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F.I.R.E. Festival to spotlight CNY female musicians, artists

The third annual F.I.R.E. Festival will take place Sunday afternoon at the Center for the Arts of Homer.

Organized by Syracuse singer-songwriter Jess Novak, the festival takes its name from an acronym, standing for “Females. Inspire. Rock. Empower.” And it’s taking place in March as part of an ongoing celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day.

Third F.I.R.E. Festival Sunday With Star-Studded Lineup Of CNY Women Entertainers And Entrepreneurs

Tickets are going quickly for the third F.I.R.E. Festival, hosted for the first time this Sunday by the beautiful Center for the Arts of Homer. The acronym stands for Females. Inspire. Rock. Empower. The event, put together by local musician Jess Novak, is intentionally planned for a Sunday afternoon from 2-6 pm so that children can also attend. It’s also taking place in March as part of an ongoing celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8.

F.I.R.E. Festival Founder Jess Novak Speaks On Supporting Women Musicians, Motherhood, Balance & Event At Center For The Arts of Homer 

"315Music: Why do you think women, especially now, need to be celebrated?

JN: Taylor Swift has really brought this issue to light. In her unbelievable success, she’s shown how reluctant people are to accept a talented, beautiful, powerful woman. People are so threatened by it, and I absolutely mean both men and women. Part of that is because people aren’t used to seeing it, let alone accepting it. I’ve heard it too many times that women are only successful because of what they wear or how they look. It’s just too uncomfortable for people to accept the alternative – that they deserve what they’ve earned. I think that change needs to happen through events like this which show people, in their backyards, that women are successful all the time, everywhere because of their work ethic, intelligence, and talent, not some superficial reason that helps naysayers justify why a woman has made it and perhaps they haven’t. Maybe if someone sees their neighbor do it, someone they love and respect, it will help them see the bigger picture: that women deserve to be celebrated for what they achieve." 

Local songwriter, performer brings women together through music festival

Novak was interviewed by Spectrum News 1 about her all-female event, the F.I.R.E. (females inspire, rock, empower) Festival, and her own journey as a musician. For more on the fest, click here

2023 Syracuse Area Music Award Nominees Announced

The entire JNB family celebrated a long list of nominations at the 2023 Syracuse Area Music Awards. Members of the band are up for awards in Best Pop (Jess Novak), Best Rock (Ben Wayne), Best Americana (The Dirty Doves - Anthony Saturno), Best Jam Band (Anthony Saturno) and Best Hard Rock (No Blush - Gavin George).

The Dreamer Who Dared to Create

"Jess Novak, author of Dare to Begin: Stop Dreaming and Start Creating, is proof that the saying “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is how creative minds thrive...She is living the life that only her childhood self dreamed of, but never thought was possible."

Syracuse-area artists with new music in 2022: Add some local to your playlists

Novak released new music in 2022, but she wasn't the only one. This article highlights Syracuse musician with new music in 2022, including Novak, Anthony Saturno and Ben Wayne.

Meet Jess Novak

Canvas Rebel speaks with Novak about taking risks, her new book, being creative and her mission as an artist. "I also strive to show people that art is essential to life. While it’s often downplayed as a hobby when we’re young, I believe art is impossibly important. It’s one of the only times we can be real, with ourselves and with each other. And while so many people, like me, get caught up in wondering if we’re “good enough”, we’re missing the point. Art isn’t about that. It’s about sharing your heart and soul with the world. It’s about opening up and allowing other people to connect with you and what you create. Art, to me, is about connection. I want people to know and believe that so they can be brave enough to take a step on their own creative journey."

Review of "Bad Bitch"

"Jess Novak just released her eleventh album earlier this summer and it the composition that we all have felt in lives but never said to those who caused us misery and pain throughout past ended relationships. The singer-songwriter from Syracuse, New York has come to the rescue to say all those things in this album that we could never say at the end of a soured relationships." 

All-Women F.I.R.E. Festival In Oswego Announced

"On Oct. 16, the all-women F.I.R.E. Festival will take place at the Oswego Music Hall from 1-5 P.M., featuring a wide variety of artists, musicians, and businesses. The F.I.R.E. Festival was created by Jess Novak, who performs with The Jess Novak Band. She has performed over all over the country, recorded multiple albums, and is an award-winning journalist. The festival was created because of the frustration caused by all-men lineups at festivals."

Shows to see this week: Sept. 27-Oct. 3

So Good Ice Cream Stand and the Center for the Arts of Homer have teamed up to bring you the So Good Music Series every Thursday through September. This week’s edition features Jess Novak, the Syracuse singer-songwriter.

Jess Novak featured on Off the Wall & Up Close

Off the Wall & Up Close is an arts and culture travel show highlighting America's next best places to live and the local artists and businesses that make them special. 

Jess Novak featured on Fret Zealot

Jess Novak, a Syracuse, N.Y.-based singer/songwriter who heads up pop-rock-soul outfit Jess Novak Band, has had her music played on radio stations across the country. She recently partnered up with Fret Zealot to teach her original songs to users. 

WNIR Radio Announces 'Best Female Artists for Women's History Month' Radio Special

"World National Indie Radio's 'Best Female Artists for Women's History Month' Radio Special celebrates the contributions of independent female artists and songwriters from around the world. From March 6th -19th, WNIR will spin songs by extraordinary female artists in multiple genres. This special programming will air at 7 p.m. [Eastern Time]."

JNB and "The Key"

"Novak draws lyrical inspiration from the subject of recognizing your own individual power to make choices. If you find yourself in a less than savory relationship, it’s up to you to recognize that you’re the one steering your own ship. As soon as you do, you can close that door and throw away the proverbial “key”."

