All articles by Jessica Novak

Mark Hoffmann

Local guitar guru Mark Hoffmann reveals his rockin’ resume to music writer Jessica Novak

As a fixture of the Syracuse music scene for more than five decades, guitarist-vocalist Mark Hoffmann has been involved in major productions (such as the Salt City Waltz and Beatlecuse) and was inducted into the Syracuse Area Music Awards (Sammy) Hall of Fame in 2008. Yet his legacy goes far beyond the city limits.



Ann Wilson: Wild at Heart

Music writer Jessica Novak goes one-on-one with Ann Wilson of Heart prior to their June 30 performance at the Mulroy Civic Center

In the 1970s, a female-led band that sang, wrote and played their own songs was anything but common. But it didn’t stop the Wilson sisters, Ann and Nancy, from pursuing their dreams with their band Heart.



A Note-Worthy Endeavor

Writer Jessica Novak details the mission of Signature Music, which sends needy kids on new musical journeys

Every human on the planet is affected by music, for most of us on a daily basis. Yet music is still something that is often misunderstood. Music programs are often cut from school schedules. And viable job opportunities in composition, performance, music therapy, music industry, recording and theater are often overlooked when students are weighing their career options. Many people fail to realize how much time and money goes into preparing a student simply to audition for music school.



The Mo’ the Merrier

Music writer Jessica Novak chats with Keb’ Mo’, who will soon bring the blues to Syracuse

Hot on the trail of his 12th studio album, BLUESAmericana, Keb’ Mo’ is bringing his sound to Syracuse. The disc was nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album at the 2015 Blues Music Awards and recently named one of the Top 100 Americana Albums of 2014 and Mo’ has been performing to support it over the past year.



Summer Times 2015: Music Fests

Jessica Novak covers what prominent music festivals are happening during the summer in Central New York.

Summertime music spots are plentiful in the Salt City and the surrounding area. Ranging from headliners like Robert Plant and The Black Keys to Aretha Franklin, there are lots of festivals to go around. Here are just a few:



Axes to Grind

The Guitar League, now in its 10th year, provides teachable moments for musicmakers

There aren’t many organizations that allow beginners and globe-touring artists to mix, mingle and learn from one another, let alone on a monthly basis. But for 10 years, the Guitar League has been providing guitarists of all levels exactly that opportunity.



Folkus Finale Features Seth Glier

Glier performs on Friday, May 15 at May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society

At age 12 Seth Glier started writing songs on Sept. 11, 2001, provoked by the events of the day. In 2009, he dropped out of the Berklee College of Music and focused on building a studio in his parents’ basement, where he recorded his first album, The Trouble With People. In 2010, his next album, The Next Right Thing, was nominated for a Grammy Award.



Still Making a Difference

Race for the Cure on Saturday, May 16

Things have changed in the fight against breast cancer. Since 1980, the five-year relative survival rate for women diagnosed with breast cancer has gone from 74 percent to 99 percent. The way the world talks about and treats the disease has also changed, and organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure are at the front lines of the battle. However, that doesn’t mean people like Kathy Caiello and Jon Selzer are losing steam.



Jon Nakamatsu: Piano Man

With Symphoria, Nakamatsu already feels at home.

Jon Nakamatsu didn’t go to college for music, nor did he a full-time music career. In fact, just before he won the Gold Medal at the 1997 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, he was a German teacher.



Blues Brothers & Sisters Inducted into NY Blues Hall of Fame

The New York Blues Hall of Fame is an eMuseum growing each year

Central New York blues royalty, including Pete McMahon, Phil Petroff, Colin Aberdeen, Mark Tiffault, Dave Olson, George Rossi, Carolyn Kelly, Dave Liddy, Jimmy Wolf and Tom Townsley, will be inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame this weekend, along with posthumous honorees Roosevelt Dean, K.J. James and Al Nathan.