Frankenpine

Frankenpine

 New York City, New York, USA
BandAmericanaBluegrass

Frankenpine is a string band with roots reaching from the subway platforms to the deep dark woods, mining bluegrass, rock, folk and country to forge its own place in Americana and roots music.

"What they play is the future of bluegrass, not the past"
-Lucid Culture

Biography

Frankenpine is a string band that nods to tradition without bowing to it. Bluegrass, country and folk provide the foundation of the band’s sound, but Frankenpine’s original music draws on a wide range of influences, including blues, gypsy jazz, rock and old-time. The result is a set of songs with propulsive rhythms and virtuosic solos, tight arrangements and soaring vocal harmonies. The fiddle climbs, the guitars churn. The banjo rolls and the bass digs in.

Formed trio in 2007, Frankenpine has since grown into a sextet including three lead singers, acoustic and resonator guitars, mandolin, bass, fiddle, harmonica, banjo, accordion, percussion and whatever else is within reach. The band has appeared on WNYC, WKCR (Columbia University’s radio station) and North Country Public Radio and performs regularly around New York City. Frankenpine recently completed a year-long residency at the Lakeside Lounge, in the East Village, and released its debut full-length album, The Crooked Mountain, in December of 2010.

Its songs span a range of topics: murderous outlaws, intrepid reporters, local dives and new starts. The sound is varied and vivid. “Texas Outlaw” runs on whipsaw vocal harmonies and fiddle lines. “Blackwell Island” shuffles, swings and lurks all at once. In “Cold Water” a clarion voice floats above of a pair of chiming mandolins. “Convict Grade” scurries on a rabbit-kick rhythm. And “Baltimore” is a try-again smile at the end of a long, rough night.

Often the songs are written collectively—someone comes up with a chord progression, someone else with a bridge or words, someone else with lyrics. That spirit of collaboration is key to Frankenpine’s playing, too. On stage, a guitar solo lifts off from a banjo break and circles back around to slip beneath a fiddle line, the bass driving them all ever forward. With four regular singers—two girls, two guys—the band’s words, stories pulled from personal trials and long-gone history, rise above that near-mad scramble of playing. Frankenpine works because, among the licks, fills and turnarounds, there’s space for a good yarn.

"With Frankenpine, the music takes centerstage over anyone’s ego which is an awfully nice thing to see. What they play is the future of bluegrass, not the past." ~Lucid Culture

"The Brooklyn collective play warm bluegrass inspired by rock, country and blues, and they'll make you think you're up in the hills of Southern Appalachia instead of in a club in Williamsburg." ~Alana Harper, WNYC

"This is not just another band that shows some promise; they look the part and are true seasoned musicians ...Occasionally the whole band will join in to reach a crescendo, and this is where Frankenpine really rocks out." ~Wyatt Marshall, Rock NYC

"One of Brooklyn Country’s most beloved acts... putting together one of the most powerful and pioneering line-ups in the Brooklyn bluegrass tradition." ~Jeph Duarte, Brooklyncountry.com

"Like a bluegrass Grammy waiting to happen... experimenting with old vibes made new." ~Kim Smith Dedam, Press Republican

Lyrics

La Fee Verte

Written By: Ned P. Rauch, Kim Chase, and Matthew Chase

There is a triangle
On the corner of Hewes
Hole in the Broadway wall
Doorway’s hidden from view

Voices rise, spirits fall
Gypsy jazz on wide guitars
Ladies come, raise a toast
To La Fee Verte

Warm, gold filaments
Room is shining like brass
Treat your date to treacle sauce
And velvet in a glass

Voices rise, spirits fall
Gypsy jazz on wide guitars
Ladies come, raise a toast
To La Fee Verte

Black and white acrobats
Pealing off the walls
The fiddle flips
To a minor chord
While the five-string banjo rolls
And the banjo rolls, and the banjo rolls, and the banjo rolls

Train shakes and rattles past
The band continues to play
Mustache strums and sequined hats
At the Moto Café

Voices rise, spirits fall
Gypsy jazz on wide guitars
Ladies come, raise a toast
To La Fee Verte

There is a triangle on the corner of Hewes

Faceless Weaver

Written By: Kim Chase

The tide pulls, the moon grows, the stars fall by and so it goes
A rhythm that’s steady and endless.
But through it all fate she drew the lines that led me straight to you
She made no mistake about it

Faceless Weaver
She laughs at me spinning webs of love and sorrow
Cause your rhythmic calmness, still pulses through a part of me I can’t forget

