SITTING FOR A SPELL: Jackson Cavalier | Way of life



I’m so happy to kick off a new year of local artists with the great Jackson Cavalier. He is the real deal.

You may have seen Jackson around the Finger Lakes, either solo or with his full ensemble, The Big Dead Waltz. Whatever iteration of his music you come across, it will remind you how special live performances are.

Jackson is a singing, hard-working talent, and that effort takes his natural abilities to a level of performance that you must see in person. And you can, at Little Theater Café on January 5th, then at Penn Yan’s Laurentide Beer Co. on January 8th.

If you’re still looking for something to add to your resolution list, consider “supporting local artists” as an item. I can guarantee you won’t regret it next December.

But enough of me. I let M. Cavalier take the reins:

1. What inspired your interest in music? A musician or a particular moment, perhaps?

I always loved music as a kid, some of my earliest memories were listening to mixing CDs that I had my dad make me on my CD player (wow, I feel like an absolute fossil in saying that.). My parents had really good and varied musical tastes. I grew up listening to Swing Revival stuff like the Squirrel Nut Zippers, country western stuff like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynne, Patsy Cline, Emmylou Harris, and a whole bunch of other stuff like Rush, Paul Simon, The Ramones, I just soaked up a lot of really good music. We had my grandfather’s old guitar lying around the house and I craved guitar lessons until my parents finally gave in. I picked up the harmonica before then and always felt so accomplished when I was able to understand little melodies on it.

2. Tell me a bit about your sound. When did you find your voice as a singer-songwriter?

Well, my sound has come full circle of my earliest (and continuing) tastes in music. I still can’t shake the idea people have of me as a ‘one band busker dude’. But I guess my sound isn’t packaged well, which doesn’t help either. Personally I describe my sound as roots rock and Americana but the older I get I prefer not to categorize my music because it becomes so thematically diverse that non-genre becomes an ideal term. As a songwriter, I don’t think you ever fully find your voice. I know I certainly didn’t. I think I’ve gotten to the point where I know what makes a good song and what makes a bad song and I’m trying to use my voice as a writer to fill that space by bringing together a strong pop-oriented structure and words that the listener can expand on their personal experiences to create a bond or connection. It’s about capturing the human experience.

3. The strangest concert you have ever played. Go!

Playing as many private events as I’ve had over the years, I’ve had my fair share. Weird backyard parties where only three people show up, playing in the middle of nowhere in a room full of very drunk strangers. The strangest thing I ever played was a funeral. I was honored to be asked and they insisted it was what they wanted, but it was strange.

4. What is the favorite album that you would like people to know more about?

I really wish that in general more people would invest more time in listening to and buying releases from local artists. Some local artists who I think deserve a lot more attention would be Bellwether Breaks, The Local Hang-Ups, Charles Emanuel, Sally Louise, Somedaysoon Productions, Archimedes. I could go there all day.

5. Here we are in 2022. What will you be doing this year?

This year, I’m releasing a new album with my band, The Big Dead Waltz. I’m also working with a group of other musicians on creating a coalition of musicians, venues, promoters, bookers, etc. in order to demand fair remuneration for artists as well as to sensitize the industry to ethical business practices. Beyond that, I continue to develop my booking agency ‘Voidyear MGMT’ to work with more artists and venues to ensure ethical and fair paid concerts for musicians.

Abbey Sitterley’s “Sit for a Spell” appears every other Monday in the Time. I have an idea? Contact her at [email protected]



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