In an interview with Mike Ragogna, Smith says, "My intentions with music from the very beginning were never to be a gigantic star and make billions of dollars. I don't have very much interest in fame, although I know fame goes part-and-parcel with trying to get music out to as many people as possible. But I'd be perfectly happy if my music was more famous than me."
This attitude makes for a perfect fit with the Falcon in Marlboro, where Smith will perform this Friday, January 29 at 7 p.m. With a capacity of about 200, the picturesque venue is housed in a renovated waterfall-powered factory, along with the owner's business, Environmental Lab Works. Tony Falco and his business partners have been testing water for regional municipalities for more than 20 years. And for almost a decade, he has been hosting a continuous stream of jazz, rock, blues and classical artists - nine of those years in a former church building that had been relocated to the Falco family's home property.
He says, "Originally I held a concert, rented a grand piano and invited community members to come; I ended up keeping the piano. When you provide a nice space and a good audience, the musicians find you. We treat them with respect, and we've built a good reputation over the years. We wanted to reach a bigger audience."
The new space, only a quarter-mile from his home, has been open since November. Falco brought in renowned studio designer and Highland resident John Storyk, who also designed the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock and Electric Lady Studio in Manhattan, the old recording facility run by Jimi Hendrix. "It looks beautiful, sounds beautiful. I'm proud of the new space. It's a listening room with a high level of artistry." Falco reiterates the family's intention to provide a place to celebrate music, to pay homage to the music and the great musicians that make it. And he wants young people to have a place to learn to listen to quality music.
The Falcon is also an art gallery where local artists can show their work; occasional modern dance, multimedia, comedians, poets and theatrical readings fill the bill between musical performances. Falco's commitment to supporting musicians and artists is reflected in his "no cover charge" policy. Although food is available for purchase and procurement of a liquor license is underway, a donation box sits at the door and 100 percent of the take goes to the performers.
The Falco family is on a mission to encourage people to support the arts directly. Their plan seems to be working. Don't miss Jonah Smith at the Falcon Arts Center at 1348 Route 9W in Marlboro. For information call (845) 236-7970 or visit www.liveatthefalcon.com to view upcoming shows and sign up to be on an e-mail list.