Indie Music Digest Interviews Joe Farren

INTERVIEW: Joe Farren

by Cyrus Rhodes

IMD In lieu of your latest release what do you want fans to take from your music? 

JF 'Open Skies' represents my progression at the craft of song writing as well as my life the last few years. Compared to the heart on your sleeve style of ‘Til The Day', my previous release, the songs on “Open Skies” are more focused, shorter, precise and a bit more playful. I went through an awful divorce and found myself free after being in a confining relationship and owning a house. My life went from extremely domestic to “free” quickly and I enjoyed every moment of my new found freedom. I was for the first time “living in the moment”. I indulged in ways I hadn’t in college. As soon as I slowed down and started writing about it, the songs just poured out of me. It’s personal, but I’m very happy with the outcome. The album has it all. Playful, serious, humorous, wild, sweet; it’s all there. After studying songcraft for so long and listening to all the writers I could, my time writing was spent trying to find the most interesting topics and stories I could. So when my personal life took a roller coaster ride I ended up with my own stories to write. That experience along with the practice and time spent working on songwriting was the perfect combination to make the most of these stories and characters. Still, these are universal stories and experiences. “Who’s that Standing in my Shoes” for example, is about anybody’s first love. I remember stumbling across my first flame’s wedding pictures on Facebook and that’s what planted the seed for that song. I went from looking at a computer screen to being a character invited to the wedding. That’s the beauty of songwriting. I focused more as a singer and writer on 'Skies' than on 'Til the Day' when I had focused on performing most of the instruments as well. Working with these guys in Nashville allowed me the freedom to just strum my guitar or play the piano and sing the songs. And man, did they have my back at every corner. I don’t see why I would ever want to do it any other way.

 

IMD How did this latest release come together? 

JF I recorded most of  'Open Skies' in Nashville and it features a ton of Nashville studio players and music icons including Lance Hoppen from the band “Orleans”.  Lance played bass guitar on both of my albums.  Open Skies was produced by guitarist Jason Roller (Kelly Pickler, Winona Judd). 

 

IMD Who are some of your top musical influences? 

JF I was fortunate to have good music in the house as a kid.  I heard tons of good blues and r & b music.  Steve Winwood, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Hornsby, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, The Dead.  Their albums were always playing around the house.  I was pretty lucky to be exposed to such soulful music from the beginning, long before I was old enough to even play.  My first cassette tapes were Michael Jackson “Bad” and the first George Michael record. The one with “Faith” and “Father Figure” and all those great songs.  I still like those albums today.  I just loved the sound and groove of albums.  I remember hearing Bob Marley’s “Legend” album and was blown away at the different tones, rhythms and grooves. Portland Maine had such a great local scene too!  I loved the local bands.  Some of which I would end up sharing the stage with.  In Portland we had the Rustic Overtones and in New Hampshire we had Percy Hill and Say Zuzu.  All successful bands and local rock stars as far as anyone in New England was concerned. “In college I discovered contemporary country music, and fell in love. I remember the song that did it:  Jason White’s ‘Red Ragtop,’ as recorded by Tim McGraw. I like a lot of the New Folk music artists like Ellis Paul, Patty Griffin, Mark Erelli, Steve Earle etc. But I mostly listen to country music in search of those inspiring, perfectly-crafted songs.”

 

IMD At what point in your journey did you realize music was going to be the path you chose professionally? What made music “click” for you?

JF I’m a pretty practical person with a good business sense.  It takes some convincing of my own to stay the coarse creatively.  But even now when I start to second-guess myself and my career, a song like “bridge over troubled water” will come on the radio.  One of those just perfect songs that make the hair on your neck stand up, the goose bumps appear, the tear come out of nowhere.  It’s those moments that it’s all clear.  It’s all I ever really wanted to do.  I’ve known that since I was 14.  I can’t imagine committing myself to anything else.  It’s a blessing and a curse I guess.  You know those people that just work for money so they can buy cool toys and live for the weekends?  That’s just not an option for a creative person.  They would die inside.  It’s a constant calling and a pressure but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 

IMD Who are some of your biggest musical influences (other musicians who have influenced the type of music you like to play most or the way you approach your development as an artist/songwriter) 

JF  the first song I ever learned on guitar was “peaceful easy feeling”.  I still have my eagles songbook.  My mother had hired a family friend to do some painting in our house.  He was a Canadian guy and was schizophrenic.  Sweet man that just struggled through life dealing with his illness.  He showed me how to tune the guitar I stole from my brother and taught me that song.  He told me than, at 13 years old, that music is something that no one can take away from you.  He told me never to hold back, to just strum that guitar and sing

 

IMD How would you describe the way you approach songwriting, and what do you feel are some of your greatest strengths as a songwriter?

JF There are no rules when it comes to songwriting.  That’s easier said than done especially when you’ve been studying the craft and striving to improve.  Its tough not to be over critical on yourself.  I try to separate the “stream of consciousness” moments when it all just pours out, from the skill and craft of making it all work.  It’s those 2 stages that get you somewhere.  They are separate things.  I’ll work on a song until it’s done.  I don’t rush anything.  I want every lyric to be perfect before I record it.  It’s a quality over quantity thing for me.  I experiment all kinds of ways when it comes to writing.  I love just picking up my guitar and notepad when the muse hits but also like co-writing with other writers, writing to tracks, and writing lyrics without any music or melody and adding it later.

 

IMD How have others described your music

JF I was fortunate to have a great band teacher growing up, Mrs. Richardson.  She was tough but just a committed teacher.  The older I get the more I appreciate her passion and dedication.  She would always go above and beyond for her students adding electives for classes and traveling with the jazz band for competitions.  We had a love/hate relationship.  In fact, her son was in my class and we were inseparable.  We drove her nuts!  I remember my senior year I had this huge drum solo in jazz band.  I had rehearsed and practiced hard for this solo at home and couldn’t wait to start rehearsing it with the jazz band.  But during our rehearsal I realized I had mistaken the length of the solo counting normal when the piece was in double time.  Anyway, it was disaster and she gave me hell in front of everybody.  I remember approaching her about it after school wondering why she was so hard on me.  I wanted to explain my mistake and assure her I was grateful for the chance to perform this song.  She shut the door to her office and told me to sit down.  She explained that she could spend time yelling at other kids and treating everybody equal but that that approach would just be a waste of her time.  She said I really had something with music and the fact that she focused so much on me and would come down hard on me was because it was worth it, she knew I would benefit from the experience and take it with me into the future.  It was an awesome moment in my life and one of the first times a teacher had really treated me like an adult and was honest.  She trusted I wouldn’t go repeat what she said behind her back, and I didn’t.  Until now I guess…

 

IMD What is your favorite piece of music of all time and why?

JF Hands down, “when a man loves a woman” the original, not the Michael Bolton version my mother tortured my ears with growing up!  That song is just soul music to a t.  honest, passionate, vulnerable, I just love it. That’s a record you can just feel in your bones.

 

IMD What is your favorite song from your most recent album? 

