I'VE GOT NEWS FOR YOU
"...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...."
"...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."
"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."
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.
"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.
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.
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.
"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."
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."
"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."
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 and Ben Wayne have been performing together since 2018. Brought together as a couple, the musicians’ relationship grew through their songs.
"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..."
A look into the Acoustic Guitar Project and Novak's experience writing a song in a week with a signature guitar.
Read and see a recap of the CD Release Party held at The Ridge in Chittenango.
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 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."
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.
On Thursday, July 4, The Jess Novak Band floated through the streets of Manlius. See pictures here.
On Monday, May 27, The Jess Novak Band floated through the streets of Manlius. See pictures here.
"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 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."
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.
Novak talked to Fred Reed about recording in Nashville, her new albums, her start in music and more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
THREE members of JNB rocked this songwriters series and our own Billy Harrison took home the grand prize. Read more about the event here.
"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."
"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!"
The Jess Novak Band was named artist of the year on this radio program! Tune in!
"Counting on Love" was named a finalist in the 2017 American Songwriting Awards.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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!
"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."
"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."
"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..."
"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."
RECAP: SUB ROSA SESSION #30
"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."
"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!"
Each month top vocalists are picked and recognized on SingerUniverse.com. Novak and her "Rat a Tat (Remix)" made the cut for March 2016.
"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."
The Jess Novak Band was chosen to be featured on Skopemag.com for one month in 2016. The band's "Rat a Tat (Remix)" music video was placed on rotation.
"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."
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.
"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."
"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.)."
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.
"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.'"
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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 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."
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.
"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”."
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.
"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."
Listen live! GNB featured on Thursday, January 15, 2015.
"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."
"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."
"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?"
"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
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.
"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)."
"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." - Boomerocity.com
"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
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..."
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..."
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!)..."
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..."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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.” – (ReverbNation.com 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
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