CADYVILLE - The past year has been good to Howard E. Jennings III.
The Cadyville native and former Plattsburgh resident has been pursuing his music career full time for more than a year now, and it's been a decision he hasn't regretted.
"It's tough when you can't count on a steady paycheck," said Jennings, "but if I can keep paying the bills and continue to make progress in this career, then it's worth the sacrifices that have to be made."
Jennings left a successful career as a consultant with IBM to follow his passion, calling it "one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make." However, the past year has been "a fun and productive one," performing in places like New York City and Singapore, and sharing the stage with recording artists like Ryan Cabrera.
"This is what I love to do - write and perform songs - and if I can keep the ship afloat in doing so, then I plan to put many more miles on these sails," he said.
The latest voyage on which the independent artist's ship has taken him is the recent release of his new album, "Underneath & In Between," a project that took five months to complete. The five-song disc has more electric and pedal steel guitar in its recordings, which brings more life to the project, said Jennings.
"I think this album digs a little deeper in the soul compared to my prior releases," he said.
"Fell Into You," one of Jennings' favorite tracks on the album, is about the feeling of knowing where you are in life isn't making sense, he said, and how finding that special person "changes it all in a moment." Another track, "Around The World," dives into the temptation of wanting to drop everything, leave it all behind and see the world, he said. Fittingly, the music video for Around the World - found on YouTube - features video footage Jennings captured while spending time in Europe last year.
"These songs also draw heavily from my experiences and frame of mind over the past year or so," said Jennings. "My adventures and real life experiences found a home in these new songs."
And, speaking of home, Jennings will soon find his adventures leading him to his native North Country in the coming weeks. The 27-year-old singer and songwriter has lined up a performance for Friday, Jan. 21, at the Cadyville Concert Hall, a small, intimate venue established in the Park Row home of Dr. C. Thomas Gerner that has become popular with local and out-of-town musicians alike.
"There is nothing like playing in a small room with music lovers and being able to share your art so intimately with them," said Jennings, adding he's eager to perform at the Cadyville Concert Hall for the first time. "That's one of the main reasons I love being a singer-songwriter - that personal connection that you have with the audience. And, the setting in Cadyville will be the ultimate scenario."
(Editor's Note: Limited tickets for Jennings' performance are available at Alpha Stereo in Plattsburgh. The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Check out Jennings' music on iTunes and other on-line distributors or search for him on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.)