JF Jeez… I don’t know.  My writing the last couple years has been more title or concept oriented and the majority of the songs on “open skies” started with a title or chorus.  But “who’s that standing in my shoes” didn’t.  that started with a verse.  I spent months perfecting that song but the first version just came out of the air one night.  I couldn’t write fast enough.  I love it when that happens!  I knew I had stumbled onto something special.  I felt the same way years ago when I wrote the title track for “til the day”.  It’s songs like those that the make me wonder if I’ll ever top them.  You hear famous songwriters talk about that feeling like they never even wrote their songs, that they just pulled them out of the air.  I thought that was kind of cheesy but it has happened to me if only a couple times.  Most of the time it’s self-discipline and throwing out 90 percent of what I write!

GigBand.com Reviews "Open Skies"

Joe Farren drops “Open Skies” 

Published on October 11th, 2013 

Farren grew up in Portland, Maine in a home that vibrated with the harmonious grooves of country, folk, pop and R&B greats like Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Williams, Jr., Elton John, Steve Winwood and Bruce Springsteen. His instinctually-impeccable musical ear allowed him to accurately identify singers on the radio at a young age. Once his fingers began to explore the keyboard and the guitar, he found those 50s rock blues riffs with ease and began to emulate his favorite players. To date Farren has released three recordings. “Till the Day” “Open Skies” and “Open Skies (Acoustic demos)”. 

“Open Skies” (his latest) is built upon a solid framework of warm tones, full tilt subject matter, thought-provoking lyrics and lasting melodies. Touches of Americana, rock, folk and Contemporary Country pop music are interspersed throughout most of Farren’s songs. Somehow he manages to avoid ever getting categorization into any one of those genera groups. Farren is not country, he’s not die hard Folk or Americana, he’s not Blues of Pop/Singer/Songwriter – he’s a little of everything. Bruce Springsteen is kind of the same artist – difficult to classify. 

“Open Skies” is a solid release that gracefully moves up and down the emotional spectrum of modern folk-Americana thick with satire and melodic landscaping. Opening with the brilliant “Not Worth Writing About” this song gets things going in high gear. The CD doesn’t let up either. From the first few tracks “Who’s that Standing in My Shoes”, “Jove Junkie” and “Drinking to Forget What’s Her Name” to the final piece If “I Fall Down” this album really hits on all cylinders. 

“Open Skies” is an eclectic mixture of all the best modern Americana Folk, Singer-Songwriter has to offer. Despite this Farren is not easily pigeonhole-able. The music herein is perfect for jamming out to, or playing in the car for a long drive but it delivers everything the title implies. More importantly Farren delivers amazing lyrics and everyday simple subject matter that will cause you to reflect on his messages about the human condition – which is far from a perfect condition. Farren reminds me of Mat Kearney, Amos Lee, Keith Urban, Edwin McCain and Tyler Hilton and a folksy version of Bruce Springsteen. While each track does have a unique feel and groove to it, every song on “Open Skies” delivers some red hot playing that will cause your head to turn and lyrics that will cause your mind to explore. His voice is somewhat artistically beautiful while retaining a masculine fullness that compliments the skillful array of sounds that compliment the rest of the songs. 

Some other tracks that stand out for me are: Four-Letter Word, The Tail is Waggin’ This Dog Again, American Dream. To sum it up: I give “Open Skies” an enthusiastic 4 out of 5 stars and highly recommend this album to any fan who wants more than overly synthetic pop rock to fill their atmosphere. So grab yourself a copy of any of his 3 albums linked below and kick up your heels to some solid playing, some of the best songwriting I’ve heard this year. 

Official URL: http://www.joefarren.com/ 

CD BABY: http://www.cdbaby.com/artist/JoeFarren 

Rating: 4/5 Stars 

Review by Trevor Grey (UK) edited by Heather Savage 

Review comments; heathersavage5@gmail.com

Vents Magazine Reviews "Open Skies"

Open Skies by Joe Farren

 

So who is Joe Farren anyway? Joe Farren composes warmly-layered tunes about heartbreak, first love, sacrifices, memories, joy and other realities of humankind. His narrative lyrics and sincere performances reveal life’s extraordinary moments and his own vivid, personal adventures. Gfarren recently moved from Maine down to Tampa Florida. Since moving to Florida in 2011 Farren has maintained a rigorous gigging schedule, playing at venues including the Ritz in Ybor City, The Hideaway Café, The Vinoy, the Don Vicente and many others while feverishly writing fresh material. He first traveled to Nashville in 2011 in order to get closer to the energetic, expert songwriting in Music City and on return trips has played at Bluebird Café and Douglas Corner Café. It was during that first trip to Nashville that he met hit songwriter Steve Seskin, who motivated him to put together his sophomore album, Open Skies, produced by guitarist Jason Roller (Kelly Pickler, Winona Judd). Bass player Lance Hoppen (Orleans) contributed to the album along with a slew of talented Nashville studio players.

His latest album “Open Skies” was released in 2013 and pretty much delivers a strong collection of music that really showcases all the powerful elements of Americana Folk, Singer/Songwriter with a dash of Country and Blues. For the more mainstream listener, “Open Skies” will no doubt make a splash and prove to be very enjoyable. The song structures are well developed and pretty simplistic all around. I might add some of the greatest songs of all time are so simple. Case in point: “You are so Beautiful” by Joe Coker – one of the greatest love songs of all times is painfully simple piece that moves me to tears every time I hear it. As far as love songs go I’m not hearing a whole lot of that here on “Open Skies” That and it’s painfully obvious to me this lad is single with songs like “Not worth Writing About” and “Dirking to Forget What’s Her Name.” Farren also takes it a step further on “Love Junkie” and “The Tail is Waggin’ This Dog Again” Despite this there’s still a lot of emotion and variety on many pieces like “American Dream” and “If I Fall Down” that show this is a man of substance and character.

Lush musical textures open up many songs flawlessly providing well placed Acoustic guitar, drums, percussion, background vocals and harmonies, fiddles and piano. Did I Mention Farren plays both Piano and Guitar. Much of Farren gives way to a more stripped back roots of classic Folk and Americana. I look at Farren I see a modern day version of Jimmie Rodgers, Dock Boggs or Dave Van Ronk. The vocals make a real impact as Farren displays a delicate baritone meshed well with the songs like “21 Days” and “Side by Side” well. The only negative aspect: it almost feels as if Farren is spreading himself out to thin. He’s a bit of everything but this approach can cause a potential fan to lose focus. I would recommend Farren narrow the fairway a bit with respect to his overall signature sound on future releases.

