Frank Smith

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FRANK SMITH IS A BAND, NOT A MAN Texas-born frontman/songwriter Aaron Sinclair was originally the drummer for Boston noise punks the Lot Six (who toured nationally in 2005 as support to the Distillers). Frank Smith was born when Sinclair picked up a guitar and, with a few friends from the Boston indie-rock scene, gathered in Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer’s son Jesse’s home studio to record some country-ish music. “As you get older, your tastes widen”, says Sinclair of his punk-to-mellower Americana evolution. “I was trying to find my way around the lighter side of things after being in a lot of punk bands”. The new group named themselves LaGuardia but upon learning there was already a major label band with the same name, they re-dubbed themselves ‘Frank Smith’. “We were getting tired of trying to think of clever or cool band names, and it turned into, ‘What’s the most monotonous, everyday-Joe name you could think of?’” says Sinclair. The current steady lineup of Frank Smith includes Eyes Like Knives frontman Scott Toomey on guitar and keys/vocals, Brett Saiia on banjo/vocals, Dan Burke on bass/vocals, Steve Malone on pedal steel, and Drew Roach on drums. (Kramer has since moved on to do his own thing in L.A.). In the five years they have been together, Frank Smith has been extremely productive; they recorded and released, in short order, three critically-acclaimed albums: “Burn This House Down” (2004) “Think Farms” (2005) (named one of the top ten albums of the year by the Boston Phoenix) “Red On White” (2006) (named one of the top ten albums of the year by Boston’s Weekly Dig) “Heavy Handed Peace And Love” was already mixed and mastered when Juliana Hatfield offered to license it to her newly-established Ye Olde Records label. “Heavy Handed Peace and Love” is Ye Olde’s inaugural non-Juliana offering. “I was thinking of maybe trying to sign a band to my label,” Hatfield says, “and I was kinda looking around, but not being very proactive about it, because I am lazy, and don’t really get excited by much that’s out there, so when the opportunity to work with Frank Smith presented itself , I jumped at it. I just think they’re a really really good, interesting, uncategorizable band and Aaron is such a great songwriter with such a distinctive voice. I feel lucky to have this opportunity to work with them before the world discovers them and falls in love with them and steals them away. When I first heard ‘Heavy Handed Peace And Love’ I thought, ‘Shit. This is a classic album’. So many good songs. Evocative of all kinds of good stuff- the Rolling Stones, Nick Cave, Ryan Adams, Wilco, the Shins, the Band, Gillian Welch... and the way all the guys harmonize together vocally is soooo sweeet. Everything they do seems to be more impressive than the last thing they did. And they are a relatively new band so we in Boston have had the pleasure of watching them evolve and gel and sort of come into their own in front of our eyes. It’s exciting to see a band blooming, in real time. “ “Heavy Handed Peace And Love” has Gram Parsons-esque country rock (“Put Some Curtains Up”), plaintive acoustic/folk-pop (“Planes And A Girl”), singalong depressive indie-rock (“Home Is Where You Leave It”), a blues-soul murder ballad (“Lovesick Cynics”), a Holly Golightly cover (“Virtually Happy”), and something completely unclassifiable in “Ten Cent Hands”, with its jerky swinging noise-folk honkytonk menace. The bottom line is that Frank Smith’s sound is as vast as the America they live in. The band reconciles countless would-be opposites as songs from the back porch country are driven straight into the noise of the city, simple folk tunes are given the most intricately complex arrangements, and the freedom of the music is constantly pulled back by the authority of the beat. Frontman Sinclair, who originally came to Boston to go to college (the Berklee College of Music) has recently reclaimed to his roots and relocated, with th