Gregg Cagno matured as a songwriter by bringing together the vigor of his live performances and the sensitivity of his balladic songwriting on his live 2001 CD, Present Moment Days. He looked at the world from others' eyes in his song "The View From Here," which remarked on how we frame our experiences as told from the perspective of three different people. "Waiting for the Fun," written with Christian Bauman, gave a steel worker's perspective on his uncertain future. His song "Insiders" was written from a woman's point of view, revealing her inability to express herself openly to others. Even in his autobiographical songs, though, Cagno likes to strike a balance between serious introspective insights and self-deprecating humor. Cagno is known for his poignant storytelling, which can range emotionally from the touching and humorous to the sarcastic and sardonic. In the past, he typically told a bittersweet tale about his unpredictable relationship with his father ("Junkyard Reunion"); he expressed his concerns about a restless friend ("Thunderstorms"); or he commented on burning the candle at both ends as a graphic designer by day and folk musician by night pursuing a music career ("The Grind").
Cagno started writing songs in high school in Clinton, NJ. In his teens, he traveled to Godfrey Daniels in Bethlehem, PA, for open mic nights, where he opened for New Jersey singer/songwriter John Gorka, whose record deal with Windham Hill showed the young troubadour that there was a way to make a life as a folk musician. Cagno studied business at Rutgers University, where he became popular at open mic nights run by Spook Handy at clubs such as the Roxy, Corner Tavern, and the Court Tavern. That's how he met Robert Meitus, an Indian-based folk musician who brought his band Dorkmeister to New Jersey. From him, Cagno learned more about booking gigs on the folk circuit -- the business end of being a musician.
After graduating from Rutgers, Cagno led a double life. He moved to Hoboken, NJ, where by night he became a part of the growing folk scene which included the Marys, Don Brody, Connie Share, the Amazing Incredibles, Big Happy Crowd, and later his songwriting collaborator, Christian Bauman. By day, he worked as a graphic designer for an advertising firm and later for a consulting firm in New York City. On his second CD, Tales From Sixth & Clinton (Zesty Records), he detailed his experiences in Hoboken, including a humorous song, "Hollywood Comes to Hoboken," which told about how his car got towed during director Ron Howard's making of his film Ransom.
Cagno tired of dividing his time between two careers. He quit his day job in 1997 and focused all his attention on working as a folk musician. His 2001 live CD, Present Moment Days, is on Black Potatoe Records in New Jersey. ~ Robert Hicks, Rovi