At 32, local singer/songwriter releases EP
Call her a late bloomer if you will, but she’s always been a musician and she’s never given up Hope
Allison Giuliano has always been musically minded. The 32-year-old started piano lessons at age 10, and she taught piano at Second Stage Studio in Cumberland in 2015 and 2016. She grew up singing in choirs. She minored in music at Rhode Island College.
Still, she ended up taking a hiatus from music throughout most of her 20s.
“I had a lot of stage fright and was always sort of very shy about anything I did,” Giuliano said. “You hear other people and think, 'Oh, they're better than me,' so I was just too chicken.”
But having a lot of friends who are musicians, she “got sick of watching everybody else do what I loved to do.”
About four years ago, she got involved with the nonprofit songwriters' group Rising and began taking guitar lessons with its founder, Daniel James Durand.
Now Giuliano – who moved to Providence a month ago after living in North Smithfield for the past 12 years – has released her first EP, “Hope.” The 22-minute singersongwriter/folk album has six songs, and it can be purchased for $5.94 on Amazon and
Giuliano noted that her voice has been compared to those of Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, while some songs also have the modern influence of Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. She cited Kacey Musgraves and Patty Griffin as other influences, along with local artists Steve Allain and Tracie Potochnik.
While the album title may sound like an expression of optimistic expectations, it's actually in reference to the forename of her late grandmother.
On the titular track, Giuliano sings that Hope “wears her best heels even on a Tuesday afternoon” and “would give her last dollar to a kid on TV she never knew.”
The song serves as both a literal homage to her grandmother and a personification of the feeling of hope.
“Hope is a vase of flowers on a kitchen table in the sun. Hope is 64 years of love no matter what,” she sings. “Hope is a tabletop tree with homemade ornaments. Hope is content with two bedrooms and a white picket fence.”
This past Christmas, Giuliano's uncle asked her where she got the line about the white picket fence, and Giuliano confessed that she made it up because she needed a line. But her uncle told her that Hope really did have a house with a white picket fence before Giuliano was born.
Along with playing guitar on some songs, Giuliano strums the ukulele on others.
In an ironic pairing, perhaps the cheeriest song on the album – with ukulele and whistling – was inspired by a time when somebody called her a bitch in jest.
“I took it as half of everything you say when you're joking is kind of true,” Giuliano said, “so I was kind of like, thanks for the song.”
She sings on the track “Heartless,” “I'm a modern-day Tin Man and an empty cavern of stoic carelessness, complete with cobwebs,” and goes on to say that four-letter words come out too easily and there's a special place in hell for her.
Giuliano's album also features Cathy Clasper-Torch on strings, Michael DeQuattro and Peter Bartash on percussion, Joe Lurgio on mandolin and Marty Ballou on bass.
“I wanted to keep it pretty raw, so I didn't want to over-produce it, especially it being my first project,” Guiliano said.
Producing this album over the past two and a half years was her first shot at songwriting.
“It's a totally different ballgame when it's your own creation, your own art,” she said. “It's a process of expressing yourself, but also expressing yourself through your songs in a way that other people are also going to identify with.”
Giuliano had a CD album release party at Second Stage Studio last weekend.
The school and venue has a special place in Giuliano's heart. Rising was sort of based out of Second Stage Studio when she first got involved, she said. Then she began taking voice lessons with Joanne Vecchio, founder and artistic director of Second Stage Studio.
Giuliano has some photography hanging in its gallery, and her 8-year-old daughter went there for drama classes. She also has a 5-yearold son.
In the past, Giuliano has performed at AS220, Brooklyn Coffee & Teahouse and Sandywoods Center for the Arts. She will be playing at Indigo Pizza in Coventry on Friday from 7 to 10 p.m.
Outside of music, Giuliano works as a mental health counselor.
Allison Giuliano, of Providence, plays guitar in her home Thursday. The longtime North Smithfield resident has released a new CD of her songs entitled Hope.
Allison Giuliano, accompanied by her dog ‘Vance,’ has a new CD of her songs entitled Hope.