2015-12-23 / Around Town

Meet Julio Amaro

By Mark Gorman

This week’s featured musician owes his music career to his older sister. In the 1970s while living in Chile, she sent a guitar back to her parents and siblings in Venezuela and her 10-year-old brother was the first one to grab it and claim it as his own. Now, over 40 years later, he makes his living playing guitar. Meet Julio Amaro.

But it took the budding guitarist a while to develop his own style of playing. “I’d listen to Al Kooper and Crosby, Stills and Nash and I’d try to copy them. One day I heard a guy fingerpicking ‘Here Comes the Sun’ and I knew right then I wanted to learn finger picking,” he recalled.

The musician classifies his style as "world music with a Latin twist" or “Gershwin with a Caribbean twist.”

The self-taught guitarist likes to sing in many languages when he plays. During the course of one gig you might hear him sing in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian. “I try to do a little of everything,” he said.

Mark Gorman is a retired high school guidance counselor and guitarist-vocalist who performs locally each week. Mark Gorman is a retired high school guidance counselor and guitarist-vocalist who performs locally each week. Being a solo musician is hard work. Audiences have come to expect a full band sound as many solo guitarists now augment their sound with technology, using effects pedals, drum machines and pre-recorded tracks. Amaro shuns this approach.

“I strap a shaker to my right foot and I have a tambourine on my left foot as I kick a stomp box, which is amplified with a pick-up,” he explained.

When playing out publicly, he’ll often use two guitars. One is a Buscarino brand and looks like a solid body instrument with nylon strings. The other axe is a more traditional Washburn classical. “They both help me get the sound I’m looking for,” he said.

When he is not playing his guitar, the Venezuela native likes to paint. Music and art are how he supports himself. “You have to work very hard and take the work when you can get it,” he said.

For the last eight years, Amaro has been playing solo at Perro Salado and enjoying it. “I love when people are sitting down dining and they love my music. It’s a great gig,” he enthused.

Be sure to catch him every Monday night from 6-10 p.m. at Perro Salado, 19 Charles St. For more information, visit JulioAmaroGuitar on Facebook.

This column has highlighted local musicians each week over the past year. To read about them, visit www.NewportThisWeek.com.

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