Sarah Fard spent a few years suppressing her songwriting instincts in favor of performing decades-old jazz tunes around Boston. Fard did not realize that she needed her own compositions to elevate her art. But Lizard Lounge open-mic host Tom Bianchi did.
“I was going to every open mic I could find every day of the week when I first moved to Boston (from New Hampshire), but I was still doing jazz standards, which was one thing. strange to do in all these dive bars,” Fard told the Boston Herald. “Tom came up to me at the end of one of the open mics and was like, ‘You’re really good, but you gotta play original music to earn the door money.'”
A few weeks later, Fard played some originals and won the door money. This week, she’ll play a few more originals when she headlines Atwood as Savoir Faire – the Saturday show celebrates the release of Savoir Faire’s EP, “Think Twice.”
All three tracks on “Think Twice” allude to Fard’s jazz chops. She goes on guitar solos with pieces borrowed from jazz master Joe Pass but also Persian scales and all the nuances of rock (classical, indie, prog and art, to name a few). The solos – the back and forth of lovely melody and amplified discord – go hand in hand with lyrics that peer into the darkness of modern life, for example, “Tell me something I want hear / Get them drunk and fill their cups with fear / Well that’s not a good song / So deal with that and move on.
“My music is not feel-good songs and especially now some people want feel-good songs,” Fard said with a chuckle. “I’ve always found that the artists I love, musically and lyrically, have critical things to say about our social structures, artists like Police, Muse, Jewel and my favorite, Fiona Apple.”
The song “Think Twice” began as a look at recent hostilities between the United States and Iran – Fard is half first-generation Iranian-American – and the negative stereotypes that the media too often conveys when conflicts between the two governments break up. It became the title of the EP when Fard realized she was echoing the theme of thinking twice (about the biases involved regarding race and gender) in the other tracks, “Alias” and “Sweet “.
From the clever and intense lyrical content to the tender-to-rabid guitar, from the dark rock vocal delivery to Dave Brophy’s pitch-perfect production, “Think Twice” works because it feels so authentic, so natural. Open-mic host Tom Bianchi deserves a handshake and a hug for pushing Fard to move from jazz standards, from those old love songs to contemporary themes.
“The jazz music I’ve listened to influences the chord structures I use to write, some of my singing mannerisms, but most of those songs are love songs,” Fard noted. “I’ve never written a love song. I write about what I need to let off steam musically. So no love songs, no good songs for Sarah Fard.
And that’s fine. Savoir Faire’s dark songs can rival any love song, any day.
For tickets and details, visit savoirfairemusic.com