The Jess Novak Band
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The Jess Novak Band

Syracuse, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | SELF

Syracuse, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Pop Rock




"The Jess Novak Band Breaks Through genre Boundaries with "Standing Now""

Songs at times feel like they were written in the mid 70's and get down with the funk. The fun thing is the mending of genres within each song that really pushes the envelope a bit. Fiddles, horns, and more all rock in true funk style and this band holds nothing back so you get killer guitar solos, (as well as fiddle solos) hard hitting percussion and a danceable good time.
That's a big part of the attraction of this record; the energy and good time you have listening to it.
You also never really know what's next since the EP is full of surprises. Ballads roll into high octane, get off your ass and get down songs, to epic anthemic tracks that really have a cinematic power behind them...
Do yourself a favor and dig into Standing Now by The Jess Novak band. It'll be one of the best things you do all day. - RAG Talent

"Jess Novak: CNY’s blues rock Wonder Woman"

“As much fun as we have standing in front of that microphone, people don’t realize how much that girl works her ass off,” Wayne said. “Not many musicians in this area can find a way to stay relevant. It’s not a very big town, it’s not known as a music town, but Jess always finds a way to keep getting gigs and keep people coming to the shows. I don’t think anyone here is better than her at this.” - The Newshouse

"10 Questions with Jess Novak"

Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.

My brother Jon definitely inspired my love of music. When I was 8 years old, he was 18 and exposing me to artists like Kool and the Gang, Cream and Jaco Pastorius. Though I was playing classical violin at the time, I remember telling my mom I wanted to play like Jimi Hendrix. I knew exactly how I wanted to play music at a young age because of him. That music moved me even as a child. - Indie Music Interviews

"Novak Has Our Hearts Lit on the Emotionally Fused Ballad, "Northern Lights,""

Reminding us to follow the light, even when times get tough, we can’t help but swoon over the composition that is, “Northern Lights.” Taking some of our favorite elements from numerous genres, Novak bends the rules as she serenades us, accompanied by the raw talent the band exudes both as a unit and individually. - Buzz-Music

"Jess Novak Band – "Standing Now" Review"

What will you choose to do in the face of adversity?

I know how Jess Novak chooses to handle adversity, all you have to do is look at the cover of her new EP Standing Now recorded with the Jess Novak Band.

The cover, shot by Jessica Montgomery in stunning black &white, shows Novak, her long hair cascading over one shoulder, clear eyes locked in, focused, hands wrapped for combat in a classic boxers pose. This shot tells you everything about the music inside.

The woman on the cover of this album, isn’t taking things lying down. The woman on the cover if this album is a fighter. She’s getting to work, so get out of her goddamn way.

Standing Now is about resilience.

Clocking in at just about 30 minutes over 6 incredibly well crafted songs that are parables to the human spirt, Standing Now may just be the message we need to take to heart in the current moment in history we all find ourselves in. The kind of songs that start burrowing their way into your heart just before they get big and elevate your soul. - Long Winded - Short Attention Span

"JNB Celebrates 9th Album with a Live Show"

The Jess Novak Band had their CD Release Party at The Nelson Odeon’s outdoor stage on Sunday September, 27. All things worked out- even during this pandemic- the show went on, sold out, and the weather not only cooperated but was perfect. “It was an amazing day,” Novak said. “Standing Now” is the ninth album Novak has released. She said this one was special because the band really came together on it. If I had to pick a favorite I’d choose The Joke but Northern Lights is a close second. The video for Match is a lot of fun, too. Check it out. - CNY Alive

"Jess Novak & Ben Wayne New CD Release, Rise"

Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalists Jess Novak and Ben Wayne will release Rise in October 2019. The four-song EP features tunes recorded in Nashville, Tennessee with the help of producer Bill Warner and songwriter Kirsti Manna, best known for her work with Blake Shelton.

Novak was contacted by Manna who expressed an interest in her songwriting early in 2018. Months later, Novak recorded three of her own songs with an incredible team at Omni Sound Studios in downtown Nashville. The disc features Jeff King (Reba McEntire) on guitar, Mark Hill (Keith Urban) on bass, Steve Brewster on drums and Tim McDonald on keys. Later, Manna and Warner were so impressed with the songwriting and voice of Wayne, he joined the group in Nashville and his song “Carousel” was added to the CD. - CNY Alive

"COVER: Jess Novak"

Playing at the Louvre at age 11 was quite a feat, but Jess is clearly surpassing it by a long shot. One of the songs on the new album — the live track called “Inches from the Sun” — sums up the rising star. Album artist Robyn Stockdale inspired the tune, Jess said.

