Frank Viele
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Frank Viele

Hamden, Connecticut, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

Hamden, Connecticut, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter

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"Falling Your Way - Frank Viele: The Debut of a Veteran"

Frank Viele aka ‘businessman by day’, has a fierce passion for rocking out on stage! Although this funk singer/songwriter has been on the touring circuit for years, his debut album is finally ready to hit the masses this week! Fall Your Way is a true compilation of Mr. Viele’s life in the music industry and as of April 7th , the 13 track record has dropped, showcasing all sides of Mr. Viele’s musicianship, including his rock, jazz and funkier sides. What better way to describe the music than from the artist himself: "With this record I think things have finally fallen my way. It's the record I've always wanted to make."

Staying to true to his CT roots, the album was produced at Horizon Studios with Vic Steffens, who has worked with Harry Connick, Jr. and The Blues Brothers. Mr. Viele’s voice can be described as a mix of Bruce Springsteen with a James Aldean twinge that allows a slight country edge to emerge.

Crooning that he is "No Elvis, no James Dean," Mr. Viele’s honesty shines through and his voice is very endearing. Perhaps his truthfulness is most notable on “Alexa,” although his vulnerability comes out throughout the album. His video for his first single, “Easy money,” has cartoon-y feel, as a tribute to his personal favorite cartoon, The Simpsons!

Mr. Viele opens with some true power sharing the spotlight by recruiting Joe Bonamassa on guitar, during the first track , "Broken Love Song." The introductory track is the 2nd single and was released Tuesday along with the entire album!

Mr. Viele’s true strength lies in letting you into his world with vivid storytelling. The tracks alternate seamlessly between jazzy versus more “nitty-gritty” blues while all staying relatable, through a constant theme of "romance gone wrong." The tough relationship brings to mind what heartache can do for artistic discovery (Sam Smith Grammy wins, anyone?).

Overall Fall Your Way is an endearing mix of easy listening, jazz instruments and funk beats infused with foot-tapping guitar. After one listen, you will be singing along. Frank Viele truly entertains us with the crafting of each song into an enthralling story. - No Depression


"Frank Viele: On the road supporting his debut solo album, ‘Fall Your Way’"

Frank Viele sings with such urgency that it is as if his very soul hangs in the balance of every note. His ravaged, blue collar vocals convey a poignant desperation. But he’s not a victim, he’s a victor, an advocate for surviving, a champion to all who have sacrificed and struggled just to get by. In fact, Frank was recently featured in “No Depression” where he was called “the quintessential ‘weekend warrior,’ working at his full-time day job during the week and still managing to squeeze in over 100 tour dates each year.”

Currently Viele is on the road, opening for the “Night Like This” U.S. Tour of Allen, Mack, Myers, Moore, the new supergroup led by Zach Myers of Shinedown and members of Ingram Hill.

Hailing from New Haven, Connecticut, this former jam band leader (Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project) earned his reputation while performing on major festival bills with such genre icons as moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Keller Williams, Karl Denson, Ozomatli, Railroad Earth, and many others. At the 2014 New England Music Awards, he was named “Live Act of the Year.”

On April 7, this award-winning artist released his debut solo full-length, Fall Your Way via Horizon Music Group. The album was produced by Vic Steffens (Harry Connick Jr., Sly Stone, Lita Ford, The Blues Brothers, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Bobby Brown) and it features a stellar lineup of musicians including the legendary blues great Joe Bonamassa along with members of New England’s “new funk” fusion group Kung Fu and Emmy-winning jazz-blues sax and trumpet player Bill Holloman (Chic, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Steve Winwood).

Many of the songs on the album rose from the inner turmoil of a tough relationship where the artist found himself being forced to choose between love and career. In an interview with “Rust Magazine” Viele was asked about his song entitled “Alexa” and he responded, “Women are like Rubik’s Cubes to me. They are simply puzzles that I cannot figure out ... On the whole however, this is a sweet song about trying to make it through the rocky parts of a relationship. Whether it’s pursuing a career or following a dream, the go-go lifestyle most of us tend to fall into will, from time to time, get in the way of the little moments in life that mean so much.”

Frank defines what he does as “new music with an old soul.” For more information on his life and adventures, visit his website, like him on Facebook, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

Current list of tour dates (* denotes opening for Allen, Mack, Myers, Moore):

April 22 - Cranston, R.I. - Oak Bar & Grill*

April 23 - Philadelphia Pa. - Bull Shooters Saloon*

April 24 - Baltimore Md. - Baltimore Soundstage*

April 25 - Wilmington N.C. - Cardinal Bands & Billiards*

April 26 - Concord N.C. - Iron Thunder Saloon*
April 27 - Savannah, Ga. - Rachael’s 1190*
April 28 - Woodstock, Ga. - Jump Kitchen*
April 30 - Marietta Ohio - Adelphia Music Hall*
May 1 - Newport, Ky. - Thompson House*
May 2 - Elizabethton, Tenn. - Bonnie Kate Theatre*

May 3 - Bowling Green Ky. - Spillway Bar and Grill*
May 9 - Winooski, Vt. - Monkey House
May 16 - Bethany, Conn. - Locapalooza
May 24 - Greenfield, Ma. - Strangecreek Campout
June 20 - Bangor, Maine - Hollywood Casino
June 21 - Shelton, Conn. -Soupstock - Axs Magazine (Allen Foster)


"Frank Viele: On What The Road Has Taught Him"

Music, most art for that matter, is a reflection on the society and times in which it is created. Hitting the road for over 200 performances in the last two years introduced me to the nuances of a changing world fueled by social media interaction, counter cultures, and a search not for a voice, but for understanding. This realization was the groundwork for the finishing touches to the songs which make up my first full-length album, “Fall Your Way.”

From my earliest days as an artist, I always looked at the live element of music and studio recordings as interdependent entities. When approached by a veteran record producer to make my first full-length album as a “solo artist,” I charged into the recording studio the first day with almost 50 songs in various stages of completion. He sat me in the live room with one microphone and said, “Play me everything you’ve got that has never been recorded.” So I did…

We sat back and listened, and discovered a tremendous amount of ideas, melodies, and thought patterns. My producer then gave me what he called the “So What Test” – after every line I sang, he would say “So What?” and the next line I sang would basically have to answer that question and lead to the next part of the story.

In doing so, he was teaching me how to properly convey my perspective lyrically, so the vocals, melody, and music would be able to act as a vehicle to deliver an understanding to an audience.

