Nate Farrar
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Nate Farrar

Band Blues Singer/Songwriter


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"The News Journal"

Musical alchemy transforms dark lyrics rooted in madness into upbeat, on-the-fly sound
The News Journal

After hearing Nate Farrar sing for the first time with his band, Whirled Blue, you just might think he was born in the swamps of the Mississippi Delta.

His gravelly voice comes out as a growl; made up of equal parts Howlin' Wolf, Tom Waits and Charley Patton. It's a sound he says he's spent a lot of time crafting.

But Farrar, 22, is actually from Wilmington. And he's probably never even been to the Delta

Hearing his songs for the first time just might make you run off to Google his lyrics to see which old blues song he sang that you had never heard before. When you do this, you'll find that those songs aren't ageless tunes passed down from generation to generation; they're actually Farrar's original compositions.

And you might be surprised at where they come from.

Lyrics paint dark pictures

Farrar's lyrics lean toward the abstract and paint a picture of a world where the devil is just around the corner.

He calls it "dark mysticism."

Listening to lyrics like, "Meat's raw and red/I'm railroaded in my bed" and "The skin's all tearin' pickin' grapes in the fog/Screamin' bloody murder on the timbered log," you quickly realize these are not songs you normally hear from a Wilmington bar band.

Musically, Farrar has examined the past for his future.

"A lot of the songs have to do with people's memories. A lot of it has to do with madness," he says.

When asked about what kind of madness, he opens up.

"I've had bouts with schizophrenia and stuff like that, so a lot of it has to do with the madness when you can't tell what's real and what's not," he says. "A lot of it has to do with dementia and my perspective. ... Most of the songs are me thinking back to when I was 18 and 19. I was driving around all over the place, freaking out."

His battle has produced some strikingly original songs based around traditional sounds and concepts.

The music accompanying the songs is almost always up-tempo -- and Farrar also has plenty of lighter songs to throw into the mix.

"I don't want to get up there and have it be like kill yourself in the bathtub," Farrar says of this songs. "It's dance music, but at the same time it's serious."

Contact Ryan Cormier at 324-2863 or Read his blog at
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- The News Journal


First full length LP, "Shell Shocked" is out now on BwO Records.



Nate Farrar plays songs about broken bottles, broken hearts, broken cars, and being broke. His lyrics embrace the storytelling tradition of the great Delta bluesmen, augmented by a manic intensity that can be heard in his voice, in his words, and in his guitar playing.

Nate Farrar is the blues in the same sense that Tom Waits is the blues - both singer/songwriters experiment within the fundamentals of the musical tradition to produce a highly personalized and original sound - watering the seeds of the blues with the pathos of modern life.

He's a musician's musician, and his wildly self-assured debut, "Shell Shocked," ensures a longevity that has become increasingly rare in the music industry today.