“[Robyn] said the sweetest thing ever,” Jess said with a smile, and quoted Robyn: “‘You defy gravity. You just overcome things, one after another. You just do it.’” - Syracuse Woman Magazine

"The Jess Novak Band – Album Review"

Overall, “Inches from the Sun” will appeal to a lot of different people who enjoy a wide number of genres. The music is well crafted, the song writing is vulnerable and the vocals are outstanding. Fans of Elle King or Colbie Cailat will automatically fall in love with The Jess Novak Band, but listeners of jazz, blues, country, funk, or soul should definitely give the band a listen … even if it does mean shedding a tear or two. - Fuze Magazine

"Syracuse Women who Rock Like A Girl"

All who took the stage were exceptional for sure but seriously - Jess Novak and her special guests were the cake and the freaking icing! Can't wait to pop in the CD I purchased from her, though nothing beats a live show. - Hope Chest for Charity, INC.

"Rocking Like a Girl"

I wrote this entire piece once. Then I asked some of the area’s most incredible female musicians about their experiences in the industry – and I rewrote the whole thing. Everything I had said, every point I wanted to make; these women were already there. Though we are all so very different, our situations all reflected many of the same experiences — both awful and fantastic. - Syracuse Woman Magazine

"Jess Novak Band brought sultry to Theater Mack"

"The Theater Mack in Auburn filled up quickly with the anticipation of The Jess Novak Band hitting the stage. They played to a high energy crowd with their mix of blues, soul and good ole fashion rock. The Jess Novak Band who is originally from Syracuse came home from their tour in Key West, Fl. They are known for their passion to their craft, incredible song writing and the ability to draw the crowd in." - The Fuze

"Novak at Mack: Syracuse blues rockers bringing energy, new material to Auburn music series' season finale"

"The Jess Novak Band can play Theater Mack in a way it can't play most music venues.
On stage in front of the cabaret-style seating, it doesn't have to worry about the energy drops or shouty cover requests it faces in a bar. At Theater Mack, the blues rock band can slow things down or stick to its originals without worry. And it will.
But Jess Novak still plans on wildly playing her fiddle behind her head, too." -


"Jess Novak impressed the audience with her multi-instrumental ability combined with her smooth and honest voice. The first song of the night, “I’d Rather Be With You“, quickly displayed her wide range of talents. She began by strumming some guitar chords which she saved into her loop guitar pedal. Throughout the rest of the song these chords played. Atop this she played another guitar part and sang, until partway through when she put down the guitar and played a fiddle solo. It resulted in a sound so full (and with enough different instruments) to have been a band. The rest of Jess’ set was equally impressive, featuring piano ballads alongside the acoustic songs." - SubCat's Cradle

"Rat a Tat Remix on Skope"

"Full of energy the song explodes into beautiful color. Playful to its very core everything simply works from the smooth vocals to the infectious bass line. How the song evolves ever so gracefully is particularly fine, throwing together elements from so many genres from classic rock to rap, all of it handled with the greatest of ease. Lyrics are fine and delivered with true passion." -

"Three Questions for Jess Novak"

For those not up on their indie acts, Jess Novak is one half of the multi-genred, New York-based duo The Golden Novak Band. The Golden Novak Band consists of Brian Golden on guitar and vocals and Jess Novak on violin, guitar and vocals. Their material ranges from blues and rock to Americana and soul. They have jammed together since they met in the rock/blues outfit Master Thieves in July 2013. (Their new CD, The Golden Novak Band, will be reviewed in the near future, in fact.) Here are three quick questions asked of Novak. - Examiner

"A Near-Perfect Storm: Golden Novak"

There are those rare moments in music when the dynamics of sight and sound converge into a near-perfect storm. Then it rains down talent and a connection of musical and personal chemistry create something that is irresistible. Such is the case with The Golden Novak Band….Their music is a blissful shot of Americana blues-based soul music with Golden and Novak writing material that is reminiscent of the kind of creativity and inspiration that came out of Stax or Muscle Shoals in their prime…There’s no doubt that while The Golden Novak Band is a premiere slice of blue-eyed soul brilliance…In the earlier days of American music, one of the major labels would have signed this band up for a lucrative deal faster than you could say Zephyr, Fairport Convention and Pentangle. - No Depression

"The Golden Novak Band"

Brian Lush of RockWired Magazine spoke with Golden and Novak at length about the start, evolution and future of GNB. - Rockwired Magazine

