By Anna Young –
With the release of his debut album, Tarrytown musician Greg Jacquin proved that it’s never too late to chase your dreams.
The 48-year-old singer/songwriter and rhythm guitarist said his first solo album, “Hudson River,” featuring six-tracks showcasing his raw, powerful and emotionally driven lyrics along with heavy string arrangements, exceeded his expectations.
“Why did I wait 48 years to do this?” Jacquin quipped. “I really wish I had gotten to it sooner, but life had other plans, I guess.”
The folk singer was introduced to music at an early age with his parents regularly playing The Beatles and Cat Stevens recordsat home. With a very musical family it didn’t take him long to pick up his stepfather’s guitar and start strumming the chords and writing songs. He explored his talent, taking lessons and performing shows in Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown with his band during school events. He later recorded several albums with Know Idea in the early 1990s.
But he was forced to put music on hold when life took a different turn and raising a family became his priority. Despite his passion, he took a job with the Ossining Police Department and eventually retired after several years following an injury. He said the injury and other personal obstacles led him back to songwriting, which became his therapy.
“I started playing at home once I got hurt because I still had the desire to write songs,” said Jacquin, who added that music helped ease his battle with depression and anxiety. “When I’m writing or playing I’m at peace, and they don’t exist. The more I can play the better I’m feeling. Music has been my only therapy, I guess.”
As he reemerged into the cover band scene playing gigs throughout Westchester, Connecticut, and New Jersey, Jacquin said he met several songwriters and musicians whom he eventually collaborated with on his album. He said the chemistry he had with pianist Paul Griffin and guitarist and vocalist Rich Berta was perfect for the type of music he wanted to produce.
He teamed up with Berta, Griffin, guitarist and singer Greg Connors, and poet BK Fischer on the rest of the album and was also joined by several talented musicians recording at AFA Recording Studio in Cortlandt Manor.
The Tarrytown resident said his experiences and appreciation for his hometown influenced his songs.
“The lyrics are really based on living here. I think if I lived somewhere else I wouldn’t have written these songs the way they came out,” he said. “From my house I can see the new bridge and the old bridge, and every day I see the sunset. I lived here for so long and took it for granted because I was so busy, but retirement allowed me to take the time to write these songs.”
As he geared up for his album release party on February 9 at Six Degrees of Separation Restaurant & Brewery in Ossining, his song “The Station,” has already gotten radio play and received positive feedback from listeners. He said he was terrified for strangers to hear his innermost feelings but felt incredible hearing a song he had written while on his couch on the radio.
Despite his quiet persona, he hopes the album is well received and is ready to hop the train to tour the country if a well-known artist wants to offer him an opening slot. He said he’s been lucky over the last year collaborating with talented musicians that have allowed him to grow, boost his confidence and become more comfortable performing his own music in front of an audience.
He added that his band is already working on a second full-length album.
“Everyone involved in the project appreciates it, enjoys it and wants to be a part of it. The songwriting and the relationships I’ve built with songwriters and band members turned this from me writing songs on my couch by myself into this living breathing thing,” Jacquin said. “My music and my kids definitely gave me a lot to live for and a lot to fight for.”
To learn more about Greg Jacquin or view his upcoming show dates, visit www.gregjacquinmusic.com/.