With a "big voice" inside her 5-foot frame, Cindy Haight's musical style has evolved over time, but her love for performing hasn't. As she continues her 2012 schedule, Haight reflected on why she keeps bringing her guitar to area stages.
"I enjoy so many things about music and performance; it's hard to capture them all," Haight said. "I really get a cathartic experience when I play; I put all my emotions into the vocal performance, and it's truly a big stress-reliever for me."
Her mother bought Haight's first guitar, a Kay, from the former Chautauqua Music location at the current site of the Fenton Grill. Haight received the guitar, her high school graduation present, a little early and began teaching herself chords and acoustic songs. She started writing her own material and brought it to the Bullfrog Hotel to play on open-mic nights. From then on, Haight has enjoyed sharing her musical talents with others.
Local musician Cindy Haight will continue her 2012 schedule at Southern Tier Brewery on Thursday, Feb. 2. Haight has released one solo album, “Songs of Love and Haight,” and hopes to return to the studio in the future.
"I really like giving music to people because that's essentially what you do in a live-performance setting," she said. "People get from it what I give, so I try to give it my all every time. As long as I have the opportunity to play out and share my music with people, I am pretty happy with that."
In addition to her live performances, Haight has recorded with her former bands Sweet Jane and the D'jam and The Derbines. Most recently, she added vocals to a yet-to-be-titled project of The Haybalers' Matt Homan.
Haight released her first solo album, "Songs of Love and Haight," in August 2009. Her songs resulted from her everyday life.
"My songs come from my emotional experiences in my life. When a guy breaks my heart I write a song," she said. "When I have no money and am freaking out about it, I write a song. When I have a great time with my children, I write a song. It's all about real situations and emotions that I have experienced."
Haight said she struggles to describe the genre her music fits into. After years of contemplation, she describes her music as "a blend of acoustic blues, folk, country and soul."
Early on, Haight called herself "a strict blues and Grateful Dead fan." Now, her musical interests have reached an eclectic level. She listens to country, rock and up-and-coming female artists. She shows off some of her other musical interests on her radio show, "Mystery Train: a Rockabilly Roller Coaster Ride" on 107.9 FM, WRFA-LP Tuesday nights at 10.
During her time as a local performer, Haight has witnessed the local-music scene shake up with venues and performers coming and going.
"The Jamestown music scene has been busy for years, but we go in ebbs and flows," Haight said. "When the economy tanked, many industries were affected, including the local live music industry. Where you used to play for money, you're now playing for a portion of the door."
Haight added Amplified Management as her booking company recently. She has increased her number of gigs, including paid shows, since linking up with the company.
Haight will be in action at The Empty Pint at Southern Tier Brewery on Thursday, Feb. 2, playing an acoustic show.
"Since beer and music go together very well, I am confident this will be a great time," she said.
Haight hopes to perform at the Great Blue Heron Music Festival again this summer and has a few "Girls Rock" shows in the works. She has produced five or six "Girls Rock" gigs in the past, featuring all female performers. The last show in the series coincided with Haight's CD release party for "Songs of Love and Haight."
"I had 11 women on stage playing and singing together, and it was amazing," she said. "I am looking to take this same concept and kick it up a notch."
Haight is in the process of writing new material and hopes to record with a band soon. She has five songs ready to go.
"I really want to get a band together, but I don't want to be a band leader," Haight said. "I really am looking for a collaborative project, where the players want to write together. I have a hard time in just presenting a song and saying, 'Do this, play that.' I get so much more out of music when I can be part of a group of musicians working together."
If she can't put a band together in time, Haight hopes to bring in some of her local musician friends to work on the project.
In the meantime, Haight will keep performing. Regardless of where or when Haight plays, she receives the same type of feedback from audiences.
"One of the most common themes I hear is that people are surprised that such a big voice comes out of such a small person," Haight said. "I sing strong and loud, but I'm small at 5 feet 0 inches, so I think people can be a little surprised by that. But it's just the way it comes out when I sing."
''Backstage Pass'' is a feature of The Post-Journal showcasing local artists, their music and their accomplishments. Send recommendations for future ''Backstage Pass'' subjects to Scott Shelters at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 487-1111, ext. 253.