By Eric Schlitter
Charles Havira has remained a staple of the local music scene for more than 20 years. Charles began his journey in the 1990s with the legendary local group, Freight Train. Havira has always prided himself as a being a live performer who keeps his performances with an edge of spontaneity.
Beginning in the mid-aughts, Charles began releasing his own solo albums. Solo efforts such as 2004’s “Holiday,” 2008’s self-titled and 2011’s “Dulcet” showcase a masterful blend of folk, roots rock and r&b. His music is a gentle, soulful blend of originality refracted through a prism of his diverse influences.
Charles will perform in downtown Scranton this year as part of the Arts on the Square festivities on July 26 as part of the Highway 81 Revisited stage (along with a lineup that includes Katie Kelly and The Charming Beards, Heavy Blonde and Gentleman East).
In anticipation of the event, we took a few minutes to talk with Charles about his musical roots, what’s currently spinning in the Havira household and being a part of Scranton’s diverse music scene.
H81R: Can you tell me a little about how you got started playing music?
CH: It all started with my mom’s Conn guitar. It took a little while, but I eventually fell in love with music.
H81R: What are your thoughts about being part of the local music scene? How do you think it’s changed or evolved over the years?
CH: The music being created in town is over 20 years strong — some of the most talent I’ve seen in my years with live music.
H81R: That old quote about how if you can make in Scranton, you can make it anywhere; how true do you think that is? How do you think local audiences are different in this area than other locals?
CH: I guess it’s always evolving. Scranton fans of music are supporters of the scene, who/whatever it may be. A lot of support. I’d say the old quote has truth to it.
H81R: What are a few albums you can’t get enough of at the moment and what are a few of your desert islands discs?
CH: I love “Songs in the Key of Life”…. very tough question. I’ve been using my iPod lately and putting it on shuffle. My wife is not fully convinced, yet. Maybe some Skatalites?
H81R: Can you tell me a little about your involvement in Arts on the Square?
CH: I was asked to play and very honored to be part of Highway 81 Revisited/Summersteps/ Arts on the Square this year. It’ll a bit of a different approach musically with a band, trying to think what it will sound like right now … some new songs and reworking older ones.
This is another event that brings the community together through expressions. It shall be a wonder-filled summer day/evening.
H81R: Finally, where are you today musically? How do you think you have evolved over the years and what are your plans for the future?
CH: I’m listening more these days to where the song can go. Looking forward to working on my fourth/latest recordings. I had the chance to work with some great players on this one, and they are in numerous other awesome bands.