jersey bands you need to hear in 2019.


Rachel Ana Dobken
After an exciting debut LP last year, local rock singer-songwriter Rachel Ana Dobken says she is working toward a very busy 2019. Expect some exciting Asbury Park-area shows coming in the spring and special appearances. She'll also be announcing an upcoming tour and shows around the Northeast, plus a new single and some music videos. Or you might just catch her jamming at famed rock photographer Danny Clinch's gallery down by the beach.

Listen if you love: Nicole Atkins, Jenny Lewis - NJ.com

"Getting to Know Rachel Ana Dobken – Interview"

If there is anyone at the moment that personifies the spirit of the current music scene in Asbury Park you’d be hard-pressed to name someone more enthusiastic and supportive than singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Rachel Ana Dobken. A tireless worker, she is either writing music, playing a gig, coming out to a show to support your band or booking acts as musical director at the Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery. With such a busy schedule she stunningly never seems stressed and always performs all these endeavors with an infectious exuberance that is impressive.

Her latest album, When It Happens to You, is an emotionally mature, sophisticated record exploring the ever-changing landscape of love and loss. The cinematic instrumental opener “Intro,” which hints at the depth of what is to come, flows nicely into the mournful “Belief Beneath” about missed opportunities finding Dobken asking “Do you know what you do to me?” to someone clearly not getting the message. Highlights include “Always” with its funky guitar hooks, the jazz influenced “Understand” which allows Dobken to flex her warm vocal range and the gorgeous, uplifting gospel influenced closer “Everybody Wants.” You can tell a lot of thought went into making this album a cohesive piece of work. In this modern age where the single or EP seem to reign, Dobken has made a substantial full length record.

I asked acclaimed photographer and Toms River native Danny Clinch about Dobken and her work at his gallery. “Rachel naturally fit in with us. She was one of the first to play the gallery and she’s an incredible musician who can play a bunch of instruments and has an incredible voice. She is a true connector in the music scene and has brought so many people through the gallery to share and introduce us to their music.” He continued, “The cool thing is that her and I usually end up sitting in with the other musicians, or bands, and having a blast. We couldn’t do it with out her.”

You can catch Dobken live on December 28th at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park when she plays solo at the first night of What a Wonderful Year 2K18. She will also be back at the Wonder Bar on January 12th supporting Scott Sharrard this time with her full band in tow which promises to be amazing.

How do you translate the musical education you received at Bard College to the actual career of making music?

I actually owe most of my music career to the amazing Bard College Jazz Department. My professors were extremely open and liberal… I’m not sure this is what it’s like for most people. I know I was extremely really lucky. I really wanted that education, at the very least on a basic level (I had no musical training prior to college except for some playing here and there on my own), and the professors really recognized my talent and did everything they could to give me the tools to succeed. They did a great job at balancing academia and also allowing our own voices and desires musically to flourish. My professor John Esposito used to say, “now I’m giving you all of this and you have to figure out what to do with it and how it will make sense to you.”

Bard was very small so each music class was personal and intimate. I don’t think I ever had more than 10 students in my performances classes. I worked hard when I was there, and spent most of my free time practicing or writing in the music building. The real classes that allowed one to bridge the gap between “academia” and real-life were the performance and composition based classes. I’d say about 80% of my classes had a performance component to them and I use those skills every time I perform. We also had weekly lessons— guitar, drums, voice— for credit so I took well advantage of that. Practice, practice, practice… gotta put in those 10,000 hours. I love Bard for this and I actually miss that practicing structure. I remember telling myself, this is just a starting point and I know the work I put in now will help me later. I think about my professors Erica Lindsay, John Esposito and Carlos Valdez anytime I go to sit at a drum kit and have no idea what I’m going to play until the music starts (every jam session at the Clinch Galley). My vocal teacher Pam Pentony taught me what I know about the voice (although I know I want to get back to lessons) and especially what it means to lead a band as a front-woman/vocalist. That’s the big thing I learned… how to be a band leader, how to communicate what I wish to say sonically. Also, my bandmate Ryan MacLean and I met at Bard and we have been playing together ever since!