A Chat with The Jess Novak Band

"Throughout life, many of us become different people depending on the situation, whether it is for work or other relationships. This is something that The Jess Novak Band has picked up on for their latest album "A Thousand Lives". The tenth original album since the band formed, it considers all these lives we live, and how it is never too late to start a new one. An important message woven into the tracks of the album, they also show why the band has won two Syracuse Area Music Awards. We had the chance to chat with lead singer Jess Novak about the album, the evolution of sound, featured musicians, creative processes and much more."

The Jess Novak Band delivers 2022 Mantra in "The Key"

"In its lyricism and upbeat instrumentation, “The Key” tackles themes such as baggage, trauma, and moving on. Lyrics like “If the ground keeps crumbling, then grow some wings/You gotta rise to survive this thing” metaphorically express how the world may be a cruel and unfair place, however, we have the power to let go of the things weighing us down and reach our goals."

Roadie Music Raves - (full review provided for translation) 

"There are good, great, sensational, wonderful, perfect bands..... and The Jess Novak Band.

That said, there would be no way to continue with this text because no kind of praise will do true justice to what this band represents with this masterpiece called "A Thousand Lives". / Here we speak of an amazingly cohesive combo, formed by musicians of a very high caliber and an absurd versatility who decided to release one of the best works this year. / The Jess Novak Band flirts with funk, blues, rock, pop, acoustic and everything you can imagine to generate a rhythmic fruit of unparalleled beauty and unbeatable musicality. / Within this hurricane of masterful instrumentals, we come across the beautiful, and melodious, voice of Jess Novak that becomes the icing on the cake. / Jess is the kind of singer who knows how to put herself in any situation wonderfully by fitting her voice into any kind of rhythm without any fear of making mistakes - because here we are talking about a true diva who has the wisdom of how to impose herself, with all class and style, and leave a very strong her signature in her compositions. / Perfect execution, themes developed by true masters in their instruments, vocal lines with a dynamism that is not of this world and an enviable and competent production is what you will find in "A Thousand Lives", the ceiling of the Cystine Chapel of The Jess Novak Band."

A Thousand Lives - Emotion

"Once again, Jess Novak transforms her personal issues into a searching, graceful and incredibly moving album. But the complexity of her emotion and the nuanced production make this her most ambitious work to date...You could say ‘A Thousand Lives’, backed up with the full weight of her expressive vocals backed by a wonderfully talented band, made this Syracuse-based band one of the most admired today."

The Jess Novak Band Has “The Key” 

"It's nearly impossible to shake the enthusiasm that runs through your core when you listen to "The Key."

As this track speaks explicitly to the idea of releasing yourself from doubts and people who hold you back, the driving tempo backs the message that all you need to do is start that new journey in your life."

IDJ Magazine Interview with Jess Novak

"One of the most robust vocals I have had the pleasure to listen to in a long time comes from Jess Novak of the Jess Novak Band. She blends a perfect mixture of pop, soul, and rock to create a sound that will delight music lovers everywhere. I spoke to the talented singer/songwriter about her music and her great background. Novak reveals some fun and interesting facts about her and her music in this delightful online interview. Here is what was formulated for our fantastic encounter."


Recap of Hazel's Way show at ONCO

Central New York rockers Jess Novak and Cait Devin performed a special acoustic matinee set and some tiny dancers in the crowd helped on their tambourines. Jess Novak joined on violin during Cait Devins’ jam of the Allman Brothers Band classic “Whipping Post" while Novak put her own spin on the Tedeschi Trucks song "Anyhow" with a Larry Campbell-like fiddle solo. The duo really channeled these southern artists’ sound and their own material in the Southern Tier on Sunday.

Virtual Art Show

The Jess Novak Band became the soundtrack for a virtual, all-female art show put on by the Sussex County Arts and Heritage Council. Check out the show here.

Support Your Local Artist

NYSMusic features band merch so you can sport designs from your favorite artists, including JNB. Take a look and support the music!

Novak chats with Unrated Magazine

Read about Novak's upbringing, her first performance, her first song, her biggest inspirations, her best moments and more. 

Jess Novak Finds Inspiration from "Joker" for "The Joke" Music Video

"With Joker inspired song lyrics and an accompanying music video where Novak channels Harley Quinn, “The Joke” creates Novak’s own version of the super villain – sweet, yet angry, with a custom jacket by Adirondack Ink – allowing the singer to step outside herself as she got into character... The concept came directly from the lyrics and was something Novak had in her head since she wrote the song. Moved by the origin of the classic supervillain, she had begun writing lyrics for the song before she left her second screening of the film."

Inspiration Station

This blogger and aspiring author writes about the inspiration he gains from songwriters. "I know I have said this before but I mean it even more now; I am baffled by the abilities of singer-songwriters. If there are any songwriters reading this know that whether you ever take the time to think this or not; what you do is extraordinary." Read about the lyrics that inspired him most, including some of Novak's.

Interview with Hollywood Music Pulse

Novak talks with Kenny of Hollywood Music Pulse about her start, her wild journey to today and her plans for what's next. Listen up to the interview recorded live on Facebook here

Broadtube Interview

Novak answers questions all over the musical map - from the ideal recording studio to where songs come from. "I think we’re just vessels made to communicate something a little bit beyond us." 

10From10 on Twitch

Novak gets asked 10 questions about Twitch - how she got there, pre-stream rituals, her motivation for streaming, her biggest challenges and more. Read on here and tune in to her Twitch channel here.

"Standing Now" wins Best Pop

The Jess Novak Band took home Best Pop at the 2021 Syracuse Area Music Awards on Friday, March 5 for the album "Standing Now". JNB guitarist, Anthony Saturno, also took home Best Rock with his band, Atkins Riot. Read on for a full list of winners

Jess Novak is "Standing Now"

Check out The Ted Show! This interview talks about the music, the beginnings, the future and showcases a favorite JNB song - "Match". Listen and see this interview on Facebook, YouTube and more

Jess Novak on Eye On Jamz

Novak hopped on this radio show to talk about the latest release from JNB, the changing music industry, how she got started and more. Listen up here! 

