Songwriter puts personal experiences into music

Staff Writer

 A.P. Mauro A.P. Mauro A ccording to Colts Neck resident A.P. Mauro, the hallmark of country music used to be songs about life experiences: hardships, or love, or admiring someone from a distance. But that is not so much the case anymore.

“If you listen to more popular country music on the radio today, and I’m not putting it down, I’m just saying it’s more shallow,” Mauro said. “The songs will talk about getting drunk, or they will talk about going down to the beach, or they will talk about their pickup truck.”

Mauro is hoping to bring something a little more memorable and personal back to the country music genre. On Sept. 16, Mauro released his first country EP, “The Rebel in Us,” on Lamon Records, an independent label based in Nashville, Tenn.

“I kind of named [my EP] in honor of the people who would actually take an opportunity to sidestep the crowd and to listen to something a little bit different,” he said. “I thought that would be rebellious … the rebel in me to kind of say, ‘You know, I’d really like to go in this direction with it.’ ”

On “The Rebel in Us,” Mauro opens up about deeply personal experiences of his own. The track “The Dragon Chasing You” is about trying to help a loved one struggling with a heroin addiction; “River Leave Me Alone” tells of superstorm Sandy’s destruction of his childhood home in Monmouth Beach.

“I was over there trying to help [my father] go through that absolute mess and clean things up — the mud, the water, the destruction of everything,” he said. “So the song is about telling the river, ‘leave me alone!’ ”

Mauro, who has been a resident of Colts Neck for nearly 20 years, started writing music as a hobby while he was growing up in Monmouth Beach.

“Monmouth Beach had this simple nature, created by ordinary working people,” he said. “It was an honest living, in spite of the hardships people had. Life seemed uncomplicated.”

He said that when he moved to Colts Neck, he was pleased to find it shared the similarly rural and uncomplicated lifestyle of Monmouth Beach.

“It had that flavor, too,” Mauro said. “So I think I have always kind of enjoyed that simple, rural aspect to things, and I think that has helped find its way into my music.” Mauro said he was surprised to find there are a significant number of country music fans in New Jersey and that country acts draw well at venues such as the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel.

With the release of his EP, Mauro hopes to receive honest feedback from listeners on what he brings to the genre.

“I would like to see if there are people out there who have an appreciation for this type of music as I do,” Mauro said. “Honest feedback. I can say [to people], ‘Hey, what do you think of the songs?’ and they just want to be nice and say, ‘Yeah, they’re great.’

“The thing is, if people buy it, then you know they like it. They are not talking anymore, they are acting upon it. So I will find out with honest feedback whether people also appreciate what I happen to enjoy.”

The 11-track EP “The Rebel in Us” was released on Sept. 16 from Lamon Records. The EP can be purchased online through as well as at iTunes and