"Indie Music Spotlight: The Golden Novak Band"

"Some bands have a way of making a modern version of a classic-rock sound. The Golden Novak Band is a band that has perfected the art of making modern rock with a classic sound...The Golden Novak Band is a good mix of rock, soul, and blues. The songs are well-crafted and heartfelt. It moves easily from groovy rock tunes like "Hands On" to ballads like "New Song". If you're a fan of blues rock, The Golden Novak Band is one you should get to know." - Examiner

"The Golden Novak Band has a 'New Song'"

"The Golden Novak Band's eponymously-titled premiere platter is one that would definitely make it into this critic's musical mixes. For those not yet in the know, however, The Golden Novak Band was founded by Brian Golden on guitar and vocals and Jess Novak on violin, guitar and vocals. Their materical ranges from blues and rock to Americana and soul." - AXS

"The Golden Novak Band - Self Titled - New Release Review"

"Brian Golden's leads pave an acoustic path speckled with Latin note patterns as Jess’ voice rises before falling to a near whisper of unspoken words in “The Phone”. The Golden Novak Band opens on a Blues/Rock rumble as GNB enters into a barb-wire bordered conversation between lovers on “Let It Shine”, lazily peel back the skin of “Chasing” with Jess’ fiddle to let the stories loneliness slowly unfold and listen to Jack White sing Jess Novak to sleep in “New Song”." - B-Man's Blues Report

"GNB Review"

"The Golden Novak Band hails from the Syracuse, NY area, with their core formed by guitarist/vocalist Brian Golden, vocalist/fiddle player extraordinaire Jess Novak and keyboard man Mark Nanni. Their seven-song, self-titled EP brings together several musical styles and shows off the band's versatility and eclecticism...Hands down, though, our favorite was a tremendous homage to James Brown, entitled "Hands On". Jess fires up the funk on all eight cylinders, while the band's groove is cooking with nothin' but hi-test!" - Don and Sheryl's Blues Blog

"Album Review: The Golden Novak Band"

"Writing this review, I was immediately floored by the dynamic range of this duo. There have been many perfect pairs in the past, but the vocal combination of Jess Novak and Brian Golden can only be described as an ultimate unity of spirit in song...This pair of "modern minstrels" have played and paid their dues, so I truly believe they were destined to work together on this album that is uplifting, bright and uniquely both seriously mature and playfully bouncy." - Xombiewoof

"Introducing: The Golden Novak Band"

"Formed following the completion of its self-titled, debut album, the Syracuse, NY-based Golden Novak Band features guitarist/singer/songwriters Brian Golden and Jess Novak (the latter also on fiddle), and keyboardist, Mark Nanni. Released in August 2014, The Golden Novak Band finds the core trio of Golden, Novak, and Nanni seamlessly blending a number of musical styles including blue-eyed soul, Americana, blues, and rock. All Access Magazine publisher Debra Stocker recently interviewed the group, who are currently on tour (BG – Brian Golden; JS – Jess Novak; MN – Mark Nanni)." - All Access Magazine

"Golden Novak Band to rock World of Beer in Albany May 9"

So many musicians and bands are often labeled as eclectic, but Novak, who is half of the Golden Novak Band, truly fits that billing, melding blues, rock and roll, pop and rhythm and blues with hints of improvisation to form something that you need to experience to understand. - NYS Music

"Bacon & Bourbon Festival"

The Ridge Golf Club recently hosted the Bacon & Bourbon Festival that benefited the Clear Path for Veterans. The weather might not have played nice but that didn’t stop more than 700 people from coming out to sip on bourbon, sample some bacon delights, listen to great music all while raising money for a great cause. - The Fuze Magazine

"“Rise” CD Release by Jess Novak & Ben Wayne"

Rise, by duo Jess Novak and Ben Wayne, was recorded in Nashville. It marks the eighth studio album for Novak and the first for Wayne though he also just released Expletive Repeated; a collection of his solo work. Both are songwriters and multi-instrumentalists. They are already working on new songs. This collaboration by the couple tells a story about the beginning of their relationship. Robyn Stockdale gets the credit once again for beautiful album artwork. It’s a 4 song EP streaming now on all platforms and available on CD at their shows. Carousel is easily one of my favorite songs to come out of CNY. The duo, otherwise known as Safe Word, performs regularly. Find their gigs on the calendar. - CNY Alive

"5 local musicians write song in one week for Acoustic Guitar Project"

Jess Novak, an SU alumna, got the guitar second. She’s a singer and guitarist who characterizes her genre as pop rock and soul. Novak is in a duo with her boyfriend but also has her own band.