Jess Novak is "Counting On Love"

"Jess Novak's her single 'Counting On Love' is spreading a positive message we can all use during these trying times. Jess is a multi-faceted artist who not only performs not only as a solo artist but also with her band and her boyfriend. She is creating three different sounds that anyone can connect and relate to."

The Message Behind the Music with Jess Novak

"What are you most proud of with this album?

First, the band...Second, I'm proud of the message it sends. Stand up. Be strong. Don't take anything lying down and if you're tired of being kicked - get up. Stand, fight, win. I hope people hear how empowering these songs are because I'm a giver. I don't want people to listen passively. I want them to gain something from the songs I write and the notes we play. That's what music is all about. Giving."

A Standing Ovation for Standing Now

"I feel so lucky that I have a band that is THAT good to be able to take a simple song and make it so much more than I ever could have imagined. They inspire me to be better just to keep up with all of them."

Jess Novak is Still Standing

An interview with Tasty New Music where Novak talks about double-standards, learning to out-work anyone and about getting an unconventional compliment.

These are a few of my favorite things...

Misse Thomas puts together a list of her top releases from 2020. From Major Player to Trauma Cat to albums from JNB and JNB members, Anthony Saturno and Byron Cage - this list is fire from top to bottom.

Most influential artists of 2020

"I see far less albums releasing these days and I kind of miss the way a massive album can weave a narrative and express what an artist is trying to say. This year one album I came across that does just that is 'Fear is the Cage. Love is the Key.' by Jess Novak it takes you on an excursion across the treacherous landscape that is life. ...To me that is what this album is about: the good and bad times we endure in life as we gain wisdom. This is really an album you should go listen to."

Novak Has Our Hearts Lit on the Emotionally Fused Ballad, "Northern Lights"

"Their second single from the EP, “Northern Lights", recorded at Hobin Studios in Central New York, is a slow-burn ballad where the band shakes listeners to the core. Built upon the striking elegance of sharp keys and a groove-infused rhythm, the song has us swaying from side to side as the instrumentation moves us both literally and figuratively..."

Novak on the Friendship Snake Podcast

Listen up for a hilarious interview that talks about making music videos, being genuine, songwriting, the Syracuse music scene and which character in the Star Wars universe podcasters would choose to kill.

The Jess Novak Band Breaks Through genre Boundaries with "Standing Now"

"You also never really know what's next since the EP is full of surprises. Ballads roll into high octane, get off your ass and get down songs, to epic anthemic tracks that really have a cinematic power behind them. Somehow, Novak and her band of seasoned and tasteful musicians make it all work near flawlessly. With Novak herself at the forefront laying out passionate and moving performances, this record is hard to forget."

JNB puts the fun into funk with 'Match'

"‘Match’ sees Jess and her band bring out the funk in full force, as this track has it all. The song features an electrifying mix of instruments, including amazing guitar riffs and brass instruments to circus tricks to an exhilarating vocal performance."

"Match" Interview

Novak talks about the creation of "Match" and funny moments in the music video and her career. Read on to learn where this happy jam came from and why a band member is called "Crash".

Novak on the Curious Navel Podcast

"You don’t want to miss hearing Jess’s incredible story of transformation from journalist to musician. Her open and genuine soul shines in our conversation. Her message is one to live by – fear is the cage, and love is the key."

Jess Novak Virtually Rocks 2020

"Jess Novak stands in her at-home office — violin in hand, with numerous Wonder Woman posters mounted on her wall. She adjusts the camera, tunes her violin and preps for her performance. Novak is a blues-rock musician from Syracuse, New York, and playing shows is a bit different for her these days."

10 Questions with Jess Novak

Read Novak's answers about her catalyst for making music, her songwriting process, the high point of her career, the two artists she'd love to share the stage with and why she loves her band so much.

Review of Standing Now by John Tierney

"The woman on the cover of this album, isn’t taking things lying down. The woman on the cover if this album is a fighter.  She’s getting to work, so get out of her goddamn way. Standing Now is about resilience."

Novak on the Coffee Table Podcast

Novak talks to Jason Klink about how she got started, where she's going and everything in between.

Jess Novak Band Releases Dynamic New Album Standing Now

"Overall, Standing Now is a quality album that easily allows listeners to fall in love with their unique style of pop, rock, and soul music....

The band is clearly proud of their latest example of how they've grown and worked to build each other up."

Pandemic Perspective - Part 3 - The Musicians

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with two individuals (Joe Altier and Jess Novak) that have firsthand knowledge and a deep connection with being a performing musician. They have traversed all of the trials and tribulations, the successes and ascendancies. All intertwined with the time, money and personal equity of putting your music and yourself in front of a live audience without a parachute. The current situation, to say the least, has been challenging.

Jess Novak Band releases Standing Now

"The Jess Novak Band had their CD Release Party at The Nelson Odeon’s outdoor stage on Sunday September, 27. All things worked out - even during this pandemic - the show went on, sold out, and the weather not only cooperated but was perfect. “It was an amazing day,” Novak said. Standing Now is the ninth album Novak has released....Nothing seems to slow her down - not even 2020."

CNY musicians miss live music, unsure when it will go back to normal

"...For singer-songwriter and instrumentalist Jess Novak, performing virtually has cultivated a new audience and kept her practicing.

"Anyone who’s a musician knows you can’t just stop playing and then start back up in six months. It doesn’t work like that,” she said. 'You have to keep working at it every day.'"

An Emotional Sojourn

"...Recently I have come across an album that does just what I am speaking about. It presents an engaging storyline and a truly inspiring message. The album “Fear is the Cage. Love is the Key.” by Jess Novak takes you on an excursion across the treacherous landscape that is life. While love certainly is an overarching theme of the album if that is all you take away you are actually only discovering the tip of the iceberg. It is also about growing up and realizing that becoming an adult was not anything like you thought...."

