PM: Who are your guitar/musical influences?
JH: Guitar-wise, George Benson, John Scofield, Wes Montgomery and Grant Green. Musical influences: Earth Wind and Fire, Steely Dan
PM: You’re 24 and your roots are in Albany. What do you see your goals are by the time you’re 30?
JH: I would hope that this original project, long term, has gotten to a sustainable point and something I can really call home, and still doing a lot of the same – getting a chance to play with these amazing musicians and making more records. I hope to have a bunch more records under my belt. This is the first go at it – the first recording process that I produced and had creative say over and I like it a lot. So the bug has definitely bitten and I hope to get back in the studio next fall and do Bedtime Blazer, Vol. 2.
PM: Thinking of the second one already?
PM: What are your thoughts on the Albany scene? How do you see the Albany scene from the point of view of a traveling musician with a base here?
JH: It’s a tricky thing for sure. What makes a scene, ya know? People going to shows, we certainly have that, The Hollow and Parish Public House are great rock clubs that host a lot of great bands. A lot of bands have called this place home and had a lot of great times here. There’s a lot of great musicians to play with in the area. It’s a bit of an older scene in my experience. There’s a lot of people that for whatever reason ended up here who are heavy dudes and have their resources available to you as a musician to go seek out and play with them. I was on the phone with Skip Parsons not too long ago. Skip has been doing a gig at The Fountain, he’s been holding that gig for like 50 years, every other Saturday, playing old school jazz and sharing a wealth of knowledge of old music. There’s people to play with here and a lot of history.
PM: There’s so much going on in this town, and the ridicule of calling it ‘Smallbany’ doesn’t help and you realize there are all these musicians tucked away.
JH: A scene for me is … there’s all these scenes in all these cities, and it’s the people that are in them that matters. With funk night in these other cities – Beau has in Northampton, West End Blend has in Hartford, Kung Fu has in Bridgeport – it’s definitely a staple that I tried to get going in Albany at City Beer Hall last summer. We had some really successful ones, and some not successful ones, but I learned a lot from it, directing a band, being a band leader. That was my gig that I had to prepare for each week, so I learned a lot from that experience too, all building up to this original project I want to start; all learning experiences.