Your music stretches across genres including rock, soul, pop and blues. Were you exposed to a lot of different musical styles growing up?

Yes! Absolutely. Growing up my parent’s were both big music fans, my dad in particular was a former musician, so he exposed me to a lot. Steely Dan, The Band, Paul Simon— that was all dad. My mom was more on the Rock and Roll side of things— The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Billy Joel… she also worked in fashion within the music industry in the 70s so she has a lot of musical love in her blood. It’s interesting because as soon as I can remember I remember being fascinated and obsessed with music. As a 5 year old my mom gave me “The Best Of Ed Sullivan Show” VHS with The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones and The Four Seasons and I knew immediately that I was going to be a musician.

As I got older I wanted to know more and my love for the medium always got me through rough times. I loved everything from Incubus to The Band to John Mayer (still do) and went into musical holes diving deep into discographies. In college, studying Jazz made me fall in love over and over again with the genre. It also made me discover more blues especially and soul that I always loved but could delve more into and understand the workings behind (Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye). The more I learned (especially bebop) the deeper the connection and fascination went. I could relate to its truth. I remember at one point of time at Bard all I was really listening to was jazz. If you asked me what was going on at that time pop culture, what movies or TV people were watching, I had no idea because honestly, I was just listening to and playing music… I’m very grateful for that time.

What is it about the Asbury Park music scene that makes it special?

There’s a true bond and community of love here… people are really willing to help each other out and support one another, at least in my experience. People are so nice and genuine, supportive and accepting of everyone else. This art and music scene here for me is representative of a town founded on acceptance and it is so refreshing. In order for art to thrive you need a community of people who will genuinely support an push it to do so.

What in that local scene would you like to see improved?

Not really sure! I have to think about this one… I think if there was a way to streamline more bands gaining exposure through playing with other bands they haven’t yet played with in the scene, that would really be great and amazing. Can someone make an app for that!?

Does the ability to play so many instruments make it difficult to let someone else play them on a record?

This is a great question… well, shout outs to my incredible band (Dan Haase- bass, Andrew Jackle- drums, Mark Masefield- B3 organ, Ryan MacLean- guitar, Joey Henderson- guitar, Chris Dubrow- bass). I’m so grateful and thankful that they took part in this endeavor with me to play on this album. But, yeah, it made my life a bit more difficult for sure haha. We probably could have had the whole record tracked in 4 days if it wasn’t for my need to play so many of the instruments (some drums, mostly rhythm some lead guitar, piano, vocals)— ha! But, also I wanted to take that time. It was important for me to be able to play what I did because I saw this record as a means to put forth the best musical representation of myself that I could. In a world and industry where you need to set yourself apart and prove yourself, I wanted to make sure that was the case on this record, especially when it came to playing drums. I don’t get to play drums live for my own stuff all that often, but it’s so close to my heart, and really at the heart of my music…. It’s all about that groove.

Inspiration for the new album?

The album is called When It Happens to You and it actually came to me in a poem. It’s about that “a-ha” moment in which some sort of live experience clicks for you…how people can tell you time and time again, “oh you’ll know what it means, how it feels, what I’m talking about when it happens to you…”

Who are some of your musical guilty pleasures?

Hmm, so I really don’t listen to pop music, aside from maybe some cheesy 80s or 90s stuff, I don’t really have one!?! So, I’m going to go with my childhood obsession and say The Backstreet Boys. I don’t listen to them at all anymore, but let’s just say if they come on while I’m drunk at a party I’ll start belting out lyrics. But for real- those boys can sing!!!!!! - You Don't Know Jersey

"INTERVIEW: Rachel Ana Dobken"

Hi Rachel, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey guys! Thank you so much for having me! I have been well, just busy. It never seems to stop but I keep being told that’s not necessarily a bad thing?!

Can you tell us more about your latest single “Always”?