A Lesson in Introspection

"...Jessica Novak being the first. What hit me first was the timbre of her voice; I heard a hint of the sound I remember from listening to the Country and Americana music greats that my Mother loved. Having all the best qualities of artists like Faith Hill, and Bonnie Raitt while also having a very soulful blues vibe. Her voice also has a magnificent power I feel like she could fill the any room with her voice no matter how big it is. She also has a fantastic stage presence and watching her streams really feels like going to a show. She is changing out instruments more quickly and more often than anyone I have seen before and plays each one with great prowess. When you combine this with her song lyrics the results are magnificent. It is almost as if emotion permeates from her songs causing you to channel whatever feelings she is singing about. I can only imagine what seeing her band perform live would be like perhaps someday I will have the pleasure of witnessing what that is like."

The CNY Music Community Mourns John Prine

"It has been two weeks since the world lost iconic singer-songwriter, John Prine. But his loss is still being felt around the music world. He was diagnosed with the coronavirus in mid-March and lost his battle on April 7. He was 73 years old. Following his death, musicians across the spectrum have expressed their sorrow and reverence for one of America’s best songwriters. The Central New York music community was also struck by his loss. Over the past couple of weeks, several members of that community shared with 315 Music their feelings about what Prine’s music means to them."

Can the Show Go On?

Novak talks about how the pandemic has impacted Syracuse's music scene and how musicians and venue owners are finding new ways to keep local music alive in CNY.

Local musicians turn to virtual live shows ‘to keep people’s spirits up’

"Besides workers being laid off in the restaurant and bar industry, musicians that play at those venues are also dealing with a huge loss of revenue. But some local musicians, like others across the country, are getting creative with keeping the music going." Read on about how musicians are getting by.

Conquering the Virtual Show

Novak speaks with Just Joe Altier about how to adapt in a world of live streaming gigs. Read for tips about how to survive and make the most of our new reality.

Novak talks about the F.I.R.E. Music and Arts Festival

On Friday, March 20, Maxwells will be transformed to feature women who own businesses and create art in the Syracuse area. See and hear the interview here.

Please Pass the Indie Review of "Carousel"

"It is clear that Ben Wayne and Jess Novak have uncovered the perfect collaboration, blending two streams of talent that combine seamlessly into a song that will touch you in the most genuine way. “Carousel” consists of lyrics that come from a true sense of love, and musicianship that comes straight from the soul."

JNB - "Treat Me Right" - Spotlight on BroadTube

See the video and learn the story behind the song. "This song is a declaration to be treated right. It's also a warning - 'don't stand a chance, I start a fight.' It's saying not to underestimate me and that I realize, 'you're full of (sh)it, just like everyone else.' I've found myself in a lot of situations where the man thinks I won't catch on to whatever the game is that he's playing or that even if I do, I won't call him out on it. Wrong."

IndieSpoonful Review of "After All"

"Safe Word is the artistic talent of Ben Wayne and Jess Novak. “After All”, off their album Rise. captivates listeners with a soulful groove, expressive lead vocals, powerful vocal harmonies, and a dynamic instrumental arrangement."

Spending a Few Moments with Jess Novak

An in-depth interview looking into the new album with JNB, the creative process, double drums, the universe, what's next and Novak's best advice.

Jess Novak New EP "Rise" with Ben Wayne

Jess Novak and Ben Wayne have been performing together since 2018. Brought together as a couple, the musicians’ relationship grew through their songs.

One Guitar, 35 Songs: Syracuse Acoustic Guitar Project

"From crafting lyrics to studio sessions and post-production, there are a lot of factors that can make songwriting last weeks, months or even years.

But what if you only had one week and were limited to an acoustic guitar and a field recorder? The musicians participating in the Syracuse Acoustic Guitar Project know these limitations all too well..."

Five Local Musicians Write a Song in One Week

A look into the Acoustic Guitar Project and Novak's experience writing a song in a week with a signature guitar.

"Rise" CD Release Party

Read and see a recap of the CD Release Party held at The Ridge in Chittenango.

Jess Novak and Ben Wayne release Rise

Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalists Jess Novak and Ben Wayne will release Rise in October 2019. The four-song EP features tunes recorded in Nashville, Tennessee with the help of producer Bill Warner and songwriter Kirsti Manna, best known for her work with Blake Shelton.

Jess Novak opens for Danielle Miraglia at Nelson Odeon

"Jess Novak opened for fellow multi-instrumentalist Bostonian Danielle Miraglia at the Fall season opener at The Nelson Odeon. Most acts are national but Leo Crandall has a CD Release show on October 12. It is worth a trip to Nelson to sit in the old grange hall and listen to every clear note."

19 acts to catch at Musikfest 2019

JNB was named a top act to catch at Musikfest - the largest non-gated free music festival in the nation. Read up about why they were picked here.

JNB Plays the Manlius July 4th Parade

On Thursday, July 4, The Jess Novak Band floated through the streets of Manlius. See pictures here.

JNB Plays the Manlius Memorial Day Parade

On Monday, May 27, The Jess Novak Band floated through the streets of Manlius. See pictures here.

The 315 - Let's Talk Music with Jess Novak

"Each year musicians from the Central New York area are honored by the Syracuse Area Music Awards.  The awards range from the best in Pop, Rock, Hip-Hop and many others. This week on The 315, Joe Lee sits down with Jess Novak who is a finalist for Singer/ Songwriter of the Year." Listen to it here.

Jess Novak CD Release

"Jess Novak released a double disc album titled Fear is the Cage, Love is the Key. with outstanding artwork by Robyn Stockdale.  The first CD, Fear is the Cage,  takes us through  doubt, frustration and pain; then Love is the Key focuses on regaining hope, strength and joy. Jess bares her soul and is nominated for a SAMMY in Best Singer/Songwriter this year."

Jess Novak Releases Fear is the Cage. Love is the Key.

Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, Jess Novak, will release her seventh original album on December 31, 2018 – Fear is the Cage. Love is the Key. This 16-track double-disc features songs new and old, capturing emotions of fear and love.

