By Jennifer Linkins, Bloc Reporter
It was easy to spot him.
Waltzing down the steps, guitar case in hand, he headed toward me at the Stonehenge-inspired sculpture garden on campus. While his grin contained both anxiety and eagerness, his experience with the instrument that he carried gave him a touch of confidence.
Freshman computer science major Joe Laverty has a knack for string instruments. He’s played the guitar for over five years and has also spent some time learning the bass guitar and ukulele.
Although his strumming is generally confined to the walls of his dorm room, this day he agreed to come play a few songs for me.
“Well I think it was kinda the Red Hot Chili Peppers.”
The band, he said, was the first he had discovered on his own and his attachment to the group eventually spawned a desire to play bass guitar. From there, he transitioned to the acoustic guitar and practically dropped the bass altogether.
Laverty moved to England at the age of 12. He moved to Maryland last summer.
In high school, he performed in a school-sponsored band for a brief time and he even got his chance to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers in Manchester.
Since then his music style has transformed, although he doesn’t like to narrow himself down to just one genre.
“When I go and look for new music,” he said, “rather than looking for something similar to what I’m already listening to, I want something like totally different, so you end up kinda playing like a wide range of stuff.”
For the most part, however, Laverty enjoys tackling acoustic folk songs, like those by The Decemberists, one of his favorite bands.
“As I’ve played more and more, I’ve started to enjoy the songs more that kinda tell a story. It’s a spoken-word thing,” said Laverty. For him, playing guitar has become a passionate hobby and these story-telling tunes make the time he spends playing even more unwinding.
Because he is pursuing a future in computer science, Laverty says that he hopes the guitar will remain a pastime, something he can enjoy and not feel any pressure from.
“If I had a rough day, it’s the first thing I do is pick up a guitar and play.”