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MP3 Frank Carlier - Americana 101

Alt Country, Folk, Americana

Alt Country, Folk, American Roots

13 MP3 Songs
COUNTRY: Country Rock, FOLK: Modern Folk

Frank Carlier defines himself as a hillbilly from West Virginia, and makes no bones about it. But he is much more than that. He is a viper’s nest of ironies and dichotomies, to use what Carlier would call $20 words.

Depending on who you talk to, there is no shortage of definitions for Carlier. He has been labeled a misogynist ($25 for that word), as well as a crazy son of a bitch. The latter commonly used by musicians who have had the good fortune or misfortune of sharing a stage with him. The fact is he is neither or both. Depending on how you look at things is what makes Carlier a mystery. He is the mystery guy with dark glasses and a sneer.

Frank’s Gospel is the message that drives his music. He writes about common, everyday people caught in life and left there like driftwood tossed up on the beach at low tide. His song, “The Sacred Vow” [Born Again] is a heartbreaking 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.

For someone like Carlier, who has lived most of his life in the Bible Belt, where down home religion and narrow social niches define people as if they were made of stone not flesh, twisting definitions around is a way of escaping confinement. Carlier hates confinement and definitions - which are usually ways of imprisoning reality.

To define his style as modern folk 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 the “good old boys” club who look at the world ways no one else bothers to think about.

Whatever else one may think about him Carlier’s voice is truly American. Born of immigrant blood, brought up in the heart of West Virginia’s coal fields, in a small town nestled in mountain country; he appeals as the voice of a lost community. His voice can be like the raspy rumble of an idling Harley or the mournful chant of a hill country troubadour.

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 down a country back road at night, at a hundred miles an hour with the lights off.

In some circles, his personality type might be called contrary. In his music this contrary quality becomes an art form. His first CD was about wasted and pointless lives, violence, failed love, and death, and he called it “Born Again”. His second CD was about love, mid-life discovery and nostalgia, and he called it “Hellbound”.

Staying vital and faithful to his own hard-times gospel his newest CD “Americana 101" is definitely his best work so far. He sketches an elaborate complex and certainly detailed picture of those people whose portraits are never painted, whose biographies are never written, who never make the newspaper except in the police blotter or the obituaries. It is about the inhumanity and incompetence of how our communities, country and lives are being run. It is about how people are being chewed up and mangled and spit out like so much useless mulch.

“Americana 101" is bound to hit everyone between both eyes, like a sawed off shotgun shell full of irony pellets.

Fernando Revis, Composer, Grammy Award Winner, Freelance Journalist.

A great dark story telling voice, strong lyrics with a very rootsy and diverse sound. Just amazing...one of the greatest discoveries of the year. I just hope more music lovers discover him. Ray Pieters - Belgium Radio.

A real musical personality. Michel Penard - ISA Radio France.

The song writing has a depth of a life fully lived and realized, and a wickedly delicious sense of humor. Carol O''Quinn''s vocal 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.

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 is carefully put together and deeply exhaled. Music with stories and a craft behind it. Marc Schultz - Charleston City Paper.

A very fine talent. Not only as a multi-instrumentalist but also as a singer-songwriter in the great American tradition of contemporary folk (but with some good country and blues connections also). Massimo Ferro - Radio Italy.

"Americana 101" met my most favorable review. In the spirit of the baseball playoffs...it sure popped the mit of my mind with a full complement of fastball''s, wicked curves and a Jerry Springer knuckleball. Super Good!
Eddie Russell DJ
Country Eastern West.

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