Frankie Velvet and the Mighty Veltones
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Frankie Velvet and the Mighty Veltones

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Branch started making music in his native Mississippi and then moved to Birmingham in the late 1970s with the band Oakley Hill, making detours to Nashville along the way. In 1995, his band days behind him and a career in real estate taking shape, he moved his family to the Fairhope area. He has continued to perform solo, particularly in the last two years.

So if "Long Black Car" was nothing more than a collection of his songs old and new, it would be welcome to friends and supporters who've heard him at Eastern Shore venues such as the Old Bay Steamer, Fly Creek Café and the Gumbo Shack.

But when it came time to record, Branch called on an old friend who brought a whole new dimension to the project: Rick Carter, well known as guitarist for Rollin in the Hay and more recently as the front man of Frankie Velvet and the Mighty Veltones.

"Rick knew my style," as they'd been friends for 30 years or so, Branch said, going back to the days when Oakley Hill and Carter's band, Telluride, played the same circuit. "I gave him free reign."

"He pulled out of me what needed to be done," Branch said. "It reminds me of my old band, except better."

That translates into an eclectic, often punchy blend of music. Broadly speaking, it fits most comfortably under the "country" label; but while the guitars are sometimes twangy, Branch's delivery never is.

The title track, which opens the album, is a Johnny Cash-style meditation on love and death. "It's not suicidal," Branch said, "It's about feeling like you want to die, if someone hurts you bad enough."

For the fast shuffle of "C.O.D. Blues," Carter brings in surprisingly hot guitars; the next track, "Crazy Before My Time," is a mellow ballad.

- Mobile Register


The new 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center on the Causeway was the site of a special occasion Sunday, the long-awaited marriage of Donna Hall and Stan Foster.

Foster is a bassist known for his role in Rollin' in the Hay and other musical ventures. Hall, of course, is a sister of Wet Willie's Hall brothers and an original "Williette."

With ties like that, and four generations of Halls on hand, you knew it was going to be a musical night. But even that didn't prepare you for the sweetness of the occasion, bolstered by the beautiful Delta backdrop at sunset
Frankie Velvet & the Mighty Veltones (led by Rick Carter, one of Foster's bandmates in RIH) were the band of record, but given the talent on hand, it was a safe bet that there'd be some additional participants. Just consider the 10-piece lineup that rocked the joint with a funky take on "Shaky Ground:" T.K. Lively of Wet Willie on drums; Jack Hall on bass; Jimmy Hall on sax; Veltone John Kulinich and Wet Willie's Ric Seymour, trading leads on guitar; Donna Hall singing; Wet Willie co-founder John Anthony, who earlier played "Here Comes the Bride," on keys; Chip Herrington of the Hurricane Horns on trumpet; Ricky Chancey, of the Boogie Chillen and RC & the Moon Pies, on harmonica; and none other than Mark Farner, of Grand Funk Railroad fame, singing harmony.

Congratulations to the happy couple, and may the echoes of that evening linger for a long, long time.
- Mobile Register


"On this live track, jumping Johnny Kulinich throws down some piping-hot country pickin'. Tele-driven locomotive runs are always impressive-and Kulinich incorporates a few dynamic shifts t give your ears a break-but the hippest trick is a blazing rock solo that roars out of left field. It's the capper to a thrilling ride."

By Michael Molenda

- Guitar Player Magazine


Discography

Live at the Hit Parade....
Live at The Metro Bistro

Photos

Bio

Alabama Music Hall of Fame member, Rick Carter, front man and co-founder of other Alabama bands you have known, including Telluride and Rollin’ in the Hay, joins upright bassist Brandon Peeples, drummer Leif Bondarenko, and virtuoso guitarist John Kulinich in this musical endeavor. Together the members of Frankie Velvet have over forty years of musical experience and bring an eclectic repertoire of music to the table. They have shared the stage with Willie Nelson, John Fogerty, The Little River Band, Taylor Hicks, Mark Farner, and many others.

Describe as "if Johnny Cash picked up the Allman Brothers Band, drove to Texas and they all started playing jazz in a country bar.....that's the sound of Frankie Velvet and the Mighty Veltones!"

Whether playing a hoonky-tonk or large theater, frat house or private party, this band puts all the rest to shame!