All articles by Jessica Novak

Raising Cain in Syracuse

Chris Cain’s blues roots go back to his upbringing with a father who had an impressive record collection and love of live performances.

Chris Cain loves the Salt City. “Syracuse is one of my favorite places in the world,” he says from his phone at his California home. “I spilled beer on the mayor once. I was really popular for that. It was years ago. Guys were giving me high-fives and stuff.”



Can’t Spell Fundraiser Without F-U-N

Starting Wednesday, Aug. 6, the Unforgettable Comedy Challenge will take place at Funny Bone Comedy Club at Destiny USA.

Comedy is a fair medium. Given nothing but a stage and a microphone, it’s up to the performer to make the audience laugh however he or she can. And when a prize – and pride – are on the line, the stakes are sure to rise.



Cohn to Kallet: Walking in Pulaski

Cohn has toured more in the past six years than the 10 previous years. He emphasizes that the rise in tour dates is dependent on the people he’s found to join him, such as Patscha.

Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Marc Cohn is on the road again, this time with Glenn Patscha, performing a more stripped-down, improvisational, acoustic show than in the past.



A Fistful of Festivals

This weekend’s downtown double-fest, presented in conjunction with Syracuse ArtsWeek, offers the Northeast Jazz and Wine Festival and the Stage of Nations Blue Rain ECOfest.

Summertime schedules get overwhelming in sunny Syracuse as every festival packs into the short and sweet season. This weekend’s downtown double-fest, presented in conjunction with Syracuse ArtsWeek, offers the Northeast Jazz and Wine Festival and the Stage of Nations Blue Rain EcoFest.



Blues Festival Returns to Clinton Square

Here are a few 2014 Blues Fest favorites

After a 2013 hiatus, the New York State Blues Festival is back and under the direction of former fest planner Jim Murphy. The two-day event will retake its 2012 home of Clinton Square, bringing a solid mix of local, national and international names. Here are a few 2014 Blues Fest favorites:



Starry Nights

Jessica Novak covers this year’s impressive Jazz Fest highlights, from budding talented songbirds to seasoned blues legend B.B. King

The 2014 edition of the Syracuse M&T Jazz Fest was defined by the juxtaposition of new and legendary, blossoming and concluding. These qualities were obvious throughout the two-day festival held at the Onondaga Community College campus on Friday, July 11, and Saturday, July 12.



Local Bands Rock Again for Retro Reunions

The one-night-only events at Liverpool’s Carnegie Café, located at the Maplewood Inn, 400 Seventh North St., will feature local bands from the 1960s and 1970s as they rock once again.

On Sunday, July 13, 6 p.m., the inaugural edition of “The History of Syracuse Rock and Roll: Then and Now” series begins with reunion performances from the Livin Ennd with Sandy Bigtree, plus Don Barber and the Dukes. The one-night-only events at Liverpool’s Carnegie Café, located at the Maplewood Inn, 400 Seventh North St., will feature local bands from the 1960s and 1970s as they rock once again.



Get Shorty

An exclusive interview with Trombone Shorty, appearing at Jazz Fest

From Obama to OCC The 2014 M&T Jazz Fest brings Trombone Shorty, a White House guest more than once, to the stage this weekend. He shares a few exclusive words with Jessica Novak and The Syracuse New Times.



The World According to Harp

Jessica Novak profiles the history of harmonica hepcat Tom Townsley, and why his 2012 album, Still Backslidin’, still matters.

Tom Townsley is more than just a world-class harmonica player. He has also shared his passion for music as the longtime radio host of the successful Sunday Night Blues Show on WAER-FM 88.3, as a music journalist for Blues Revue Magazine, and as vice president of the Mohawk Valley Blues Society. Tying it all together is Townsley’s sense of humor and hard-earned wisdom.



Big Gigs You’ll Dig This Summer

As the schedule heats up, here’s more music too cool to miss.

Even after naming a long list of concerts and festivals near and far throughout Central New York in the June 4 Summer Times, certain acts slipped through the cracks. As the schedule heats up, here’s more music too cool to miss.