After picking 13 tunes out of the 50 early ideas that we believed best displayed me as an artist, I realized that in order to effectively work on the delivery and lyrical nuances, and be confident that I was properly conveying these songs, I had to perform them in front of an audience. So I hit the road…

The road taught me a lot, and it’s been the catalyst to this album. The songs were tuned, tightened, inspired by, and completed during my journey as a touring musician. They also were “beta tested” live in a magnitude of different settings, from breweries, to wineries, to theaters, to old blues clubs and saloons. While performing these shows for all different audiences, I realized something about music and the art of delivering a song in this social media-centric modern world…

Social media has raised the bar at all levels, from songwriting to the live performance. Simply providing a voice as a songwriter is not enough. I have to be more conscious of audience expectations in the emotional perspective my lyrics convey..

Today, if you Google the effects of social media on music, you will find an abundance of websites showing how social media and the Internet have affected the “music business.” But nobody really talks about how it has affected the actual art of creating and delivering the music.

Bob Marley and Bruce Springsteen, for instance, sang “Get Up, Stand Up” and “Born in the USA,” songs which gave a voice to people who truly never had one. On a more personal level, I remember listening to the Smashing Pumpkins or Pearl Jam when I was feeling frustrated or filled with some sort of teenage angst. I listened to James Brown when I was feeling funky. I listened to Muddy Waters when I was feeling blue. I had no immediate public voice at that point, and I listened to music, blasted it loud on my stereo, hung these guys’ posters on my wall, and wore these artists’ T-shirts, ‘cause in many ways, they were my voice and represented how I felt.

Social media has created the ability for anybody who is feeling angry at work, or gets dumped, to simply express themselves to the world on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Everybody now has been given their own immediate public voice.

Roots music used to be about the message, or act as a voice for a group of people. These days, your art has to afford perspective, emote feelings, or provide understanding to truly grab your audience.

So where does new music come into play now? And where does it connect with an audience?

My belief in music and delivery has always come from something Sam Cooke said when he first heard Bob Dylan: “From now on, it’s not going to be about how pretty the voice is. It’s going to be about believing that the voice is telling the truth.”

It’s about writing from a thoughtful perspective, and expressing it with melody, soul, and the conviction to convey an emotion. This is essentially what Americana, Soul, and the Blues are about.

After being on the road all year, in November I taped a TV performance in Massachusetts and performed a solo acoustic rendition of a “How Dare You Say You’re Sorry,” from my new album. Afterward, I was pulled into a small office by a gentleman working on the set that night. He had recently been heartbroken and emotionally shattered by a woman he cared for deeply. Like me when I wrote this song, he had become a member of the “Broken Hearts Club” and couldn’t yet fully the mixed feelings of sadness, loneliness, frustration, anger, and pride that come with somebody walking completely out of your life and taking a “piece of your heart” with them.

We spoke for almost 40 minutes, and he thanked me for writing the song because it provided him a level of understanding and comfort to know someone else had experienced the same thing. He found peace in my perspective, and that gave me an understanding of what my art was meant to bring to society at this juncture. It also gave me the full confidence in knowing the societal lessons I had learned through my journeys as a touring musician have been put to good use in perfecting how I express my perspective through the art of song.

With the constant changes in this world and our society as a whole, I am not certain of much. But I do know for sure that the world I encounter on the road continues to humble me and teach me new things that will continue to shape my life and my music. - American Songwriter


"Frank Viele Enlists Joe Bonamassa and Tim Palmieri for “Broken Love Song”"

Today marks the official release of Fall Your Way, the solo debut from Frank Viele (Frank Viele & the Manhattan Project). Viele, the reigning New England Music Awards Live Act of the Year, has some notable guests join him on the album, including Joe Bonamassa and Tim Palmieri both of whom appear on "Broken Love Song," the second single from the record. Today we premiere the official video for "Broken Love Song."

Viele tells Relix, "I wrote 'Broken Love Song' about a realization I had hitting the road as a touring artist while trying to balance a traditional love life. It simply seemed impossible to pursue my artistic passions and simultaneously provide the time and attention that someone else required. It was as if the whole concept was 'broken,' in that the harder I worked at my goals, the more difficult a traditional relationship became. When I finished the song, I knew I needed the dirtiest electric guitar ever on it to give it the raw sense of both frustration and heartbreak. But never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined having both Joe Bonamassa and Tim Palmieri from Kung Fu playing guitar with me on the track. They both played amazingly and Tim even did a cameo in the music video as my bartender! I can't tell you exactly how many takes of the "let's take a shot" scene we did, as I'm pretty sure I lost count half way through. But overall, I am honored that such talented players chose to spend their time lending their skills to my music. And I'm beyond excited for my new album and this music video!"

Tonight in Omaha, NE Viele begins a tour in support of the record with Shinedown's Zach Myers. - Relix Magazine


"New Haven's Frank Viele Riding High With New CD And Road Tour"

Last year, after winning the New England Music Awards, New Haven singer-songwriter Frank Viele started to realize how many people had been cheering him on all along.

"I posted about it on Facebook that we won, and it exploded," Viele said. "Hundreds of people were commenting things like, 'You deserve it, congratulations!' When you're just out there playing for 10 people at a time, you don't realize how many people you've amassed who are supporting you.''

On March 21, Viele, 30, previewed his new album, "Fall Your Way," to a packed house at Pacific Standard Tavern in New Haven. He'll reprise the performance Friday, March 27 at Black-eyed Sally's in Hartford.

Before his win, Viele hadn't been playing sold-out shows. He'd been scratching and clawing along, playing every gig he was offered between Maine to Virginia, perfecting his craft as he went.

For years, Viele and his band, the Manhattan Project, were regulars at area clubs like Hartford's Up or On the Rocks and Toad's Place in New Haven. After releasing one record and opening for bands like moe., Keller Williams and Umphrey's McGee, the band split up in 2011. "It was getting really cool," Viele said. "Unfortunately, as things go, people had other commitments."
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As his band crumbled, Viele saw two paths: stop playing music, or learn how to carry a show on his own. "I realized that if I want to do this, I have to be fully confident in myself," Viele said. "If, for some reason, the bus breaks down and the band can't make the gig, I needed to know that I could do this myself."

Viele hit the road as a solo performer, playing everywhere he could from Massachusetts to D.C. In Connecticut, he played cover songs under a fake name to make enough money to tour. His chops improved. "It's very easy to hide your weaknesses as an artist and as a performer when you have six other guys around you who are amazing musicians," Viele said. "I figured if I'm going to do this, I have to be the best that I can be, and the only way to do that is put a guitar on my back and go."

