Sing Out Loud Music Festival, the largest free music festival in St. Johns County, returns for four weekends this month. Hundreds of local and national singers and songwriters will perform at music venues around St. Augustine.
We spoke with two local musicians to learn about their history in music, and why they return to Sing Out Loud year after year.
Aslyn Baringer was born and raised in St. Augustine, Florida, and is proud to call it her home. She is a commercial videographer and photographer, who has a true passion for playing music.
See Aslyn & the Naysayers perform Friday, September 7 at 6 p.m. at the Sarbez Showcase.
Sam Pacetti grew up in North Florida. At age 13 he found the music of both Chet Atkins and Merle Travis, profound influences on his early musical development. Early in his musical career, he worked with legendary St. Augustine musician Gamble Rogers, who instilled in Pacetti the importance of the folk process, the passing of music and oral tradition from teacher to student.
See Sam perform Sunday, September 23 at 7:45 p.m. at the Colonial Oak Showcase.
Q: How did you get started in music?
Aslyn: I started playing music when I was a teenager; singing and playing my guitar around town. When I was in high school I played in a punk band. When I met Matt Armstrong and Jim Johnston in college, we formed “Aslyn and the Naysayers”. I also play in another duo called “Sugarbeats” with Jim Quinte, who is an amazing talent as well.
Sam: My first exposure to music began with my grandfather, a Cuban immigrant who played guitar, as well as my father. Though, it was really the music and guitar style of Chet Atkins that began my desire to learn to play fingerstyle guitar.
Q: Describe your musical style.
Aslyn: My musical style is inspired by southeastern folk, bluegrass, and soul
Sam: That’s always been a difficult question to answer. I call it musical chameleonship. I play music from the Baroque to classical, folk, blues, jazz, and American fingerstyle guitar techniques. Then I throw it all together, to make an eclectic mix.
Q: What does music mean to you? How has it affected your life?
Aslyn: Music is so important to me, because it allows me to have fun with my friends and family. Music brings people together, unlike any other form, and has given me an outlet to express my inner feelings.
Sam: Above all, music has been a vehicle for me to explore healing and balance. It’s one of the few human endeavors that transcends culture, background, race, belief & religion. Sound is a fundamental structure of the universe, and one that we can use in far more profound manners should we choose to explore it more fully.
Q: What do you love the most about St. Augustine? What’s unique about it?
Aslyn: I love the feeling of family. Not just within my own, but within a community of like-minded people.
Sam: I’ve always loved it most for its beauty and architecture. It’s one of the last bohemian cities in the south. It’s always held the potential for me, personally, as a place of refuge and rejuvenation.
Q: You’ve performed at Sing Out Loud each year, since it began 3 years ago. What keeps you coming back?
Aslyn: I love the Sing Out Loud Festival, and the St. Augustine Amphitheater, because they really appreciate the sense of family. They enjoy harnessing the power of music and bringing people together. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this awesome festival!
Sam: Simply because they continue to book me! Also, because it’s always an honor to play for an appreciative, receptive audience.
Q: What would you tell someone about Sing Out Loud who has never heard of it? Why should they go?
Aslyn: If you have never been to Sing Out Loud, you have to go! Not only will you get to see and hear some incredible local music, but you will get to enjoy some of the best music from around the country. And it is all in one beautiful place: St. Augustine!
Sam: Where else can you find that many amazing acts playing for free? It’s simply one of the best cultural events in the south, in my humble opinion.
For more information on Sing Out Loud Music Festival, visit www.singoutloudfestival.com.