Sure! So “Always” is a groovy, guitar heavy, love song. I joke that it is what Levon Helm would write if he wrote an Indie-Rock song. It’s about the unquestionable feelings of finding genuine love and knowing that desire is mutual. In a day and age where you have to sift through more BS than ever, it’s about that moment when it all clicks and you can finally say, YES! On the track I’m playing drums, guitar and singing.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Yes! Meeting my boyfriend and the journey we’ve taken together these past two years. I started writing it at the beginning of our relationship in particular.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

We are currently working that out. The record comes out in it’s entirety in October, so we’re discussing what single will be next and potentially what single I will shoot a video for.
The single comes off your new album When It Happens To You – what’s the story behind the title?

The title of the album actually came to me in a poem I wrote. But in a nutshell, it’s about the feelings of experiencing things in life that finally click for you. You go through the motions (relationships, struggles with yourself or others, etc.) where people give you advice, and say “oh but you won’t really know until you experience it yourself.” But when you do, there is the “a-ha” moment, and you know what it means, “When it happens to you!”

How was the recording and writing process?

When it comes to writing, different parts of songs come to me at different times. Sometimes if I’m lucky within a week, other times it can take months. Usually I can do an intro/verse/chorus in one sitting. Then I put the song down and come back to it. Tracking was a pleasure, we recorded at Cedar Sounds in Oceanport, NJ. It was a ton of work being that I played guitar, drums, piano and sang and also self-produced this baby (yes, because I’m crazy).
Going into tracking, I had all the songs completely written (from start-finish), but I’d say about 60% of the songs were totally complete. Meaning, we had played them live with the band, every instrument knew what it was doing and how it fit. The other 40% of the songs had arrangement work to be done while tracking and mixing, one of which was actually “Always.” There was a lot of trial and error that went into the lead guitar part, and also much thought behind the bass and drums parts the verse/chorus’s. That is what holds the song together. As you get more involved listening to my music, you will come to realize that every instrument plays a very specific and intentional part.

What role does Asbury Park play in your music?

I’ve been asked this question a lot lately. Asbury Park is an incredibly loving and supportive scene where people value art/music greatly. That has given us musicians the opportunity to get up and perform constantly (more than half the battle). It has also helped me blossom and find the right people to play with (aka my bandmates)— Dan Haase (bass) Andy Jackle (drums)… sometimes Joey Henderson (guitar, keys), Mark Masefield (B3 Organ) or Ryan MacLean (guitar- who I played with in college).

I also have to give major thanks to Rock & Roll Photographer Danny Clinch, who has given me (and our community) so much in regards to advice, opportunities and photos (He shot the album cover- I am still pinching myself over this!). Danny is my boss at his Transparent Gallery down here, where I am the musical director. We have transformed the space into a collaborative music hub that allows for magical musical moments that could not exist in other more structured venues.

You listed My Morning Jacket and Lake Street Drive as influences – what about their music has inspired you?

Lake Street Dive is a band I get compared to a lot, I think vocally mostly to Rachael Price because we have a similar sound and tone to our voice. That “jazzy”-ness. I love their new record, it is brilliant. I think their music is brighter and lighter than mine, but it has a similar vibe in certain ways. I love everything about My Morning Jacket. If I had to say certain things in particular, it is the emotional sentiment behind their music and their epic guitar tones and arrangements. The riffs and textural pieces here and there…another huge influence of mine is The Band and I know Jim James in particular is a huge fan of their’s.

You are known for combining different genres – how do you balance them?

The key to understanding HOW to do this is to not think about it at all. I simply just allow the music to exist on it’s own free of thinking or analyzing. I do what is honest and true. I don’t care if it sounds like something from 1999 or 1969, as long as it’s me and has it’s own unique nature. I also spend a lot of time listening to all different kinds of music and subconsciously absorbing what I love. For a person who is a such a control freak, and spends so much of her time analyzing, this is the one thing I know I never think about, I just allow my brain and body to produce whatever makes sense at that time.
Sure, I am extremely conscientious of the fact that music exists CONTEXTUALLY so once I have the basis for a song, then I can decide (through tones, textures, parts, etc.) what would make sense FOR THAT SONG because I know the sound I am going for. So in that sense, I think about it. But I’d say 80% of it is just letting a song live and breathe without thinking about it.

