Friday, December 28, 2018

Resolve to Support Original Live Musicians in 2019

I’m bored . . . there’s nothing to do.  

written by Jacque RocheOriginally published on 12/28/18 

It’s not just our kids wailing this common complaint.  Many a Hudson Valley resident has groused this grievance when facing an entertainment decision.  When it comes to amusement, our region is brimming with a variety of opportunities guaranteed to please the persnickety as well as delight live music devotees.  For someone new to the region, plugging into the local live music scene can be a daunting challenge. While social media certainly makes it easier to initiate a search, the results are numerous and scattered.  Finding a platform that produces an easy-to-search result is key! I rely on (HiT) and passively await my twice-weekly emails before deciding how to spend my precious-little free time. HiT is helpful because it lists a wide variety of live music and comedy events within a short car ride from my home in Northern Westchester and the emails are organized by genre.  

Let’s face it, 2018 has been a complicated year for #LiveMusic.  Some of my favorite music venues have closed, and some new ones opened up.  It’s difficult to keep up with the changes, Why just this week I learned about another that opened months ago!

Thanks to social media postings sad news spreads quickly.  We jointly mourned the closing of these that shut their doors in 2018:

  • 12 Grapes, Peekskill, NY
  • Armonk House, Armonk, NY
  • BB Kings, NY, NY
  • Brian’s Backyard BBQ, Middletown, NY
  • Cabaloosa, New Paltz, NY
  • Club 33, Poughkeepsie
  • Johnny Utah’s. So Norwalk, CT
  • Mexicali LIve, Teaneck, NJ
  • Rascal Flatts, Stamford, CT
  • Seaside Tavern, Stamford, CT
  • The Oasis, New Paltz, NY
  • The Spinning Room, Tannersville, NY

As a champion of #SupportLiveMusicVenues, this shortlist just breaks my heart.  There are many reasons why a live music venue might fail; poor location, bad vibe or no budget for promotion comes to mind.  However, I believe the music-appreciating community has the ability to reduce future closings by patronizing our local #LiveMusicVenues.

Luckily there were new openings to replace those that have closed such as:

What do you say we resolve to get out and enjoy Live Music more in 2019!

What better time to exercise a resolution than on New Years Eve?  There are a variety of live music options within an hour’s car ride anywhere from your home.  I can’t stress enough, if you have a favorite spot; these businesses are counting on you. The last things we want to see are more closings and fewer options for a night out.  Everyone has an important role. From the venue, musician, servers, chef and bussers. When we go out and enjoy the happening, our attendance keeps those folks working, while our ears and hearts benefit from the experience.

Will you join me this year to keep Live Music and our favorite music venues open?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the list of venue’s opening in 2019 were longer than those closing?   Let’s work on that together, shall we? I am making it my personal mission to tell you more about live music venues via this blog in 2019.  Please send me your suggestions for what venues to visit and blog about. I look forward to hearing from you.

I am no music expert. I am a blogger who's lucky to interview original musicians on Jacque’s Giant Music Show, a weekly radio program / podcast that is streaming Thursday nights 7-9 pm EST at and archived on #MyMusicMusings are my random thoughts and opinions about music matters. If you’d like to have your music or live music venue mused upon, please contact me at Thank you for reading, Jacque

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Greg Jacquin More Sugar February 2018

This Just In ~ New CD Release by Jacquin

By Jacque Roche

If you haven’t heard Greg Jacquin’s single, The Station you simply must in preparation of his new album release this February. The new album, entitled Hudson River is chock full of dulcet, melodious tracks revealing the emotions and personal obstacles Jacquin encountered during a transitional time in his life.  Like many of us, the responsibilities of a demanding job and young family took priority during the early years. It was retirement that allowed Greg the freedom to rekindle his songwriting dreams while navigating his evolution from blue-collar worker to music show promoter, composer and self-album releaser.

With influences that include; The Beatles, Cat Stevens, The Avett Brothers and The Flaming Lips, Jacquin draws inspiration from his deep roots in the Hudson Valley River towns where he was raised.  He has been playing guitar since he was able to hold one and performed with bands in high school while recording several albums with a metal band Know Idea in the early to mid ‘90s.

