Bobby was born in Fall River, Massachusetts and raised in Newport, RI by two very musical parents, Lolly and Tony Faria. He began learning music from the age of 5 or 6 when he would play songs with his parents. Little Bobby would strum on the ukulele while his Dad stretched out on his violin or guitar and his Mom played the piano. As he advanced through grammar school, he began taking private lessons on both piano and guitar.
Later on in junior high, he joined the school concert band where he played a rented tenor saxophone. Even though his musical tastes were more along the lines of the Rock music of the day, he truly loved the sound of that tenor sax. As Bobby has often said, "There is something about putting your life's breath into a horn that makes the music so much more personal than with any other type of instrument".
Unfortunately, money was short and that rented horn had to be returned to the store. For years after that, Bobby dreamed of getting his hands on a saxophone of his own but always thought it was out of his reach. Being kind of an introverted kid, he obsessively practiced his guitar, listening to his favorite recordings and intuitively training his ears until he could play most any song that was on the radio after hearing it a few times. The only records that he actually bought were the ones he couldn't figure out immediately because they had really fast or complicated guitar licks. In those days, music was sold on vinyl records and there was no such thing as software to slow down the tough parts. He had to play them over and over at full speed until he could duplicate them. "With all the new technology, it's so much easier to learn by ear today, but since I'm still learning, I can't complain because I use lots of the new tools."
By the time he got to high school he discovered how much he loved performing in front of a crowd. He joined with four other talented boys and started a rock cover band that drove everyone's parents crazy with the loud music coming from the basement. Eventually, they got good and began playing at school dances. Chuck Matley covered the rhythm guitar spot with John Haney keeping them in line on the drums. Rich Haymon's able manning of the Hammond organ gave the band a powerful sound that set them apart from the other garage bands in town. Bobby was the lead guitarist and shared vocal duties with bassist Will Borges. Like all good things, the band came to an end. When high school ended, the band broke up and everyone went their separate ways. Thanks to social media, they have all reconnected since then.
Bobby left home to broaden his horizons in the big city. He made an attempt at living in New York City, but the transition from the quiet resort town of Newport, RI to the "City That Never Sleeps " was too much of a culture shock for a small town boy. He just couldn't take all the noise. To this day he remembers the relief he felt when he boarded that Amtrak train that returned him to New England. Undaunted, his next target was Boston.
Although a good sized city compared to Newport, he found Boston much more to his liking. It was still a bit of a transition for him, but over time, he was able to work his way up the pecking order to become an in-demand sideman for lots of busy Boston bands and recording artists in a wide variety of musical genres.
In 1998, after many conversations with horn players on the bandstand, he realized his childhood dream and bought his first saxophone. Like a kid in a candy store, he devoted every spare minute to learning how to play it. He only took a handful of formal lessons, but because he is blessed with good ears and he had a lot of experience as a performer, his primary focus from the beginning was always to make each note sound as good as possible. As Bobby says, "I'd rather play one beautiful, appropriate note than a thousand irrelevant ones. I've been fortunate to be friends with so many great sax players, so I have always had access to lots of world class guidance."
Before too long, he was getting calls for saxophone gigs as well as guitar. His resumé includes work with a who's who of New England's most successful R&B and Blues artists who all recognized his talents as a musician. Bobby says, "The key to being a good sideman is to remember that people are there to hear the singer sing. So you have to work to never get in the way of the vocals. Not to mention that the singer is usually the one who signs your check.
From each association with other performers he gained more skills and insights, eventually acquiring the depth that brought him to where he began to realize that might finally be able to take center stage and express his own musical voice instead of just enhancing that of other artists.
Bobby has been writing original music since the 1980’s and his songs come in a wide variety of styles. He believes that each song has its own message that deserves to be unique, so he finds the most appropriate musical genre to match the message contained in the song. Because of this, it is impossible to categorize his body of work as one style or another. This has probably held him back, but he has no regrets. As Bobby puts it, “Everybody likes to think of themself as unique, but truthfully every musician is a product of their musical influences combined with whatever they bring to the table. There is no way that I can objectively compare myself to any specific artist. I try to sound a little like everyone I've ever loved listening to... but I try to only steal from the very best.
When push comes to shove, I think Larry Carlton may have said it best. It's all "Just Another Excuse to Play the Blues"