Where did you find the inspiration for lyrics on “Always”?

The lyrics are directly related to the “feel” of the song, the pulse of the bass and drums. I realize I tend to do this a lot, and I think it’s because my heart lies with the drums and I can’t ever get away from the groove. But in regards to inspiration, it was my boyfriend who inspired me, and all of the exciting emotions you feel when you are in a new relationship. That energy is palpable and it’s what I tried to capture in the lyrics as well as the music itself.

Any plans to hit the road?

Working on it! Yes we would love to, just a couple of things to figure out first (it always feels there are a couple of things to figure out first)?!

What is happening next in the Rachel Ana Dobken world?

Right now I am doing what I can to help the Danny Clinch Gallery continue to thrive down here in Asbury. We are swiftly approaching the Sea Hear Now Festival which Danny has co-produced so that is exciting and consuming our time. I am continuing to push promo hard for the 2 singles and for the upcoming record, potential next single, and working on some show dates! Hope to see you guys soon, and please follow me for any updates, shows and new music! There will more coming soon!!! Spotify is best— https://open.spotify.com/album/5tlW6sGiSKyGIIghWSFklp - Vents Magazine

"Jersey Rock Artist of the Week: Rachel Ana Dobken"

Rachel Ana Dobken is a musical renaissance woman. The singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist trained at Bard College, focusing on vocals, guitar and jazz-drumming. Drawing from passion and life experience her music holds an organic energy that easily translates into the realm of live performance. Rachel’s sound possesses a lot of Jazz qualities while retaining elements of Rock and Soul. She has been described as “My Morning Jacket meets Amy Winehouse.”

Beyond her own performances, Rachel is heavily involved in the Asbury music scene, booking bands for the Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery at The Asbury Hotel. In addition to hosting great musical acts, the gallery provides exhibits of fine art photography. Learn more at dannyclinch.com.

Rachel Ana Dobken’s latest album “When It Happens To You” is due out this October. She is currently holding an indiegogo campaign to help offset the production costs of the release. You can support the album at indiegogo.com!

A limited number of physical copies of “When It Happens To You” will be available on Saturday 9/8 when Rachel Ana Dobken joins The Mercury Brothers to rock the all new Asbury Lanes. Tickets are $12 and are available at axs.com.

Tune to Jersey Rock on 95.9 The Rat Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 11:30 pm to hear Rachel Ana Dobken’s latest single as well as 2 other tracks from her catalog. Rachel will call in to the show each night!

Check out Rachel Ana Dobken's music on spotify, soundcloud, and bandcamp. Learn more at rachelanadobken.com! - WRAT 95.9

"Relix Album Premiere: Rachel Ana Dobken's "Detach""

Rachel Ana Dobken's new EP, Detach, is set for release this Thursday, June 16. The following week she will perform an release show at Mercury Lounge. Today we offer the premiere stream of the new album, which she recorded at Virtue & Vice Studios in Brooklyn, this past February. 2016. Dobken (drums, guitar, vocals) produced the EP herself with Kyle Joseph recording and mixing the record. On Detach, she is joined by Ryan MacLean (guitar, drums, vocals), Luke McCrosson (bass) and Sam Sherman (piano, Hammond B3, vocals).

https://soundcloud.com/relix-magazine/sets/rachel-ana-dobbken-detach - Relix Magazine

"Unmetal Monday"

Like the grand majority of modern metal fans, our tastes here at Heavy Blog are incredibly vast, with our 3X3s in each Playlist Update typically covering numerous genres and sometimes a different style in each square. While we have occasionally covered non-metal topics in past blog posts, we decided that a dedicated column was warranted in order to more completely recommend all of the music that we have been listening to. Unmetal Monday is a weekly column which covers noteworthy news, tracks and albums from outside the metal universe, and we encourage you all to share your favorite non-metal picks from the week in the comments. Head past the jump to dial down the distortion:


Rachel Ana Dobken – Detach

One of my greatest pleasures of writing for this site is having the opportunities to talk about and promote the music of people I’ve gotten to know personally and respect tremendously as artists. Such is the case with singer-songwriter, guitarist, and yes, drummer, Rachel Ana Dobken. Hailing from the same collection of buildings and woods in the middle of NY State called Bard College as yours truly, Dobken blends an intoxicating concoction of jazzy soulfulness and indie rock janglyness that often calls to mind the earlier work of St. Vincent and the more recent output of Fiona Apple. Her debut EP Detach just came out this past week, and if any of what I’ve just written are things that appeal to you, then this EP will satiate your needs and then some.

