To celebrate the release of his first full-length album, Bemus Point native Max Garcia Conover will perform several area shows as part of a summer tour.
Conover currently lives in Maine, but will come home to Chautauqua County for his third appearance at the Great Blue Heron Music Festival, which is scheduled for Friday through Sunday. Conover's performances at the festival are scheduled for 7-8 p.m. Friday at the Tiger Maple Stage and 11-11:45 a.m. Saturday on the main stage. He will also participate in the main stage songwriter's circle on Sunday from 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
According to Conover, before performing at the festival, he was an attendee. His interest in the Heron stemmed from his mother, and family friends, who are long-time festival-goers.
"I grew up hearing about it, but I was never into that kind of music while growing up - I was more into hip-hop and rap," said Conover. "The music was never a draw for me until I was in college and I started going to the festival."
As Conover's interest in the festival grew, his taste in music didn't change, rather it expanded, he said.
"I still really love a good rap song, but when I first got to college I had a few friends who introduced me to singer-songwriters, which I feel like before I wasn't really aware was a genre - I thought it was some guy singing Jimmy Buffet songs on a dock," said Conover. "But, I remember it being a really stark realization that there were these guys who were singer-songwriters in a way that (Henry David) Thoreau was a writer or (Walt) Whitman was a poet. And, that these singer-songwriters wrote honest songs grounded in how they lived - to me that seemed like a really attractive way of living."
Conover doesn't yet feel as if he's achieved that type of life, but that he strives to anyway.
"Jackson Browne has a lyric in ('These Days') 'Now if I seem to be afraid to live the life that I made in song, well it's just that I have been losing for so long,' and I think a big part of being a songwriter is crafting a narrative that people can believe in, relate to and that appeals to their romantic ideals - but it's so hard to actually live that out," said Conover. "It's totally a work in progress, and I expect it to never be finished - it's always about trying to get closer and closer to the center of it."
Conover will also appear at the Southern Tier Brewing Company for the first time on Saturday, July 13, at 3 p.m. for a free, all-ages show.
"I wanted to have a big local show, but not take anything away from the Heron because I really appreciate them having me," said Conover.
In addition to releasing his first full-length album, "Burrow," Conover's summer tour is also his first major road tour. He's already performed at several locations such as: the Make Music Festival in Portland, Maine; Burlington, Boston, Washington D.C., and Lancaster. But, there is much more in store for him as he heads out to a variety of other locations across the east coast, including: Cleveland, Toronto, Philadelphia, New York City, Ithaca, Rochester, Corning, Angelica, Montpelier, Vt., and Somerville and Cambridge, Mass. He'll also perform at the Finger Lakes Grassroots Music Festival in Trumansburg, which is held July 18-21.
Conover is a 2005 Maple Grove High School graduate who received his teaching certification at Bowdoin College in Maine. He lived in Taiwan for a year, but has lived in Maine for the majority of time since he left home. Conover's first full-length album, "Burrow," can be streamed in its entirety at maxgarciaconover.bandcamp.com/album/burrow at SoundCloud.com and at noisetrade.com. The album was released through Clip Records in April, and is available for purchase at maxgarciaconover.com. A portion of the album sales will be donated to Evergreen Health Services, a nonprofit based out of Buffalo with a branch in Jamestown, that works to provide medical services and support to marginalized populations.