A Near-Perfect Storm: Golden Novak
Each week in this space, I’ll feature new artists who are moving toward funding album projects that are original, innovative and carry the promise of creating a lasting legacy on the Americana music landscape. First up, meet The Golden Novak Band from Syracuse, New York.
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.
At their core is the singer-songwriter duo of Brian Golden (also on lead guitar) and Jess Novak (also on violin). For this record, they have enlisted the support of multi-instrumentalist Mark Nanni, bassist Paul Puzzullo, and drummer Nick Andrews.
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, this entire project is about being in love with the process of creation. It begins when the pair of core songwriters met in 2013, which resulted in Novak’s solo album, When two such powerfully talented souls come together and are generous enough to share their music in a way that invites listeners and other musicians into their world, great music is the result. This is the heart and soul of The Golden Novak Band today – a joyous eruption of blissful and passionate music through community and a love for what’s come before-in this case a tradition of great songwriting and pure soul music.
Golden and Novak’s influences draw from 1960s soul, Bruce Springsteen, Otis Redding, Amy Winehouse and B.B. King. But, Novak is a studied classical violinist who first picked up her instrument when she was seven. In her teen and young adult years, she broke loose and explored all of the possibilities the instrument holds in other musical spheres. One of her notable influences include violin virtuoso Jean Luc Ponty. Golden, meanwhile, has been a gigging musician for 24 years, playing bars, pubs, and festivals in his area with a variety of bands. He is also a prolific songwriter. As a working journeyman player, he is skilled across musical genres, including rock, jazz, blues, soul, and country.
Key tracks on their self-titled EP include the James Brown-influenced “Hands On,” a lyrically clever piece of R&B titled “Rat A Tat,” and a near-delirious psychedelic blues-rock romp called “Let It Shine.” The strongest, however, is “New Song.” It captures the best in blue-eyed soul in its honesty, passion, and performance by the band with a moving vocal by Novak.
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.
Their debut self-titled seven-song EP dropped last September and is available on iTunes, but they are now in the midst of a fundraising campaign for their second album, Rodeo, on IndieGoGo. As I write this, they’re at nearly a quarter of their goal of $5,000, and according to Golden, the band has three albums worth of material to draw from. You can contribute here.