A Wilton resident up until just last week, singer-songwriter Jerome Goosman will perform during the Ridgefield Gone Country BBQ Festival on Saturday, April 30.

Not many of these singing, guitar-playing, songwriting multi-taskers have backgrounds in jazz, but Goosman is different. He graduated from Western Connecticut State University three years ago with a bachelor of music degree in jazz performance.

And though he finished that out, Goosman, during his senior year, had an epiphany.

He played an open mic on campus and it changed his life forever. “It was the first time I sang live in front of people. I was nervous, but I enjoyed it,” Goosman said.

The Wilton High School graduate spent the first 11 years of his life in Seattle and Austin — two musical cities, and his father was a jazz saxophonist.

“I’d always been around jazz,” Goosman said, “and going into college, it seemed almost like the next step for my guitar playing, but I guess as I approached my fourth year of school, I decided that I was really limiting myself, if I just stuck with jazz.”

“It’s one of those genres of music that you can’t really go about halfheartedly,” he explained. “You’ve got to put everything into it, and I realized I had too much else that I wanted to do with music to narrow it down like that,” he said.

The younger Goosman was beginning to realize he had things to say. The problem with jazz, or at least the brand of jazz he’d been practicing? No lyrics, generally.

Nowadays, Goosman has his jazz group. It’s called J-Train (because three-quarters of the band’s names start with the letter J).

But people planning to attend the Ridgefield Gone Country BBQ Festival on April 30 won’t hear the J-Train a’comin’; they’ll see Goosman’s self-titled solo act take the stage at 11 a.m.

“I’ve been compared a lot to John Mayer, Jason Mraz and sometimes a little bit of Dave Matthews, and even Blink-182 — people have compared some of my music to them,” Goosman said.

“It’s just pop rock. I’m not trying to bend genres at all. I’m just trying to write hooky music, and I’ve been focusing a lot on writing lyrics that I can identify with personally,” he said. “A lot of my lyrics are rooted in personal experiences, and situations that I’ve gone through, or am going through, personally.”

When asked for an example of this, Goosman’s musical mind went straight to the postgraduate blues.

“The past three years, it’s been kind of the post-college frustration. What am I going to do with my life? — all that kind of stuff. That’s a theme that recurs in a few songs of mine, expressing feelings of maybe being lost, or directionless,” he said.

Information


Find Jerome Goosman and his music at JeromeGoosman.com.

In addition to his April 30 performance at the Ridgefield Gone Country BBQ Festival — at the Lounsbury House, 316 Main Street, Ridgefield — Goosman will be playing Market Place Kitchen & Bar in Danbury on Wednesday, May 4.