Charismatic folk musician draws emotion from local crowd, showcases instrumental versatility

Jackson Cavalier (pictured above) performed at Crickets Coffee Company on Main Street on Thursday Feb. 21. Cavalier sings and plays instruments by himself to produce his folk music (Catherine White/editor-in-chief).

Local residents and students gathered in the warm, rustic atmosphere of Cricket’s Coffee Company on Thursday Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. to see Jackson Cavalier, the one-man folk-rock band.

Cavalier is from Rochester and has played at many locations around Western New York. The folk music fit perfectly for the inviting mood Cricket’s created under the low lights and vintage furniture. 

“I play a lot of the folk scene in Western New York and a lot of the major players in the scene play [Cricket’s],” Cavalier said. “I have had a lot of friends play here and have heard of a lot of good things.” 

Cavalier’s covers and originals amazed as he sang powerful and emotional songs, all receiving compliments from the crowd. From Johnny Cash to his own material like “The Devil’s Blood Red Moon,” the songs pleased everyone. 

Cavalier’s favorite part of playing live is the excitement all around him.

“I like playing off audiences’ energy,” Cavalier said. “It’s always nice playing in a small town with crowds that are into [folk music].”

Everyone tapped their toes and nodded their heads while drinking tea and cider with family and friends, enjoying the musical guest. Psychology major sophomore Victoria Manno liked the music.

“I found the music very easy and fun to listen to,” Manno said. “It was interesting to listen to music other than what is popular today.” 

The cozy shop offered a perfect atmosphere for listening to the live performance. Since Main Street is right next to campus, dorm residents can journey  to live shows with ease.

“I think it is important to have fun things to do off-campus,” Manno said. “It also connects students to local businesses and people.”  

Cavalier sang his songs while playing guitar, foot-drums and various harmonicas. Whenever he changed guitars or one of his five harmonicas, Cavalier chatted and joked with audience.

“It was neat to see how he could multitask with so many different instruments so well,” Manno said. 

Cavalier’s interest in music began at a young age and brought him to perform in diverse locations and win Rochester’s Best Busker two years in a row.

“I saw my older cousin playing a guitar we had laying around the house and I said I wanted to do that,” Cavalier said. “When I was 12, I started playing guitar and when I was nine, I started playing the harmonica.”  

Cavalier enjoys the level of emotion that can be portrayed through folk music that most other music can’t reach.

“I think it’s a type of music that’s really easy to convey emotion in,” Cavalier said. “A lot of other forms of music, like pop music these days, are more generic and there is no emotion.” 

The performance seemed to be a pleasant surprise for those who did not know what they were walking into. Among those there to see the performance were students who wandered in and could not help but stay and listen. 

“I had a lot more fun than I thought I would. It was a really enjoyable experience and I would go again,” Manno said.

The emotions in Cavalier’s songs is palpable and a change from the other musical entertainment usually in Geneseo. Cavalier’s music can be found on Spotify and Bandcamp, and he can be found roaming around Western New York.