Paulo Franco & The Freightliners
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Paulo Franco & The Freightliners

Richmond, Virginia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF | AFM

Richmond, Virginia, United States | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"No Depression's Emily Hinde"

Paulo Franco enlightens with his upcoming record, The Last Card. This is not your average Rock n’ Roll Americana record. The music that Franco creates spans genres throughout the record, as we even see the buzz-worthy artist sing in Spanish on the record.

Proudly Franco boasts his musical journey as he wears his heart on his sleeve. The Last Card is the sophomore release from the artist, who has been garnering critical acclaim recently with his new single, “Leaving the River City.” Franco’s sense of storytelling is an element that stands on its own. The track itself offers a heavy and eye-opening dose of what to expect on the record. As Franco pens some of his most ambitious pieces to date, he eagerly backs them up, with a performance that is extraordinary and well-rounded.

One of the most standout and unique pieces for me on the record is “Catrina Y Su Calavera,” which Franco was inspired to write by a local craft beer of all things. Taking the inspiration and crafting it into a mysterious song of love, it proves that Franco is not your average singer/songwriter by far.

One the record Franco also enlists the help of heavy players Bob Rupe (Cracker, Silos), Johnny Hott (House of Freaks) and Dusty Simmons (DJ Williams Projekt) on drums, Daniel Clarke (Ryan Adams and the Shining, kd Lang) on keyboards, Stephen McCarthy (Long Ryders, Jayhawks, Gutterball) on guitar on leaving the River City, Charles Arthur (Slaid Cleaves records) and Dan Sessler of Paulo’s backing band.

Big things are in store for Paulo Franco in the coming year, and The Last Card is only the beginning. Be sure to pick a copy of the record on release day, October 15th via Amazon and iTunes. You can also pre-order the record via his website, here: - No Depression

"Louise Parker of Paste Magazine"

Possibly the most sincere record I have heard this year, not only in the Americana realm but overall, Franco proves to be an absolute musical treasure. His rich story telling weaves throughout the songs in the record, creating a listening experience that is engaging from start to finish. Lyrically, Franco can write a song like no other. From Spanish influenced songs like 'Catrina Y Su Calavera,' to heartbreakers like 'Rolling Back to Raleigh,' The Last Card offers up something for all listeners. - Paste Magazine

"Eclectic Music Lover Album Reivew"

At first glance, Paulo Franco seems to be an anachronism. How could a guy with Colombian parents write and sing great, authentic country music? Paulo was born and raised in the Washington D.C. area (and now lives in Richmond, Virginia), but his parents are from Colombia. He grew up listening to both Colombian and American music (his father was a huge fan of Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell), so his songs reflect those dual influences. Paulo began playing classical guitar at the age of 9. He spent a few years playing in a cover band, but decided to begin writing his own music in 2008. Most of his compositions meld old school country, rock and blues, drawing inspiration from the likes of Steve Earle, Hank Williams, John Hiatt, Slaid Cleaves, Chris Knight, Gram Parsons, the Rolling Stones, the Drive By Truckers and The Grateful Dead. He recorded his first album By The Light Of A Paper Moon in 2012, followed by an EP of tunes co-written with his friend Shane Cooley a year later.

More recently, he started writing songs in Spanish, fusing traditional Latin and Colombian rhythms with American rock and roll. With his backing band the Freightliners (which is comprised of four talented musicians: Dan Sessler on lead guitar, Dave Hess and drums and backing vocals, Chad Bennett on bass, and Doug Thompson, also on bass), Paulo has released a solid new album The Last Card, featuring 13 songs, ten in English and three in Spanish. The combination of country, country rock, and Latin tunes on one album is pure delight. Paulo’s songs address themes common in a lot of songs – life, love and relationships, and the joy, pain and disappointment that emanate from them. And like many country tunes, his songs tell a compelling story. “Leaving the River City” has a pleasant, upbeat melody and music arrangement that contrasts sharply with the dark lyrics about a woman escaping an abusive relationship. In his mellifluous voice, Paulo sings: “Her dreams are faded as her jeans. Her nights are always filled with screams, and with his fury and his rage. She looks for courage to leave by any means, by mixing fire and gasoline or popping her twelve gauge / She’s leaving the River City. She’s leaving this time for good.” In “Rolling Back to Raleigh,” he wistfully sings of his mixed emotions while driving back home after dropping a child off for their first year of college. His love of being a musician on the road touring is expressed in “White Line Highway”: “Some people, they can’t wait to get off the road. As for me, I can’t wait for my next show. White line highway, take me back.” And with a story reminiscent of the Marty Robbins classic El Paso, the song “Run Rene Run” tells the tale of an illegal, falsely accused of a crime and on the run.