Bottom Line: “Open Skies” is a great album and is not far from groundbreaking for Farren. It has some real magical moments on but mostly it’s a good timing, saloon sipping total package of music. It might actually be the start of something special for Farren in 2013. People who like their music upbeat, folksy, with a slice of country, earthy rockabilly, carefree and simplistic staple will really like Joe Farren. When it comes right down to it “Open Skies” should please a pretty wide swath of listeners.
Rating/8.5/10 Stars

By Loren Sperry
Edited by Heather Savage

MusicEmissions.com Reviews "Open Skies"

American roots-rocker Joe Farren is back



Buy Open Skies at Amazon

 Rating: 9.0/10 

American roots-rocker Joe Farren is back with his latest release "Open Skies" which is a cheeky harangue to a culture held in thrall of smartphones. Citing his bio: His creative mission is clear: When I'm driving late at night with a thousand concerns going through my head, and a song like "The Dance" or "Bridge Over Troubled Water" comes on the radio, everything just disappears. I strive to write that perfect song that makes the hair on your neck stand up, the goose bumps appear, the tears come out of nowhere that love song that makes you stop for a minute and brings you back to the beginning. It's all I've ever really wanted to do. It's a constant calling and a pressure, but I wouldn't trade it for anything."
These 11 delivers a stunning truly passionate musical approach to the human experience. Farren to me writes songs about the people, places and things and the status of our culture, with a healthy combination of humor, skepticism, and honesty. I get the impression Farren questions what he already knows, and asks listeners to join him in viewing life from a different angle. Melding a unique yet accessible blend of 50's style rockabilly guitars, hooky songs and melodies, tasty harmonies, groove-ridden bass lines and an infectious vocal front , Farren brings it home. Indeed the retro Farren sound is a testament to how he insists on shifting the face of folk-pop-rock.
Enter the mind musing, comical trip of the latest string of songs on "Open Skies" this is one artist that's meshes full tilt playing with Red, White and Blue music. This is a life's opus if you will that skirts the lines of life from a causal observers point of view. As a result "Open Skies" is a very human blend of Farren's comical spin on life through his music. Take a listen to "Love Junkie", "Four-Letter Word" and "The Tail is Waggin" This Dog Again" to see this tongue and cheek side. Not to be underestimated either Farren also possesses very tender earthy tones via painfully simple thoughts and subject matter. Listen to "Who's That Standing in my Shoes" and "American Dream" for that side. "Open Skies" by Joe Farren is a jumpy brawly CD full of music that can be listened in virtually in any situation. The songs on the album will encourage you to tap your foot, but also get delve into other emotions. Listen to the final track "If I fall Down" to hear a great send off track. Farren will remind you of Gavin DeGrew, Brad Paisley, Drive-by-Truckers, and Uncle Tupelo. Joe Farren is one definitely one artist wworth checking out (live or studio). His soulful rock steady sound and unique perspective on life can be appreciated by all fans of music, from Nashville to New York City. 

by Kim Muncie edited by Markus Druery 

Review comments: marktheshark972@gmail.com 

Rating: 9/10

Rock N' Roll View Reviews "Open Skies"

Joe Farren delivers Open Skies

JF10

Band: Joe Farren
Album: Open Skies
Genera: Pop, Blues-Rock, Singer-Songwriter
Locale: Tampa Bay, Florida

URL: http://www.joefarren.com/

Official Rating: 7/10

This is the second release from Joe Farren a Florida based Singer/Songwriter. How would one describe Farren? Americana singer/songwriter and recording artist Joe Farren crafts warm, lively tunes that chronicle complex human relationships and life’s many adventures. Farren’s discovery of the thriving local band scene in Portland as well as of alt-country dynamos like Ryan Adams and The Jayhawks and contemporary country artists like Phil Vassar and Keith Urban finally inspired him to believe fully in his own ability to tell relatable stories through beautifully-rendered Americana music: “When I discovered contemporary country music, I fell in love. I remember the song that did it: Jason White’s ‘Red Ragtop,’ as recorded by Tim McGraw. I like a lot of the New Folk music artists like Ellis Paul, Patty Griffin, Mark Nowadays making music is so accessible to anyone and being that most have the do it yourself attitude, it just makes sense. Most artists are not waiting for someone to make their dreams come true, they are doing it themselves. His latest album “Open Skies” is a unquestionably a bright, cheerful album. And all 11 tracks provide an intensely exhilarating listening experience that can tingle the senses into submission. In this aspect I think I get Farren 100%.

If you’re looking for a sappy sing songy love record this is not for you. Joe Farren delivers a well crafted middle ground between hooky-catchy songs and raw honest blues-rock subject matter. I guess the closest artist I would compare him to would be Josh Ritter. I can also however hear Bob Dylan, Pete Yorn, Dawes, John Rouse, and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. Most listen to music as a way to buzz the senses during any activity – concerts, clubs, dancing, exercising, getting drunk, all of the above and more – you get it. Some want to hear about love songs while other listeners want to go deeper into rough and tumble territory. This describes Farren really well and all this music showcases a wide degree of personality he brings to the table behind either a Guitar or Piano. From one of his more starker tracks “American Dream” and If I Fall Down” to rocking “The Tail is Waggin’ This Dog Again” to straight forward “Who’s That Standing in My Shoes” and taboo “Four Letter Word” to defiant ”Not Worth Writing About” any music fan can find something they would enjoy in this mixture of songs. As you would expect “Open Skies” will give you everything the title implies and offers an ample listening environment with a spirited youthful sound that appeals to many. It will also encourage you to delve in life’s wild and unpredictable ride.

I think Farren deserves a lot of credit for bringing all this together. In the end “Open Skies” presents an energetic, stimulating sound that can be appreciated by anyone that enjoys music, even those who typically may not enjoy Rockabilly, Country or Americana-Blues for that matter. I enjoyed this album sitting on my couch on full blast, with eyes closed eager to see where the musical journey took me .To be honest I had a few beers at my disposal. This sounds so simple but it’s in this setting the journey of Joe Farren can be greatly appreciated by many.

Rating 8/10

by J.J. McCall edited by Janne Zawa. Approved by Drew Blackwell (UK).

Review comments: jannezawa@gmail.com

All Whats Rock Reviews "Open Skies"

Joe Farren – Open Skies

JF11

Joe Farren
Open Skies (2013)

URL: http://www.joefarren.com/

Score – 9.5/10 Stars

This CD “Open Skies” by Florida based Joe Farren is sure to one day be remembered as one of the classic good timing Americana CD’s of recent time. Its pure rocking Americana-Country music the way it used to be, full of cautionary tales, whiskey drinkin’ and a passion for life on the road. All of this describes Amercana to a “T”, So who is Farren anyway? The Portland Press Herald declared him “a solid songwriter who draws on life experiences from both the interior and exterior vantage point.” His narrative lyrics and sincere performances offer an unobstructed view into the heart of an artist who embraces each moment. Farren grew up in Portland, Maine moved by the harmonies and rhythms of country, folk, rock and R&B luminaries like Hank Williams, Jr., Elton John, Jerry Lee Lewis and Bruce Springsteen.

“Open Skies” will take you back to a simpler time, before people started airing their dirty laundry out on the Radio to dry. From beginning to end “Open Skies” lets it all hang out with catchy vibe, fun musical landscape full of power and happy go luck overtones. One thing that impressed me the most about this album/band is the sheer “good time rag” vibe one gets. There’s an Americana ambience that really sucks in the listener into Farren’s musical world – very professional. The instrumentation and tones give you that genuine feel of good music and writing from a generation ago. It also has a solid feel reminiscent of Country music popular in the early nineties as well.