I was able to review the soon-to-be released Hudson River, and it is apparent that Greg has evolved from his early metal-wielding ways. Yet, it occurred to me, after listening to the tracks, that while Greg may have shed his metal skin and progressed to a more melodic Folksy, Americana’esque vibe, he has not completely left the growls or emphatic beats far behind.  During my research, it intrigued me to discover that many of early metal’s musicians were classically trained.  According to Kurt Bachmann of Believer, "If done correctly…classical and metal are probably the two genres that have the most in common when it comes to feel, texture, creativity." Therefore, it made perfect sense that the instrumentation of Hudson River heavily features string arrangements and presentation by chamber musician, Nick Attila, alongside equally harmonious string performances by the talented violinist, Lisa Dodakian and multi-string instrumentalist, Amy Selig. 

I met Greg in 2014 and have had the pleasure of working on a few projects with him over the years.  Our most recent joint venture was a Nov 3rd interview on Pawling Public Radio and a debut performance of The Station with his band.  During the performance I found myself drawn in by Jacquin’s raspy, compelling vocals and (as I often do) wondering what it is that I find so captivating.  We spoke about it on air; yet until this writing, it never dawned on me . . . Greg is employing a smoother, lyrical method from his early metal extended vocal techniques!  I wonder if he realizes it himself or if it’s all just part of what makes his music so unique?

When asked what he believes are the stand out tracks from Hudson River Greg generously replies, “Floating and Yesterdaze are my favorites. We all wrote those songs together as a band. Floating was co-written by guitarist/songwriter Rich Berta and Yesterdaze co-written by songwriter/pianist Paul Griffin.  They are well beyond anything I've written on my own.”

The supportive musician community in the Hudson River towns provided Jacquin with inspiration and play an intricate role in the album explains Jacquin.  “Everyone involved in this album, from beginning to end, is from The Hudson Valley.”  All the musicians and co-writers involved are working musicians that are available for hire.  Along with the string section, the album came together with combined backing from Richard Berta/guitar, Peter Wilson/drums, Scott Fragala and Lalit Looma/bass, Anthony Gach/trumpet, Joe Natale/Sax, Greg Connors/guitar/vocals joined by Jim Keyes, Greg Schettino and Amy King/vocals.

Hudson River, the upcoming album by Greg Jacquin is scheduled for release February 9, 2018.  The Station was released on 9/23/17 and is available to stream and download everywhere.  If you’d like to catch a live performance of The Greg Jacquin Band, join them at the CD Release Party Feb 9 at Six Degrees of Separation Restaurant and Bar in Ossining, February 23rd at The Tapp in Tarrytown or they are back at 6 Degrees on March 10th. 

Unfortunately, there is a limit to the space I can take up on the pages of More Sugar Magazine.  However, with so much more to be said about Greg, his passions and many collaborations as well as a full list of events, please visit his website at and keep up with his ongoing journey.

Jacque Roche is a “More Sugar” contributor, author of a weekly “Positive Insights” newsletter, booker, FB Jedi Master and host of, Jacque’s Giant Hudson Valley Music Show on 103.7 WPWL, streaming Thursday from 8-9 pm EST on  Can I tell your story?  Send an email to:

George Mallas More Sugar Magazine January 2017

The Heights at Brother Vics to host George Mallas’ Sophomore CD Release Party

By: Jacque Roche

Happy New Year!  If you live in the Hudson Valley and resolved to support local musicians while visiting the venues that feature them, you’re in luck!  Between the covers of More Sugar Magazine, you will always find our nightlife options are unlimited and the venues are bursting with talent!

This month I had an opportunity to listen and review an advanced copy of singer/songwriter, George Mallas’ original compositions on his sophomore album, Unscathed.

George is an inimitable individual, a genuine gentleman and a polished performer who willingly directs the spotlight from himself onto David Powers (Producer/guitar/cello), Lisa Dodakian (violin), Tony Aiello (sax), Emma Kiara (vocals), Julie Sorcek (flute), Chris Davis (slide guitar) and Mike Cohane (drums), stating, “I am lucky to have the talents of these local musicians along with David Powers’ vision.  They really brought these songs to life.” 