Still Looking for the Right Notes - CNYAlive Interview with Jess Novak

Novak talked to Fred Reed about recording in Nashville, her new albums, her start in music and more.

Novak Named Best Female Vocalist

The Syracuse New Times hosts a competition annually to pick the "Best Of" Syracuse. Winners are nominated and voted on by the public. After being nominated for three years in a row, Novak took the award home in 2018.  

JNB Rocks Dino 30th Anniversary Party

On Sunday, September 23, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que celebrated 30 years in business. The Jess Novak Band played a set along with other local blues groups, Bad Mama's Blues Band, Phil Petroff and more.  


Novak Nominated for Best Of

Every year, the Syracuse New Times holds a "Best of Syracuse" competition. Novak has been nominated for the fourth consecutive year for Best Female Vocalist in Syracuse.

Live from the New York State Fair

The Jess Novak Band performed on the Experience Stage at the New York State Fair for Women's Day. Listen in live from the stage on CBS5.

Sounds of the Season with Jess Novak

Novak was recently featured on WAER's Sounds of the Season Series. Novak talks about her influences, favorite local groups and some of her favorite summer songs.

Jess Novak Crowned Songwriter Series Winner

Jess Novak won the summer series of the Indigo Productions songwriting competition with her song "Rat a Tat", judged by talent scout Wendy Klein Kay. Two additional members of JNB (Anthony Saturno and Billy Harrison) also placed in the contest.

Indigo Hawk Songwriter Series - Round 1

THREE members of JNB rocked this songwriters series and our own Billy Harrison took home the grand prize. Read more about the event here.

Review of "Counting On Love"

"Ending with a touch of acapella, yielding  a certain gospel and soul feel, then kicking the music  back in, the energy stays high throughout.  The message is that we can be better and we can change the world, one person at a time  – “Wait and see. Cause I’m starting with me.” The Jess Novak Band comes together and brings us together as one voice with passion, purpose and polish to give us the  song “Counting on Love” which is more than a song, it’s a gift for our times."

Growing the Syracuse Arts and Music Scene with Jamie Santos

"Jamie: Jess Novak, I heard her at the Infinite Pop shop that I am part of downtown. She is fucking amazing, She can do everything! She can sing, play violin, she is such a great singer, She plays guitar and she loops! She is so talented! I would love for her to be part of one of these types of events. I would just like to work with her. She does a lot for the Syracuse music scene. She stimulates it! Hey Jess! Thank you for staying in Syracuse, also!"

JNB named Artist of the Year

The Jess Novak Band was named artist of the year on this radio program! Tune in! ​​

"Counting on Love" wins Award

"Counting on Love" was named a finalist in the 2017 American Songwriting Awards.

JNB Lights up the Turquoise Tiger

The Jess Novak Band is well known for their energetic performances. Even more to me as a member of the audience all I saw was a family of smiles on stage. A variety of talented musicians enjoying the music, each other and the audience. The Turquois Tiger was packed this night and the Turquois Lounge was the perfect venue for their second studio album “Fireworks & Fairytales” CD release party.

JNB celebrates new album at Turquoise Tiger​

Syracuse’s Jess Novak Band will release its new album, Fireworks & Fairytales, Friday Nov. 10. To celebrate, the band is throwing a CD release party at Turning Stone Casino Resort’s Turquoise Tiger Lounge in Verona Friday beginning at 9:30 p.m.

JNB announces new album "Fireworks & Fairytales"

On Friday, November 10, The Jess Novak Band will release their second studio album, “Fireworks & Fairytales” to the public with a CD release party show at the Turquoise Tiger, part of Turning Stone Casino in Verona.


JNB takes the award for October 2017! "Jess Novak Band's viral pop rock gem is upbeat, simple in conception but beautifully implemented by this undeniably talented complement of pop rock practitioners."


Fashion statements are less ostentatious than they were at the Landmark Theatre-era Sammys, but best pop recipient Jess Novak turned heads in a tight black ensemble complemented by a wide white tie. Meanwhile, presenter Scott Dixon from WAQX-FM 95.7 (95X) represented the more casual side of the dress spectrum with a “Let’s Get Weird” T-shirt.


On March 3, 2017 The Jess Novak Band won the Best Pop Syracuse Area Music Award at the Palace Theater.  

Jess Novak Band Showcases New CD

"The Jess Novak Band recently showcased their new CD – Inches From The Sun at Nelson Odeon in Cazenovia. If you have never heard of them you are clearly missing out on one of the hottest groups to come out of Syracuse. Novak has perfected her craft with incredible song writing all while being able to tell a story through her folksy voice and artistic words. Novak doesn’t take long to draw you in – making you want to take her magical journey with her. The band is a symphony in itself with the arrangement of instruments that accompany each song."


In September of 2016, Novak was made the cover girl of Syracuse Woman Magazine.

Rocking Like a Girl

Jess Novak wrote a piece for Syracuse Woman Magazine about being a female in music. The story ran with Novak's cover story in the September issue. Read it here!  

Syracuse Women who Rock Like A Girl

"All who took the stage were exceptional for sure but seriously - Jess Novak and her special guests were the cake and the freaking icing! Can't wait to pop in the CD I purchased from her, though nothing beats a live show."

The Fuze Magazine Review of "Inches From the Sun"

"Overall, “Inches from the Sun” will appeal to a lot of different people who enjoy a wide number of genres.  The music is well crafted, the song writing is vulnerable and the vocals are outstanding.  Fans of Elle King or Colbie Cailat will automatically fall in love The Jess Novak Band, but listeners of jazz, blues, country, funk, or soul should definitely give the band a listen … even if it does mean shedding a tear or two."

Syracuse Style brings residents downtown for a night of fashion, unity

"Local musician, music journalist and Syracuse Woman Magazine September issue cover girl, Jess Novak, made an appearance in the show by strutting for Ish Guitars. Ish Guitars blends instruments and fashion through its original guitar accessories line, adored by musicians and music lovers alike..."