Farren reminds me of a modern day version of Whiskeytown, Jesse Malin, Justin Townes Earle, Wilco, Neal Casal, and Jason Isbell. All members in Farren’s band are solid musically. Kudos goes out to the amazing songwriting from Farren. I always said you can sell what you don’t believe in, here Farren captures Lighting in a Bottle that will ring true not only for older more experienced listeners but new ones as well. My favorite tracks are: Who’s that Standing in My Shoes, American Dream, 21 Days and Get Ready. “Open Skies” wraps up a well rounded 11 track set that delivers an interesting cross section of classic Americana Folk-Rock, and Classic Country. Despite this it is accessible to modern day listeners as well. How is this possible? Only an experienced artist armed with an honest, genuine, sincere approach can pull it off, Farren is also backed up by some solid players, a solid production instinct via his brilliant musical mastermind. Need I say more?

REVERBNATION – http://www.reverbnation.com/joefarren

Posted by Scottie Carlito edited by Markus Druery. Approved by Michael Rand.
Comments: jannezawa@gmail.coml

Indie Artists Alliance Reviews "Open Skies"

Joe Farren releases Open Skies

Artist: Joe Farren

CD: Open Skies

URL: http://www.joefarren.com/

While it is true many feel the music industry is in disarray it’s always a breath of fresh air to hear a new band or artist that’s not afraid to take chances with their musical expression. With Florida based Joe Farren’s latest musical offering “Open Skies” it’s clear to me he has surpassed what many consider to be the a-typical musical release. First a bit about Joe. Farren grew up in Portland, Maine moved by the harmonies and rhythms of country, folk, rock and R&B luminaries like Hank Williams, Jr., Elton John, Jerry Lee Lewis and Bruce Springsteen. Early on, he hammered out blues riffs on the piano, then picked up a second-hand drum kit and became a fast, proficient drummer and percussionist, playing not only drums but also keyboards and guitar with a variety o fNew England bands on bills with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Veruca Salt, the Rustic Overtones and many others. While studying classical and jazz music at the University of Southern Maine, Farren connected deeply with alt-country and contemporary country dynamos like Ryan Adams, The Jayhawks and Keith Urban that were telling relatable stories through exposed, emotional poetry and multi-layered, crisp recordings. Thus began his journey to make sincere, textured music that captures the vibrant colors of Americana and folk culture.

From the beginning to end “Open Skies” gives you an Americana anthem with a string of catchy songs that will keep the listener entertained. Also present are messages that are uplifting and a vibe that is unmistakably, well “Joe Farren”. Farren combines many impressive musical styles: like retro Pop of the 70’s and even Mo-Town, Blues, Jazz and traditional Soul Rock and even Country. Some pieces I really like are “Love Junkie” with its clover message, and “Four-Letter Word” and “Side by Side” which expands the possibilities as a possible radio hit in the making. The production is also top notch and the playing from all other band members just hits the spot. Joe Farren creates a sound that will make virtually any listener feel right at home.

As a vocalist Farren delivers a gifted vocal timber that glides with precision with just enough technicality and just enough soul and twang. ON many tracks Farren performs a multitude of amazing harmonies and delivers a warm vocal timber throughout. If you like Jack Johnson, Joe Ely, John Prine, Dwight Yoakum you will like Joe Farren. Much of Farren goes beyond traditional playing and songwriting. Lyrics are also an important component for me whenever I listen and review music. In this aspect Farren paints you an impressive story visual between the spoken word with messages of hope, love and the love of life itself. “Open Skies” delivers amazing music for the senses that has no boundaries – very much like the road of life itself.

Rating 4.5/5 Stars

Social Networking:

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joe-Farren/173391089416231

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/joefarrenmusic

Reviewed by: C.C. Ryder edited by J.J McCall.

Review comments: johnmccall964@gmail.com

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Music News Nashville Reviews "Open Skies"

Joe Farren – Open Skies

by Heather Savage / edited by Janne Zawa

joe-farren_open-skies

His critically-celebrated debut album,‘Til the Day was released in 2007 and led to an extensive East-Coast tour, spins on national radio stations and a spot as a headliner on the Maine Songwriter’s Association’s annual Old Port Festival. Farren moved to Florida in 2011 and writes fresh material while maintaining a rigorous live performance schedule at venues up and down the East Coast. His latest release, Open Skies was recorded in collaboration with Nashville-based producer Jason Roller (Kelly Pickler, Winona Judd). Renowned bass player Lance Hoppen (Orleans) performs on the album along with a slew of talented Nashville studio players. Open Skies is a musical book of character-driven short stories that range from serious and sweet, to humorous and wild. Open Skies & ‘Til The Day are available on iTunes and through the artist’s website.

Open Skies is Farren’s latest release and has much to commend it. Admittedly, there is a whole lot of variety to these arrangements and performances. First: Farren and his impressive band delivers rock solid playing like a well oiled machine. This is testament to hundreds of hours of rehearsal time no doubt. Second: farren himself possesses a look and voice and an impassioned writing style that hits the mark remarkably well within the country-pop music arena. He has the attributes required of an effective singer/songwriter. Third: his sound and amazing songwriting touch are as good as it gets within modern folk-pop. All songs are a skillful combination of country pop rock yet with a slight Folk-Alternative Rock aftertaste that reminded me of Shayne Ward, Joe Ely, John Prine, Jerry Jeff Walker and even Buddy Miller to John Mayer.

Farren has all the creativity and songwriting prowess to be extremely dangerous. What am I trying to say – well let me start by saying there is nothing fake and superficial about Joe Farren and his music. It’s nice to know some artists still take their soul into the studio with them rather then leave it at the door. Not every square inch is filled with musical ambience delivered under duress – but musical space this allows the music to breathe on its own with passion that cannot be faked. Equally as impressive is how marketable this catalogue truly is. It covers so much ground and despite this manages not to spread itself to thin across to many lines – nice touch.

I’ve always said if you can play it a party or a gathering, then it’s marketable. The music is very, very, very marketable – with a fresh sound that delivers a passionate optimism very much like Farren himself. My favorite songs are the hot ones: Love Junkie, Four-Letter Word, Not Worth Writing About and The Tail is Waggin’ This Dog Again.

Criticism: None

Conclusion: Let me go on record by stating Joe Farren has no real weaknesses that I can see and hear. He has everything and this latest string of songs on Open Skies are an endearing statement limited by nothing. I would imagine in time we will hear more from this artist from Tampa in the years unfold. Time will tell but I can honestly say this is one artist that is set up for marketable success down the road with her musical personality and fresh sound that gives modern country-pop-folk a well needed wake up call.

Rating 4.5/5

Skope Entertainment Reviews "Open Skies"

Joe Farren, Open Skies

October 7, 2013
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Most would agree most popular artists out there have something truly special to give to their fans. This goes above the typical attributes like raw talent, amazing songs, nice voice, or even a very marketable look, sound & image. There’s something truly infectious at the core of these artists that simply makes us feel good when we listen to them. Whatever “it” is – they all seem to have “it”. Today I listened to the latest CD from Tampa based Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Joe Farren who just released his latest CD entitled: “Open Skies” in 2013. Venturing to his website I get the impression this is one artists who is extremely determined, dedicated and passionate about the songwriting craft.

