Rob Carlson and Benefit Street

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:38

STANHOPE — Once upon a time Rob Carlson and Paul Payton played in a band called Benefit Street in Providence, RI. The band had a local single in the Rhode Island top ten, but without an album the members went their separate ways. Rob went on to become a successful singer-songwriter and composer in the duo Carlson & Gailmor, and as a solo artist, a jingle writer, and 15 years with the folk-comedy trio Modern Man. Paul enjoyed many years as a New England radio personality and New York voice-over artist, but he never forgot about the fun of playing with Rob in Benefit Street. In 2010, Rob and Paul, now residents of Chatham, reunited in a new band which makes its New Jersey debut on Friday, Dec. 16, at the Stanhope House. Their all-original folk, rock and singer/songwriter repertoire, including some laugh-out-loud comedy, can be heard on their new self-titled CD, "Rob Carlson & Benefit Street," and on Rob’s recent solo CD, “Pieces of Paradise.” All four band members compose and sing. The multi-talented Vin Pasternak, a Providence, RI, resident who lives close to the actual Benefit Street, plays mandolin, fiddle, viola, guitar and banjitar. He and Rob have played together in several bands over many years. Sam Carlson, the band’s youngest member, is also a versatile and experienced musician who plays drums and percussion as well as guitar and mandolin. “Sam would be in our band even if he wasn’t Rob’s son,” said Pasternak. As a band, Rob Carlson & Benefit Street play “in service to the song,” said Payton. “It’s not about flash and showiness," he said. "Our mission is to really get you into our music, whether funny, serious, or something in-between.” Rob Carlson & Benefit Street play on Friday, Dec. 16, in Stanhope House’s Crossfire Lounge, 45 Main Street in Stanhope. The music starts at 9 p.m. There is a cover charge of $10. For directions and more information visit at or call 973-347-7777.