'You're a musician now'

Eventually, Viele started work on "Fall Your Way" with Horizon Studios producer Vic Steffens. "[Steffens] called me into the studio, put a mic in the center of the room, and said, 'Record everything you've never put on wax before,'" Viele said. Steffens picked 13 songs and called on musicians he'd worked with in the past, including guitarist Tim Palmieri (The Breakfast, Kung Fu, the Z3) and trumpeter Bill Holloman (Chic, Elton John). "I was used to writing songs to fit the band that I had," Viele said. "[Steffens] said, 'Let's build the band around each song.'"

The album, "Fall Your Way," features 12 original tracks ranging from the white-knuckle blues-rock of "Broken Love Song" to the horn-driven funk of "Kick Up Your Heels" and "Easy Money," a mid-'70s shuffle that recalls Steely Dan and Chicago. It also includes a stripped-down cover of Bob Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go," which builds into a mid-tempo roots-rocker.

During the recording process, Viele and Steffens sent tracks to musicians they admired, to gauge their interest in adding parts. Four months after sending "Broken Love Song" to guitarist Joe Bonamassa, Viele received a 3 a.m. phone call from Steffens telling him to check his email; attached was a clip of guitarist Joe Bonamassa overdubbing a slide-guitar part.

"That's when it hit me, at 3 o'clock in the morning," Viele said, "This is now going past 'I want to be a musician' to 'You're a musician now.'"

After extensive touring, Viele took home the award for Live Act of the Year at the 2014 New England Music Awards. Even bad luck started turning into good luck: two days after the win, Viele's main guitar was stolen out of the band's trailer.

"When I posted about that on Facebook, that was unreal," Viele said. "Everybody was reposting. It was an unbelievable surge, to the point where Breedlove Guitars, the type of guitar that I had, and two other guitar companies reached out to me wanting to help me get a new guitar."

After Friday's Black-eyed Sally's show, Viele and his band take off on a spring tour that stretches across the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest.

"If you do this game right, if you play the gigs, if you're humble and appreciate the opportunities as they are, if you stay and listen to the other bands that are playing on your bill, you learn so much about music and culture," Viele said. "And you meet some amazing people."

FRANK VIELE performs at Black-eyed Sally's in Hartford on Friday, March 27. Showtime is 9 p.m. Information: blackeyedsallys.com. - The Hartford Courent (Michael Hamad)


"The Acoustic Funk Tour Visits Manchester"

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Frank Viele trimmed down the band and has Eddie Arjun Peters and Matt Mirando with him on the current acoustic tour. This tour hit two locations in New Hampshire. The first stop in New Hampshire was The Shaskeen in Manchester.

If you didn’t make it downtown on Thursday night, you missed out on some great music at a great small venue. Normally Frank has the entire band with him, but with the scaled back trio it creates an atmosphere for fans, new and old, to get up-close and personal.
Viele is trying to achieve something through these smaller intimate gatherings. Maybe something to help you find a more soulful embrace to his music, but without question it’s a means to become more connected with everyone he meets . Whether it was listening to Viele alone on stage or the trio, there were moments that you had to stop, listen, and just say wow.
Viele doesn’t disappoint. He has a certain approach to his music and keeps it real. It speaks to you in a way where you know It means something to him. When you listen to Viele, you’re listening to someone that is pouring everything he has, every time, into the memories he’s written about. For the occasional cover they perform the same energy is poured into it. It’s obvious everyone in the trio has created their own connection to those songs as well. He captures the energy in a room and directs it right back, feeding constantly off everyone in attendance. By the nights end, no matter how long he and his band have played, it will never be enough.

I first met Viele at the New England Music Awards this past March, they were one of the performers that night and Nominee for best band in Connecticut. After they played their first song my eyes began to open to the quality of music that’s available all around us. After their set that night, I told Frank immediately “that was <expletive> awesome man.” It’s a near certainty that once you see these guys, you’ll have found a love for musicians that maybe aren’t heard about as often, but in many cases are better than so many others. I have to tank these guys every time I see them for helping to open my eyes, and my ears.

Thursday night Peters set his own blue and white jewel of a guitar to the side. Make no mistake Peters plays the strings off that thing on any night of the week, but at the Shaskeen Peters picked up Viele’s guitar and made magic happen .

There’s a commercial where the band is in a bar and the announcer says the guitarist couldn’t make it. Then he says not to worry because they have this other guitarist ready to step in. Yes, that one. The one with Peter Frampton.

It may have sounded it, but make no mistake about it Peters had that guitar talking, not Frampton. It was one of those moments when the hair on the back of your neck stands on end and the feeling travels all the way to the tips of your toes. You want to hear that sound again. You’re captivated by the awesomeness of the moment. Mesmerizing comes to mind when I think of Peters’ performance.
Mirando was chillingly artistic as he strummed, first the 4 string, then switched to the 6 string bass then back again. The Shaskeen isn’t a large venue by any means, but as the bass reverberated around the room, there was no way you could not be taken in by the added depth Mirando gave it.

How good were these three guys from a band out of CT? When Viele pulled out the Ukulele, plugged it in, began tuning it, then Peters came in, then Mirando, then there might have been divine intervention and Otis Redding whispering into Viele’s ear and sitting next to him. That's how good they were, producing another one of those moments that sent chills down your back. You might not think anyone could pour more raw emotion into “Sittin’ on the Dock of a Bay” than Redding did, but it is possible. People at the Shaskeen witnessed it. I had to set my camera down, I was completely absorbed by the trio.

On an evening that was filled with storytelling on how certain songs came about, and why Viele would even consider “Waterfalls“ as a cover, then blowing you away with his rendition. What might stand out the most could have been how well connected everyone was; the trio seemed to be in perfect harmony - with each other and the audience.
It had to happen. The night had to end as they closed the place after three hours of unadulterated bliss with this acoustic funk trio playing original music and covers. As with any other time you get to see these guys play you’re saying “wait a minute, it can’t be over,” yet sadly it is. When you have the chance to see, hear, and meet these guys you’ll understand why no matter how short, or how long, the time is between gigs you get to go to it will always be far too long of a wait. While it may not be quite the same, having their CDs around that you can pop into the player makes their music not have to be so far away.

As their tour continues to Monopole in Plattsbu - Michael Brooks, Manchester Life in Photos Examiner


"Artists You Should Know: Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project"

Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project
on Jan 17, 2011 in Artists You Should Know by Nick

What happened? Somewhere between a generation with acts like Huey Lewis, Tower of Power, and Foreigner and today, brass all but vanished from contemporary music.

But damnit, that is unacceptable, and Frank Viele and his Manhattan Project agrees with me!

