For a musician who once seemed to be everywhere at once, Fernando Perdomo seems unusually humble, if not by choice, then certainly by necessity.
And the launch party for his debut solo album, Home is Wherever You Are actually finds him opening for Omine, one of the many acts signed to his Forward Motion Records label.
This latest release was inspired by his recent move to a Los Angeles suburb, a relocation precipitated by the death of his mother in September 2011 and the subsequent sale of his Miami home.
"'Home Is Wherever You Are' is more than a song, it's a mantra," Perdomo confides.
"What has been cool is that in L.A., I'm a mystery man. In Miami, I was a producer/sideman who does the singer/songwriter thing on the side.
"In L.A., people don't know I play lead guitar and produce. I really enjoy the respect I'm getting as a songwriter. I wasn't getting that in Miami. I've already done several showcases and played the House of Blues since I moved here in June."
If Perdomo feels as though he didn't get the attention he deserved in South Florida, it certainly wasn't for lack of trying. The last few years have seen him steadily expanding his record company's roster and growing his reputation as an all-purpose player, producer, and performer who's contributed to literally dozens of local projects. And even if he wasn't exactly feeling the love here at home, the new album was designed to strip away any added accoutrements -- specifically, his longtime band Dreaming in Stereo and all the other musical additives that normally surround him.
"I decided to make it a Fernando Perdomo solo record so that Dreaming in Stereo can morph into a purely progressive rock project," he explains. "I make my living as a first call session guitarist and bassist. And after one of my longtime employers, producer Chris Rodriguez, hired me to play on the new record by Simone Kelly, Nina Simone's daughter, I played some new songs for Chris and his wife and they flipped. Chris offered to produce the songs, and while I'm known as a producer and I plan on producing for the rest of my life, the idea of putting the production in someone else's hands and allowing me to focus on strictly being the artist was refreshing."
Photo by Ben Guzman
The result is a set of songs bathed in orchestral splendor, one that substitutes strings and wide-eyed emotion for the vintage British rock regimen that earned Dreaming in Stereo its reputation. "Chris's idea was to remove cliché rock elements from my songs," Perdomo recalls. "That meant no electric guitars, synths, solos, noises, and traditional drums.
"He wanted to make my songs sound widescreen and cinematic. 'Home,' 'Smile' and 'In a World Without You' sound huge, like Bacharach producing Elvis Costello. We used ten string players and layered them to sound like a symphony orchestra."
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Of course, tackling ambition isn't a new tack as far as Fernando's concerned. So put aside the notion he's taking a secondary slot on the bill. This homecoming performance is certain to become an auspicious occasion.
Fernando Perdomo's Home Is Wherever You Are album release party. Alongside Omine. Thursday, November 1. Luna Star Café, 775 NE 125 St., Miami Shores. The show starts at 8 p.m. and admission costs $7. on at Tickets cost $7 at the door. Call 305-799-7123 or visit lunastarcafe.com.