John Nowak / Blog

I Love A Good Party!

Hi folks. Sorry I haven't kept up with my blog entries, but I've been a little busy. I'll try to do better. My long awaited CD Release Party has come and gone and, I must say, I couldn't be more pleased. Although the CD was actually released to the market on March 20th, I wanted to hold off on the actual celebration until all the pieces were in place. Most importantly, the right venue. I chose Nocturnem Draft Haus in Bangor, Maine because that is where it all began. Proprietor Gene Beck is a lover of live music and provides a venue for all types of music. Most notably the Tuesday Jazz Jam that was started by bassist Wells Gorden. It provides an opportunity for local musicians to meet and play and and a chance for local folks to experience really good live jazz the likes of which one would have to travel to Boston or New York to hear. This is where I met the great musicians you hear on my CD. And the staff at Nocturnem is great as well. So it was really a "no brainah" to wait for the date. I can't say enough about my great musician friends that made this recording so much fun to produce and perform. Wellington Gordon, Bobby Duron, Josh Small, Lincoln Blake (aka Herbie Bailes), Mark Tasker, and special guest Colin Graebert really put out a ton of music and create an incredible amount of energy everytime they pick up their instruments. I am so lucky. And I can't forget my engineer at Main Street Music Studios, Andrew Clifford for the fantastic job he did in making this all happen. I am also grateful to you, my fans, who make this all so worthwhile. You may have heard me say that being a performing musician is empty without the audience to hear and appreciate what is is you've worked so hard to create. I thank you all for coming to listed to us live, and for purchasing my music in person or on line. But most importantly, I must thank my wife Jean without whose love, support, ideas, great ear, and hard work in putting this whole thing together none of this would be possible. She's an incredible woman. I'm very lucky. "Once More With Feeling" is available on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, and all the major music download sites as well as at Bull Moose Music, Rock and Art, and of course, from this website. Thanks again and remember to support live music in your area. John - johnnowak.net

Live Music is Alive and Well

Those of you who read last month's blog, know that I come from a long line of professional entertainers. I had grandparents, aunts, uncles, and parents who made a good portion of their living in music. I can remember stories my grandfather would tell about playing every night of the week in Vaudeville and also in the dining rooms of all the grand hotels during the industrial revolution in the early twentieth century. Later on, my father, a fine trumpet player is his own right, played gigs almost every night of the week as well as teaching instrumental music in the public school system. When my older brother Ed and I broke into the business in the early 1960's, we were working three to four gigs every weekend. (Needless to say our girlfriends weren't very happy about that.)

But over the next several years, that changed drastically. Thanks to John Travolta and Saturday Night Fever, Disco hit with a vengeance. Almost overnight, Disco clubs were opening up in the big cities as well as the smaller towns. Men were wearing polyester leisure suits and puka beads and the ladies were in mini skirts and paten leather boots with spike heels. (My only favorite part) And dancing to records of the Beegees spun by a DJ! Yes, the birth of the DJ. Live music was doomed. As time went on, disco died but the DJ corps grew. Bars and lounges would hire DJs to spin records and, in many cases, pay them more than the going rate of a live band. I was fortunate because I played trumpet in a polka band and we were the only musicians who were working on a regular basis.

Fast forward about ten years and the rebirth of live music is happening. I live in a small northeastern industrial city that has seen a lot of changes. Like most of these towns, the industry has left and the mall has stolen what business the downtown areas had left. But that seems to be changing. With the help of young, energetic, entrepreneurs, the downtown areas are coming back. New restaurants, lounges, and theaters are enjoying resurgence. People are showing an interest in these areas and are supporting places that feature jazz, rock, folk, and acoustic music of all genres on a nightly basis. The great thing is, you can walk up and down these streets and hear the tunes emanating out of all these venues. And the music is GOOD. Finally musicians are able to perform their craft in front of a live audience on a regular basis and even get paid! This is also true concerning fine arts and live theatre.

Who says the "good ole days" are a thing of the past? It’s coming back folks. And with your support, as well as the support of business owners, the renaissance of live entertainment will continue to grow. Keep it coming. Yes the Good Ole Days are back.