Hailing from where else? New York City, Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project are a collective of masterful musicians. Frank Viele lends his smooth voice and guitar work to an infusion of Mario Capdiferro on drums, Rob Liptrot on bass and vocals, Eddie Arjun Peters on lead guitar, Pasquale Ianelli on tenor, soprano, and baritone saxophones, and Andrew Mericle on trumpet, and you have a fiery brass section that kicks ass and takes names.

Although already touring together for the past few years, Frank and the boys released their debut album, Neon Lights last July, and it’s already dominated my iTunes play history for its ability to inject energy into the psyche. The disc is a collection of salty brass solos, punchy drums, and smooth vocals that may be the greatest funk release of 2010.

On the music world map, Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project are residing somewhere between the islands of OAR and Dave Matthews Band. Sharing a similar formula, the band is skilled in juxtaposing the idiosyncrasies of a horn section with a solid rock groove that makes for a very strong cocktail. In a world, it is intoxicating.

This is summertime music, and it’s keeping me warm in this desolate permafrost called Pittsburgh. When I pump up tracks like Turn Around and Cards, Right, Tonight, my body is sitting in my shades-of-gray cubicle, but my mind is jumping up in down in the front rows of a summer music festival. Lights are splashing and enveloping my being, and the scents of smoke, sweat, and fog-machine juice ensnare my sense of smell.

Okay, I’m being a dramatist. But rightly so. These guys remind me of the summertime.

Neon Lights is only 9 short tracks, and I am crossing my fingers that these guys will cultivate a strong discography with future releases. The sound is still a little immature, and shows many signs of under-production: poor track compression, mediocre mixing, and perhaps a tad to much chorus effects on lead vocals. These guys will be served well by a growing fan base sponsoring higher production quality.

Either way, they are brilliant, and I recommend them whole-heartedly. - Mystery Tricycle Music Blog


"Music Review: Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project - Neon Lights"

Somewhere between the 1980s and today, the use of a horn section in a rock band fell out of favor. I'm not sure how or when, but we went from awesome sax solos and trumpets in songs like "Urgent" from Foreigner, "Who Can It Be Now?" from Men at Work, and Huey Lewis and the News when they toured with the horns of the Tower of Power. Sure there are a few groups like the Dave Matthews Band who still use a trumpet or sax now and then, but it's not quite as integrated into the whole rock experience as it used to be.

Now bring in Frank Viele and the Manhattan Project (from where else, but the New York City metropolitan area) - a six piece group featuring Viele on vocals as well as acoustic and electric guitars, Mario Capdiferro on drums, Rob Liptrot on bass and backing vocals, Eddie Arjun Peters on lead guitar, Pasquale Ianelli playing tenor, soprano, and baritone saxophones, and Andrew Mericle on trumpet. Add to that mix Richie Cannata playing sax (from Billy Joel's band) on "Turn Around," Jason Hirth on keyboards on six tracks, and Ben Golder-Novick helping on the alto sax on six tracks... and where having a strong horn sound can sometimes overwhelms a band, these guys sound amazingly well together.

They've been touring together for a few years now and Neon Lights is their first full-length album. It doesn't disappoint, crossing multiple genres (funk, rock, pop, jazz, blues, and swing) on nine great tracks.

What blew me away was the title track - "Neon Lights". It opens with a bass line that has stuck with me like few recent songs, reminding me of the way the bass line in "Running Down a Dream" from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers wormed its way into my head to the point where I can't help but sing along. Layer that with Viele's rough voice, the backing horns, and some sweet lead guitar and it is tough to get me to stop listening to it over and over again...

Like most great bands who write their own songs, the lyrics for "Neon Lights" tell a story as well. A modern tale of wanting the best for an ex- with drug and alcohol problems... "Then my hip starts buzzing, you're on the telephone / But Honey you know they're wrong and that you don't want to stay..." It's not quite a plea for her to come back (after all, in the first verse they say she "ain't coming home"), but you can tell he's worried.


Read more: http://blogcritics.org/music/article/music-review-frank-viele-and-the/#ixzz10HEQlx4s - Brian Fitzpatrick


"Music Review: Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project - Acoustic Vudu"

It never ceases to amaze me when I hear a band go acoustic and it sounds just as good as it does electric in a studio. Unfortunately, in an age when everything in the Top 40 seems over-engineered and artificial, these bands are the exception, not the rule. So when I find one, I'm ecstatic and want to celebrate that success.

Back in June 2010, I reviewed the album Neon Lights from Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project. This is a six-piece band based in Connecticut that sounds much larger than just six people, largely because they have a horn section, which you hardly find with any group these days (the Dave Matthews Band is the only other similar band I can think of). Their music is a mix of rock, soul, and blues that simply works. When I listen to them on CD, it's a group I'd kill to listen to perform live. And after hearing Acoustic Vudu, I think I'll have to double the bounty.

Acoustic Vudu is a five-song EP of tracks that includes two new songs--"Push and Pull" and "Spanish Fly"--in addition to acoustic versions of "Neon Lights," "Somebody Else," and "Try." These tracks only reinforce just how good these guys are. Though these songs all sound great loud, proud, and plugged in, there's a purity in hearing the instruments without that electric boost. Every song shines acoustically because you can hear the quiet moments just as well as you can the full moments. Words, finger picking, horns--it all layers and never reaches the frantic levels being louder can sometimes bring into play.

All the songs are amazing, but I'll pick out three that really stick with me.

With "Neon Lights," the guitar lick still has just as much power as it does in the electric version, but I love that they've slowed it down a bit and let the horn section shine. The sax and muted trumpet set things up with a beautiful quiet as the song starts to build and build. And one of my complaints with Neon Lights was that sometimes Frank Viele's voice was too gravelly and stressed to understand what he was singing. Without having to compete with the amplifier, Frank's voice just works. It tells the story with a breathless growl driven by the guitar that doesn't let up.

"Push and Pull" is another song that just grooves. "Don't want no lover standing in my way/ You find it hard to sit and stay/ And I know inside you know it's true/ And every time you leave you know you're through." It's about a relationship where both people have a certain gravity and each is pushing and pulling the other even though every time they part may be the last. And this one has some great guitar, both lead and rhythm, each expressing a different emotion along with Frank's voca. And I love the "Come on my baby/ Come on my darlin" section as the singer pleads with his love.

Lastly, "Spanish Fly" just has some gorgeous guitar parts. I'm a sucker for great guitar. This one again tells a story of passion between a man and a woman where the guy is wondering if the relationship has gone beyond lust. It goes on for more than five minutes and I bet it could go on for another five, and I wouldn't mind.

What more do I need to say? If you're looking for a new group to groove to, Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project should be right up your alley. And when you're done with Acoustic Vudu, check out Neon Lights for more groovy goodness. Both albums are available now. For more details, check out the band's website and look for them on Facebook and YouTube.


