Innovative banjo player Gina Furtado launched her new band, The Gina Furtado Project, with one goal in mind: Sharing her own artistic voice with deeply personal songs about living life, swallowing pride and respecting others’ journeys. On I Hope You Have A Good Life, her second album from Mountain Home Music Company, Furtado shows she has invaluable awareness of the world around her — and of herself — with songwriting that’s metaphorical yet literal, whimsical yet sensible.
“To me, the most influential perk to playing music for a living has been the opportunity to get to know and work alongside many profoundly creative and fearless human beings. The way I see it, their individuality makes the world a more vibrant and happier place to be,” says Furtado. “I have something of my own to share (as we all do!).”
Working with guitarist Chris Luquette — a holdover from Furtado’s 2017 debut, True Colors — alongside Nate Leath (fiddle), Danny Knicely (mandolin) and bassist Mark Fain to record the album, Furtado paints with another broad musical palette on the new release. There’s straight ahead bluegrass drive on numbers like “Shame” and “Princess And The Pea,” but there’s a dazzling array of other textures, too, like the spare banjo-and-vocal of “Story Of An Artist,” the raucous funk of “Can You Picture That” and the tropical syncopation of “Take Your Time.” Each song is crafted with insightful originality, perfectly yet creatively matching words with musical moods.
The album begins with the first single, “First Pebble,” which Furtado describes as the most personal on the album. “This one was born soon after my marriage fell apart and I looked around to find I was surviving, and in fact thriving, when I thought that would not be the case,” says Furtado. “Ending is just another word for beginning!”
Lyrically, Furtado authentically represents the feelings of dating and looking for companionship with songs about being rudely stood up (“Take Your Time”), having a debilitating crush (“Dancing To Your Tune”), and dealing with loneliness (“Man Like That”).
She plays with metaphors on “Airplane Ride” and “I Knew What To Do.” Of the first she says traveling for music illustrates how life is a journey. “This song summarizes my philosophy on how I’d like to live my life (aka, my ‘airplane ride’): appreciate and enjoy one’s own journey for what it is; acknowledge and respect that others’ are on theirs; and be kind along the way,” says Furtado.
“I Knew What To Do” takes listeners through the four seasons, taking note of how beautiful things will always take the place of others when their time has passed. “There cannot be new life without the loss of old,” says Furtado. With just a hint of sadness, this song expresses what it’s like to recognize and accept an ending, but look forward to a beginning.
Other songs include instrumental “The Princess And The Pea”; “Try,” about realizing that being human means sometimes winning and sometimes losing; a cover of “Story Of An Artist;” and “Shame,” a (Something about the music track) about how individuals can use their power for better or worse.
“What I hope to impart to my kids: ‘When you blame other people, you’re giving up your own power.’ Shame is directed at whoever the listener is; not just those with what is typically regarded as a position of power,” says Furtado. “I think we all have a unique power to improve the world. We can complain and blame others for not using (or misusing) their unique power, or we could use our own to make our tiny piece of the world nicer.”
I Hope You Have A Good Life ends with Furtado’s version of “Can You Picture That” from The Muppets, capturing her fun loving spirit.
This collection of music proves Furtado’s adept at setting her own path, both in life and music. Her raw and honest storytelling resonates in today’s world where rushing and selfishness are common, with a heartfelt reminder to appreciate the journey of ourselves and others — all the while holding on to our own power.
Pre-order I Hope You Have A Good Life HERE.
About The Gina Furtado Project
Formed by innovative artist Gina Furtado, The Gina Furtado Project brings unique musicianship and songwriting that breaks free from the assumed constructs of traditional music modalities and makes a new musical statement influenced by emotion, played with the highest skill, and expressing an enormous verve and vitality.
Furtado, known for her work as the banjo player for Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, she has a long history with her banjo. Born and raised in Front Royal, Virginia, Gina began touring up and down the east coast in her tween years with her siblings, earning countless ribbons from fiddlers conventions, a strong reputation in the regional bluegrass scene, and a stamp from Bluegrass Today as “absurdly talented.” She later played in a number of regional acts before making her international touring debut with Chris Jones and the Night Drivers soon after joining the group in 2016.
While touring, she is joined by Drew Matulich on guitar, Max Johnson on bass and Malia Furtado, her sister, on violin, who each bring experience and energy to the band.
Now based in Asheville, NC, Matulich grew up in Georgia and began playing guitar at 8. While studying music in college he performed with several bands of various styles in and around Georgia and Florida before immersing himself in the Bluegrass scene of Western North Carolina. He has toured and recorded with Billy Strings, made a guest appearance on Roland White's album and shared the stage with the likes of David Grisman, Bryan Sutton, Sam Bush, Cody Kilby, and Sierra Hull.
Harvesting the wild energy and joy of free jazz and bluegrass, Johnson, a bassist and composer, approaches his music with love and authenticity. A first-call bass player in the Bluegrass community, he has performed with some of the most legendary names in bluegrass, including David Grisman, Sam Bush, Chris Thile, Molly Tuttle, the Travelin’ McCourys, Darol Anger, and Jeff Scroggins & Colorado at some of the top festivals in the world.
Malia’s musical journey began at the age of 3 with classical violin lessons and took a turn, when she attended her first festival, Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention, a few years later. Since then, she has performed with a number of different groups, taken home a range of prizes, graced the stage of numerous venues up and down the East Coast and given private lessons in both bluegrass and classical playing. Malia is the Director of Education at the Front Porch Music School in Charlottesville, VA, and currently teaches adult continued education courses in bluegrass fiddle at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyer’s Cave, VA.