Sleepy Hollow Music Festival Chatter: Meet Nightingale All-Stars’ Jono Manson 

The inaugural Sleepy Hollow Music Festival on June 8 promises a full day of stellar live entertainment, local food and fare, craft beer, and a multitude of kid’s activities.

Featured headliners include, The Nightingale All-Stars (Blues Traveler’s John Popper with Jono Manson), Cold War Kids, Danielle Ponder, and The Verve Pipe. Sharing the stage with these National touring bands are local fan favorites, Clare Maloney & the Great Adventure, Anthony Giaccio and the Assortments, and Battle of the Bands winner, Divining Rod.

“The village of Sleepy Hollow is building a new legend for their town — a unique music festival with world-class talent in one of the most beautiful, riverside parks in Westchester.” said River Towns Music Group co-founder Liz Goodyear.

Anthony Giaccio, Sleepy Hollow’s village administrator, called the all-day event “a wonderful way to showcase the community and generate business for the local economy. I am more than honored to be performing at the first ever Sleepy Hollow Music Festival and sharing the stage with some incredible acts.”

Award-winning songwriter and producer Jono Manson, gave us the scoop on what we can expect when his band The Nightingale All-Stars, take the stage. Besides Manson and Popper, the band includes musicians who came out of the 90s NYC scene. We also spoke about his recent project with Popper called Bootlegger Days.

In Manson’s over 30+ years in the music business, he has written and produced songs for television and film as well as having a prolific solo career. His music draws from roots, rock, soul and country. In the 90s he collaborated with a number of pop and rock icons including Blues Traveler, Spin Doctors, Joan Osborne, and many others.  Manson is originally from New York and currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Manson has performed and recorded with Joan Osborne, Blues Traveler and Spin Doctors. Photo supplied

Interview with HearItThere’s Elisa Zuckerberg & Jono Manson:

Elisa Zuckerberg: Since you’re returning to your New York musical roots this June with the Nightingale All-Stars, should we expect any surprise guests?

Juno Manson: I’m not at liberty to divulge who the special guests are yet. They’ll be announced a month prior to the festival. The core band are super accomplished players including John Popper, myself, Craig Dreyer, and the rhythm section; Brett Bass on bass (Greg Allman) and Eric Kalb who was the drummer for the Dap Kings (Sharon Jones). It’ll be exciting, I can promise you that!

The Nightingale All Stars accurately describe the genesis of this gig. Several of us who came out of the New York scene in the 80s and 90s had performed at a club called the Nightingale.

EZ: I see that you released two albums last year, Bootlegger Days with John Popper and a solo record, Stars Enough to Guide Me and “Stars Enough to Guide Me.”

JM: That’s correct. My full album and then the album with John.

EZ: Although John sings on Bootlegger Days, did you co-write the songs?

Manson and Popper performing at the Capital Theater in Port Chester in October 2023. Photo supplied

JM: Yeah. Originally the idea was that this was going to be a John Popper solo album or side project, non-Blues Traveler, but because my contribution to the record wound up being so extensive, it became a collaborative album.

EZ: You guys have been working together for a long time. What do you think it is about your songwriting and styles that makes you meld so well?

JM: Stylistically, where our careers individually have gone, there are some salient differences. However, in terms of our overall sensibility, I think there’s a lot of common ground. We know each other very well. If I’m writing something with him in mind, I know where it’s going to go. When it came to writing material for this record, we decided what the general musical mood should be before we began, sort of bluesy and rootsy. At a certain point we started to notice a loose subtext which began to emerge within the lyrics and after that we made a conscious effort to follow it and expand some of these underlying themes.

EZ: You opened for Blues Traveler at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester back in October. Did you perform with the band?

JM: The idea was that I would be the opening act on their entire fall tour, solo acoustic. Then during their set, I joined the band and played a couple of the songs from Bootlegger Days. It was a way for us to be on the road together and for John to promote this side project without having to do a separate tour.

It was good for good for me, as far as my own work as an individual artist and solo performer. It allowed me to perform in front of their audience who already knows me because of my long standing collaboration with them. It was a win-win situation for us.

EZ: I really enjoyed listening to your solo album, particularly the song, “Lights Go Out”. Are you planning on performing any songs from the album at the festival?

JM: We only have a 45 or 50 minute set, so a lot to cram in! We’ll have to see.

EZ: You had a successful music career in New York City in the 80s with your band Joey Miserable and The Worms. What made you move from New York to Santa Fe in the early 90s?

JM: Well, a few things. I was ready for a change and that scene was starting to change. My girlfriend at the time wanted to move away and suggested that we check out New Mexico. And of course, it’s one of those typical stories within the first year of living here, we wound up splitting up, and I stayed. I could have gone back to New York, but I found community here.

EZ: When did you open Kitchen Sink Studios?

JM: I have been operating the Kitchen Sink for going on 19 years now. It has a long and storied history already. T-Bone Burnett has been in my studio for a few projects, and I’ve worked with a lot of heavyweights in the jazz world like Eddie Daniels and Doug Lawrence. I’ve had the singer-songwriter Tom Russell, Terry Allen, and Darrell Scott, KT Tunstall, The Mother Hips and scores of other indie rock bands.

EZ: On your website, you have full tracks of all your songs for the audience to listen to for free. Just curious, how does an independent artist make money these days?

JM: Here’s the thing, it’s useless to resist. On my website there’s a store where you can order physical copies or buy a digital download. Independent artists and established bands like Blues Traveler are still selling physical content at the shows. When people have an experience that they feel moved by, they want to carry it with them. Having a physical thing helps them keep connected to the experience they had.

Festivalgoers will be able to take home some swag, recordings, and great memories from The Sleepy Hollow Music Festival in Kingsland Point Park, on Saturday, June 8, 2024.

Tickets are available at:

Elisa Zuckerberg is the founder of


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