- Blogcritics: Brian Fitzpatrick


"Frank Viele: Ready To Bring Da Funk!"

As a student at Saint Gabriel in Milford, Frank Viele played in the band and used to dream about making it as a musician.

"I took some lessons and messed around a little, and by the time I was 15 or 16, it was definitely what I did best," Viele says. "Music became a passion and a release for me. When I started playing, the goal was to play it for myself, but it made the people happy and it was a snowball effect."

A dozen years later, the 26-year-old Viele fronts the popular six-piece pop/funk band Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project, which will play Stage One on Feb. 3 as the opening band for the New Orleans fave Papa Grows Funk.

"We're going to be doing acoustic funk and leave it all on the stage," Viele says. "We're going to stay away from our slower stuff and just throw everything on the table and have some fun."

Viele and his band have played the theater before, most recently opening for the Wailers for two nights last fall.

"A lot of national acts want us to open for them, but a lot of times funk bands will have us strip down. With Stage One, because it's a small stage and you can't put two full big bands up there, we went up with a stripped down acoustic [last time] and that made us reinvent the songs a little bit," he says. "We really liked how it sounded and we recorded a number of songs like that."

Backed by drummer Mario Capodiferro, Rob Liptrot on bass, Eddie Arjun Peters on lead guitar, Andrew Mericle on trumpet and Pasquale T. Iannelli on saxophone, Viele brings a modern version to the great funk-infused bands of the '60s and '70s. Comparisons have been made to the Dave Matthews band or Huey Lewis and the News, but Viele's band is more horn-influenced and harkens back to more of a big-band sound.

"My reason for wanting to play big band is from my childhood of listening to Otis Redding and guys like that," Viele says. "I did follow Dave Matthews around and when you went to those shows, you forgot what was around you. You were just entertained."

When Viele graduated from Marist college he knew that he wanted to present a similar concert feel with his band. Things weren't always easy, and he had faith that his band would succeed.

"In the beginning you are almost spending money to play between driving to gigs, eating, drinking," he explains. "Eventually we started gigging more and getting more opportunities and things are really starting to come together for us."

Viele's band released its debut album, "Neon Lights," last fall and it quickly became a staple on college radio and funk stations across the East Coast.

"That did a lot for us and we played 127 shows last year and we blew up," he says. "That first album took three years to make. There were a revolving door of musicians for a while, but it turned out to be full of great talented artists and skilled musicians."

A second album, the full-band acoustic EP, "Acoustic Vudu," will be available in April and that will quickly be followed by a third album before year's end.

"I have been writing my whole life and most of the songs from the first album I wrote before I was allowed to drink," Viele says. "I have a whole catalogue of material backed up and people want to hear new stuff because they get bored really easily, and it's so much easier to put out things now."

Reflecting on the lack of funk in today's musical landscape, Viele believes that there's still plenty of people who want to listen to funk.

"It's out there, but no one has put a modern spin on it," he says. "No one's out there making songs with hooks in today's music and that's why a single like 'Anticipation' has done remarkable for us. It's a funk song with a sax solo at the end with a great hook."

Viele hopes to see a revitalization of the genre in the years ahead and plans to be a part of bringing the funk movement back to the mainstream.
- The Stamford Advocate: Keith Loria


"Featured Artist on Entertainment Resoure Direct"

BIOGRAPHY - Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project

The Manhattan Project began as a revolving door of talented musicians that lent their musical abilities to guitarist and singer-songwriter, Frank Viele, both on stage and in the studio. In the early months of 2005, Viele recorded a guitar track in his basement, which soon caught the attention of Label 11 Records, based out of New York City. By March of 2006, Frank's debut record, a 6 track EP entitled Blue Roses for Two, was made available nationally via channels such as iTunes, Tower Records, Best Buy and Rhapsody.

Followed by a solid year of touring and promoting with the band, a trio, a duo and solo acoustic, Frank gathered another crew of musicians to release his second EP entitled The Manhattan Project. It didn't take long before Frank's music was heard on radio stations across the Northeast and the track "Bein' Lonely Together" was featured on the New York Rockers For Life and Santa Fe Rockers For Life compilation albums in 2007. By early 2008, the track "Portland Rain" could be heard on regional college and independent radio stations.

Drawing comparisons to major modern groups including Maroon 5, O.A.R. and the Dave Matthews Band as well as classic artists including Chicago and Tower of Power, it is no surprise to learn that Frank Viele & the Manhattan Project have worked their way up the ladder. Over the last two years they shared the stage with top artists such as Gavin DeGraw, Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, Keller Williams, the Rustic
Overtones, Ingrid Michaelson, Nine Days and Marc Broussard to name a few. The story of this band has just begun to be written. 2010 The band released their first official full-length album titled "Neon Lights", which was partially recorded and mixed at Cove City Sound Studios in Long Island and features industry great Richie Cannata (Billy Joel). Now armed with a recording that truly reflects these musicians as masters of their craft, Frank Viele & the Manhattan Project are set to unleash their handcrafted sound on new audiences around the country.

More detail @ http://www.entertainersrd.com/biography/FrankViele.asp - Jim Hall/ERD


"CIty Man Leads Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project"

City man leads Frank Viele & the Manhattan Project, performing locally

Written by Jill K. Dion
Thursday, 27 January 2011 09:51

One blog-based music critic said the funk, rock, pop, jazz, blues, and swing produced by Frank Viele & the Manhattan Project “doesn’t disappoint,” crossing multiple genres with style, and with horns.

“Somewhere between the 1980s and today, the use of a horn section in a rock band fell out of favor,” Brian Fitzpatrick wrote on his blog “BC Music.”

Frank Viele & the Manhattan Project, which has ties to Milford, combines acoustic and electric guitar, drums, and bass with saxophone and trumpet, for a sound that really works, Fitzpatrick wrote.

The six-member Connecticut/New York City band had a big year in 2010, releasing its debut album, Neon Lights, and performing 127 shows. The band will open its 2011 full band tour schedule at The Fairfield Theatre Company’s Stage 1 on Feb. 3, supporting New Orleans’ top funk band, Papa Grows Funk. The show starts at 7 p.m. at the Fairfield Theatre, located at 70 Sanford St.

Viele, who grew up in Milford and graduated from St. Gabriel’s School, traces his musical influences to some big industry names, but like many Milford residents, he traces his musical education to his first guitar lesson with local instructor Bob Shea.