The four tracks present here walk a fine line between poppy accessibility and brainy jazz progressions/breaks, often resulting in a sense of knowing where a song is going to go only to have those expectations upended. Opener “24” is a smooth and summery ode to love at an age when you feel just old enough to know better and yet still figuring some important things out, oscillating between a light and sunny groove and driving choruses. The sultry “Loner” starts off as a somewhat typical bluesy ballad before gradually swelling into a proggy jazz monster featuring a killer guitar solo (courtesy of Ryan MacLean, another Bard graduate whose sheer talent makes me downright angry at times) and a modulated chord resolution in the climax that shouldn’t work but somehow does and just heightens the tension of the entire thing. And closer “Receive” jumps frequently between a bouncy rock waltz and a show-stopping jazz ballad.

Dobken’s gorgeous vocals are ultimately the glue that hold the entire thing together, particularly on “Loner” and “Receive,” where the rawness and power of her voice feel right on the edge of overwhelming her but manage to elevate the music to their emotionally-charged climaxes. It’s the sound of someone who doesn’t just have a pretty, vibrato-filled voice, but an actual soul behind it. Detach is equal parts heart, soul, and brain, presenting a formula that will surely serve her well for years to come. - Heavy Blog is Heavy

"Rachel Ana Dobken – The Church Street Demo (2014)"

Recorded almost entirely alone, from the guitars and drums to “foot-tapping, some piano,” Rachel Ana Dobken’s Church Street Demo is quiet but assertive, spacious but filled with resonant moments. Tucked away in a house on the aforementioned road in Red Hook, New York, Dobken crafted a series of layered, conceptually fascinating songs that often defy categorization.

“Nothing (Obscurity),” both lyrically and in its presentation of that flinty narrative, is as edgy and confrontational as anything Ani DiFranco ever did, and yet Dobken surrounds those sharp-edged words with a ruminative, oaken atmosphere straight out of the Band’s turn-of-the-1970s catalog. That is, until the knifing coda — which finds Dobken dueling with Ryan MacLean, who adds additional electric guitar and bass.

Moments like that, the first of several here, make good on a nascent promise of the modern, technology-driven DiY movement: That is, to finally, blessedly render the old genre rules obsolete. Dobken’s quick-witted four-song EP makes no concessions, mixing and matching ideas and styles with a Cuisinart-y flair for the unexpected. Just when you have pinned down a track like “All in Your Head Pinned Down” — stuttering roots rock, maybe a whisper of blues? — her jazz-inflected, boldly confessional approach to the lyric takes it down this previously unseen exit ramp. (Theo Seman is on piano for this cut, while Matt Wade added a little B3 to “Nothing [Obscurity].”) A subsequent instrumental excursion then goes further out, all the way to the edge of fusion, before “All In Your Head” ends with a staggering finality.

In her canny next move, Dobken presents the raw and emotional “Love and Anxiety” with just an acoustic, that tapping foot and a roving vocal approach that recalls early Alanis Morrissette, though with far less affectation. As her voice echoes coldly off the walls around her, she strums with new assertiveness — and yet the silence is somehow as loud as anything coming out of Dobken’s guitar. It’s a chilling effect. She ends with the twilit “August,” a stirring moment of ruminative melancholy that slowly coils into something that is (yes, once again) all together unexpected. It’s that kind of record.

‘The Church Street Demo’ is available for download via Bandcamp.

