NEW YORK CITY - Howard E. Jennings III has had a good year.
Most recently, the Cadyville native released his latest album, Ready to Listen, after working on its production for nearly three months. The CD features five new tracks which Jennings said were inspired by "love, living with a long distance relationship, and being out on the lonely road touring solo."
The album was officially launched at Gramercy Theater in New York City Dec. 19.
"I couldn't have asked for a better venue to release the disc," said Jennings. "The sound, lighting and audience were perfect."
The day prior to the launch, Jennings played on the "Live at Best Buy" stage at Best Buy in New York City's Union Square, which also added to promoting the album's release.
"That was a special weekend indeed," said Jennings.
The last year, in fact, has been a year of many opportunities for Jennings, who most recently toured with Vertical Horizon. That tour was "the greatest thing" that has happened to him as a musician so far, he said.
"Playing in front of hundreds of listeners every night with a similar taste in music, traveling and hanging with such a great and successful band, and being able to share a stage with them, it was such a positive experience for me as a singer-songwriter trying to get my name out there," said Jennings, who added he learned a lot from the members of Vertical Horizon and made many new friends.
Being on tour with Rusted Root, an alternative rock band with more of a cult following, was also a memorable experience, said Jennings.
"By the end of the tour, their fans knew lyrics to my songs, which was encouraging," he said.
Jennings also shared the stage with alternative bands like Eve 6 and Marcy Playground and recording artists like Ryan Cabrera, Chris Trapper and John Hampson, the latter of which is best known for his role as guitarist and vocalist for the band Nine Days.
The ability to make such a major commitment to his music came when Jennings made the decision to leave a successful career as a consultant with IBM to pursue his music full-time.
"It was one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make," confessed Jennings. "The schedules were starting to conflict and the choice had to be made."
The momentum in Jennings' music career was continuing to build rapidly, he said, adding he wanted to seize the opportunity to further his success because "I'm only in my mid-20s for so long."
"We might be in the middle of a recession, but I know it was the right decision and I've never felt better in my life," he said.
Jennings said he is currently planning a few tours in the first half of the new year to help promote Ready To Listen. While there is no word yet of upcoming performances in the area locally, Jennings said he will keep his followers posted through his Web site, www.howardjenningsmusic.com and through his MySpace site, www.myspace.com/howardjennings.
While often thousands of miles away from his native North Country, Jennings said his Web sites, which also include Facebook and Twitter pages, help him keep in contact with his family, friends and fans.
"For an independent artist, with a minimal advertising and promotional budget, Facebook is a vital tool in spreading the music," said Jennings. "I'm still fairly new to Twitter, but it's grown on me and seems to be a great channel of communication as well."
Jennings music is available through his Web site, iTunes, and other various digital distributors.