“I took lessons with Bob Shea at the old Fladd’s music store,” Viele said. “I saw him not too long ago after a show at Daniel Street. He stopped and said, ‘It’s Frank Viele,’ and I said, ‘Hey, it’s Mr. Shea.’”

At the age of 3, Viele, who’s 26 now, began playing music by mimicking the tunes he heard on television or his grandmother’s piano.

Heavily influenced by Dave Matthews as a teenager, he later created music with his own guitar, after studying under Shea for about a year.

It didn’t take long before such influences as Eric Krasno, George Benson and other jazz musicians led him to study at the summer guitar program at Berklee College of Music. Since then, Viele has been working to write a catalog of songs with an impressive band of musicians.

The band includes Viele on lead vocals and guitar, Mario Capodiferro on drums, Rob Liptrot on bass and backup vocals, Eddie Arjun Peters on lead guitar, Pasquale T. Iannelli on saxophone, and Andrew Mericle on trumpet.

Last year was a great year for the band, and members are hoping 2011 will be even better.

“Garnering comparisons to everybody from Huey Lewis and the News to the Dave Matthews Band, 2010 was a phenomenal year for us,” members say on their Web site. “We found ourselves on stage with bands ranging from Bob Marley’s Wailers to Carbon Leaf, the Rustic Overtones, Hey Monday, Eric Krasno of Soulive and the Young Dubliners, to name a few.”

Frank Viele & the Manhattan Project has a list of upcoming shows, including the Fairfield performance and a smaller show at Eli’s on Whitney, in Hamden, Saturday, Jan. 29, at 9:30 p.m.

For show information, go to the band’s Web site, frankvielemusic.com. - Jill K. Dion / The Milford Mirror


"Hamden's Viele lands opening spot at The Wailers' shows in Fairfield"

By Sean Spillane, Music Editor

Local singer-songwriter Frank Viele has released two EPs in the past five years, but as he nears the July release of his first full-length album, "Neon Lights," with his band, The Manhattan Project, he's having a hard time controlling his emotions.

"I'm flipping out," he said in a recent phone interview from his Hamden apartment. "This thing has taken a long time, about 2 1/2 years. We started recording in Shelton (at White House Productions) and then we got the opportunity to bring it to Cove City Sound Studios on Long Island."

That's the studio founded by Richie Cannata, the saxophone player for Billy Joel's band from 1975 to 1981 and a longtime member of The Beach Boys' touring outfit in the 1990s.

"This studio is where Billy Joel's `River of Dreams' album was recorded, so I'm sitting there playing on the exact same piano that Billy Joel played on `River of Dreams,'" Viele recalled. "And there's all these gold records on the wall: Billy Joel, Mariah Carey, Dream Theater, LL Cool J -- just everybody you can think of. It was kind of crazy.

"And the guys at Cove City were such big fans of what we were doing that they took care of us. They gave us a deal we needed to be able to afford it. And Richie Cannata was such a big fan of the album he even played a (sax) solo on one of the tracks, a song called `Turn Around.'"

"Neon Lights" is the culmination of a life spent loving music, from tinkering on his grandmother's piano as a young child, to singing karaoke as a first-grader at his stepfather's restaurant, Christopher John Michael's in West Haven. In his teens, he became serious about the craft of songwriting.

"I've always loved it," Viele said of his connection to music. "It's always been a positive. By the time I was 16, I really dove into writing my own songs and it just kind of became second nature to me. It was a good release and, over time, music became a bigger and bigger part of my life.

"It wasn't a planned approach, like, `OK, I'm going to be a professional musician.' It just kind of became a part of my life. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is grab my guitar. The last thing I do before I go to sleep at night is play my guitar."

Frank Viele and the Manhattan Project has the plum assignment of opening concerts for reggae legends The Wailers Tuesday and Wednesday nights at StageOne at the Fairfield Theatre Company. But Viele still remembers the gigs he used to take when he was a guitar player in friends' bands.

"It's funny, looking back on it now where we're opening for The Wailers and doing festivals and all of this other cool stuff, but I started in absolute dives," he said. "We would do these four- or five-hour bar marathons in the summertime.

"I played in a bunch of bands. I was just one of those guys that loved to write songs and loved to play and sang in the shower. I didn't want to sing in front of people at first. Finally, I had to put up or shut up. I had to learn how to sing these tunes."

Now ready to sing in front of crowds, Viele started playing solo shows.

"I did a lot of solo stuff when I would come home from college. I would play this little lounge every Wednesday and sit there and cover Dave Matthews songs all night to make money to pay for textbooks."

Another gig -- at Blues Pizza in Hamden -- paid off in a different way.

"I did my first-ever solo show there and I actually ended up doing their radio jingle and television commercial, as well," Viele said, with a laugh. "I was the voice of a talking saxophone."

Viele and his bandmates -- Mario Capodiferro (percussion), Rob Liptrot (bass), Eddie Arjun Peters (lead guitar), Pasquale T. Iannelli (sax) and Andrew Mericle (trumpet) -- have drawn comparisons that range from jam bands such as The Dave Matthews Band and O.A.R. to older acts such as Tower of Power and Chicago.

"We get a lot of those comparisons because of the horns, obviously," Viele said. "There are definite influences because all four of those bands have had an extreme impact on how horns can add to rock music."

Those bands also are known for keeping the audience focused on the music, which is hard to do when you're a young group playing the club circuit, especially in Connecticut, where cover bands generally do better than original artists.

"It's tough, but my band's been really lucky," Viele said. "We've gotten a really good rap for putting on a good live show. We don't play many covers, but we've gotten good at picking the right spots to mix one in to keep the crowd interested.

"I'm a singer-songwriter and I've got a personal catalog of 150 to 200 songs and a lot of them are the heart-on-my-sleeve slow songs, but you won't really hear me play a lot of those in the clubs. I've got the horn section and the backing band and having those guys allows me to take my music to a different level, sound-wise and energy-wise. We keep it upbeat for the crowd. We need to entertai - CT Post (May 25, 2010)


"Album Review in Origivation Magazine"

Album review by Jason Sendaula

A funk-tastic good time is what you will find in Frank Viele & the Manhattan Project's debut album Neon Lights. The band's combination of horns and percussion makes for a dance party on its own. When you add in the well-placed guitar points and Viele's voice which goes from rough and gruff to smooth, you are left with a group that is made to make it. It brings us back to a time when bands like Chicago used their horns for something other than elevator muzak. There is no not getting your groove on to Viele's music, dig it. - Brian Cronin


"Album Review in Relix Magazine"

If Dave Matthews decided to lend his merry band of musicians to Chris Daughtry and the group limited their appearances to strictly 1950s-style underground jazz clubs, the product might sound something like Neon Lights, the first official full-length album from Frank Viele & the Manhattan Project. With every sound utilized, from electric and acoustic guitars to saxophones and Huey Lewis & the News-esque horns, the modern funk/blues/rock band pleasantly obsesses over every aspect of love-yearning for it, giving it up, having it without realizing it. Although the overall theme is upbeat, the album is full of satisfying surprises, such as an infectious, dark bass hook on the title track and the all-around funky, jazz-inspired musicianship and solos found in both “Turn Around” and “Portland Rain.” Although Viele’s strong, gruff vocals sometimes seem a little out of place among the fun and complex musical arrangements, it’s hard not to imagine blaring songs like “Try” on the car radio with the windows down, and it’s even harder to deny the appeal of the band’s sporadic jazzy jams, such as the one found at the beginning of “Anticipation".

