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The Lakeshore Coffeehouse: Jerry Falzone's Musical Mission

Jerry Falzone’s silvery hair gives him a sleek super star look, as do his thick eyebrows and the way he leans in his chair. He speaks with authority, but you would too if you’d been a part of music in as many capacities and for as long as Jerry has. He might appear like someone too sure of himself to have a good time, but he’ll openly admit that much of what he’s accomplished comes by luck.

Jerry Falzone

Jerry’s worth noting on two levels: firstly, the Rochester, New York native, where he resides today, is a great singer/songwriter, as long as we decide to use that term loosely, able to realize that he’s a good singer and a wise songwriter. He’s also the founder of the Lakeshore Coffeehouse, one of the most underdog concert series in the Northeast, which is what brought us together, although his history goes well beyond the music series, which, he says with a laugh, “Isn’t a coffeehouse.”

“This has been where I lived,” Jerry muses about the Rochester area, “except for a 10- year period I was on the road.” We talk about Burlington, Vermont and he says, “I’ve got family there I would be able to stay with and not have to get a hotel room.” He grins. “I ended up getting hotel rooms most of the time anyway.”

When Jerry was on the road, much of it was with a band called Pearl, which had a top album pick on the Billboard charts. “I went on the road for all the obvious wrong reasons,” he says. He was writing songs back then, but claims if he wrote ten songs only one was good. “We’d do all of them, but the one good one would stick.”

Jerry Falzone

He’s been playing guitar since he was 16, but the band needed a bass player, so he bought a bass. He recalls auditioning for a band that told him before playing that he wouldn’t get the gig. He asked to jam anyway, and was called up the next day to join. When he was later on fired he decided, “I never want to get fired again,” and formed his own band.

“A lot of the people I played with back then I play with now. All these new people I found I can gig with in an entirely new way.” He took on different musical roles, producing an album for Debbie Randyn, and when she heard one of his songs at a Mason Tyler gig, she asked to sing it. He ended up writing eight songs on her album. He hadn’t been a singer, really, but decided to try it, only to find it was the right move for his creativity.

He comes from a place rippling with songwriting talent, claiming, “We have more phenomenal songwriters in this area than anywhere I’ve ever seen.” He joined the ranks, building up his own songwriting career. His understanding of the market helped him form the Lakeshore Coffeehouse series.

Lakeshore is a community church where Jerry’s wife is musical director for a recovery program. Jerry was thinking of interesting places to play and told his wife, “Wouldn’t it be cool to put Secular music in here that they’re not going to hear anywhere else and they’re not going to have to go out to a bar to do it?”




 

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