She said she writes songs constantly — having thousands of notes for songs in her phone — and performs close to 300 times a year. But when she received the guitar at the start of the week, Novak said she froze.

Her inspiration finally came while playing a show with her boyfriend on Friday night of that week. Titled “Anchor,” the song, is about her not needing to compare herself to her boyfriend and being herself, she said. - Daily Orange

"One guitar, 35 songs: Syracuse Acoustic Guitar Project encourages creativity among local musicians"

Jess Novak, who wrote the song “Anchor” on the guitar this year, said normally she can write upward of 100 songs in a year but found it difficult to produce a song that lived up to the project’s hype in just one week.

“I was like, ‘This will be a piece of cake, I can’t stop songs from coming out with me, I can’t wait to be inspired by this guitar and just let it rip,’” Novak said. “And then I got it was really hard. And I think most of it was just my internal self-criticism.” -

"CNY musicians miss live music, unsure when it will go back to normal"

"...For singer-songwriter and instrumentalist Jess Novak, performing virtually has cultivated a new audience and kept her practicing.
"Anyone who’s a musician knows you can’t just stop playing and then start back up in six months. It doesn’t work like that,” she said. 'You have to keep working at it every day.'" - Daily Orange


Novak talks about the creation of "Match" and funny moments in the music video and her career. Read on to learn where this happy jam came from and why a band member is called "Crash". - FEN

"Review of "Standing Now""

The woman on the cover of this album, isn’t taking things lying down. The woman on the cover if this album is a fighter. She’s getting to work, so get out of her goddamn way.
Standing Now is about resilience.

Clocking in at just about 30 minutes over 6 incredibly well crafted songs that are parables to the human spirt, Standing Now may just be the message we need to take to heart in the current moment in history we all find ourselves in. The kind of songs that start burrowing their way into your heart just before they get big and elevate your soul.
For my money Jess Novak is a musician that can hold her own with anyone you care to compare her to, and like any world class front person, she surrounds herself with other world class players. The Jess Novak Band is a beast and Standing Now is an EP that will have you hungry for more. 6 songs just isn’t enough when it’s this good.
Resilience, empowerment, these are the characteristic of one who might be referred to as formidable.
Do NOT underestimate Jess Novak. - John Tierney

"Most Influential Artists of 2020"

Jessica Novak being the first. What hit me first was the timbre of her voice; I heard a hint of the sound I remember from listening to the Country and Americana music greats that my Mother loved. Having all the best qualities of artists like Faith Hill, and Bonnie Raitt while also having a very soulful blues vibe. Her voice also has a magnificent power I feel like she could fill the any room with her voice no matter how big it is. She also has a fantastic stage presence and watching her streams really feels like going to a show. She is changing out instruments more quickly and more often than anyone I have seen before and plays each one with great prowess. When you combine this with her song lyrics the results are magnificent. It is almost as if emotion permeates from her songs causing you to channel whatever feelings she is singing about. I can only imagine what seeing her band perform live would be like perhaps someday I will have the pleasure of witnessing what that is like. - Words from the Unofficial Yoda


What do you attribute your success to?

A long time ago I realized I'd never be the most talented at any one thing. That's a high and impossible bar. But, I can outwork anyone. I just refuse to quit. And when I fall down - I just get back up and try again. I actually have a musician friend who told me, "You have the biggest balls of anyone I know," because I don't care if I fail. I'll just get up and try again, even harder. I've also learned, especially in music, that you can be the best player in the world. But if you don't show up - you're not the best player. You're not the best at anything because you're not there. It's all about putting the work in, showing up when no one else wants to and not stopping until you take a step in the direction you want to go. - Tasty New Music


Jess! Your new album 'Standing Now' is incredible! What was the best part of recording it?