--Review by Heather Farr - Sept-Oct 2010 issue, by Heather Farr


"New Haven Register: Making a Mix With Frank Viele"

Who: Frank Viele of Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project, an evolving six-piece band that adeptly manages to blend folk and pop with rock and funk. Viele, a Connecticut native, started the band a couple years ago. Here’s what he said about making this mix: “I embarked on the most difficult journey that a music lover like myself can attempt. I went through my entire CD collection (over 5,000 albums) and my complete vinyl collection (over 1,000 albums) and tried to compile my “Stranded on a Desert Island Top Ten Favorite Songs of All Time” circa my favorite movie, “High Fidelity.”

Where you can see him: Viele and his Manhattan Project perform at The Space at 7 p.m. Saturday. Amanda Kaletsky and Mike Falzone are also on the bill. But, for now, here’s Frank’s mix:

- “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go,” Bob Dylan — “Blood on the Tracks has, over time, separated itself from the rest of my Dylan collection. “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” is the most beautiful track on the record and probably one of the best songs he’s ever written. The way Dylan describes the vulnerability of actually having a significant other in your life is a rather ingenious twist on the stereotypical break-up song.

- “Who Knows,” Jimi Hendrix & The Band of Gypsys — I first heard this song when I was 12 years old and my brother came home from college. He took me for a ride in his beat-up old car. This melodic-yet-dirty guitar riff permeates through the funkiest rhythm section I’ve ever heard. It was after I first heard this song that I decided I wanted to play the guitar.

- “Burn,” Ray Lamontagne — Ray Lamontagne has a way of writing lyrics and vocally phrasing those same words to describe moods, emotions and moments in time like no one else I’ve ever heard. It’s nearly impossible for me to pick a favorite Ray Lamontagne tune, but I picked “Burn” because I find it amazing that a song with no real chorus nor rhythm section can be so emotionally grabbing and can evoke such a passionate story of love lost.

- “Cupid,” Sam Cooke — If I could pick any other singer’s voice, I would find it hard to choose anybody but Sam Cooke. Aside from the fact that he is undoubtedly one of the most influential songwriters in the history of popular music, his voice has the unparalleled ability to perfectly yet soulfully express the simplest of melodies and force one to listen, remember and never forget his simple and sometimes whimsical stories.

- “Show Me A Little Shame,” Ben Harper — I own everything Ben Harper’s ever done, and after hearing people’s initial take on my first acoustic record, “Blue Roses for Two,” almost five years ago, it became clear that his style has had a strong influence over my music. Out of all the remarkable Ben Harper tunes, I picked “Show Me A Little Shame” because I love the way it starts soloing Ben’s voice with a killer organ.

- “Ramble on Rose,” The Grateful Dead — I got into the Dead at a very young age. While all my grammar school classmates were listening to whatever TRL threw their way, I was at recess in a tie-dyed shirt listening to “Box of Rain” on repeat. My musical influences have changed from my “jam-band” roots since then, but there’s always a special place in my music collection for Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead.

- “Pig,” Dave Matthews Band — Believe it or not, I’ve seen the Dave Matthews Band in some form over 100 times. In modern music, I don’t believe there is a band that can come close to DMB on any level. I picked “Pig” because whenever I hear the song, it seems to make me forget everything else around me. The fiddle line is almost epic, the rhythm section is so subtle yet powerful at times, and I love the start of the first verse when Dave sings “Isn’t it strange how we live our lives for another day ... like skipping a beat.”

- “Golden Lady,” Soulive — Despite my love for singer/songwriters and soulful singers, the fact that my band, Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project, is a seven-piece boasting the funkiest of rhythm sections and two saxophonists should be a pretty big hint that jazz and funk are strongly represented in my music collection. I want people to come to my shows, bring their dancing shoes, and forget about everything life seems to throw their way. That being said, Soulive is one of my top-five favorite bands of all time. “Golden Lady” is a killer representation of their unique hip-hop/jazz/funk fusion style.

- “Lonely Night in Georgia,” Marc Broussard — Marc Broussard is one of those musicians that truly scares me. Not many know who he is, yet anybody I show his music to falls instantly in love with him. He has combined that New Orleans feel with Motown soul and modern pop/rock song production, thus creating a sound unique yet familiar.

- “Goodnight Elizabeth,” The Counting Crows — “Goodnight Elizabeth” is my favorite Counting Crows song. I’ve always loved Adam Duritz’s poetry. His use of common and proper nouns to describe feelings and people - By Patrick Ferrucci, Register Entertainment Editor


"Sounds Like: “An Afro-Funk O.A.R” (Album Review)"

Now, my personal feelings regarding O.A.R. aside, I was highly skeptical when this came into my inbox. While young white men with a little jazz or soul influence have done exceedingly well in the music industry (John Mayer? Dave Matthews? Jason Mraz, anyone?), one has to wonder if ANYONE backed by an extremely talented, diverse band, could be a hit? Personally, I’m going with no. And Frank Viele seems to support my theory. Afro-Funk this is not. However, his husky voice and both the musical strength of the band and their skilled arrangement makes the album come alive, and makes it worth listening to. The title track “Neon Lights” is a sort of sweeping, Western-influenced epic. It draws you in, stops just short of taking itself too seriously, and doesn’t draw on too long. The sax-heavy “Right in Front of Me” starts out syrupy, but opens up into a pleasant little light jazz love song. The band is currently touring extensively on the East Coast supporting the Wailers, but anyone who is a fan of the artists mentioned above would do themselves a favor to make a point to seek out Viele and crew. It’s a fresh and frankly higher-quality take on the phenomenon. - SFCritics


"Frank Viele: Student Musician Knows His Notes"

You might not believe how many CDs arrive at my desk over the course of a week. I can't even put a number on it — let's just say it's a lot.

