MP3 Frank Carlier - Hellbound
Modern folk roots & country with overtones of Jazz, Blues, Rock, Blue Grass, Southern Gospel, and Dixie Land
13 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Modern Folk, COUNTRY: Country Folk
He is a viper''s nest of ironies and dichotomies.
His musical language is a blend of Celtic music, country music, bluegrass, rock, jazz and just about anything that will help Carlier get the point across. And what a point it is. Frank''s Gospel is the message that drives his music. He writes and strums about common, everyday people caught in life and left there, like driftwood tossed up on the beach at low tide. If you listen closely, you''ll hear about the hard lives of those who weren''t fortunate enough to get an education or a handout from the government. If you listen closely enough, you may even realize that those people we sometimes label as rejects are a lot like the rest of us. They are looking for love and meaning in a world torn down to the bare essentials. In fact, when you come right down to it, the label "reject" itself is a pointless one because we are all in the same boat - hellbound Carlier would say. The song "Sacred Vow" is a heart-breaking portrait of lives lived on the edge of the good life, lives left out of the American Dream to spin with poetic pointlessness and eventually vanish.
Carlier writes often about those who are left out. And that''s why the ideas of good and bad are sometimes twisted around in his music, because what some people perceive as morality is just a synonym for exclusion and punishment. For someone like Carlier, who has lived most of his life in Bible-belt country, where down-home religion and narrow social values define people as if they were made of stone and not flesh, twisting definitions around is a way of escaping confinement. Carlier hates confinement and definitions, which are usually ways of imprisoning reality. In other circles, his personality type might be called contrary. In his music this contrary quality is raised to an art form.
He writes most of his songs while traveling in his car. He likes to travel fast, spinning verses that are as quirky and memorable as riding through a country back road at night at a hundred miles per hour with the lights off.
To define his style as modern folk music or edgy country would pay him a great disservice. It is neither and it is both. His role models are those classic figures that tow similar lines of definition: Tom Waits, Randy Newman, John Prine - boys left out of all the "good ole boys" clubs who look at the world in ways no one else bothers to think about. Whatever else one may think about him Carlier''s voice is truly American. Born of Polish-Czech-Croatian-Belgian immigrant blood, brought up in the heart of West Virginia, of coal miners, in a small town nestled in mountain country, he appeals as the voice of a lost community. He invokes what we are in the process of blurring out and washing over. Small town America is being replaced with neat little suburbs, town centers that are mostly latte coffee shops, banks, exercise spas, industrial parks, malls and auto dealerships. His music reminds us that we come from somewhere else, somewhere real, sometimes painful and it is a mistake to forget that.
His voice can be like the raspy rumble of an idling Harley or the mournful and mellow chant of a hill country troubadour. He continues and will continue to elude any label we try to put on him. And as long as he does, he will remain vital and faithful to his own hard-times gospel.
Composer, Grammy Winner, Freelance Journalist
Deep emotional story songs... If you like Harry Chapin and Tom Waits you will love this!
Lord Litter Dittmar
A great dark story telling voice, with strong lyrics with a very rootsy diverse sound. Just amazing! One of the Greatest Discoveries of the year. I just hope music-lovers discover him.
Ray Pieters - Belgium Radio
A very fine talent. Not only as a multi-instrumentalist but also as a singer-songwriter in great American tradition of contemporary folk (but with some good country and blues connections too).
Massimo Ferro - Radio Italy
A real musical personality!
Michel Penard - ISA Radio France
Frank''s songwriting has a delicious sense of humor. Carol O'' Quinn''s voice harmonies are wonderful. Emmylouesque yes, but better suited to Frank''s songs. And the music is so delicate in places against the harsh realism of some of the lyrics.
Kevin Sullivan - FM Dublin
Screaming Jay Hawkins says that most people write songs about love, heartbreak, loneliness and being broke. From Frank Carlier''s songs, about a sexy bartender, an old girlfriend in a photo and his divorce (where he jokes, "its great being a musician getting a divorce - they don''t get much!"), his lyrics are no exception to the rule. Carlier can howl with the best of them. His 12-bar blues that places his ex-girlfriend in the book of Genesis was almost as scraggly as Tom Waits.
S.E. Barcus - Cabaret Review, Spoleto
There are times when a band hits their stride and delivers a set that is beyond anything that you expect, and believe me those sets are extremely rare. But the Frank Carlier Band did it over and over again. The stellar ensemble delivered a show that was filled with great four part harmonies, phenomenal instruments and Carlier''s own brand of funny lyrics and accentuating sensitive stories.
Eddie Hogan - Editor of Charleston Free Times,
Spoleto Festival Review
Carlier''s Music is the kind that plants its heels hard into the earth and digs. The kind that takes a troubled story and twines it around a handful of eager, carefully honed instruments like a flowering vine twisted among barbed wire. His voice is sandy and his picking is hypnotic, and the music it all makes together is something rooted in dirt and in the muscle. Music that carefully put together and deeply exhaled. Music with stories and a craft behind it.
Marc Schultz - City Paper