Farren grew up in Portland, Maine in a home that vibrated with the harmonious grooves of country, folk, pop and R&B greats like Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Williams, Jr., Elton John, Steve Winwood and Bruce Springsteen. His instinctually-impeccable musical ear allowed him to accurately identify singers on the radio at a young age. Once his fingers began to explore the keyboard and the guitar, he found those 50s rock blues riffs with ease and began to emulate his favorite players. From start to finish this CD from Farren is a very entertaining musical experience all around. It has a very warm and inviting Pop-Folk quality to it, and even dabbles in Americana and Bluesy-Rock. It also reminds me of classic John Mayer, Bob Dylan, Robert Earl, John Hiatt and Guy Clark. Any fans of any of these musical styles or bands will enjoy this latest release from Farren. I can’t help but hear a bit of Woody Guthrie influence in there as well. It’s clearly marketed for those who like a male folk vocal front with sizzling musicianship in the background. I get the impression Farren is being true to himself as an artist via this compelling 11 track line up. In other words he hits the mark remarkably well by just by being who he is musically – a real soul searcher.

The songwriting is impressive enough and digs a bit deeper than the next independent artist. Within each one of these pieces Farren bares his soul and delivers what I would call pure musical mojo. It offers much in the way of a compelling/thought provoking musical landscape. The playing from his band is spot on and just makes the whole CD even more enjoyable. The overall vibe of the production is very honest, sincere, passionate and captivating with pockets of hope shining through. I see Farren as a real undiscovered diamond in the rough, with an amazing amount of potential. As time goes by we will no doubt hear more from him. Let me go on record and say Joe Farren is a lucrative recorddeal waiting to happen. I also wouldn’t be surprised to hear more of him on Prime Time Radio someday or even in a featured in film or a TV production. In close most famous artists out there have “it” I’m not so sure what “it” is but Joe Farren has whatever “it” may be.

URL: http://www.joefarren.com/

Score – 4/5 Stars

Michael Morrison West Lothian, Scotland (UK)
Edited by Mindy McCall

I-TUNES – https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/joe-farren/id260586599

Review comments: indiemindymccall@gmail.com

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INDIE MUSIC DIGEST Reviews "Open Skies"

"A Barnburner"

- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST- 

CD REVIEW: Joe Farren - Open Skies

by: Cyrus Rhodes

Florida based Americana artists Joe Farren just released his latest CD entitled Open Skies.  Since moving to Florida in 2011 Farren has maintained a rigorous gigging schedule, playing at venues including the Ritz in Ybor City, The Hideaway Café, The Vinoy, the Don Vicente and many others while feverishly writing fresh material.  He first traveled to Nashville in 2011 in order to get closer to the energetic, expert songwriting in Music City and on return trips has played at the Bluebird Café and the Douglas Corner Café. It was during that first trip to Nashville that he met hit songwriter Steve Seskin, who motivated him to put together his sophomore album, Open Skies, produced by guitarist Jason Roller (Kelly Pickler, Winona Judd).   A slew of talented Nashville studio players contributed to the recording process including renowned bass player Lance Hoppen (Orleans).

The CD kicks off the ground nicely with Track 1, “Not Worth Writing About”, a jumping flowing intro piece that serves up slamming harmonica, Saloon style Piano, and a guitar driven groove meshed against walking bass lines, effective harmonies and a soulful melody from Farren. Track 2, “Who’s that Standing in my Shoes” shifts gears a bit with steady flowing rhythm and well placed guitar chops painted against a grand slam chorus making for an impressive follow-up statement. Track 3, “Love Junkie”, is another impressive groove that dishes out rock steady rhythm, impressive and shall we say thought provoking lyrical content that flows and ebbs its way through to motional fruition.

The CD makes a great first impression dishing out 3 rock solid songs in a row. The musicianship of everyone involved is above the bar. I would classify this music as classic Pop, Americana, with brief touches of Modern Country and even Saloon Jazz to R&B. The music is reminiscent of classic Lyle Lovett, Delbert McClinton, and Buddy Miller. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like impressive harmonica, piano, dobro, fiddles, organ, rhythm and solo guitar, well placed percussion, Hammond Organ, and lush harmonies layered everywhere all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. What I like the most about this band is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of writing and rehearsal time no doubt.

Now turning our attention over to Farren - as for his vocal abilities well he’s a great advent. His voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with a timber that is simply infectious. I might add he takes some impressive vocal risks indicating to me a confident vocal ability. Farren also plays Guitar and Piano on the album. All songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board - world-class songwriting. This CD from Farren delivers 11 solid tracks all providing musical enjoyment filled with strong musical variety and diversity. The music of Joe Farren has everything you would expect from a world-class musical production. From slamming ‘Drinking to Forget What’s Her Name” to melodic “Side by Side” to rocking “Get Ready”, “Four Letter Word” and “The Tail is Waggin' This Dog Again” to smooth as silk  “American Dream” and “21 Days”, this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 11, "If I fall Down”, the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.    

It’s hard to find any serious weaknesses with this release. I do however wish there were more extended solo segments throughout the catalog. I also recommend Farren somehow bring more vocal emotion to the table on some of his performances. This can be done by providing more vocal peak and valley within the vocal delivery. Just listen to Joe Cocker’s “You are so Beautiful” or R.E.M “Hairshirt” to see what I’m talking about. At the end of the day people don’t buy paper and plastic, they buy emotion. It's a critical component especially within this genre.  Perhaps dedicate 1 or 2 pieces on future release to this slow heart stopping emotional writing style, and a few movements that really showcase his pin drop vocal skills.   

From start to finish Open Skies by Joe Farren is a barnburner collection of music. The songwriting – the gold standard, all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really one weak piece on this entire catalog. The writing and playing abilities of Farren and company are rock solid. The melodies and harmonies are well crafted, and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with good old fashioned no holds barred R&B-Pop-Rock swagger. At the end of the day Joe Farren brings the mojo and is clearly a marquee talent based out of Florida. One would be wise to keep a watchful eye on him over the years to come.

"American Dream" featured on the popular UK podcast program "The BugCast"

The Bugcast is a weekly podcast recorded and streamed live most Fridays at 21:30 UK time.  Hosts Dave and Caroline feature music from some of the world’s best independent artists.

"American Dream" is featured in episode 279 and was originally aired on September 13th 2013.

Stream free on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-bugcast/id287713675

or

On the BugCast website: http://thebugcast.org/2013/09/14/bugcast-279-friday-13th-bah-humbug/

JoeFarren.com officially launches Jessie Fletcher Donation Campaign

After much anticipation it is my pleasure to launch the “Jessie Fletcher Song Download” Fundraiser campaign. In late 2012 I was approached by Jackie Eldrenkamp who organises fundraising events for American hero, Jessie Fletcher. Jackie had received a copy of my “Open Skies” album and decided to inquire whether I might be interested in writing a song to help in these fundraising efforts.

