Wexford, County Wexford
WEXFORD singer/songwriter Fran Greene has just released his much anticipated new album 'Backroads'. The album builds on the reputation he has already made for himself with his first album ' Trapped Soul' which consisted of 21 songs and was recorded at Wexford Arts Centre in a total of just three hours! Fran has been a regular on the song club scene around Wexford for a number of years, performing regularly at The Red Chair in Bean n' Berry and at the Cáca Milis Cabaret at Wexford Arts Centre. He supported Jack L in The Set Theatre, Kilkenny earlier in the year.
The album consists of a series of intricate and well composed guitar riffs overlapped with almost whispered vocals that are delivered to devastating effect and really command attention. Fran references Nick Drake, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen among his influences, clearly borrowing elements of each of their vocal styles to create his own distinct brand of blues/folk.
Quote from ‘First Cuts’ section in Hotpress edition 17th May 2012:
Fran Greene’s album ‘Backroads opens with his road-weary ‘Mile After Mile’ which serves as an ideal vehicle for his warm vocals and nifty guitar picking. ‘At The Bottom’ has a similar feel, with more room for Greene’s handsome voice to stretch out a la Mick Flannery. ‘Finding Love’ is again, in a similar musical vein but benefits from the addition of a haunting fiddle that plays an appealing counterpoint to Greene’s Nick Drake-like vocal. A worthy effort indeed.
Music Review Unsigned: Wexford artiste Fran Greene cuts a classically lonely figure throughout the fifteen songs of Backroads, his new release of stripped-back acoustic recordings. Greene is an adept and restrained self-accompanist on guitar, crafting tickling jazz-folk arpeggios on opening tracks ‘Mile After Mile’ and ‘At The Bottom’ whose troubled seventh-chords evoke Bert Jansch or, more recently, Lee Mavers from the La’s, although Greene’s smooth, strong and smoky tone puts those luminaries in the shade as vocalists.
Such comparisons seem less relevant as the album progresses, with a mellower, more positive atmosphere pervading the beautiful, violin-bolstered ‘Finding Love’, and a contrasting frantic fast pluck driving ‘Sins of the River’ (showcasing Greene’s banjo skills) and ‘The Longing Song’. Immense credit is due to Greene’s skill as an arranger and multi-instrumentalist and the spacious atmosphere he has created with engineer Ivan Jackman. Even the relatively busy bluegrass arrangement of ‘The Wait’ doesn’t over-egg the pudding.
Fans of introspective, heartfelt and well-played modern folk music will love this collection, and although there are flashes of more obvious commercial potential – ‘Snow Steps’, with another very successful violin contribution from Oona McFarland, could be an acoustic cover of a mainstream indie hit – Greene largely achieves here on his own terms. And how.
The album can be downloaded or you can order a physical copy here: http://frangreene.bandcamp.com/