photo credit: David O'Donohue

 

Josh Farro’s musical career has sent him globetrotting and it’s been a winding road of adventure so far—even taking him as far as New Zealand where he dove from 30 foot cliffs. But the lyricist/guitarist is no stranger to taking risks. His carpe diem attitude has allowed him to float on in both good times and bad. Having survived the split with Paramore in 2010, Farro has learned over the last few years that forgiveness is the best remedy for the soul.

“I guess I could say I walked away learning to not sweat the small stuff. I was young, about 15 or 16. When I look back at who I was and then see who I am now, I realize I am a totally different person,” he says at his label’s Nashville recording studio. “It does you no good to hold grudges or have bitterness toward people.”  Farro’s new single “Cliffs” reflects that higher-road perspective. Cheerful, thoughtful and transcendental, it is driven by power chords and a soothing harmony with an overall message that speaks to a universal experience. “Everyone will have to make a scary decision at some point in their life.”

The song is just a taste of what’s to come from Farro: His debut album Walkways is set for release in February, and the project has a surprising influence. Farro has been spending a lot of time researching and listening to classic-rock staples the Eagles throughout the production process. “I’ve been experimenting with guitar solos and really going back and learning about artists from the ‘60s up to ‘80s,” he says. In addition to laid-back grooves, he has been crafting ‘80s-style dance songs, filled with high energy and big drumming for a “Phil-Collins-inspired” feel. “I usually tell people that there is a song [on the album] for everyone,” Farro says, promising that fans can also expect “a lot of cool indie-rock love songs.”

One thing he assures his album will not be lacking? Earnestness.  “It’s important to be honest,” he says. “I try to insert a little positivity, even if the overall song isn’t necessarily positive.”

That mindset has an important foundation, with Farro acknowledging he’s most alive when surround by good influences, and that working on the album alone was a lonely feeling. Although a solo act on paper, Farro wanted to cultivate a more synergetic atmosphere both on and offstage, which is why the creation of a self-named band made sense. He says that he and his bandmates are connecting well as they perform in and around the Nashville area.  “I want to be surrounded by people who are as passionate as I am. They just fit perfectly.”

The familiar surroundings that Farro grew up with in the city are also serving as the perfect setting for his creative process. He’s still been able to lead a pretty simple life focusing on family, friends and music in an area experiencing robust changes. “[Nashville’s] growing rapidly,” he says with a small burst of energy. “Thousands of families are moving here a week. I sometimes feel like I live in LA, the traffic is getting so bad.” But despite his Tennessee roots, Farro is quick to dismiss any country aspirations. “I’m trying to imagine Keith Urban singing ‘Cliffs,’” he says bashfully. “I don’t think I could pull off the cowboy hat.”

Being home has helped Farro as he adjusts to the transitions in his musical life, recognizing that emotion can often interfere with decision making. When asked whether he harbors any regret regarding the way he exited Paramore, he is careful to recognize that confessions on the internet may live in infamy, but perspectives are always changing. “I try not to live in the past. I used to do that, and it’s no good for the soul. For some reason, we hurt the ones we love the most. I don’t know why, but that’s just life,” he says . “If I could go back, I definitely would not have written that, but you live and you learn.”

Truces are stepping stones for growth. The tumultuous times are opportunities for self-assessment and soul-searching, and Farro serves as a testament to all of this. As for his relationship with Paramore, the guitarist is on good terms with his former bandmates, and there is no ill-will.  "I would totally be up for that, but I don’t want to rush anything,” Farro says about the possibility of a reunion. “I don’t know if I see it [in the future], but I definitely hope for it.” 

 

You can pick up Farro's new single "Cliffs" over on iTunes