After hearing Jessie’s extraordinary story of patriotism and perseverance, I was hooked and inspired. What a gift it was for me to be provided with an opportunity to create this song and in some small way give back to Jessie for his sacrifice in protecting our freedom and for the determination he has shown after being so severely injured.

I began this project by reading some articles about Jessie and was moved deeply by his ongoing recovery and by the unconditional love he received from his now fiancé, Emily Ball. Jessie and Emily met at a Marine Corps dance shortly before his deployment to Afghanistan. They actually celebrated their one year dating anniversary at Walter Reed hospital. Emily has been at Jessie’s side through it all. What a gift. I came up with some melodies at the piano one night and “Hey Emily” was born.

Please take the time to donate to the Jessie Fletcher Donation Efforts and obtain your FREE copy of "Hey Emily" while it's still available. All proceeds will go toward a $50,000 goal which, along with the efforts of Helping a Hero organization, will be used to build their new home.

Click on link to visit the Download page and please help our efforts by spreading the word, and by posting links on Facebook and twitter and other social media.

http://www.joefarren.com/jessie_fletcher_donation/

Portland Phoenix Reviews "Open Skies"

Joe Farren’s countrified second release

South by southeast | By Sam Pfeifle | May 23, 2013

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It's been more than five years since Joe Farren's last record, a debut number on which he showed off his multi-instrumental chops and riffed on Americana themes. 'Til the Day was full of everything from big band numbers to solo, singer-songwriter fare, with plenty of pop sensibility.

This time around, Open Skies reflects Farren's recent travels, which took him to Nashville and farther south to his current homebase, Florida, and turned those Americana leanings into full-on contemporary country. The fiddles are hot, the vocals are outlandish and fun, and there's plenty of vamp and strut. If he's not wearing cowboy boots and a hat for his Frog and Turtle release show this weekend, I'll be severely disappointed.

Farren is a damn good piano player, though, and when he strings that through it lends an old-time, cowboy feel to the songs, which grounds them a little better than the full-on '80s pop that much of contemporary country has become.

"American Dream," the album's first single, is full of bounding piano chords and an easy snare line. Farren recalls the "snow and freezing rain" of his Maine roots, but it's clear he had to take flight in order to chase his particular version of the dream. Songs like "Love Junky," "Drinking to Forget What's Her Name," and "Four-Letter Word" are more hard-charging, the kinds of songs you hear in the Nashville honky-tonks and are good for drinking cheap beer and getting rowdy.

The Nashville session-player fiddle, especially, rips throughout the album, and the dobro riff after Farren gets a chuckle out of the title line in "Drinking" has a great bite to it.

"Get Ready" is probably the catchiest thing here. "Here comes my angel, so pure and so bright/But she'll be dancing like he devil, come Saturday night," he sings, like a combo of Brian Setzer and Keith Urban, and you'd be hard-pressed not to dance along with her.

Farren can get nostalgic, too, though. "Who's That Standing in My Shoes?" is a sad-sack, love-lost kind of thing, where he finds someone else standing at the altar with his gal. The closing "If I Fall Down" has a pretty quick pace to it, with a banjo in the background, but he's battered and broken and his faith is quavering.

Everything turns out alright in the end, of course, and that's the kind of record Farren's made here, something fun and heartfelt and generally upbeat even when something might have done him wrong.

Read more: http://portland.thephoenix.com/music/154156-joe-farrens-countrified-second-release/#ixzz2UH8FzafA

Open Skies CD Release Party announced

Maine CD release for "Open Skies" is set for Thursday May 23rd at the Frog & Turtle in Westbrook!

7pm.  Free admission.  Reservations recommended.

Joe asked to write a song for Charity Download Campaign to help Wounded Soldier Jesse Fletcher

Joe just finished recording his vocals and has sent the tracks to Nashville for mixing.  More info as well as links to download coming soon!

Douglas Corner tonight just added to Nashville trip

Joe will be performing a "in the round" writers night at the legendary Douglas Corner Cafe in Nashville tonight. 7pm. free.

Joe will be performing at the legendary Bluebird Cafe in Nashville tonight

Joe will be performing a short set debuting songs from his upcoming album "Open Skies"

New Album Updates

"Open Skies" sent out for duplication!

November 1st tentative cd release date

Album Update

Renowned Nashville Session guitarist/producer/multi-instrumentalist Jason Roller, lead guitarist for Wynona Judd will be producing and performing on new album!

Recording Update

Legendary Bass player/singer and founding member of "Orleans" Lance Hoppen is tracking bass on Joe's upcoming album this week in Nashville.

Recording has begun for new album!

Joe just spent a couple days at Acadia Studios with engineer Abel Adame beginning the basic tracks for upcoming album

Joe added to perform at this weekends "Talent Smash" fundraising event at the legendary Ritz in Ybor City

This Saturday Joe will be performing a solo set at the Ritz in ybor.

Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster for $5.

This event will showcase local Tampa talent including six live bands, three acoustic acts, five spoken word artists, a dozen live painters and graffitis artist and comedians.

Come help support local talent!

Joe will be a featured performer at this summers Old Port Festival

Sunday, June 1st Old Port Festival will feature a solo set by Joe at the Maine Songwriters Association stage. 2pm. free

Joe Live on 102.9 WBLM!

Joe will be the featured artist this week on 102.9 WBLM's local music show "Greetings from Area Code 207". Host, Charlie Gaylord will spin four tracks from his latest album "Til The Day" and interview him in between songs about the making of the record as well as performing, song writing, and being a working musician. The show airs at 8pm Wednesday evening and re-airs Sunday morning at 9am. Hope you can tune in.

Request "Savannah" on WCLZ

Please request "Savannah" on 98.9 WCLZ: http://www.989wclz.com/qualitymix.shtml

"Savannah" would be better, Joe Farren would just get in trouble in Atlanta

The Pheonix

MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST: Joe Farren

Despite big words for Ray LaMontagne's Trouble and Till the Sun Turns Black, I've often whined that I prefer his solo performances and stripped-down demos. Ethan John's gussying up of the label releases is well done and all, but it sometimes feels like window dressing, unnecessary. Similarly, though Joe Farren's "Til the Day" features some very fine production and a number of great musical performances on nearly every tune, why does the six-minute-plus final track, "Go On", full of nothing but guitar, vocals, and a little harmonica, seem like our first introduction to the real Joe Farren? Sure, Farren, a music-school grad and veteran of the Portland club scene with Shufflin'Tremble, plays all kinds of the guitars, drums, piano, and other instruments on this album, but when they're put all together (alongside very capable Nashville and Portland session players, I might add) things can seem a bit cluttered. Take the nigh-on-spectacular "Savannah", which opens the disc. Farren's delivery is endearing and soulful, and the powerhouse chorus is the child of "Sweet Home Alabama" and Gary Louris, but there's so much vying for your attention  (organ and strings and electric guitar and saxophone and echoed second vocal tracks), the song can't quite shine through the performance. Big studio-created bands have always struck me as a Napoleonic songwriter's overcompensation (or an irresistible plaything). Farren shouldn't be afraid to let himself be the star. He writes a competent couplet "You always liked the spotlight/To play someone else's life made your own seem alright" and his habit of using an expected final word to transition into the beginning of a follow-on line elicits pleasant surprises.

