Continuing to express his freewheeling musical creativity in FrazierBand, John Frazier’s first ensemble to feature a drum groove since his teens, the multi-talented singer/songwriter and mandolin, guitar and fiddle master spent a whirlwind two years and 125-dates on the road in 2013-14 with acoustic and electric banjo players Matt Menefee and Kyle Tuttle and drummer Jim Kittleman.
While solidifying their inventive mix of rock and Newgrass via the infectious hook driven pop tunes from FrazierBand’s critically acclaimed 2012 self titled debut, the group also experimented sonically, adding textures from a variety of influences, including jazz and psychedelic jam/rock. After sharing a glimpse of their explosive, evolving live sound on their 2014 release Live at The Five Spot, FrazierBand got back to work in their home base of Nashville, vibing with engineer Daniel Rice (Cadillac Sky) to create a follow-up studio album reflecting a solid ensemble sound that Frazier could have only dreamed of when he launched FrazierBand in 2010.
The Philly area native brings a powerful, eclectic history as an acoustic and bluegrass performer, sideman, producer and record producer into his leadership of FrazierBand. Moving to Nashville in the winter of 2006/2007, the veteran musician – fresh from his longtime stint as mandolin and fiddle player and lead and harmony vocalist for the acclaimed Colorado string band Hit & Run Bluegrass – quickly established himself among Music City’s elite acoustic performers.
Frazier, who grew up listening to everything from Brubeck to Bach and James Taylor and got into bluegrass through The Grateful Dead, Dave Grisman and later greats like Bela Fleck, has recorded and produced studio albums, has a nice pile of songwriting credits, and has performed at venues all across the U.S. and overseas. These include the Grande Ole Opry, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Telluride Bluegrass Festival (four times), Merlefest, Bill Monroe Memorial Bluegrass Festival (Bean Blossom), Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, The “World Famous” Station Inn, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Royal Festival Hall in London. He has also appeared on “Later with Jools Holland” and PBS.
While continuing to showcase Frazier’s wide ranging skills as a vocalist and on mandolin, guitar and fiddle, the new FrazierBand’s forthcoming release also features some of his most compelling original tunes ever. He penned the spirited, uptempo “The Rod & The Cane” as a song of encouragement to a friend going through some intense life struggles, but it ended up being a cathartic journey for him on a personal level as well. Sometimes, as he says, you just need a break from the wild ride that life can tend to be. FrazierBand also create an exciting country groove shuffle behind a heartfelt strum through The Beatles’ White Album gem “Mother Nature’s Son.”
Building on the momentum of the multiple stints of 2013-14, Frazier looks forward to hitting the road for an extended tour in support of the new material in 2015. “Whether I’ve been a sideman or a leader, I have always loved performing onstage,” he says. “I enjoy the newness of each experience and every crowd and that one person whose life is affected by the music I am helping create. There’s always an opportunity to touch people’s lives in exciting ways, just as my life has been touched by those who inspired me. My drummer Jim Kittleman said it best when he compared a band going on tour in support of an album to an artist who has done a painting and is attempting to recreate it in front of an audience every single night. Mostly we’ll do it similarly, but there will always be fun ways to experiment to make things different. Touring has a way of keeping the music fresh.”