Traditionally, country music speaks to and for the people. Justin Fabus tells a story worthy of this time-honored and timeless tradition. In his music, the singer and songwriter exudes a raw relatability between the resounding twang of acoustic guitar and robust rhythms. Endorsed by everyone from Taste of Country to The Boot and handpicked by Donnie Wahlberg to open New Kids on the Block’s Mixtape Tour in his native Pittsburgh, the troubadour transforms trials and tribulations into country anthems.
“I’m from a dog-eat-dog place that’s very hard to break out of,” he admits. “However, my philosophy is, ‘If you’re not going to let me through the front door, I’m going to climb through the window’. Pittsburgh’s a blue-collar hardworking town; I write blue-collar songs. That’s country music at its core. That’s who I am.”
He also continues to make major strides through simply doing what he does. 2016’s self-titled Justin Fabus soared to the Top 3 of iTunes Top Country Albums chart as he performed with everyone from Garry Allan and Randy Houser to Craig Campbell. In addition to sold out headline gigs, the 2017 CMA Music Festival showcased him as an “Emerging Artist.” However, he reached new heights with Remedy in 2018. Boasting collaborations with Joey Henry [Frank Sinatra, John Denver, Garth Brooks] and The Voice star Tony Lucca, it crashed the Billboard New Country Albums Chart in the Top 50. Not to mention, he landed features from Paste, AXS, All Access, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and many others.
In the midst of this rapid rise, Justin faced a turbulent and trying time. His mother passed away after a bout with pancreatic cancer.
“It was definitely a rough year,” he sighs. “My mom was the main reason I got into music. She was always my number one fan. It took a toll on me. I was lost. After a month, I snapped out of it, because music is all I know. I put my best foot forward.”
In January 2019, he got a little encouragement from a legend. Tweeting about how “there needed to be a country version of New Kids on the Block’s ‘2 in the Morning’,” Donnie replied with his blessing. So, Justin recorded his take on the tune from 2008’s chart-topping, The Block. The cover caught fire online and Donnie personally invited Justin to perform it at PPG Paints Arena in front of 20,000 screaming fans when New Kids On The Block’s Mixtape Tour rolled through Pittsburgh in 2019.
In the aftermath, Justin launched his biggest solo headline run to date the Back From Hell Tour, crisscrossing the country and packing houses. However, everything set the stage for his next original body of work.
Stripping down the sound to guitar, drums, and bass as the backdrop for the same catchy and confessional storytelling, Justin ultimately adds a new edge to country by preserving its integrity.
“I want people to listen to it and feel the pain and realness of my songs,” he leaves. “I’m never going to write songs I didn’t live or haven’t gone through. My style keeps progressing and growing. I’m writing about loss, but I’m also writing about falling in love. There’s a lot more to come.”
- Rick Florino