His play on contemporary country pulls out the big fiddles, pedal steel, and major chords without delving into the bravado or sanctimony. Those paragraphs amount to a compliment wrapped in some pissy criticism, I suppose. Did I mention "Broken Man" suckered me with a mix of sounds like Bob Seger playing "Thunder Rolls". That the mix on this album, thanks to Tom Acousti, is one of the best I've heard this year? To return to the earlier theme, though: This cover of the Beatles "Something" perplexes me. With a piano and time-keeping high hat, Farren doesn't do enough to differentiate it in the opening, and when he grinds the bridge and lets Richard Griffin's sax solo run on, it's just not a tune Farren needs on his solo album. I bet it kicks ass live, and Farren would make a terrific bandleader in general, but as part of an economical 12 tracks it seems more like a throw-in than something to say. Whose name is on the spine of this disc?

Look, the guy played Danny Zuko in Grease, but he could use a little more turned-up-collar swagger on "Til the Day". "Lie to Me", a soldier's entreaty, evokes some impressive imagery and emotion, as he frets, "You say, I don't laugh/Not like I used to, you say/Where's that boy/A year ago I said goodbye to", but when the burning resentment of the verse rolls into a hopeful desperation, it feels like a punch pulled. How can the same guy who spits, "When you were shooting down tequila/I was lining up the dead in rows", then beg, "lie to me/Give one more peaceful night to me/Let your morning kisses lie to me?" I think the Dixie Chicks, whose sound the fiddler here apes, would have turned the knife. But I'm quibbling with semantics and minor points. "Still on My Mind" drips with pedal steel and Farren's introductory falsetto, the country version of Tony McNaboe.  "Red Jacket" is quick and punchy, dobro riffs running in and out of the harmonica.  "Believe" features a piano pretty enough to hang on the wall.

These are strong, polished, heart-felt songs, sung and played from the soles of Farren's shoes. He's always playing to the room, which is unsurprising considering his steady solo work. To survive in that environment, you've got to earn people's attention by figuring out what they want to hear, probing for an opening as the crowd ripens. The bluesy "I'm Coming Home", swaying with organ and harmonica, has a particularly boozy allure that indicates Farren is the type of entertainer who gets rapidly more appealing as your buzz increases (and that's a compliment). I don't think you need to get plastered to make this disc enjoyable, but a couple glasses of wine wouldn't hurt. The album gives off a warm, fuzzy glow, anyway. Why fight it?

On the Web Joe Farren: www.joefarren.com Email the author Sam Pfeifle: sam_pfeifle@yahoo.com

Piano man Farren Thrives on Nashville Influence

The Maine Switch


When a young Joe Farren first started learning classical piano, he decided it wasn't his passion and quit. Luckily, Farren learned to play a litany of other instruments during the years that followed, creating a strong background in music. After teaching himself chords from songs by The Beatles and The Eagles, Farren decided to study jazz piano at the University of Southern Maine's School of Music. By the time he graduated in 2004, Farren had recorded plenty of lo-fi demo songs, eager to begin a songwriting career.

In June, the Portland-based 27-year-old released his first polished effort, the soulful folk-rock-Americana "Til The Day", which has been garnering positive reviews in the local music scene. I recently talked with Farren to discuss Nashville, mentors and the twang of "Day". 

How is the new record different from your previous work?

JF: My first record of demos that I recorded in college was pretty rough. I graduated school a few years ago, saved up my money and put my all into this new one. One element that made a huge difference was working with my producer, Tom Acousti. Tom teaches songwriting and shared a lot with me about the craft, so I dove into the songwriting process and really enjoyed it. Everything I worked for during my whole life went into the making of this record. We tracked most of the players up here in Maine and got some of the best local musicians to play on it. From there, Tom went to Nashville to track what isn't as accessible up here, like steel guitar, Dobro and fiddle. Tom lived in Nashville for years and moved back to Maine a few years ago, so he had some connections. I've spent time in Nashville, and I feel that the influences of the area really became evident on the record.  I love the Americana style that developed down there, and I wanted those sounds to come through on the record. Also, performing nonstop as a soloist has really helped to improve the way I play. I've been gigging solo for three years, doing about 150 shows a year. I haven't had a day job for most of that time and I give private lessons when I'm not playing, so I'm constantly playing music.

How is your performance different live than on records?

JF: To me, my music is all about the songwriting. That is why when I play live, I play completely solo, and I enjoy that connection with the audience. On the new record, I played most of the instruments by myself, but there were several times when we used the brilliant players from Maine and Nashville to help fill out songs. Since I do not have that same instrumentation here in Maine, it would be difficult to exactly replicate the sound of the record.

After you complete touring to support the new album, what horizons do you hope to explore?

JF: I learned how to use Pro Tools (a music production platform) while making this album, so I am eager to try my hand at using that a bit more. But other than that, I am focusing on songwriting and making a living through music. I hope my music allows me to travel more and receive more recognition and opportunities.

Email William Earl at williamjearl@gmail.com. FMI on Joe Farren, including audio clips and tour dates, visit www.joefarren.com. "Til The Day" is now available through Farren's website, www.cdbaby.com, at local Bull Moose Music stores and is available for download on iTunes.

"'Til The Day" now available on iTunes

Want to hear more?

The latest album release of "'Till The Day" is now available on iTunes. Download it now!

CD Review: Joe Farren's "Till the Day"

MaineToday.com

An artist's debut CD is a very important one, and the choices that he makes in song selection, arrangements, and production qualities say a lot about what he is trying to accomplish. The CD can be a statement of who they are personally or artistically, it can be experimental, innovative, and improvisational, or it can be a showcase for their musical, performance, and songwriting talents. Joe Farren has chosen the showcase approach for his first CD, "Till The Day".

This is an album of twelve very different tracks, encompassing blues, jazz, rock, and acoustic folk, and starring Joe on piano and keyboards, acoustic guitar, organ, drums, vocals, and harmonica. The musicianship that Joe displays on this record is very, very impressive, and he has a great, natural vocal style that is expressive, accessible and easy to listen to.

The variety in the music allows Joe to display his talents in many different contexts and combinations. The CD contains a variety of guest talent as well. Richard Griffin's saxophone gets some well-deserved time in the spotlight in the lush, groovy, opening blues track, "Savannah", as well as in "Last Chance", and more subtly, in the cover of George Harrison's "Something". Ozzy Osment's diabolical fiddle work on "Lie To Me" give the song the frantic, angry feel that it needs. John Hughry's dobro is a very nice embellishment to "Away Forever". Rob Duquette's drum kit and Lance Hoppen's bass provide a solid foundation to a bunch of these songs. I count no less than twenty-one other musicians providing instrumental or vocal contributions to this CD, giving it a very eclectic texture.