Nick DeRiso
Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com. - SomethingElse! Reviews

"NYC Scene Blog -- Rachel Ana Dobken"

New York singer/songwriter Rachel Ana Dobken plays Leftfield on 10.17

Earlier this month, New York singer/songwriter Rachel Ana Dobken released “Ability to Memory” (streaming below), a movingly raw love song. Over elegantly chimerical guitar work that would make Andrés Segovia smile, the Bard College-educated musician tells of a broken romance with a novelist’s eye, subtly revealing the remnants of a once full love. Dobken’s voice is a lover’s, though, and she only mines heartbreak in order to illuminate its ultimately wondrous transience. Rachel Ana Dobken plays 10.17 at Leftfield. – Zach Weg - The Deli Magazine

"Rachel Ana Dobken Press Release Round-Up"


Music journalists get hit with a steady helping of press releases every day. For the music fan without that kind of sensory overload, a lot of music news can pass by without being seen. Every Friday, we will weed through and compile a list of some of the most intriguing press releases to come across our virtual desk.


Rachel Ana Dobken’s first single “LONER” is out now from her HIGHLY ANTICIPATED debut EP Detach (out June 15 2016). The album features Dobken (songwriter, producer, arranger, drums, guitar, vocals), Ryan MacLean (guitar, drums, vocals), Luke McCrosson (bass), and Sam Sherman (piano, B3 Hammond, vocals). They recorded everything in two days at Virtue and Vice Studios in Brooklyn alongside engineer Kyle Joseph.

Dobken studied jazz drumming, vocals, guitar and theory at Bard College. Her music is raw and honest, personal yet relatable. Her stage presence is so emotionally captivating that it’s been compared to Janis Joplin, Jeff Buckley and Levon Helm. The tunes are catchy, intricate, existing somewhere between rock, soul, indie-alternative, and jazz. Huge influences that come out in her music include: Paul Simon, Fiona Apple, Jeff Buckley, Incubus, My Morning Jacket, Patsy Cline meets King Krule meets… well, you decide.

Don’t miss her EP Release show on June 23 at Mercury Lounge in NYC! - Music Emissions

"Live @ Relix: Rachel Ana Dobken"


Rachel Ana Dobken shares the lead track from the Church Street Demo, which a reviewer writes, offers "a series of layered, conceptually fascinating songs." Dobken's next performance is this Sunday, January 24, at Brooklyn's Black Bear Bar. - Relix Magazine

"Rachel Ana Dobken: Life Is Not For The Faint Of Heart"

Rachel Ana Dobken is a powerhouse. “I want people to think, ‘Wow, this girl is a fucking ripper. She plays drums. She wrote this song. She wrote these parts.’ I want it to hit hard, and I want people to know that I mean business,” says Dobken, outlining her ambitions for Acceptance, a nine-track mix of heavy rock, psychedelia, soul and blues. As if the aforementioned contributions were not enough, she also plays guitar and keyboards, sings, and composed all the songs on her new album. While it had been five years since Dobken’s previous record, 2018’s When It Happened to You, there’s good reason for the wait: Dobken had a hand in nearly every aspect of the project. “This record was done very piecemeal,” she reveals, citing the drop of a friend and collaborator, the death of her father, a global pandemic and other contributing factors that stretched the process, but ultimately served the artist, who had time to make it her own.

Dobken’s history goes back to snapping pictures, which led to bumping shoulders with Danny Clinch during her Relix internship and ultimately gigging with the famed photographer and friends at his Transparent Gallery in her native Asbury Park, N.J. The experience unlocked an opportunity for collaboration, and Clinch provides some harmonica on Acceptance. “The creative process is a universal thing, in my opinion. Whether you are painting, drawing, doing photography or creating music, there are so many similarities.”

As a set, Acceptance functions as a love letter to fate, with Dobken honing in on the idea that life is not for the faint of heart. Instead, she focuses on perseverance, melding her own strength into expressive lines that capture her thoughts and feelings across the album. “With this record in particular, I feel like my music is an amalgamation of all the music I love because I think that, naturally, I don’t ever go into writing music trying to sound like something. I just allow whatever I’m hearing or feeling to come out of me,” she reflects. “I feel like, on every level from my last record, this one is a step up.” - Relix Magazine

"Listen: Rachel Ana Dobken Taps Blind Melon’s Rogers Stevens on New Single “Bed You Made”"

Instrumental powerhouse and vocalist Rachel Ana Dobken has delivered the latest preview of her impending sophomore album Acceptance, due on Friday, March 8. Today’s drop, “Bed You Made,” features Blind Melon guitarist Rogers Stevens. The track centers around the emotive determination of the artist to receive change without preparation for preemptive moments asserted through life’s unknowns. Listen below.

