Denice Franke

Gulf Coast Blue

Denice Franke will introduce you to a range of characters as you listen to the eleven songs on Gulf Coast Blue. There’s an elegant one, and several who’ve been crushed and wounded by circumstance, and taken that in different ways, some who are celebrating, at least one who’s watching. In Franke’s stories, they come alive in just a few moments — a few moments, it seems by her storytelling, that are vivid snapshots from lives that have existed before and go on after the life of the song.

The Gulf Coast has its own unique flavor and speech and rhythm, and that’s part and parcel of what goes on here too. Franke knows the backroads and the highways of a musician’s life, having toured with the likes of Nanci Griffith and Eric Taylor, bar tended and traveled, recorded two well received albums, and been part of the musical life of Austin, San Marcos, and Houston. Not long ago she took all these experiences with her and moved to the Gulf Coast town of Galveston, and found the spark for a new album. “A lot of the characters in these songs, their lives are associated with the gulf and the water and those surroundings, and the gulf coast ties them all in,” Franke says. “It’s a collage of different folks who present themselves.” Franke knows how to tell their stories, in a husky and immediately recognizable voice. This time out, that voice is framed in melodies that are just a bit bluer than her earlier work, and in the ever shifting world that is life along the Gulf of Mexico. Mark Hallman, who’s also worked with top singer and songwriter Eliza Gilkyson, produced the project, leaving just the right amount of space for Franke’s voice and ideas.

Kerry Dexter is a contributing writer at the folk and world music magazine Dirty Linen. and the.former folk music editor at VH1.com. She also writes about music, the arts, and creative practice at the award winning blogMusic Road

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