Indie singer-songwriter Joe Pagano did not take the traditional road to finding a successful musical career. While he explored music during his college years and into his early 20s, Pagano ultimately decided to follow the safety and security of a job in the software industry. However, Pagano never really abandoned his internal musician and enrolled in an online class through Berklee College of Music where he found the inspiration and encouragement he needed to reignite his passion. With his well-received debut Graveyard of Dreams released earlier this year, Pagano wasted no time going to work on his next project. His latest EP, Time and Colors, is available now.
Time and Colors opens with its title track. Starting simply with a single guitar leading into Pagano’s vocals, the song quickly bursts musically along with lyrics such as “Like an artist with a white canvas sheet/Time and colors will set you free.” A mid-tempo track with great chord progressions and an emotional electric guitar solo that showcases Pagano’s considerable skills, “Time and Colors” sounds like an inspirational, uplifting song when it speaks of starting over with that blank canvas to create the life you want with whom you want. But there is also a simultaneous undertone of sadness regarding the pain of a lost relationship as Pagano sings “The grass is greener until you miss the page you had/It makes me wonder about the life we could have back/And there’s still time to paint our Mona Lisa…/So come on home now/To the man you set free/Your time and colors/Are all I’ll ever need.”
Pagano moves on to take a look at a social justice issue on “Life in a Bag,” a song about learning from observing and finding the positives in a homeless man’s life. “Sometimes it feels I’m going through the motions/Chasing shiny things and burning through time/The simple life it has its advantages/Something that I strive for when I lose my way/Thank you homeless man for the lesson today.” With vocals eerily similar to John Mellencamp, impressive electric guitar playing and steady drum lines, “Life in a Bag” is a solid alt rock tune with an important underlying message about materialism that everyone should appreciate. Pagano changes things up on “16 Other Ways.” Opening with rhythmic drums, this is an indie rock track with a distinct touch of Americana country complete with some impressive guitar sliding. It is a comical look at Pagano’s romantic frustration with a female friend. Tired of trying to get to the next level, he declares that he has other things to do, begging the object of his affection to kindly hurry up and make a decision. “Give me a clue/I’m really into you/But this friendship thing is like auditioning /I want to hold your hand/I want to take a stand/But I hope you’re not insulted and you understand/I got 16 other ways to spend my time.”
Putting his softer side on display, Pagano’s “Candles, Hope and Faith” is a fine tuned studio version of this track and my favorite on this release. Opening with mid-tempo piano playing, this song tells the story of a relationship between a young single mother and her son whom she sends off into the world with the simple advice of “Candles, hope and faith.” Another guitar solo perfectly complements the piano playing making this one of those tracks where the music and the words meet to succeed in touching a listener’s heart. A sure sign of a well-crafted song, “Candles, Hope and Faith” is at once warm and sad, yet relatable. You can feel the love between mother and son throughout the song and the piano playing towards the end gives a sense of finality, but at the same time, hope for the future. Time and Colors closes with a remix of “Mamma Don’t Call Me Home” which takes a different path than the previous songs. As Pagano explained, he changed the arrangement of this track from its original version and added another guitar to this retro sounding song about kids playing ding dong ditch. The result is an incredibly high energy rock track that schools listeners in both bass and electric guitar playing while leaving them wanting more.
Unaffected by the typical constraints of a single chosen genre, multi-talented Pagano takes listeners on a unique musical journey with Time and Colors as it ventures into rock, pop, some blues and even a bit of country, without ever skipping a beat. Time and Colors allows Pagano to explore as he wishes which in turn allows for creativity in sound that is bound to appeal to a wide audience. His skill as a musician also allows a natural connection to listeners that others in the industry often struggle to make. If you love music or just love listening to musicians who love music, Joe Pagano’s Time and Colors is a must.