Joe Farren's performance talent is the dough that holds this musical pizza together; it is Joe who makes it a cohesive body of work. "Last Chance" is the cut that I enjoyed the most, in terms of pure listening pleasure. It is a simple, rollicking R&B shuffle, featuring slinky organ riffs on top of Joe's plinking, tinkling piano and the afore-mentioned Griffin sax foundation. Some sassy backing vocals by Krystal Louten provide the soul required in this tune, and Joe's lead vocals come forward in this track a way that I wish they did on some of the other cuts. The lyrics and melody are simple, easy to groove to, and fun. Joe seems to be in control here, and injects his spirit and energy into the mix. I couldn't help myself, I had to get up and dance to this one.

"Lie To Me", in my opinion, is the best example of Joe's songwriting talent. This is a plea from a soldier in today's desert battlefield to his girlfriend at home - lie to me one more time and tell me that you still love me, even though we both know it's over. The soldier bitterly compares the easy life enjoyed at home with his war experiences. The frantic, angry electric guitar, fiddle, and percussion tracks bring out the fear, anger, and frustration in the soldier's point of view. "You've been toasting to your freedom, The ignorant bliss I used to know / When you were shooting down tequila, I was lining up the dead in rows / We both know the fairy tale is over, but even so, how about one last night for this solder?"

Tom Acousti of Portland's Sound Harbor Studios produced the majority of these tracks, and his vision for the album is very clear. He gave Joe the chance to display his considerable musical talent in a variety of styles and themes across the twelve tracks on this disc. He brought in a very talented crew of session musicians to augment and enhance the songs. The result is a lush, sophisticated, and complex record, full of many-layered tracks that are a pleasure to listen to. However, there are two songs on this record where Joe comes across in his most authentic style.

Joe's cover of George Harrison's "Something" (one of the most beautiful songs ever written, in my humble opinion!) is a great showcase of Joe's piano skills and his vocal talent. He digs into both the instrumental and the vocal parts on this song, and I'm betting they were recorded together, based on the groove with which Joe welds the two parts together. Very nicely done.

The last tune on the CD is "Go On", and this track also is very authentic. Aside from some nice backing vocals from Mr. Acousti, this is Joe on acoustic guitar, Joe on Harmonica, Joe's vocal. This is what you'd get from Joe in an intimate listening room or coffee house, and it's very, very nice. Punchy guitar, plaintive harmonica, powerful, deeply felt vocals, and a melody and lyric line that brings it all to your heart. "Just leave the door open, 'cause as you walk out the whole world's walking in / When I swap out these old stings and start singing again"

There are a couple of tunes that fall a little short on songwriting, and Joe gets lost in the mix once in a while, but on the whole, this is a very entertaining record, and will definitely make you want to see Joe perform live. He is a very talented musician, songwriter, and performer, and I highly recommend you seek out a live show and purchase this CD. "Till the Day" is also available on CD Baby, via mail from Joe (see his website http://www.joefarren.com for more information) or at Starbird Music, 525 Forest Ave, Portland, ME. (207) 775-2733.

Songs Look Inward, Outward: A review of Joe Farren's 'Til the Day'

Portland Press Herald

Joe Farren teamed up with Tom Acousti and his team of producers at Sound Harbor Studios to make his latest record, ``Til the Day.`` Farren also brought in a posse of Maine musicians and some studio pros from Nashville. Farren, in addition to vocals, plays guitar, piano, drums and harmonica. Farren`s been ensconced in the midcoast music scene for the last few years and plays about 150 gigs a year. He`s now based out of Portland and you can find him playing in local venues as well as various spots around New England.

The players on this record include Lance Happen on bass, Robbie Coffin on electric guitar, saxophone from Richard Griffin, Rob Duquette on bass, and Johnny Bellar on the steel guitar with string arrangement done by Farren and Tom Acousti. Back-up vocals come from Acousti, Lance True and Krystal Louten. Over the course of the record`s 12 songs, you`ll also hear organ, dobro, fiddle, and violin. The songs are best described as acoustic rockers with Americana sensibility.

Farren counts Ray Charles, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Elton John and Billy Joel among his influences. He`s a 2004 graduate of the University of Southern Maine`s School of Music, and as a kid ditched the classical piano in favor of a drum kit and became an accomplished jazz drummer. The piano came back into his life when he was 17, and it`s likely a permanent thing. While at USM he continued with the piano while also studying voice and guitar. Yes, he`s one of those annoying people who is a whiz at many instruments. So let`s get down to brass tacks.

Farren is a solid songwriter who draws on life experiences from both the interior and exterior vantage point. ``Well, I don`t have a red jacket like James Dean and I`m not as handsome as Springsteen but maybe I could offer more than a schoolgirl crush that still hangs on your wall,`` sings Farren on ``Red Jacket.`` Ozzy Osment`s violin zigs in and out of the song along with John Hughry`s dobro. Farren`s got a sturdy voice that has a country tinge to it. ``Believe`` is a piano-based song, with acoustic guitar from Acousti and gentle bass from John Lawson. ``I believe in the wisdom in the lines on your face and I`ll be following your exit as you drop out of this race.`` It`s a lonesome yet hopeful song in which Farren tries to restore the beauty of a rocky relationship. ``I`m Coming Home`` is a love letter to New Orleans, where Farren spent a semester while in school. The harmonica, piano and organ are terrific, as are the back-up vocals from Acousti and Krystal Louten. ``I`m going down to New Orleans, back to the city, to my river queen. So you can stop writing letters and put that phone card away cause baby I`m coming home.`` ``Broken Man`` is infused with the troubled moodiness of a guy behind bars who wound up there when his aborted suicide attempt on railroad tracks caused an accident that killed a few people and injured a whole bunch. The fiddle adds to the torment of the song as do some subtle cymbal crashes. ``He jumped out of the car, 10 seconds he had left. Dropping to his knees and failing this attempt. Like everything before, he never took control, no he couldn`t even finish digging his own hole,`` laments Farren, at times using vocal effects to achieve a haunting edge.

``Til the Day`` is packed with ballads, medium tempo songs and some snappy blues rockers like the two-minute ``Last Chance`` and its fantastic saxophone. Bonus points awarded for the superb production from Acousti. It`s got a grade A sound to it without being glossy or drab and is particularly enjoyable when it`s not raining and you can roll your car windows down on a back road and crank it.  For more info on Farren visit www.joefarren.com. Aimsel Ponti is a Portland freelance writer. She can be contacted at: aimselponti@yahoo.com

Runner up in Songwriting contest

Joe was runner up in the international Song Of The Year songwriting contest.

CD Review: Joe Farren's "This Time"

Goodtimes Magazine

This is what New England's "Good Times Magazine had to say about "This Time", an album Joe independently released in the winter of 2005.

"This album is full of lushly layered tracks that make perfect listening for a lazy afternoon.  Farren's success on this album comes from his masterful acoustic guitar playing, which is the perfect accompaniment to his introspective lyrics.  As Farren sings about the shirt his ex-girlfriend let her new lover wear in "My Old Shirt", you can almost smell Farren's scent fade off the shirt that is no longer his or hers.  "Leave My Records" is the perfect platform for Farren to showcase his more soulful and aggressive side. Similarly, "Follow Me Home" incorporates more soulful blues, with a heavy harmonica track"