Well your rhythmic ways drew me in, your calming eyes they spoke to me
That sees all things wild and flowing
Do you remember that cold dark night
Our bodies melded in the light
The love raged like fire

Faceless Weaver
She laughs at me spinning webs of love and sorrow
Cause your rhythmic calmness, still pulses through a part of me I can’t forget

I don’t know why your love came to flow inside me
Cause love has turned to pain, never be the same

Well the tide pulls, the moon grows, the stars fall by but we both know
That rhythm is just an illusion
But through it all fate she drew the lines that led me straight to you
She made no mistake about it

Faceless Weaver
She laughs at me spinning webs of love and sorrow
Cause your rhythmic calmness, still pulses through a part of me I can’t forget

Blackwell Island

Written By: Matthew Chase

I strayed downtown As Nellie Brown
Lying about my name
Lodged in a room on Second Avenue
I played insane

I screamed all day 'till they took me away
And dragged me to my fate
Damned by their words, my sentence assured:
Ward of Blackwell state

'cause
Black water laps over black stone beaches
Black skies weep over broken homes
Black are the buckles bound to the bed frames
Black are the dreams not my own

Tossed to the ground, they shackle me down
A sheet across my face
My teeth chattered, my spirit shattered
Numb and disgraced

Long tangled hair, and a fierce wild stare
Munching of the nails
Trembling on the floor, naked and ignored
Echoing my wails

'cause
Black water laps over black stone beaches
Black skies weep over broken homes
Black are the buckles bound to the bed frames
Black are the dreams not my own

They drugged our days in a yellowing haze
Throat so thick and dry
Morphine itch, insect twitch
Underneath my eye

My pen bleeds: slit by your needs
Witness to your pain
Words stab back, printed in black
To cut away the stain

'cause
Black water laps over black stone beaches
Black skies weep over broken homes
Black are the buckles bound to the bed frames
Black are the dreams not my own

Black water laps over black stone beaches
Black skies weep over broken homes
Black are the buckles bound to the bed frames
Black are the dreams not my own

Blackwell dreams are not my own

Baltimore

Written By: Ned P. Rauch

Baltimore, Baltimore,
Tell me what’d you do that for
You left me lying on your red brick floor
Never woke up with a chin so sore
Baltimore

I had half a mind to believe you
I had half a mind to leave you
But was tired of being cut in twos and fours
Take a stand and move down south
Use my legs and rest my mouth
Baltimore

Got a bit lost up in the hills
It ain’t just the ice that kills
Road salt will rust you to your core
Figured I’d find some sunshine
Even if I lost that sweet, sweet smell of pine
Baltimore

Baltimore, Baltimore,
What’d you have do that for
You left me lying on your red brick floor
Never woke up with a chin so sore
Baltimore

I pulled into Darly Park
I pulled out my weary heart
And went looking round for a cold, clean pour
Walked into a watering hole
Well you know that I found that same old same old
Baltimore

She had a smile but he had fists
And all I had was hope and wits
And in a place like that neither gets you far
I stumbled down to the harbor
Feeling like a pointless martyr
Baltimore

Baltimore, Baltimore,
What’d you have do that for
You left me lying on your red brick floor
Never woke up with a chin so sore
Baltimore

Saw the ghost of Edgar Allen
Saw the ghost of John Wilkes Booth
You can try to start all over
But you can never cut your roots
Baltimore, Baltimore,
What’d you have do that for
You left me lying on your red brick floor
Never woke up with a chin so sore
Baltimore

Baltimore, Baltimore,
What’d you have do that for
You left me lying on your red brick floor
Never woke up with a chin so sore
Baltimore

Cold Water

Written By: Ned P. Rauch

Your heaven, in wildflowers
Your world is in a grain of sand
Your doors opened to oceans
Your heart beat in our hands

Light a fire with me brother
Lean in close and breathe in slow
Light a fire with me brother
We are living in your glow

Cold water pulled you under
Cold water pulled you down
Cold water held you close
Cold water stole your sound

Light a fire with me brother
Lean in close and breathe in slow
Light a fire with me brother
We are living in your glow

We watched you, shine on mountains
We heard you, shine on our prayers
We felt you, shine through the darkness
We see you, shine everywhere

Light a fire with me brother
Lean in close and breathe in slow
Light a fire with me brother
We are living in your glow

Discography

Four Limbs, 2007, http://thecrookedmountain.com/album/four-limbs
The Crooked Mountain, 2010, http://thecrookedmountain.com/album/the-crooked-mountain