For Jesse Liam Gauthier, a local musician who just released his third CD “This is Where I Am,” music has always been a part of life.
“Music has always been a part of what I gravitated toward as a kid,” Gauthier said. “My father was always playing guitar and singing, playing records and CDs.”
Having been in the music industry for 25 years as a Grammy-nominated recording engineer and former producer of indie band Dispatch, while also managing blues great Duke Robillard, Jack Gauthier, Jesse’s father, has an ear for talent.
“I was young, but my dad saw potential in my voice,” Jesse said. “He saw how much music was a passion for me and he would pick up the latest pop records for me.”
Jesse said he began performing in musicals when he was in middle and high school, but it wasn’t long before he and his father started performing for extended family during holiday gatherings.
“At Christmas or a family gathering we would learn five songs and sing them,” Jesse said. “That led to open mic nights at bars and restaurants, then I started getting full gigs.”
Jesse said much of his extended family has ties to the Warwick area.
“We have multiple connections with Warwick, starting with my father’s extended family, the D’Ovidios, who have resided in Greenwood for a lifetime,” he said in an email to the Beacon. “My mother’s brother, William Hickey, has also lived in Warwick for about 30 years of his life. And in the Cranston, West Warwick area is where my father’s parents have resided for the past 30-plus years.”
Jesse said his father now performs alongside him in the Jesse Liam Band, which plays in venues across New England.
“It’s such a cool experience,” Jesse said of working with his father. “I’m so blessed to have my dad, who owns his own recording studio. The experience and exposure to his insight in recording has helped me understand what the music industry is all about.”
Jesse said his father has always been a great supporter of his and the two work well together.
“We’re blessed and happy to have each other because we feed off each other and we’re able to learn from one another,” he said.
Jesse said “This is Where I Am” is his third studio release, an EP that features original music as well as a couple covers, Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” and Michael Bublé’s “Home.”
“My first two records were original music with the help of singer-songwriters,” he said. “We took a different slant with adding the covers, which we do a lot of live.”
Jesse said the new CD features “five real good, strong songs” at the moment.
“Six months later, I’ll probably do another five-song EP,” he said. “Initially, we were looking at doing five originals and five covers. I’m starting to get ideas for the next album.”
As far as influences go, Jesse said it ranges from anyone he listens to on the radio such as boy bands and solo singers, to Sam Cooke and Michael Bublé, “anything with a fun pop melody.”
Jesse described himself as an interpreter of songs but said he loves getting in the studio to better his craft, especially with song writing, which he’s started doing more of recently.
“You have to be perfect in the studio, it’s a longer process making sure the vocals are perfect,” he said, adding that it can also be laid back. “I love learning how to work in the studio; it’s fun to throw around ideas and collaborate.”
While he enjoys studio work, Jesse said performing live is his strong suit.
“My main instrument is vocals. I come alive on stage; it’s a freeing feeling,” he said. “As a performer, it’s the best! I love engaging everyone, seeing their smiling faces and happiness.”
Jesse recently embarked on his spring/summer tour, which will have him playing shows throughout Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Cape Cod and Connecticut.
“The first two shows were amazing. They were CD release shows,” he said. “We did a show with country line dancing at the Mishnock Barn [in West Greenwich], which is where my dad’s studio is, and we did a show in Bridgeport, Connecticut, which was more of a local open mic, acoustic arts-oriented café type of show that featured Pete Francis of Dispatch.”
Jesse said he enjoys playing this time of year.
“There are tons of spots for music: bars, restaurants, clubs for blues and jazz; I’m blessed and fortunate to perform at so many different places in Rhode Island,” he said, adding that throughout the years he’s performed at many music clubs and venues in Warwick, where he has a strong following. “We have many fans and friends in the Warwick area that come support our shows.”
The Jesse Liam Band will be playing at the following Warwick venues throughout the summer: Thursday, June 5 from 7 to 11 p.m. at Harbor Lights Marina & Pool Club; Wednesday, July 23 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Norwood Gazebo; and Friday, Aug. 8 from 7 to 11 p.m. at Harbor Lights Marina & Pool Club.
To learn more about Jesse Liam Gauthier and his latest release, “This is Where I Am,” listen to samples, and for a complete list of upcoming tour dates, visit www.jesseliam.com.