The appreciation of his fellow musicians doesn’t stop at grateful recognition. The album liner notes includes the following dedication: “This album is dedicated to all musicians who go unrecognized in their labor of love and to those who open their venues to musicians who would otherwise never be heard.”

Sorry ladies, the silver fox is off the market.  Melanie Berti is not only his life partner, but in addition to being the album’s cover photographer and CD designer, the two collaborated on three of the 11 tracks; I Take a walk, (a Mallas-Kiara duet), You Fell For Me and The Problem.  I had no idea Melanie could write lyrics. After she wrote the lyrics to Don Egry’s Standing in the Rain, I was in awe and gave her music and an idea where I wanted the lyrics to go for 3 other tunes.  When I wrote the music to Ends of the Earth (my favorite) and asked Mel to write lyrics, she refused and told me I was getting lazy. She was right, as usual,” Mallas jests.

George has hit his stride with this new release.  His (and Melanie’s) lyrics are memorable and at times ironic; particularly in the cut entitled, First Time Last Time (Old Man’s Rant), which I predict will become an anthem for all gents looking at the other side of 60.  There were moments when listening that I was tearing up and others were I was simply stunned by the quality of George’s pleasing tone and relaxed melody.  His music engulfs the listener into a warm embrace that one must reluctantly release upon the completion of his 11 songs.

George and Melanie are hosting a CD Release Party for “unscathed” on Sunday, January 7th at 3 pm, utilizing the high-quality audio and visual equipment at The Heights and Brother Vic's in South Salem, NY.

Following an opening set, performed by David Powers, George and his band will perform a concert covering the entire album with a bonus performance by Emma Kiara singing another of George’s original compositions, You Don’t Notice When it Rains.

The Release Party is a free event open to the public with food and beverages available for purchase from the large-event caterer.

If you’d like to keep up with George Mallas, purchase his new CD or attend his release party, follow him on or join the FB Event, George Mallas CD Release party Unscathed.

The Heights is located at 920 Oakridge Commons, (behind the mall) South Salem, NY 10590.  To learn more about The Heights visit the website: or call 914.704. 8427.

Jacque Roche is a “More Sugar” contributor, author of a weekly “Positive Insights” newsletter, a talent buyer/booker, FB Jedi Master & Host of Jacque’s Giant Hudson Valley Music Show on 103.7 WPWL, streaming Thursday nights, 8-9 pm EST on

Soul'd Again @The Heights Music Venue More Sugar December 2017

Written by Jacque Roche
Photography by Victor Vanzo

December is the most wonderful time of the year - especially when it comes to the nightlife scene throughout the Hudson Valley!  This month’s issue of More Sugar is chock full of information about where to go for a holiday dinner, listen to live music and dance the night away. However, there is no bigger night to party than New Year’s Eve and The Heights at Brother Vic’s, North Salem, NY is building up to one heck of a Funkin’ Party this month!

Nestled in the Lewisboro/Vista with a South Salem P.O., “The Heights” (which opened in the first quarter of 2017) is quickly becoming the premier restaurant/bar/music lounge in the Hudson Valley to enjoy a meal and concert performance.

December 1st Brother Vic pops the cork on the club’s month-long celebrations bringing in Guitar Legend and four-time Grammy winner, Larry Carlton, followed by such notable acts as: Reelin’ in the Years, FDR Drive Band, Headfirst, City Express, Doghouse Band, Jay Prince, Old School and Soul’d Again closing out 2017 with the biggest, most Funk-tacular party of the year!

Reservations are suggested for the Soul’d Again NYE party.  There will be a cover charge (TBA) and price fix menu, which includes; dinner beer, wine and champagne toast at midnight.

Formed in 2014, the Mamaroneck-based band, Soul'd Again is a tight, 9-piece Soul & Funk tribute band, boasting 4 horns and fronted by a nimble, dynamic vocalist in Pauly Curran.  Curran leads the band in some of the most dynamic music ever written that came out of the 60s and 70s.  Music lovers will appreciate the authentic performances on timeless hits such as; Soul Man, Mustang Sally, In the Midnight Hour, Respect, Hold On, I’m Coming, Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, Sex Machine and Barefootin’ to spotlight just a few of their extensive repertoire.

