By Ted Slowik
Mokena’s John Narcissi is building a name for himself as a talented young musician and budding songwriter who delivers entertaining live performances.
Now the 17-year-old Providence Catholic High School senior is poised to make one of his most high-profile performances to date at the third annual Hopstring Fest Aug. 23 at Silver Cross Field in Joliet. Narcissi is set to play from 1:40 to 2 p.m. on the Deschutes Brewery Stage, one of two side stages showcasing local talent at this year’s festival.
Narcissi studies guitar with Kev Wright of New Lenox, guitarist for The Righteous Hillbillies, one of Hopstring’s mainstage performers. Hopstring is headlined this year by rock band Cracker, known for such hits as “Get Off This,” “Low,” “Teen Angst,” “Happy Birthday To Me” and “Euro-Trash Girl.”
Tickets for the 12-hour celebration of live music, food and craft beer are $20 and available through hopstringfest.com.
Narcissi says he’s always been interested in music and that his parents, John and Jane, played music around the house since he was a baby. He discovered guitar at Axes Music in Mokena, which led to taking lessons there.
“The owner Clyde put a guitar in my hand and I said, ‘This is me,’” John says.
He remains a multi-instrumentalist who can play violin, cello, bagpipes and other instruments. He plays percussion with the Providence band and he was a finalist in the 2011 and 2012 Rialto Idol Jr., singing competition.
He often performs cover versions of songs by The Beatles and such other artists as Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Coldplay, Mumford and Sons, Jason Mraz, Tom Petty and Blake Shelton.
Last year during a visit to Tennessee Narcissi performed at the legendary Blue Bird Cafe in Nashville, sharing a stage with singer/songwriters Scotty Emerick and Marc Beeson. When the Breidert Green stage in Frankfort was torn down and replaced in 2013, Narcissi was the last to perform on the old stage and the first to perform on the new one.
Though he often performs covers Narcissi writes his own poetry, has been studying composition and has written a half dozen or so originals, including one called "Thank You." He’s also performed on several occasions with The Righteous Hillbillies.
“John’s a brilliant young musician,” Wright says. “He’s got so much going on musically as a multi-instrumentalist. And he’s very passionate about making music.”
If You Go
What: Hopstring Fest
When: Saturday, Aug. 23, 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Where: Silver Cross Field, 1 Mayor Art Schultz Drive, Joliet
Who: Local talent and headline bands like Cracker
How much: Tickets are $20 presale/$30 at the door