"Rat a Tat REMIX" on

"Full of energy the song explodes into beautiful color. Playful to its very core everything simply works from the smooth vocals to the infectious bass line. How the song evolves ever so gracefully is particularly fine, throwing together elements from so many genres from classic rock to rap, all of it handled with the greatest of ease. Lyrics are fine and delivered with true passion."


"Jess Novak impressed the audience with her multi-instrumental ability combined with her smooth and honest voice. The first song of the night, “I’d Rather Be With You“, quickly displayed her wide range of talents. She began by strumming some guitar chords which she saved into her loop guitar pedal. Throughout the rest of the song these chords played. Atop this she played another guitar part and sang, until partway through when she put down the guitar and played a fiddle solo. It resulted in a sound so full (and with enough different instruments) to have been a band. The rest of Jess’ set was equally impressive, featuring piano ballads alongside the acoustic songs."

STOLI feels Jess Novak leaves you wanting more

"It is hot here in New England and getting hotter. I love it though as long as the music keeps playing. Today we have an awesome musician from Syracuse, NY by the name Jess Novak. Jess relased her debut album in 2013 and has never looked back...I am so excited to have Jess Novak on today as her single “Rat a Tat (Remix)” does not leave my head. I had to have her on to talk about summer and music in Syracuse, “Rat a Tat (Remix)”, if Trump wins, and so much more!"

Novak named Finalist on SingerUniverse

Each month top vocalists are picked and recognized on Novak and her "Rat a Tat (Remix)" made the cut for March 2016.


Novak at Mack: Syracuse blues rockers bringing energy, new material to Auburn music series' season finale

"The Jess Novak Band can play Theater Mack in a way it can't play most music venues.

On stage in front of the cabaret-style seating, it doesn't have to worry about the energy drops or shouty cover requests it faces in a bar. At Theater Mack, the blues rock band can slow things down or stick to its originals without worry. And it will.

But Jess Novak still plans on wildly playing her fiddle behind her head, too."


Feature on

The Jess Novak Band was chosen to be featured on for one month in 2016. The band's "Rat a Tat (Remix)" music video was placed on rotation.


Jess Novak Band brought sultry to Theater Mack

"The Theater Mack in Auburn filled up quickly with the anticipation of The Jess Novak Band hitting the stage. They played to a high energy crowd with their mix of blues, soul and good ole fashion rock. The Jess Novak Band who is originally from Syracuse came home from their tour in Key West, Fl. They are known for their passion to their craft, incredible song writing and the ability to draw the crowd in."

Five Shows to See This Week

Jess Novak Trio - Join local blues rock group for a casual evening in downtown Syracuse. Their performance will mark the opening of Dinosaur BBQ's outdoor space, fondly referred to as the Boneyard.

The Golden Novak Band's "Rodeo" Reviewed by Rootstime

"An EP is sometimes a beginning, a try-out for a band, but a year ago when I wrote the review (of The Golden Novak Band), it was clear that here, for the Golden Novak Band, and more directly, Jess Novak and Brian Golden, they were expereienced musicians. They have, indeed, much more in store. With this full studio album, they have certainly made their next step."


Golden Novak Band Slated to Open 2015 Blues Fest

"Guitarist/singer/songwriters Brian Golden and Jess Novak, founding members of the aptly named Golden Novak Band, will kick off the Chenango Blues Association’s 23rd annual Chenango Blues Fest at 6 p.m. Friday at the Chenango County Fairgrounds, with the pair making appearances both before and after tomorrow’s show: tonight at the Park Place Sports Bar and Grill (7 to 10 p.m.) and Friday at Rita’s Tavern (10 p.m.)."


23rd Annual Chenango Blues Festival

The Golden Novak Band opened the 23rd Annual Chenango Blues Festival on Friday, August 21 to a full tent of listeners and fans. Other musicians on the festival included Ghost Town Blues Band, Ronnie Earl and Albert Cummings.

23rd Annual Blues Fest: A Year for the Record Books

"Record numbers came out to attend the 23d annual Chenango Blues Festival held Friday and Saturday, August 21-22. 'We look forward to this weekend all year,' said Sarah Woods of The Blarney Stone Pub in downtown Norwich. 'The Chenango Blues Association has done such an incredible job that the festival is known nationwide. People came from as far as Atlanta to see the show.'"

Bacon and Bourbon Festival

"The Ridge Golf Club recently hosted the Bacon & Bourbon Festival that benefited the Clear Path for Veterans. The weather might not have played nice but that didn’t stop more than 700 people from coming out to sip on bourbon, sample some bacon delights, listen to great music all while raising money for a great cause."


Review on Recent-Music

"I really feel that the band has followed where the individual songs want to go instead of just playing 'as usual,' so there's a lot of different instruments on this album and every instrument is there for a reason and played really well...this is a fun album to listen to. A lot of humor and musical joy. I bet this is a phenomenal live band."


The Homemade Jam Acoustic Jamboree in Marrietta

"Despite the rain, the second annual Homemade Jam acoustic music jamboree played on by the shore of Otisco Lake in the town of Marietta Saturday...Featured performers included Donna Dennihy and Easy Folk, The Golden Novak Duo, Jodogs, Boots-N-Shorts, Donna Colton and Sam Troublemaker and The Easy Ramblers."

Local Band to Tour Down South

"A Central New York band with local roots, The Golden Novak Band, will be jamming its way down south and back for a sunny tour this spring and started a campaign to help make its anticipated second album."

Golden Novak Band to Rock World of Beer in Albany May 9

"So many musicians and bands are often labeled as eclectic, but Novak, who is half of the Golden Novak Band, truly fits that billing, melding blues, rock and roll, pop and rhythm and blues with hints of improvisation to form something that you need to experience to understand."

