Thursday, March 14 — Justin Farren is a do-it-yourself kind of guy. He taught himself to play guitar, writes his own material, tours and records on his own and built his own home in Sacramento, Calif.
Justin Farren is a do-it-yourself kind of guy. He taught himself to play guitar, writes his own material, tours and records on his own and built his own home in Sacramento, Calif.
"It hasn't fallen over yet," says the self-proclaimed introvert.
This month, Farren released his third, full-length album, "Another Bluebird Day," and will kick off a tour in support of the album at 9 p.m. Thursday, March 14, at Caldera Tap House, 31 Water St., Ashland. Frankie Hernandez also is on the bill. Cover is $4.
"A bluebird day is a folksy term for a sunny day after a night of snowfall," Farren says. "A lot of the songs on the album are about staying optimistic through things that are sometimes difficult and being able to appreciate those sunny-sky moments."
For the album, Farren handled most of the instrumentation on his own. He played an assortment of guitars, as well as piano, bass and thrift store-type instruments, and recorded and produced it at his home studio.
"Because I'm such an introverted guy, I enjoy holing up in the garage, making a lot of coffee and then working on the album," he says, adding that professional studios and "being on the clock" stress him out.
Often compared to Jack Johnson, Farren plays acoustic folk-pop — folk in the way it deals with common experiences in a straightforward way and pop "in that it's three minutes long and leaves you wanting a little bit more," he says.
These common experiences tend to be random and sometimes comical. There are songs about couch surfing ("From Spare Rooms"), a summer at his grandfather's house ("Little Blue Dirt Bike") and his pit bull, Pickle Breath, who preys upon his neighbor's rabbits ("Sometimes I Like to Kill Things Too").
"I wrote a song about how he (Pickle Breath) is not the only one that likes to kill things," Farren explained. "We kill things all the time, like dinner and leather coats. He's not the only guilty party."
Another song, "Midnight at the Fair," about walking around the fairgrounds after hours, was voted Song of the Year at the 2012 West Coast Songwriters finals.
The Sacramento News & Review describes Farren as a "storyteller with an impeccable voice, a guitar and a head full of funny, tender and engaging observation" and voted him Best Musician in 2009 and 2010.