“In this world if you read the papers…”
Amber Ferrari will be recreating the iconic figure of Janis Joplin Saturday April 28 at the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall on Peconic Avenue in Riverhead–the hall built in 1881 imitating the Ford Theater in Washington DC–with her eight-piece band Joplin’s Pearl Rock The Women of Rock.
The Long Island native’s live performance is unlike any other as her energy transcends from the stage to the audiences’ soul.
“There is no word to describe the feeling…I have to perform live, I must,” Ferrari enthuses.
It all started when Ferrari was a teen. A close friend, Tony Romano, asked her to sing “Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin in a club in Islip. This wasn’t the first time in her life she performed in front of a crowd, but the first in this type of venue. She is yet to look back. “That’s when I knew I had to do something with Janis,” Ferrari admits.
In 2005, she was asked to play Janis in Theatre Three’s production, Woodstock Mania, in Port Jefferson, where Ferrari reached a new level in her musical career. In 2007, Ferrari took a brief “pause” from Janis Joplin to pursue other interests in the music field. She began her own record label, titled O.M.O Records Inc, which Ellen Michelmore, music director at Theatre Three, named. The name O.M.O. fittingly stands for “On My Own.” Ferrari released her own debut single “Whatever Whatever” that “went global,” she said with a smile, after signing to Sobel Nation Radio. She plans on releasing her next single, “Not Just a Pretty Face,” this July.
Despite success with her own musical endeavors, Ferrari resumed the Janis persona, last June at her old stomping grounds at Theatre Three.
Although Ferrari is becoming a local legend herself, she still remembers the old days when she wasn’t being paid to sing. She recalls riding home on the bus, “Bus Z,” she vividly recalls, when her bus driver, Bill, and herself would sing rock hits like Billy Joel’s smash, “It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me.” Ferrari was often ridiculed by her classmates for being different, much like Janis herself, and found music as a remedy and a form of self-expression, “What’s the matter with the clothes I’m wearing?” lyric has since crystallized inside Ferrari.
Her goal is to perform all her own songs in the first act of the show, followed by a second act of exclusively Joplin’s music. Until then, the local singer-songwriter will continue to cover women rock legends like Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett, Melissa Etheridge, and Alanis Morissette, along with sprinkling in her own songs. The second act is dedicated solely to Janis. In all 60s attire, the performance is a reincarnation of the late legend.
In addition to the April 28 show, Amber Ferrari will be performing July 17 at the Blues Festival in Riverhead.
Tickets for the April 28 concert at the Vail–Leavitt in Riverhead can be purchased online. They are $25 in advance. They can be purchased either at Joplinspearl.com, www.vailleavitt.org, or in person at Quiznos, In Medford, off Route 112.