A Near-Perfect Storm: Golden Novak - in NO DEPRESSION

"There are those rare moments in music when the dynamics of sight and sound converge into a near-perfect storm. Then it rains down talent and a connection of musical and personal chemistry create something that is irresistible. Such is the case with The Golden Novak Band….Their music is a blissful shot of Americana blues-based soul music with Golden and Novak writing material that is reminiscent of the kind of creativity and inspiration that came out of Stax or Muscle Shoals in their prime…There’s no doubt that while The Golden Novak Band is a premiere slice of blue-eyed soul brilliance…In the earlier days of American music, one of the major labels would have signed this band up for a lucrative deal faster than you could say Zephyr, Fairport Convention and Pentangle." - Terry Roland

Jess Novak on National Rock Review

"Jess Novak speaks with Dave Ball on her career in music and as a journalist and what the future holds. The Golden Novak Band is a recent addition to the musical landscape, having formed in 2014. The band, formed by the duo of Jess Novak (vocals, violin, guitar) and Brian Golden (vocals, guitar), with the addition of Mark Nanni (keys, vocals, accordion), has recently released a new album. The self-titled album was released in September 2014 and recorded at MoleTrax East with Jeff Moleski."


GNB in RockWired Magazine

Brian Lush of RockWired Magazine spoke with Golden and Novak at length about the start, evolution and future of GNB. Read the interview here.


The Golden Novak Duo on Bridge Street

The Golden Novak Band's debut self-titled album was nominated for a Syracuse Area Music Award in the Rock category. GND appeared on Bridge Street in Syracuse to support the SAMMY's and share some "Rat a Tat" in the morning. March 2015.


A Good Week for Female Vocalists: 5 Shows to Seet This Week

"It had been more than a year since I'd seen Jess Novak and Brian Golden perform with their namesake duo. I caught them Tuesday night at Bull 'n Bear Pub and the transformation blew me away. The road-hardened duo has harnessed a blistering sound packed with chemistry as they tour the country with Golden's guitar and Novak's violin. Mark Nanni of Los Blancos joins them for a sure-to-be heated night at Dinosaur.

Review of The Golden Novak Band from On The Radar

"Brian Golden's leads pave an acoustic path speckled with Latin note patterns as Jess’ voice rises before falling to a near whisper of unspoken words in “The Phone”.  The Golden Novak Band opens on a Blues/Rock rumble as GNB enters into a barb-wire bordered conversation between lovers on “Let It Shine”, lazily peel back the skin of “Chasing” with Jess’ fiddle to let the stories loneliness slowly unfold and listen to Jack White sing Jess Novak to sleep in “New Song”."  


Exclusive Interview with Golden Novak

Hear the exclusive interview with Richard L'Hommedieu, host of "Live From The Midnight Circus", as he talks to Golden and Novak about their music, life as a musician and the future of the blues.  


Feature on

"The Golden Novak Band's eponymously-titled premiere platter is one that would definitely make it into this critic's musical mixes. For those not yet in the know, however, The Golden Novak Band was founded by Brian Golden on guitar and vocals and Jess Novak on violin, guitar and vocals. Their material ranges from blues and rock to Americana and soul."


Featured on D.C. Coast to Coast

Listen live! GNB featured on Thursday, January 15, 2015.


Feature on Examiner

"Some bands have a way of making a modern version of a classic-rock sound. The Golden Novak Band is a band that has perfected the art of making modern rock with a classic sound...The Golden Novak Band is a good mix of rock, soul, and blues. The songs are well-crafted and heartfelt. It moves easily from groovy rock tunes like "Hands On" to ballads like "New Song". If you're a fan of blues rock, The Golden Novak Band is one you should get to know."


Feature in The Evening Sun

"Syracuse’s Golden Novak Band, also billed as the Golden Novak Duo and Golden Novak Nanni Trio, has enjoyed a new kind of home since late September and the release of the group’s self-titled debut album … the road."

Review of The Golden Novak Band from Bman's Blues Report

"I just received the newest self titled release from The Golden Novak Band, made up of Brian Golden on guitar and vocal, Jess Novak on vocal, guitar and violin, Nick Andrews on drums, Randy Heuer on percussion, Paul Puzzullo on bass and Mark Nanni on keys. Opening with 'Let It Shine', a moving rocker with a contagious back beat and screaming lead guitar, what's not to like?"

Review of The Golden Novak Band from Eric Campfens

"The Golden Novak Band comes from Syracuse, New York and is formed around singer/guitarist Brian Golden, singer/violinist Jess Novak and keyboard player Mark Nanni. Their EP contains seven songs, that show what the band can do. The band delivers a blues-based variety of styles and shows that they are capable of playing rocking blues as well as soul and ballads. In "Let It Shine" I hear something back from Hendrix. The violin of Jess and flamenco-like guitar Brian play a leading role in "The Phone". Jess also shows how much soul she puts in her vocals in "New Song" and "Hands On". BarnOwlBlues finds this EP a nice business card. Each of them are excellent musicians who put their heart and soul into the music. For me, they could have issue a full CD."

Review of The Golden Novak Band from Don and Sheryl's Blues Blog

"The Golden Novak Band hails from the Syracuse, NY area, with their core formed by guitarist/vocalist Brian Golden, vocalist/fiddle player extraordinaire Jess Novak and keyboard man Mark Nanni. Their seven-song, self-titled EP brings together several musical styles and shows off the band's versatility and eclecticism...Hands down, though, our favorite was a tremendous homage to James Brown, entitled "Hands On". Jess fires up the funk on all eight cylinders, while the band's groove is cooking with nothin' but hi-test!" - Don and Sheryl's Blues Blog


Golden and Novak on Brian Lush's Rockwired

Rockwired Radio Profiles presents and exclusive interview with Brian Golden and Jess Novak of the Golden Novak Band and cuts from their self-titled debut album.

All Access Interview with Debra Stocker.

