Brian Franklin

Brian Franklin

BandAmericanaSinger/Songwriter

When acoustic: Dark, lyric driven, politically themed folk-rock. When in a band setting: guitar driven americana. Visit www.tumbleman.com for more info.

Biography

his earliest songs to his latest album, Desert Farmer, Brian Franklin's songs have studied different types of internal and external struggles: from war and greed, to relationships and identity. While most of them offer a hopeful resolution, they’re not happy songs. Not even close.

In the early 1990s, Brian Franklin was known mainly for his solo acoustic performances and his role as a backup vocalist and lead guitar player in support of other artists – particularly as a member of Matthew Sabatella’s band. His gritty guitar work (described as “manic” by the Miami New Times) was more roots-rock than the grunge-rock popular then, but his lyric-driven songs caught the attention of acoustic-music fans and regional press.

Given the opportunity to record a local studio owned by legendary noise-artist Rat Bastard (Frank Falestra)… Franklin assembled friends – local singer-songwriters – to serve as back-up musicians on Suburban Hallucinations (1995) – his first full length release. Recorded and mixed in 10 days, the mostly acoustic album earned him a publishing deal with Mercury Records/Polygram, and acclaim as The Miami New Times' Best Acoustic Performer. Ink 19 described the album this way: "Franklin's delivery is soulful and passionate... Suburban Hallucinations provides the perfect soundtrack for those who are surprised by moments of joy in the darkest of times."

Following the release of the album and the signing by Mercury/Polygram, Franklin went into a writing frenzy, completing over 20 songs in a 6 month period, and inciting Mercury to push for a new album to showcase. The result was Stir Fried World (1996) - recorded over 2 1/2 weeks in Miami.

Starkly different from it's predecessor, Stir Fried World a shift to a largely band approach. Still dark and lyrical, Stir Fried World took what could have been sad songs and made them into pop tunes. More importantly, it served as a glimpse into what would be an immerging trend in Franklin's music - dramatic, swelling, guitar driven ballads - written as if they were part of a soundtrack to a movie yet to be written. Franklin described them as songs you would listen to as you watched your favorite car get towed away. A more aggressive, band-driven album, it led to attention in Billboard Magazine and prompted the Next Flash to write: "Franklin steps into the singer/songwriter spotlight with such blinding clarity it's hard to imagine him doing anything else but this. Franklin's songs are a pure joy to listen to... his somewhat raspy voice a soothing, hypnotic instrument in itself."

The album, for all of its progress, was almost immediately homeless. In 1996, the music scene was changing radically, and terms like radio-friendly began to translate more towards the language of boy-bands and Jewel than the roots-driven arcana of Franklin's music. The Mercury deal ended without fanfare, and Franklin - dissatisfied with the direction of his career, decided to finish school.

During this time he got a B.A. in History (graduating Summa Cum Laude) and married his girlfriend, Deborah. As the year drew to a close, he began to write again. He emerged with a new standard for his music, a new ethic, new songs, and most importantly, a new band.

Along the way, he teamed with engineer/producer Oz Fritz, who recorded Tom Waits’ Grammy-winning Mule Variations, as well as albums by John Hammond, Primus, Oysterhead, Bill Laswell, and others. With Franklin’s new band, Tumbleman, featuring regionally well-known musicians Jack Shawde (Bob Dylan, Stan Lynch, Al Kooper), Diane Ward, and Russ Rogers (Dot Fash, The Numb Ones), Franklin recorded 9 songs for an album (known as the Prairie Sun Sessions) which - due to financing difficulties – remains only 2/3rds complete.

In August of 2005 however, Franklin was approached by his old friend and collaborator, Rat Bastard, to record in his newly-updated studio in Miami Beach. Though Franklin has written (if not recorded) over 70 songs, he had a particular set in mind – written as a backdrop to the build-up and engagement of America’s current wars.

Desert Farmer’s nine songs loosely trace the plight of non-combatants both here and abroad and features artists such as Ward, Sabatella, Shawde, Rogers, Bastard, Ken Franklin, and names familiar to South Florida audiences: Arlan Feiles, Emily Easterly, Dean Fields, and Alex Diaz

While political themes and war allusions have long been part of Franklin’s songwriting – Desert Farmer is a more focused and conceptual effort. The album takes the listener on a dark path that starts only slightly more optimistic than it ends; even the most hopeful line, “In my dreams… the streets are clean, and we all stand together,” is stated doubtfully. The final song, with lyrics by Franklin and melody by Fields, has the protagonist helpless to do anything but comfort a soldier’s widow. The album also features “Bullet Butterfly” - Franklin’s first songwriting collaboration with Fields.

Lyrics

Dove on the Ground

Written By: Brian Franklin

DOVE ON THE GROUND
For lyrics and more, see:
www.tumbleman.com

On My Last Day

Written By: Brian Franklin

For lyrics and more, see: www.tumbleman.com

Discography

2005 - Brian Franklin - Desert Farmer: Main Artist, songwriter
2000 - CD Single: Big Problems Now/To Turn Back
1996 - Brian Franklin: Stir Fried World
1995 - Suburban Hallucinations

-----
Also appears on
Diane Ward: Move, The Great Impossible - guitar, vocals

Matthew Sabatella: Where the Hell Am I? - guitar, vocals, co-producer

Dean Fields: Demo - Guitar, vocals, producer

Scott Rees: Guitar, harmonica

Set List

I have 65 original songs... so it is pretty varied. Depends on if it's a band show or acoustic.