Artist: Joe Farren
CD: Open Skies
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
Reviewed by: C.C. Ryder edited by J.J McCall.
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