On Friday September 29, folk powerhouse Cabinet landed in Ithaca, NY, and played two long sets at The Haunt. Since their birth in 2006, Cabinet has built a committed grassroots following by providing an eclectic roots sound. They have earned unconditional respect with their commitment to quality songwriting, and impressive ability to cross between genres of bluegrass, country, jam, and psychedelic.
Before Cabinet’s foot-stomping performance, NYS Music had the humbling opportunity to sit down with Cabinet co-founder, singer, songwriter, and mandolin player J.P Biondo. NYS Music is ecstatic to present you this edition of “In Their Own Words.” Here we have a collection of bite size nuggets of knowledge, quoted directly from J.P Biondo of Cabinet:
On a Musical Childhood:
My first instrument ever was a Tuba. I joined the band as a young teenager in around 1998. As a child, I always loved music. I always loved singing a bunch. I came from a very musical family. Growing up, I was surrounded by music all the time. For example, my dad would teach me how to sing harmonies on car rides.
I come from a very large musical family. My dad has eight brothers and sisters, and so, I have like a whole slew of 1st cousins. There is a total of 35 of us or something like that. The family has at least one family reunion every year at grandma’s house. She lives on a big farm near Scranton, PA. At last year’s family reunion, there was like 180 us. Every year, the sun goes down and everybody knows it’s time to get around the campfire and sing. We sing, play harmonies, and just hang out and have fun. This is how I first learned to sing. At our family reunions, I would pick an elder out for the night and stand by their side and listen to everything they were singing. I would be like, “ohh thats how you do that. Ok cool.” So a lot of my teaching came organically that way.
Later on, I started to take playing very seriously. I started playing guitar when I was about 14 or 15. I learned every Dave Matthews song in the book–like any young kid does. I just loved it. I always loved music. Until this very day, music pulls me like nothing else in life. When it came to playing music, I didn’t really have a choice in the matter.
I don’t have a specific goal. Every song is different for everybody. I like to write about life experiences, For example, I wrote a song called “The Tower,” about this place where I grew up, we called it the “Dry Dam.” It’s a dam that was supposed to provide drinking water for the town of Scranton, but, for whatever reason or another, it didn’t end up working. The lake stayed there, and above this dam there was a big tower. It was like 30 or 40 feet high. As kids we would climb up the tower and jump off into the lake. We also would just hang out, drink under age or whatever, all the stuff kids do. It was a big time hang out spot for me and friends. I had a lot of fun experiences there. I like writing about my personal experiences and hopefully, someone can relate to them in some sort of way.
Advice For a Kid or Young Adult With A Passion For Music:
Follow your heart…Decide if music is something you’d like to make money at or if it’s something you just enjoy doing. Try to decide that as soon as you can, and either way is fine, but, just make that decision at some point and know where you’re at with it.