“For the verses he came up with this crazy line that fit so perfectly with the vocals. Whenever you listen to his playing on any of the Blind Melon records, it’s like, ‘Who would write this?’ This is so unique.’ And he brought that same energy to ‘Bed You Made,’” explains Dobken.

Listeners can pick up on Stevens and Dobken shifting off on the pre-chorus and chorus, with the guest musician adhering to playing rhythm, which she takes the lead, showing off her ability to seamlessly bounce between instruments–a feature of her wide-set skills. To cap it off, Stevens applied the song’s closing guitar solo, generating a soaring send-off and explosive conclusion.

Reflecting on her own experience, Dobken deemed “Bed You Made” as her most meaningful piece to come from Acceptance. A title that alludes to a thematic current running through its presentation. “It’s about coming to terms with realities you have no control over but have to watch fall apart right in front of you. Emotions bubbling up that you aren’t ready to face but have to. Regret. Self-sabotage. Knowing you want to live from a place of love but not knowing how,” she adds.

Tracing back topics that traverse the set, Dobken offered, “A reminder that the noises around us and in our heads is just that—fear. We have a choice and have to remind ourselves to face life head on, face our decisions and truths head on, that’s the most loving thing. That restlessness or anxiety really is just a desire to embrace change, even if it means exploding and burning it all down to the ground… lean into it. Be kind to yourself. You are human.”

Sharing her intend for the set, the musician tacked on, “Acceptance is a culmination of frustration, struggle, yearning and beauty that led me to the understanding that—whatever we are searching for, whomever’s love and approval we desire, whatever we seek on our journey—all answers come from within. From accepting and loving ourselves wholly for who we are, darkness and all. Accepting the circumstances of our realities, embracing them and leaning into them. There’s a comfort and a beauty in that. Acceptance always to what is and will be.”

On this specific track, Dobken contributes drums, guitar, and vocals. While Dan Haase adds bass, Mark Masefield helps out on the keyboard, and Erik Kase Romero serves as producer, engineer, and percussionist.

The Acceptance album release show will occur at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, N.J., on Friday, April 5, 2024. Tickets are on sale now.

Listen to “Bed You Made” below. Pre-order Acceptance now. - Relix Magazine


Acceptance, out 3.8.24 (Rachel Ana Dobken on drums, guitar, keys, vox, songwriter)

current singles-> 
Cruel, Cruel, Cruel
Just A Dream
Give Us Another Chance (ft. Clint Maedgen of Preservation Hall Jazz Band)
Bed You Made (ft Rogers Stevens of Blind Melon) 


"When It Happens To You" All songs written, produced & arranged by: ©℗ 2018 Rachel Ana Dobken.

Rachel Ana Dobken (drums, guitar, vocals, piano)
Dan Haase (bass)
Andy Jackle (drums- Intro, Got Away, Taking My Time)
Ryan MacLean (guitar)
Joey Henderson (guitar, vocals)
Chris Dubrow (bass- Us, Taking My Time)
Mark Masefield (B3 hammond)
Danny Clinch (harmonica)
Ian Gray (trombone)
Bruce Krywinski (trumpet)
Denis Daly (sax)

Engineered by: Tim Pannella & Joey Henderson at Cedar Sounds in Oceanport, NJ
Mixed: Kyle Joseph
Mastered: Justin Colletti

Relix Mag premiered "Understand": relix.com/blogs/detail/song-premiere-rachel-ana-dobken-understand/

New Noise premiered "Always": newnoisemagazine.com/song-premiere-rachel-ana-dobken-always/



All words/music by © Rachel Ana Dobken 2016 all rights reserved. 