The 9 band members are all accomplished musicians in their own right and consist of (in no particular order):  Walter Roberts – Bass, Kurt Berglund – Drums, Pat Haynes – Guitar. Randy Sarna – Piano, Organ and Vocals, Len Tallevi – Tenor Sax, Ed Furci – Tenor Sax, Richie Diaz – Trumpet, Pauly Curran – Vocals, Felipe Prestamo 
– Baritone Sax

The 2017 New Years Eve party promises to be a fun night to remember and reservations are strongly suggested.  Call The Heights 914.704. 8427 to reserve a table, and tell them Jacque Roche sent you! 

To keep up with Soul’d Again visit them on FB at;

The Heights is located at 920 Oakridge Commons, (In the back of the strip mall) South Salem, NY 10590.  To learn more about The Heights visit their website: or call 914.704.VICS (8427) and reserve your seats for NYE.

Jacque Roche is a “More Sugar” contributor, author of a weekly “Positive Insights” newsletter, a booking agent, FB Jedi Master & Host of Thursday nights, Jacque’s Giant Hudson Valley Music Show on 103.7 WPWL, streaming 8-9 pm EST on  Can I tell your story?  Send an email to:

Kiss The Sky More Sugar November 2017

Kiss the Sky Hits Pawling, NY on November 11th to Celebrate the Legend’s 75th Birthday!
Written by Jacque Roche
Photo Credit Mike Vechesky 

Where were you on June 18, 1967?   Not sure? That was the day James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix kissed his guitar good bye and lite the Fender Stratocaster (and some say, his American career) on fire at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.  Described as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music,” by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Hendrix is one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century.  If you were lucky enough to experience a Hendrix concert, too young to remember or not even born yet - I have good news for you!

Kiss the Sky (KTS) fronted by guitar virtuoso, Jimy Bleu is going to take you on a mind-blowing, celebration of the Hendrix experience on Saturday, November 11th at Daryl’s House Club, Pawling, NY.

Whether you’re a die-hard Hendrix fan or a recent follower, KTS is guaranteed to take you back with a musical and visual event that is hands down the most historically accurate and authentic Hendrix tribute ever!  Fans come to a KTS show because they want to see how Jimi did it.  And, in a continuation of the Hendrix legacy, Jimy Bleu delivers!  A left-hander himself, the former Columbia recording artist validates without using tricks or gimmicks.  During a KTS performance, audience members watch video footage and understand how Hendrix played with his body to manipulate sound and chords.  The entire show is an outright RE-EXPERIENCE that can only be seen to be believed! Fans have walked out of a KTS performance feeling like they’ve seen the legend himself performing such hits as FIRE, HEY JOE, FOXY LADY, PURPLE HAZE, LITTLE WING and more!

The endorsements from the press and former members of Jimi Hendrix's own bands, who have also performed with Kiss The Sky, are a testament to KTS’s authenticity.

Billy Cox, Hendrix Bassist and band mate with Band Of Gypsys: "Jimy Bleu is the real deal. A Jimi Hendrix aficionado"

Last year’s show at Daryl’s House Club was sold out.  Don’t miss your chance celebrate Jimi’s 75 birthday celebration with the longest running Hendrix tribute specialist, Jimy Bleu and Kiss the Sky – The Re-Experience: World’s Greatest Tribute to Jimi Hendrix! 

They will be back in Pawling, NY on Saturday, November 11th.   
Daryl’s House Club is located at 130, Route 22, Pawling, NY (845) 289-0185
Tickets range from $20-30 and can be purchased on the venue’s website at Showtime 8 pm. Doors at 5:30

Jacque Roche is a “More Sugar” contributor, author of a weekly “Positive Insights” newsletter, booker, FB Jedi Master and host of, Jacque’s Giant Hudson Valley Music Show on 103.7 WPWL, streaming Thursday from 8-9 pm EST on  Can I tell your story?  Send an email to:

Resolve to Support Original Live Musicians in 2019

I’m bored . . . there’s nothing to do .   written by Jacque Roche Originally published on 12/28/18  It’s not just...