This story was originally published in the April 2017 Princeton Echo.
No one has ever accused the bars in downtown Princeton of having too much live music. Too many, maybe, have too many television sets tuned to obscure sports events. But live music is a rare commodity.
So when we heard that the Peacock Inn, the restaurant and small hotel on Bayard Lane, was introducing a musician to its jewel box of a bar, we flew out of work early to catch his 5:30 p.m. start. Rich Genoval is a one-man band featuring two instruments: his keyboard and his amazingly versatile voice. And that’s all you need (or possibly want) in a small space like the Peacock bar.
The crowd (30 people or so) was thoroughly entertained by Genoval, who claims to have an existing repertoire of more than 1,800 songs. Combine that with the resources of his handy iPad (that’s become another instrument for most performers these days) and it was hard to imagine a song he couldn’t do. During the course of the evening he took requests and never seemed to need more than a few seconds to adjust his mind and voice to the new number. “Unchained Melody?” Of course. “My Prayer?” Why not.
Genoval grew up in a musical family (his father was a singer/songwriter) and by the age of 13 he was performing as a classical pianist. As a teenager he discovered his voice. He wrote his first song at the age of 14, later recording it with a trio that was showcased on international television, performing on the Latin talk-show “Cristina” in Miami, and on to more shows in Madrid, Spain.
When the trio broke up Genoval just kept on singing and playing, eventually performing the National Anthem at the Prudential Center and Madison Square Garden and building up an almost nonstop schedule of gigs all over the eastern seaboard, either as a solo act or in combination with other musicians.
The last we checked his website, Genoval had bookings for 15 gigs in the month of April alone, ranging from the Sugar House Casino in Philadelphia to the Borgata in Atlantic City. He will be in the Princeton area Wednesdays, April 12 and 26, at City Streets in East Windsor, Saturday, April 29, at Triumph on Nassau Street; and back to the Peacock on Thursdays, April 13 and May 4.
The Peacock is not a cheap bar (no Miller Lite drafts here), but refined cocktails and craft beer are priced as you would expect. Parking can be a challenge, solved either by using the valet service at the door or arriving early and parking for free around the corner on Boudinot Street or at the former Princeton Borough municipal building on Stockton Street. Arriving early when Genoval performs wouldn’t be a bad idea in any case; the seats may go fast.
Rich Genoval on Keyboard, the Peacock Inn Bar, 20 Bayard Lane. Thursdays, April 13 and May 4, 5:30 to 9 p.m. 609-924-1707. thepeacockinn.com.