CLARKS SUMMIT — Daniel Jaggars, 16, of Madison Township has loved music for as long as he can remember. Which is one reason he fits in so well with the open mic scene at Duffy’s Coffee Co., 306 S. State St. But his music, and that of the musicians who influence him most, may be a bit unexpected to those anticipating any of the typical sounds enjoyed by most teenagers today.
And he credits that fact to the musical household into which he was born.
“My dad is a singer, and he always had CDs playing,” he said. “I had more of an influence from artists who wouldn’t conventionally affect a young kid like me – jazz, contemporary folk from the 60s…Don McLean, Jim Croce, James Taylor, those guys.”
“I play a lot of folk, a lot of blues and a lot of what I guess is jazz-influenced, because I enjoy that sound and I enjoy trying to merge those sort of harmonies and things like that into whatever music I can. I think that it makes it more interesting.”
Currently a sophomore at North Pocono High School, Jaggars first began studying music when he picked up the clarinet in elementary school. He “discovered” the guitar a few years after that, learning to play via YouTube tutorials. From there, he continued to soak in as much musical knowledge as he could at every opportunity.
“I wanted to discover new music, so I would just sit on the computer for hours and look up new music,” he said.
Which is how he fell in love with folk.
Soon, he found himself fascinated by the 1960s Greenwich Village folk scene and the great artists of that era.
Bill Baer, another regular at Duffy’s Open Mic Nights, appreciates Jaggars’ musical taste, as well as his talent.
“When I first came in, I was just kind of dumbfounded at the stuff he was playing,” said the retired Dalton resident, explaining Jaggars performed songs from artists and bands he listened to when he was that age. One such artist was Dave Van Ronk, who was popular in the Greenwich Village scene.
“He was an excellent guitar player, and Dan (Jaggars) is as well,” Baer said. “It was pretty neat hearing Dave Van Ronk coming from a 15-year-old.”
Jaggars also writes and performs some of his own music and hopes to record in the future. He still plays the clarinet and is a member of the Marywood University Wind Ensemble and the Northeastern Youth Wind Ensemble, as well as the various bands at his high school. He also plays occasionally at other coffee houses, bars, parties and weddings.
He described the local music scene as “certainly not dead.”
“I think it’s great,” he said. “I think there’s a really big appreciation for the arts in the Scranton area. …People really enjoy getting out and coming to a coffee house like Duffy’s and hearing new things – to get away from the mainstream and hear local stuff.”