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WARWICK—When local folk artist John Faraone first embarked on a musical career last year, the thought of standing before a crowd and producing original notes and lyrics was, as he himself describes, “terrifying.” Now, with a number of shows under his belt and a recent six-song EP release, the Warwick native has begun to dream a bit bigger.
“Playing the first open mike night, I was terrified and I kind of just wanted to go home,” said Faraone of his first experiences as an original artist. “Then I did it, and it ended up turning out way better than what I had in mind.”
Faraone’s first EP, ‘Houses,’ is a nostalgic journey through the full spectrum of human emotion and experience, packaged by the artist’s low and rumbling tones. The themes are universal, but as he has refined his craft of songwriting, Faraone has placed especial importance on the lyrics which he imparts to the listening audience.
“I hate 99 percent of what I write, and I usually throw it away,” said Faraone. “For folk music in general, if the lyrics aren’t good, then the song isn’t good because it is really just G, C, and D.”
“If you are playing with eight or nine chords that have been done a million times over, what about your song will be different than another?” he continued. “It has to be the lyrics.”
Faraone’s folk tunes, coupled with his meandering lyrics, offer listeners a quiet respite, a chance to reflect on the mundane details of life. In the song ‘Waves’, for example, he echoes ‘walking home, it’s alright/all alone, takes a light/keep from crashing, waves are crashing”
The where, when and why are unimportant to the musical arch of Faraone’s songs, and he avoids making influences and references to specific real life experience.
“I try to make it so you can’t pinpoint who or what it is I am talking about,” said Faraone. “Once you eliminate that element, the listener is open to interpretation, and those are the songs that I like the most about in my life, those that could be about anybody.”
Although some artists might look back on an accomplished musical career from childhood, Faraone has only recently begun to pen original songs and perform in front of live audiences. Recently married, the 30 year-old teamed up with a high school friend in order to make something of the musical talent that they had not yet utilized.
“My buddy Matt Eastwood, who is probably the most driven person I know, [and I] went to another friend’s wedding, had a few too many beers, and he was like, ‘we should each learn two or three cover songs, and play an open-mic somewhere’,” said Faraone. “Maybe two weeks later, we got together and played our songs for each other once, twice a week just to get used to playing in front of somebody else.”
After playing at a number of local open-mic venues, Faraone booked recording space in August 2013 and, after a marathon weekend of writing and producing, came out with ‘Houses.’
“We recorded six songs in a day and had it mastered in another day,” said Faraone. “I don’t think they are the best I can do, but because it was such a short period of time, it was more of doing it to do it, just to get it going.”
Faraone will next play at AS220 in Providence on March 25. He said that he is looking forward to whatever success and difficulty he encounters while performing as a local folk artist, but is not really too bothered if he continues to play small shows, entertaining small crowds who just want to give his music a listen.
“Playing the first live show, there were maybe 50 people there, but they were there for me,” said Faraone. “I would love to say I want to play as many shows as I can, to have the venues be bigger, and to have more songs and people to like them, but realistically in my head, it is one show at a time, and we will see what happens after that.”
“It is really fun to get on stage and be silly,” he concluded. “I am lucky.”
For more information about John Faraone and his music, visit www.johnfaraone.com. He will next play at AS220 in Providence on March 25 at 8 p.m.