Key Frances
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Key Frances

Band Blues Avant-garde


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"The Pyramid Session Live"

What happens when you mix legendary blues guitarist Key Frances with ace cellist Michael Kott and master percussionist Mark Clark?

Better yet, what is you put them inside a large copper pyramid in Santa Fe NM, during a new moon and ask them to record a live album of unrehearsed songs? This CD is exactly what happens, and it's one hell of a thrill ride.

Seattle native Key Frances has painted yet another musical masterpiece with this "live and unrehearsed" offering. The music will take you places that you didn't even know existed.

The guitar playing is reminiscent of Buddy Guy and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the vocal flights of fancy are akin to B.B.King or Howlin' Wolf.

Musically speaking, there are many highlights here. The guitar solo during "Ancient Love" is a thing of beauty, as is the guitar tone itself, all throughout the album. The sizzling boogie of "Just This Far" will delight blues fans young and old. And their cover of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" is truly a treat.

How could something unrehearsed sound so good? Well, the proof is certainly in the pudding. This album stands head and shoulders above any live recording from the last five years. (Much like Key Frances and his 6'6" frame).

Timothy Connolly -The Inside Connection - Inside Connection

"Tiny Sparkles"

Key is a psychedelic warrior who uses his guitar to zap you into Dr. Strange-like nether dimensions of sound. Seriously, at least for those of us who have logged our share of inner-flight hours, it's hard to listen to Key's music without drifting into the Astral Beyond. Like Cosmic Garage, his previous CD, Tiny Sparkles is a sweet collection of Hendrixesque, Robin Troweristic excursions.

The new album starts out with a playful, slightly funkied cover of Donovan's 'Season of the Witch.' It's a trippy, effective mood setter. While his guitar works its peculiar magic, Key spins fantastic tales of UFOs evokes the aid of an old Indian warrior ('Chief Seattle') and celebrates and laments the loves he has known. THere are two major standouts here: 'Bubba's Truck' is pure, down-to-earth fun, a tongue-in-cheek portrait of a 350-pound good ol' truck drivin' boy built around a funky guitar hook. At the other end of the emotional spectrum lies 'Best Intentions' in which the singer recalls a lying girlfriend, a father who nearly worked himself to death for some unnamed company, and his own strange life: "My father, he had the best intentions/ My father, had a story to tell/My father, learned to pause on his journey/Find four-leaf clovers, pitch pennies into the wishing well."

Though each cut on Tiny Sparkles features a basic power-trio linup (Key is assisted by some of Santa Fe's finest here and several cuts feature the bass of Pete Williams and the drums of Mark Clark), the songs are varied enough that the sound never gets boring.

One helpful hint, Play It Loud!

Al Lovelock - Thirsty Ear Magazine

"Tiny Sparkles"

This CD was given to me by former Motel Kings guitarist Steve "Youngblood" Cooke, now to be found with his new band Honeygun. I mention this both as a thank you to Steve, but also as a recollection of a rainy night in Barnes when he pressed the above in my hand, mumbled something about this guy being the third greatest player on the planet. (the other two? Don't ask!!!)

Two months later I'm hooked. This guy has presence, tone, psychedelic blues, passion raw gut emotion, and weighs in like a latter day heavy duty Steve Miller who both blisses out like Bob Weir, and adds a psychedelic undertow like Love's Arthur Lee. Key has teamed up like many Austin based muso's before him with the Double Trouble rhythm section. He's also added a little New Orleans courtesy of an association with producer Daniel Lanois. Listen only to the sublime version of 'Season of The Witch', on which both Dr. John and Terry Reid, via Donovan are turned inside out, and given a guitar led psychedelic intensity that takes your breath away.

This guy eats and breathes feel, blood curdling licks, and takes no prisoners along the way. On 'Bubba's Truck' he soars high on his slide over an incessant funky back beat. On 'Pagan Love Song', he¹s in Jim Morrison mode, and hey, Why not? This album rewrites the blues manual, tears it up and walks off with the very best elements into another stratosphere.

