Short Biography (150 words)
Justin Farren, Sacramento native, Winner of Kerrville New Folk in 2016. Along with Justin's songwriting, guitar playing, and performance pursuits, he is also a recording engineer, house builder, 82 Toyota truck whisperer, and family man. Justin approaches songwriting with intense focus. The end result is a multidimensional creation that is enchanting, and also seems effortless. Justin's songs, although uniquely him, are also highly relatable. You may find yourself thinking, Justin can make a song out of any topic. Justin Farren fan's have been known to say, "There's your next song right there, Justin!", in reference to almost anything. Rich Warren of Folk Stage Chicago said about Justin "He is an incredibly original artist with a lot of verve and energy, and a terrific guitarist. He will absolutely charm you with the strange humor and cleverness of his lyrics."
Justin Farren was raised on the outskirts of Sacramento. Riding bikes up dirt hills with his brother. He was always a person of intense focus, I call it his master focus. That focus started with books, then sports, until Justin and his brother started a rock band. His master focus shifted from sports to songs and, since then, songs have been it. He learned famous albums by ear from start to finish, it was the real beginning of 'doing it yourself' for what became a do it yourself person.
At 15, he bought Yellow, the truck of his life. He rebuilt the engine, twice. (The first time it burst into flames.) This is just one example of how he became an independent person well before his years. In truth, Justin seems to be aging in reverse, younger and younger as time passes. He is way more likely to toilet paper a house now than he ever was as a kid.
Justin wanted to record his albums, he became a recording engineer. Justin wanted his own house, he built it from the ground up. Justin wanted to work for himself, he took his house building knowledge and became a handyman extraordinaire. Really, he's like what many of us may think of our grandparents: Intense, hardworking, autonomous, and highly skilled in their pursuits.
Which leads us back to songwriting. I feel like I would implode if I tried to write a Justin Farren song. He looks at a song in such a multidimensional way, but the end result is enchanting, and also feels effortless. Justin plays a cheap guitar, But is often asked about its tone. I think the sound they hear is in his playing. I can only barely explain what he's doing, a combination of unboxed fluidity, and muted space when it serves.
Justin lives in a house that he literally built with his own two hands, about which he says "it's like living in a museum of my own mistakes". He still drives old Yellow. He lives abundantly, he eats real food, and plays music with his favorite people. Justin has been writing and performing for 20 years. He has released 3 albums. Justin says that songwriting is a way of reminding himself what's important. The Sacramento News & Review describes Justin as "The storyteller with an impeccable voice, a guitar and a headfull of funny, tender and engaging observation."
Justin Has played with:
David Wilcox, Pierce Pettis, Brett Dennen, Matt Costa, Amber Rubarth, Jackie Greene
Winner Songwriter Serenade, 2019
Falcon Ridge Most Wanted Song Swap, 2019
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist, 2018
Winner Kerrville Songwriting Competition, 2016
Winner Wildflower arts and Music Festival "People's Choice" award, 2016
SWRFA Official Showcase Artist, 2015
2nd place Planet BlueGrass Rocky Mountain Folks Fest, 2013
Honorable Mention Planet Bluegrass Telluride Troubadour Competition, 2013
Winner The West Coast Songwriters Song of the Year, 2012
Regional Finalist Newsong Mountain Stage Competition, 2012
Best Musician - Sacramento News & Review, 2009 / 2010
Best Lyricist - Sacramento Magazine, 2010
Justin Has Taught Songwriting at:
Wilcox Weekend 2017
Sisters Folk Fest Americana Song School 2017
Lamb's Retreat Harbor Springs, Michigan 2017