Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: Anthony Fiacco

presspassFor Anthony Fiacco, his new hometown of Nashville is full of differences. The geography is changed. The caliber of the musicians around him is higher. The emphasis on making music is exponentially higher than in his old haunts in Northern Virginia. But there are key similarities too.

 

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Anthony Fiacco (Photo: Courtesy Barbara Parker)

For Anthony Fiacco, his new hometown of Nashville is full of differences. The geography is changed. The caliber of the musicians around him is higher. The emphasis on making music is exponentially higher than in his old haunts in Northern Virginia. But there are key similarities too.

Sure, there are the familiar faces – joining Fiacco in his southern migration is Blackjacks guitarist Buddy Speir, and Shane Hines, another veteran of the D.C. music scene who relocated to the music capital of the world last year – but the biggest commonality is even more fundamental to their trade.

Be it in Nashville or D.C., musicians everywhere know and embrace the beauty of simplicity. Relatable lyrics. Memorable melodies. Mix and serve.

Couching The Blackjacks’ sound in the shrieking strings and crunching chords of blues-driven rock with a southern sensibility, Fiacco won’t be at all out of place in Nashville. But beyond that, despite all the trimmings, at its core, Fiacco does the simple things well. And he puts that talent on display regularly, along with Hines and celebrated D.C. musicians Luke Brindley and Todd Wright, in the no-frills forum of a songwriters’ circle at Jammin’ Java.

“To be able to strip down the song to just a guitar and see what makes it work for the audience is really cool,” Fiacco says. “When the audience likes a song like that, that’s when you know you have a good song. If you need all these other instruments to make the audience like it, to get a reaction, is it really a good song? I don’t know. It’s debatable.”

It’s the Jammin’ Java circle that’s luring Fiacco back to the D.C. area for a June 13 show, fittingly a tribute concert to pay homage to a rock legend renowned for making the most out of simple songs: Tom Petty.

“He’s one of my personal favorites,” Fiacco says. “When I got older I started to admire his song craft. A lot of what he does is somewhat simple. He uses common chords and doesn’t venture outside the original key of the song a whole lot. There’s a really good marriage of melody, chord structure and words and by using common language he’s able to create these broad images in your mind. Being that good and that simple, that’s a really good lesson.”

One of Fiacco’s primary goals when he gets back to Nashville is to link up with a new songwriter circle. But it’s more than nostalgia that’s prompting Fiacco’s pursuit. Unlike the Northern Virginia quartet where the shows are more for everyone’s enjoyment, the shows in Nashville incorporate a business element.

“Down here, they have a lot more to do with getting the right people to hear your music,” Fiacco says. “The format allows record industry people to come out and see four or five new artists showcasing their material at one time. It’s more about networking .”

On the 13th at Jammin’ Java however, the focus will be on welcoming back a pair of the area’s own musicians and celebrating the simplicity of their songs.

• For more on Anthony Fiacco and The Blackjacks, visit myspace.com/blackjacksmusic.com.