While resident in Austin, Key apparently used to play an in between set jam, sandwiched twixt Chris Duarte and Ian Moore. I venture his material is way ahead of even contemporaries of their stature. This is music for the new age, if this sounds pretentious, just tune in, drop out, and feel those psychedelic blues!

Pete Feenstra
- Real Music Live, London

"Friday Night Road Trip"

In a live session at Harvelle's in Santa Monica, Key Frances rocked the audience with expressive vocal interpretations and a sizzling guitar appearance. London's loss became the Southland's gain, as this vetern bluesman developed his distinctive rockin' sound, first in England, then across the ocean to New Orleans, Austin, SAnta Fe, and finally settling in L.A.

Not only does this live session make you feel that you're there in the club, but the feeling spreads across a much wider territory. Folks all across America and beyond feel the same way about the blues. As long as its interpreter can convince and delight with searing instrumental fills, then we've got it made. Frances does just that, as he incorporates rhythmic pride into his performance. Conguero Curtis Byrd, bassist Mark Sims and drummer Michael Turner add a heavy pulse to the session, bringing on foot-tapping and head-boobing. It's contagious.

Frances' cover of "Miss Maybelle" is enough to get his audience up out of their seats and onto the floor with dancing feet. Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love" becomes an age-old anthem of persuasion, as the band hammers out a highly rhythmic tantrum. Frances' own "American Hero" offers a quaint look at what drives our fantasies. "Detroit Iron" and "Long Black Cadillac" provide socail commentary on our persona; tastes in transportation, while "Trains" reflects upon the old blues concept of leavin' town for good. "Howlin' at the Moon" weaves a mysterious voodoo presence into the concert's recipe. With magntic force, The Key Frances Band pulls you toward them. With their live recording, you feel as if you're right there in the room, sitting in a cozy spot not too far from the band.

Jim Santella, Southland Blues Magazine
- Southland Blues Mag, Los Angeles

"Quote Sheet"


“I’ve seen alot of players...but Key’s really got something”
-Junior Wells

“A taste of what an imaginative artist can do with a guitar”
-The Times Picayune, New Orleans LA

“Recommended: Hot Rootsy Rhythm & Blues Guitarist”
-The Austin Chronicle, Austin TX

“Rewrites the blues manual, tears it up and walks off with the
very best elements into another stratosphere”
-Real Music Live, London England

”Defying labels, but demanding the attention of
even the casual listener”
-The Las Vegas Daily

“The music will take you places you didn’t even know existed”
-The Inside Connection Music Magazine, New York

“Guitar led psychedelic intensity that takes your breathe away”
-Real Music Live, London England

“Incessent Funky Swing and Fiery Driving Guitar”
- The Santa Monica Observer, CA

“does the slow, smoky tunes like a certified psychedelic shaman”
-The New Mexican, Santa Fe NM

“distinctive rockin' sound, sizzling guitar appearance...
With magntic force,
The Key Frances Band pulls you toward them”
- Southland Blues Magazine, Los Angeles CA

- Various Publishications


Tiny Sparkles- studio, tonally beautiful, a classic
The Pyramid Session Live- live, unrehearsed, a jazz approach
Friday Night Road Trip- live at Harvelle's Night Club in Los Angeles

Listen for Key's music on Whole Wheat Radio
And on Halo Radio in the Netherlands


Feeling a bit camera shy


Key’s music stands out with his distinctive tone and presence,
its rock-n-roll, funk, psycha-blues.
The peers in approach are early Jimmy Page and Robert Plant during his recent tour, loosely tight, freeform, and exploratory, yet structured.
Key’s innovative artistry stands on par with Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Pink Floyd;
Neil Young meets John Lee Hooker.
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Key Frances now lives in the coastal mountains around
Los Angeles. Key has surrounded himself great musicians and
together they create shows that are hailed by many as the best live music period.