Released 16 June 2016 

Rachel Ana Dobken (drums/guitar/vox) 
Ryan MacLean (guitar/drums-24/backup vox) 
Luke McCrosson (bass) 
Sam Sherman (piano/b3 hammond/backup vox) 

Engineered by Kyle Joseph 
Produced by Rachel Ana Dobken 
Mastered by Justin Colletti 

Recorded in two days at Virtue & Vice Studios in Brooklyn, New York, February, 2016. We recorded everything live (lead guitar, bass, drums, piano) with vocals and B3 after. 

Thank you to Relix Mag for the premiere! 



PLEASE VISIT @RACHELANADOBKEN ON IG FOR MOST UPDATES (this isn't the most recent show representation/information) or rachelanadobken.com. 

NEW RECORD OUT NOW: "ACCEPTANCE" // Rachel played drums, guitar, keys, sang + wrote.

EXPERIENCE IN: NYC, Asbury Park NJ, Philly, Upstate NY, Burlington VT, PA, Wilmington, DC, Los Angeles markets + more

  “Absolutely infectious.” - NEW NOISE “Smoky, shimmering.” - RELIX “A soulful indie-rock performer.” - AMERICAN SONGWRITER “Deeply personal and emotionally charged. ... showcases Dobken's extraordinary skills not just in drumming and guitar, but also in songwriting, lyricism and her work as a pianist and vocalist.” - THE GRATEFUL WEB  "Dobken does an excellent job telling a story … truly moving.” - SUBSTREAM "Dobken is practically a one-woman band ... definite hints of Jeff Buckley-esque ecstasy.” - RIFF MAGAZINE “A masterful blend of nostalgia rock, indie vibes and psych-rock influence that resonate deeply with anyone who has experienced the bittersweet pangs of a breakup.” - BROKEN COLOR "Hauntingly beautiful. ... Resonates with raw authenticity and musical finesse.” - LAST DAY DEAF “Heart-aching soul rhythms and incendiary indie-rock instincts.” - SOUTHERN SOUNDING “Moments of searing truth and lush beauty … emotionally resonant and musically dynamic.” - STARS & SCARS “Expressive ... drawn from emotion and experience.” - WRAT 95.9 FM “Driving, anthemic.” - THE POP BREAK “Soulful, hook-laden indie rock.” - BTR TODAY “There's not much Dobken can't do.” - ASBURY PARK PRESS

  Rachel Ana Dobken (drums, guitar, vocals, keys, producer) is a powerhouse musician. Described as “My Morning Jacket meets Amy Winehouse,” she’s been featured at Relix, New Noise, Chorus FM, American Songwriter, WXPN, The Pop Break, Guitar Girl, RIFF Magazine, The Aquarian Weekly, New York Times & more. She worked closely with iconic music photographer Danny Clinch as music director of his Transparent Gallery in her hometown of Asbury Park, N.J., and has shared the stage with Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon, Rayland Baxter, Blind Melon, Incubus’ Ben Kenney, Robert Randolph, G. Love, Nicole Atkins, Tash Neal and many more.

Dobken’s aptly-titled forthcoming album Acceptance (out March 8) was co-produced by Erik Kase Romero (The Front Bottoms) and Paul Ritchie (The Parlor Mob) in conjunction with Dobken. The record features guest appearances from Rogers Stevens (Blind Melon) as well as Preservation Hall Jazz Band's Clint Maedgen. It pulls from indie rock, psych and soul influences—think Angel Olsen, Jeff Buckley, Pink Floyd, Thin Lizzy, Beach House, boygenius, Rayland Baxter—while it charts a journey of authentic self-discovery “Acceptance is a culmination of frustration, struggle, yearning and beauty that led me to the understanding that—whatever we are searching for, whomever’s love and approval we desire, whatever we seek on our journey—all answers come from within. From accepting and loving ourselves wholly for who we are, darkness and all. Accepting the circumstances of our realities, embracing them and leaning into them. There’s a comfort and a beauty in that. Acceptance always to what is and will be.”

Band Members