The title track “The Last Card” is a standout, with a solid arrangement and some fine guitar riffs. Another great track is the bittersweet “One More Night,” a collaboration with Shane Cooley. The poignant lyrics describe a man with a drinking problem trying to reassure his woman that he’ll be OK. “One more night, and that’s enough. I could stop any day. Put it all away. Don’t you pour those bottles down the sink.” I also really like the country-rock “Too Far Gone,” which has an early Eagles vibe. The three Spanish songs inject colorful energy into the album. The fiery opening track “Catrina Y Su Calavera” impels you to dance, as does the spicy “Llorando.” Paulo’s vocals are so authentically Spanish that it’s easy to forget you just heard him effortlessly and perfectly sing a country tune. “La Estrella del País” is a gorgeous homage to his parents’ home of Medellín, Colombia. The Last Card is a first-rate album, and I highly recommend for lovers of Country music. To learn more about Paulo, check out his website. Support him by following on Twitter and Facebook, and stream his music on Reverbnation and Spotify. His music may be purchased on iTunes or Amazon. - Eclectic Music Lover

"Style Weekly Record Review"

Paulo Franco is a margin walker. The constantly gigging, bilingual Richmond singer and songwriter makes Graham Parsons-inspired Americana, incorporating his Colombian ancestry on his brilliant new CD, “The Last Card.” On an album featuring songs sung in Spanish and English, tunes such as the organ-seasoned ballad “Leaving the River City” and the honky-tonked strut of “Rolling Back to Raleigh” invoke the sing-a-long era of early-’70s FM radio. On “Catrina Y Su Calavera” and “La Estrella del País,” his seamless Latin country-rock assimilations shine with horn punctuations, vocal hooks and memorable melodies. Impeccably recorded and produced by Bob Rupe, Franco celebrates the release of his instant cross-cultural classic on Saturday, Oct. 15, at Capital Ale House. Opening are the Richmond old-is-the-new sounds Tin Can Fish Band and Rob Williams. The afternoon show runs 1-4:30. $10. - Style Weekly


By The Light of a Paper Moon (February of 2012)

Tales from the Green Porch (December of 2013) (W/Shane Cooley)



Paulo Franco is a Richmond, Virginia based singer/ songwriter. In terms of recording, it may seem that he has come to the game later in life than some, but his musical journey has been a lifelong story. Born to Colombian immigrants and raised in Washington D.C., Paulo embraces his heritage as a first generation American and his songs and style reflect that. As a child, his father turned him on to the country music of the United States via the Johnny Cash Variety show and on his own he discovered a love for rock n roll through the Stones and the Beatles. At the age of nine, he picked up a classical guitar and a musician was born. After years of playing in various cover bands and honing his chops, Paulo began writing his own material in earnest in 2010.

Paulo's songs are steeped in storytelling, often drawing from his own life and those around him. The sound is a seamless blend of the myriad of influences that have shaped both his everyday life and his musical tastes. Listeners will find glimpses John Prine's wit, The Stones' rock n roll heart, and the fluidity of The Grateful Dead often times infused with the rhythms of traditional Latin and Colombian music. He has recently included original Spanish songs into his songwriting as well, bringing a depth and a love of two cultures seldom seen during the same show or album.  Paulo switches his voice from country twang, to rock anthem, to Spanish troubadour.  His vocals are so authentically Spanish that it’s easy to forget you just heard him effortlessly sing a country tune in English.

In 2012, Paulo released his debut record, By The Light Of A Paper Moon regionally and began playing more and more shows around the Richmond area as well as other markets across the country. In the last few years he has shared the stage with the likes of Chris Knight, Rhett Miller (Old 97s), Walter Salas Humara (The Silos), Dan Baird and Homemade Sin, Adam Carroll, Cris Jacobs, Cory Branan and many others. 2016 saw the release of his latest work, The Last Card, an album No Depression calls “a phenomenal sophomore record.” No Depression's Emily Hinde listed The Last Card at No. 2 of the year's best, behind only The Avett Brothers.  Paste Magazine hails Franco's effort as possibly the most sincere album of the year. The Last Card, produced by Bob Rupe (The Silos, Cracker, Gutterball and Sparklehorse) and featuring a virtual who's who of Richmond musicians, shows that Franco wears his heart on his sleeve musically and can hang with any songwriter working today. Paulo spent 2017 touring around Virginia, and other parts of the US, and a successful tour of Colombia, South America with stops in Medellin, Cali, Roldanillo, Cartagena and Santa Marta at the end of 2017.  He is working on new material and the Freightliners plan on returning to the studio in 2018.

Band Members