Adam Falcon steps up to the mic with an easy smile, an acoustic guitar, and Marley-esque dreadlocks that swing below his waist. But don't be fooled—when he opens his mouth, instead of the punctuated, Caribbean accent you might expect, the slim, petit singer speaks in a smoky tenor suitable for a late-night, smooth-jazz DJ. And when he croons, he meshes elements of jazz, funk, and soul with a hint of pop. He's performed in various Rockland music hubs—Piermont's Turning Point Café and the Something Unexpected Art Gallery in Nyack—and he teaches guitar at Rockland Conservatory of Music in Spring Valley. But most of his gigs go down in swanky Manhattan lounges. Having completed a tour in February, he's taking the next few months to record.
Circling the music industry cul de sac since the tender age of 15, Falcon pulls influences from music of the late 1960s and early '70s—he fondly recalls a Led Zeppelin concert he attended with his father when "the tickets were a dollar-fifty!" He says, "My music is more reminiscent of a period, not a genre." Probably because, as a backup guitarist, Falcon has traded chords with some of the biggest names of that period, starting at age 18 with jazz icon Jonathan Butler. In the '80s, he nabbed an opening spot on an Eric Clapton European tour, and backed Whitney Houston across America. He toured with Peter Gabriel, the Bee Gees, Sophie B. Hawkins, and Roberta Flack in the '90s, and wrote two hit songs for George Benson. The clincher? One February night last year, Jimmy Buffet jumped onstage to join him during a regular gig at a club on the island of St. Bart's. "It's been wild," Falcon smiles. "But now I'm focusing on me." Though he would be hard-pressed to turn down a major label, he's enjoyed the freedom of working on the two-artist label Ghetto Drum Records, produced by his friend Trevor Gale. "The independent artist lifestyle is very bohemian," he says. "You record where you can—in a hotel room, your kitchen, a studio, a tour bus—I even have an amplifier in my Volvo." —A.G.