This was the first Jess Novak Band album with this lineup and it was long overdue. JNB recorded Fireworks & Fairytales in 2017, then I released a solo album in 2018 and a duo album in 2019. It was time to get back to the band. So, my favorite part of recording was sitting in a room with Byron, Anthony, Jabare, Nick and Gavin and just having everyone contribute. Every single person in the band has such a different and incredible background, so to have them all put a piece of themselves into the CD, not just in the notes they played, but in the arrangements, the riffs, the backing vocals, everything - it was really tremendous. I feel so lucky that I have a band that is THAT good to be able to take a simple song and make it so much more than I ever could have imagined. They inspire me to be better just to keep up with all of them. - Hot Sounds in the City

"The Message Behind the Music with Jess Novak"

What are you most proud of with this album?
Two things: first, the band...Byron Cage, Anthony Saturno, Nick Fields, Gavin George and Jabare Mckinstry.
Second, I'm proud of the message it sends. Stand up. Be strong. Don't take anything lying down and if you're tired of being kicked - get up. Stand, fight, win. I hope people hear how empowering these songs are because I'm a giver. I don't want people to listen passively. I want them to gain something from the songs I write and the notes we play. That's what music is all about. Giving. - BSquared Magazine


1. Jess Novak - Bad Habit - December 2013

2. The Golden Novak Band - self-titled debut CD - September 2014

3. The Golden Novak Band - Rodeo - October 2015

4. The Jess Novak Band - Inches From the Sun - November 2016

5. The Jess Novak Band - Jess Novak Band Live from Nelson Odeon - June 2017

6. The Jess Novak Band - Fireworks & Fairytales - November 2017

7. Jess Novak - Fear is the Cage. Love is the Key. - December 2018

8. Jess Novak and Ben Wayne - Rise - November 2019

9. The Jess Novak Band - Standing Now - September 2020

10. The Jess Novak Band - A Thousand Lives - November 2021

11. Jess Novak - Bad Bitch - August 2022



"It takes a powerful songwriter to create something that makes you both love them and damn them for making you feel feelings you didn’t feel like feeling...(Novak) accomplishes that hefty feat." - The Fuze Magazine

Jess Novak takes no prisoners. With a fiddle on fire, powerful vocals and a fierce band behind her, this pop, rock, soul-pumped group brings passion to every performance. Known for their energy, superb musicianship, engaging songwriting and ability to win any crowd, this is a band on the rise. Having touched audiences across the country – from Burlington, VT to Key West, FL to San Diego, CA – and with Novak playing more than 250 dates annually, the sound gets tighter with each show.

Jess Novak (violin, guitar, vocals, piano, percussion, looping) works with Byron Cage (Tommy Castro, Joe Louis Walker) on drums; Anthony Saturno (Atkins Riot) on electric guitar, Gavin George on drums (BSG, Strange to Look At) and Jabare Mckinstry (Chris Ames Band) on bass to create a powerhouse sound, often with Nick Fields on trumpet. 

Novak's work is being played on radio stations worldwide (WTYT 960, D.C. Coast to Coast, Women of Substance Radio, IndieOutbreak) and written about at home and across the ocean. Novak has played such prestigious rooms as The Cutting Room (NYC), The Saint (Asbury Park) and Nectar's (Burlington, VT), opened the 23rd Annual Chenango Blues Festival (with headliner, Ronnie Earl) and shared stages with groups and artists including Devon Allman, Tas Cru, Jimmy Hall, Ghost Town Blues Band and members of Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band. 

Novak released her solo debut album, "Bad Habit", in December 2013. Her group, The Golden Novak Band, released their self-titled debut album in August 2014 and their follow-up, "Rodeo", was released in October 2015. The Jess Novak Band released "Inches from the Sun" on November 5, 2016. The album won a Syracuse Area Music Award for Best Pop in March 2017. The band released a live album (Jess Novak Band Live at the Nelson Odeon) in June 2017 and released "Fireworks & Fairytales" in November 2017. On December 31, 2018, Novak released "Fear is the Cage. Love is the Key." a double-album featuring members of JNB. "Rise" recorded in Nashville, was released in November 2019 and features Ben Wayne, Novak's duo partner in her other group, Safe Word. In September 2020, JNB released "Standing Now". 

Novak has played with projects spanning RESPECT: CNY Women in Music to Vinyl Albums Live to BeatleCuse, providing a strong musical background, easily adaptable to any situation or genre. She's been nominated for Best Female Vocalist in the Best of Syracuse competition four times and won the award in 2018. She placed third in the 2016 Country Showdown sponsored by WOLF 92.1FM. Her work spans hip-hop beats to throw-back soul to straight-up pop making for music that engages any listener. 

​Novak was also the cover girl for Syracuse Woman Magazine in September 2016. 

"Written and performed with the grace and skill of a seasoned veteran, Bad Habit is one you’ll want to get into." -

"So many musicians and bands are often labeled as eclectic, but Novak...truly fits that billing, melding blues, rock and roll, pop and rhythm and blues with hints of improvisation to form something that you need to experience to understand."

Band Members