It can be a bit overwhelming, but I do find a certain excitement in listening to a new CD by a band I've never heard of. There are really no expectations and pleasant surprises typically outweigh the disappointments.

I engaged in this more-than-daily ritual last week, after being contacted by guitarist Frank Viele, a songwriter looking to publicize a performance he is scheduled to give Saturday at The Loft, which is part of The Chance entertainment complex on Crannell Street in Poughkeepsie.

After playing a lot of shows as a member of what he called "pop" bands, Viele on Saturday will be playing new music with a new ensemble, his backing band, "The Manhattan Project".

Doors open at 6 p.m. for Frank Viele and the Manhattan Project. Also on the bill are The Wifeys, The Virginia Wolves, Kristin Capolino Group and Magic Orange. Admission is $5.

Goes to Marist

As I do repeatedly, with bands and musicians, I told Viele to drop off a CD and I would listen to it. I was a bit intrigued because he said he was a Marist student and I don't often hear from student-musicians, or maybe I should say that the majority of local musicians I hear from, if they are students at local colleges, don't describe themselves as such.

So I put in Viele's CD — it's called "Blue Roses for Two" — and found that it wasn't that bad. The high points — there are many — surpass the low points —. I really warmed up to the CD after listening to it repeatedly. What really stood out was Viele's enthusiasm for music, which bleeds off most tunes.

After listening, I spoke with Viele and found him to be as multi-dimensional as his music. He is a 21-year-old junior at Marist, originally from New Haven, Conn., majoring in business with a marketing emphasis. He is also pursuing a minor in music.

A long commute

Each Wednesday, he travels from Poughkeepsie to Manhattan, where he is an intern at EMI Records. On Fridays, he heads back to New York City and works on his own music in the offices of Label 11 Records, the record label on which his debut solo CD appears.

All the while, he attends class, studies, writes music and rehearses.

"It's very tough," said Viele, who as a small child sat in front of the piano and taught himself to play television theme songs. "Sleep doesn't come often."

Viele hopes to combine his business education and love of music into a career on the stage or behind the scenes of the music industry.

"They're not that different at all," he said of business and music. "I credit most of my business knowledge to where my music is going so far. You've got to sell tickets; know how to market things; how to make flyers; how do you put CDs out. If you can't do this, you'll have a hard time finding success in this industry."

By JOHN BARRY - The Poughkeepsie Journal


Discography

Fall Your Way - 4/7/2015

(New England Music Awards 2015 Album of The Year)

  • Broken Love Song (f/ Joe Bonamassa)
  • Kalifornia
  • How Dare You Say You're Sorry
  • Alexa
  • Easy Money
  • When You Gonna Come Home
  • Tonight I Must Leave Your Arms
  • Monsters In The Hall
  • Someday I'm Gonna Make You Mine
  • You Don't Have To Go
  • Kick Up Your Heels
  • You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Bob Dylan)
  • I Just Don't Know

Photos

Bio

What’s his name?” Glad you ask. 

Up until now, Frank Viele has been something of a regional secret throughout New England. His quadruple-threat reputation as a singer, guitarist, songwriter and performer is unrivaled there, as recognized by the New England Music Awards for Album of the Year, Male Performer of the Year, and Live Act of The Year he has stashed somewhere in his Connecticut home. 

Of course, musically tuned-in folks throughout the world have been hearing reports of Viele’s prowess for several years. No Depression might have piqued their curiosity with its praise for his “vivid storytelling.” Or maybe they read about his singing in The Alternate Root, which observed that his “street growl” could rivet passersby. Howl Magazine even called his shows “transcendent” and predicted that his music “will rattle your bones and penetrate to the core.”

Truth be told, audiences around the country have begun taking notice as Viele plays in further-flung venues. Since his first album, Fall Your Way, dropped in 2015, he’s been called to open for Will Hoge, Blues Traveler, Lee DeWyze, Zach Myers of Shinedown, The Marshall Tucker Band, and in his somewhat wonderstruck words, “artists who have been on my personal playlists for years.”

So all the pieces are in place to establish Frank Viele as a musical phenomenon far beyond his home base. All that’s needed is a spark to launch this rocket.

That’s where What’s His Name? comes in; a tour de force of passion, candor and craft. His singing is unforgettable — rough-edged yet nuanced, straddling that line where poetic interpretation and raw emotion meet. The impressions he made during his early gigs broaden on What’s His Name? Rugged Americana, deep blues and gut-wrenching soul create a potent new brew on “Cigarettes, Throwing Stones, & Lies.” Unlikely elements — a gentle groove kissed by congas, a milky bass tone and wind chimes — caress Viele’s anguished romanticism on “If You Could Only Read My Mind.” Those same sentiments take on an even sharper edge when lashed with earthy lie guitar and stirred by churchy harmonies on “Till The Bourbon’s All Gone.” The sting of betrayal turns up the heat even more over a thumping funk groove on the title cut. And one track, “Pomegranate,” stands out from anything Viele has done before, thanks to the six strings that augment the reflective lyric, courtesy of arranger/cellist Dave Eggar (Ray Lamontagne/Coldplay/Pearl Jam).

He started playing gigs as the leader of Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project, which sported a horn section and a sizzling mix of soul and jam grooves. With Fall Your Way he switched to working solo, cutting the basics of each song on guitar and then adding instruments one by one, crafting the band around each song.

Now, on What’s His Name?, Frank has taken his experience on the road as a solo artist over the last few years into the studio and you can hear pieces of this artistic journey woven throughout this new collection of songs.

“I wrote most of these songs as I was traveling from gig to gig, in parts of the country I’d never seen before. What I experienced helped feed different elements into my music. I had the honor and pleasure of touring with great songwriters like Zach Myers, who exposed me to a lot of new ideas and approaches to the art of the song. I wrote specifically with the idea of making each song more memorable.”

Viele accomplishes his mission on What’s His Name?. Some of the credit goes to the guest artists he welcomed onboard, including Christine Ohlman, lead singer with the Saturday Night Live band who’s also shared the stage with Bruce Springsteen, Brian Wilson, Elvis Costello, Dion and other rock luminaries. But the credit for this milestone release goes ultimately to Viele — to the tough choices he’s made and the high bar he habitually sets, to his uncompromising honesty and commitment to making music that moves rather than sedates the heart and mind.

“I’ve never taken the easy road musically,” Viele insists. “When you hear Otis Redding’s Blue or Bob Seger’s Night Moves, you feel it. Those songs grab you. That’s what music is supposed to do. That’s what I want to do.”

And he does. The proof is in every moment of What’s His Name? and in its aftermath, when you realize what you’ve been missing in your music for a long time — until now.    

Band Members