"Formed following the completion of its self-titled, debut album, the Syracuse, NY-based Golden Novak Band features guitarist/singer/songwriters Brian Golden and Jess Novak (the latter also on fiddle), and keyboardist, Mark Nanni. Released in August 2014, The Golden Novak Band finds the core trio of Golden, Novak, and Nanni seamlessly blending a number of musical styles including blue-eyed soul, Americana, blues, and rock. All Access Magazine publisher Debra Stocker recently interviewed the group, who are currently on tour (BG – Brian Golden; JS – Jess Novak; MN – Mark Nanni)."


Review of The Golden Novak Band from Boomerocity

"Do you like your music with a bit of rock, a bit of blues, maybe some Americana with some soul thrown in every now and then? Then the new album by The Golden Novak Band is right up your alley." -


Review of The Golden Novak Band from Xombiewoof

"Writing this review, I was immediately floored by the dynamic range of this duo. There have been many perfect pairs in the past, but the vocal combination of Jess Novak and Brian Golden can only be described as an ultimate unity of spirit in song...This pair of "modern minstrels" have played and paid their dues, so I truly believe they were destined to work together on this album that is uplifting, bright and uniquely both seriously mature and playfully bouncy." - Xombiewoof

Words from the Road. Volume 1

Novak recaptures moments from the road. "I’ve done a month on the road before and I do recall the time-warp sensation. When you don’t know exactly where you’re coming from, going to, who you’re staying with, what you’re eating, how much money you’re making or spending – every day feels incredibly long. Any normal schedule is thrown to the wind and even the plans that seem concrete can crumble at any moment due to weather, traffic, car problems or personality conflicts. The road is a wildly unpredictable place. Yet, when looking back, the time seems to have flown by..."


Words from the Road. Volume 2.

Novak recaptures moments from the road. "I read a book early in the trip called Mutant Message Down Under. It’s about a woman who is taken in by the aboriginals of Australia and made to live completely in the wild. She goes without all the things we call “necessary” in our daily lives, or at least couldn’t imagine living without. There is no technology and barely any food, shelter, clothes or water. Yet, at the end of her journey, she’s exposed to some of the greatest secrets of humanity and learns the oneness that connects us all when we learn to go “without”, though we’re actually going very much with the most important things in life – family, friends and the non-material things that money can’t touch..."


Words from the Road. Volume 3.

Novak recaptures moments from the road. "It’s hard to believe we’re almost into single digits on the tour. The time warp I talked about in the first blog is in full effect. On one hand it feels like we’ve always been out here, like this life is normal, every day is 100 years long and “home” is a drifting concept. On the other, it feels like it’s only been a moment and when we walk back through the doors of our houses and into the arms of people who love and missed us – it’ll feel like no time has passed (though they will disagree!)..."

Words from the Road. Volume 4.

Novak recaptures moments from the road. "We’ve put tremendous miles on Pepper Potts (our red mini-van), taking her from the Shenandoah Valley to the Everglades and played 19 shows in 26 days (still have four days and four shows left). And we’ve learned a lot on the way. It was requested from the start that I give bands that want to tour some kind of advice at the end of this crazy thing, so here are a few things I’ve learned..."

Golden Novak Band to make Chenango County Debut

"Formed following the recent completion of the group's debut, seven song EP, the Golden Novak Band will make its first-ever live appearance from 9 p.m. to midnight Saturday at Rita's Tavern, 15 Lackawanna Avenue, Norwich."


Golden Novak Band Returns to Norwich with Debut CD in Hand

"Following a successful tour of Vermont and the release of the group's self-titled debut CD, the Syracuse-based Golden Novak Band will return to Rita's Tavern Sept. 6 for a 9 p.m. to midnight showcase featuring songs from the album, as well as the ensemble's penchant for extended jams and soulful (and danceable) grooves."


Bearded out: Follicle festival celebrates all things facial hair

"The festival will begin with a performance by Jess and the Beards, a folk and blues band that plays some classic rock covers. Jess Novak — the Jess of the band’s name — said the band was definitely a perfect fit for the festival, besides the obvious fact that they are named The Beards."


Alumna nominated for Syracuse Area Music Award

"Four years later, Novak has become a part of that same scene and has recently been nominated for a Syracuse Area Music Award under the Best Pop Category. Novak, who received a graduate degress in music journalism at SU under the Goldring Arts Journalism program in 2010, had always thought she would be writing about musicians in Syracuse, not becoming one of them."

Graphik Nature Blog

Multi-talented dynamo Jess Novak recently released her first solo CD entitled Bad Habit. Recorded in Syracuse, NY in 2013 and released in January 2014, the album “captures a moment in time, focusing on relationships, both good and bad, telling the stories with honesty.” – ( description). Here is a look inside the creative process behind the cd artwork.​


Review of Bad Habit

"Jess Novak's inaugural release Bad Habit is a solo tour de force, and a masterful CD that presents the work of an accomplished singer-songwriter whose obvious craft as a vocalist and composer reveals and foreshadows not only the great promise of things to come, but also the fully-birthed work of an artist who's already arrived." - Frank Malfitano, Syracuse Area Music Awards (SAMMYS) Founder and Syracuse Jazz Fest Founder/Producer


Review of Bad Habit

Singer-songwriter Jess Novak’s debut release is chock full of raw and intelligent tales, and she imbues even the most journal entry-style subjects with enough universal appeal to make them relatable. Her songs range from acoustic folk (“Worth It”) to blues (“Haven’t Found You Yet”), and sometimes blur the lines between the two (“Let You Know,” “Simple”). “Fritzi” stands out as Novak’s dusty vocals convey the powerlessness felt in the face of tragedy, and how the world goes on like nothing happened. On the acoustic closer “Zack,” Novak is at her most honest and vulnerable when she mourns a loss, “We don’t hate you God/We just want ’em back.” Written and performed with the grace and skill of a seasoned veteran, Bad Habit is one you’ll want to get into. - Brian Palmer

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