Jamestown's Cale Hawkins may have spent the past few months performing to sold-out shows in big cities, but he still found time to return home to play a free gig for his family and friends.
Hawkins, a former student of Jamestown's Infinity Visual and Performing Arts program, took a break from his tour with Nikki Yanofsky, a Canadian jazz-pop singer and songwriter, to play gigs at Mojo's of Jamestown and the Infinity Arts Cafe.
"We play at arenas, amphitheaters and huge venues on tour - but nothing beats coming back home," Hawkins said.
During Friday's Infinity Arts Cafe performance, Hawkins was joined by Stephanie Rogers, Infinity instructor and vocalist for Coal Train, as well as Marla Harris, a vocalist who often performs with Cindy Love. But, before they took the stage, SYMBA's Ryan Hawkins and Hayley Restivo, current Infinity students, opened the show with several tunes from their upcoming album, which will be made available during a CD release party on Nov. 15 at the Infinity Arts Cafe.
According to Shane Hawkins, Infinity's executive director, it was great to see both current and former Infinity students on stage all at one time. She was also quite happy about having her son back in town.
"Cale left home when he was 17, and has been in college or touring ever since - it's great," Shane said. "It's what we are looking to do, which is let kids find what they are good at and give them the self-confidence to follow their dreams - he's done exactly that."
Cale Hawkins is shown performing at Jamestown’s Infinity Visual and Performing Arts cafe. Hawkins found time to return home from touring with Nikki Yanofsky, a Canadian jazz-pop singer and songwriter, for a series of
P-J photo by Dusten Rader
Hawkins, who considers himself more of an artist than a musician, enjoys visual art, music and architecture, so he tries to represent those interests when he performs on keys, guitar and vocals, he said.
"I enjoy art - all around," Hawkins said. "I try to embody a sense of really being in tune with the music, making something that has integrity and is true to yourself.
"I feel very fortunate because many people don't have the opportunity and support I had growing up," Hawkins continued. "I had a very supportive family that allowed me to take advantage of the opportunities that were out there, and if I hadn't had that I don't know where I'd be right now."
Before Hawkins got involved with Infinity, he was already playing guitar and taking lessons with Jamie Haight, an area musician. Eventually Haight recommended Hawkins get a more rounded out sense of the instrument by trying out for Infinity, which was before his mother, Shane, was involved in the program. At the time, Ron Graham was running the program, and he had to do an application process and audition to get in.
"Ron Graham put me in a few bands and from there it all snowballed really fast," Hawkins said. "Ron was great, and very helpful in my development as a musician and as a person - I owe a lot to him and to Infinity."
Thursday's performance at Mojo's featured the Cale Hawkins Trio, which includes: Steve Davis, Hawkins' first Infinity instructor and area musician, on keys and bass; Daniel Witherspoon, the drummer for Smackdab who Hawkins has been playing with since he was 12, on drums; and Hawkins on guitar and keys. The trio performs a variety of funk, R&B and blues tunes.
In addition to his work as a touring musician, Hawkins is also in the process of recording his own original music. Soon he'll head to Philadelphia to record a five-song album, which does not yet have a name. Hawkins performed the first track off the album, "Walden," during Friday evening's show.
"I call it baroque-pop or orchestral-folk music," Hawkins said. "I'll be playing multiple instruments on the album, so it's not going to be a stripped down production - it's going to be very complex."
In addition to the album being available online, Hawkins said he is considering doing two CD release parties, one in Jamestown and the other in Brooklyn, which is where he currently resides.