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Lockdown Listening Q&A with Gregg Cagno

By Sean Timmons on May, 22 2020
Sean Timmons

Lockdown Listening

A native of Clinton, NJ now making his home in Philadelphia, PA, Gregg Cagno is a two time ASCAPlus award winner for the folk genre. He’s been a finalist in the Kerrville Folk Festival’s prestigious New Folk competition and had the opportunity to open for folk/rock stars Pete Seeger, James Taylor, America & Poco. Gregg has also had the honor of playing on The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts‘ Millenium Stage.

His ease of phrasing and clear, warm baritone communicates joy, wit, love and whatever else comes to mind without pretense. His guitar playing is bold and bassy, negotiating enlightening open tunings and various worldly rhythms like it was a roll through the park. Like just a small handful of other instrument intensive singer/songwriters Gregg Cagno is a studied and experienced performer and entertainer. Comfortable and warm with an audience, he’s as creative an interpreter of other’s works as he is his own.

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How are you and your family adapting to the “stay at home” order?

We've thankfully found a balance in the new abnormal...I'm used to freelancing web development and working at home when I'm not gigging but my wife Maggie is a professor in Temple U's Theater department and has had to adjust to teaching all her classes via Zoom. It's been pretty impressive, and quite amusing at times, to see her lead dance classes from our apartment. 

How have you personally been spending your time?

I've been recording songs with friends remotely and by myself and developing my video editing chops to put us all together from our respective homes.

I've also helped my wife edit a few dance films and a showcase for Temple. I try and get out to walk the Wissahickon Valley Park, masked of course, a few times a week so I don't miss this Spring completely while in lockdown.

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What do you miss most about performing?

It's the social interaction I miss most for sure. The joy of interacting with other humans face to face and sharing some music with them is something that doesn't quite translate thru Facebook or Instagram or YouTube live. However, since it's the only way right now I'm thankful for the option and have had a few fun live shows online so far.

What is the “silver lining” you’ve experienced from this situation?

I've enjoyed the extra home time to work through the stack of books on my bedside table... (If you enjoy a good time travel novel, check out All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai), but I think the silver lining is how it's given the environment a chance to take a breath with so much industry on hold and so few vehicles on the roads and planes in the air. I saw a great mural the other day with the verse "May we grow back not to what was but instead towards what we can become". It's going to be a hard road back, so amen to that.

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Can you recommend some songs for your Mole Street Artists Spotify Playlist by any artist in any style that people should listen to now? Tell us a little about each track and why you chose it. 

John Prine's 'Long Monday' is a joyous tune about the passage of time from a legend who sadly left us, but thankfully he put so many great songs on record before he had to go..."stuck like the tick of a clock that's come unwound again"...RIP Prine.

'The Unexpected Visitor' by Michael Hedges is an acoustic instrumental played so beautifully & masterfully that you can't help but smile...& keep practicing.

'Just the Two of Us' by Bill Withers & Grover Washington, Jr. is one of my favorite melodies and chord progressions and has a timeless & hopeful message of perseverance...RIP Bill

1 more to raise the spirit...hmmm got it! 'Waves - remix' by Miguel (featuring Kacey Musgraves) has me dreaming of surfing season with this all behind us. 

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Learn more about Gregg Cagno by visiting his profile page HERE. 

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