Frank OŽBrien, Jr.Haystack Records
421 West Seventh St
Whitefish, MT 59937
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Frank's debut album, which he released on his own label, shows that there's no better teacher than "the road." For more than ten years he played the coffeehouses, pubs and theaters of NYC and state and CO solo and with his progressive rock group, Shankis. Building on his influences of traditional folk and bluegrass as well as singer/songwriters, he recorded an acoustic album of original songs with strong lyrics describing life's experiences from the view point of the Good Humor man of his home town, a father trapped in a mine and found in the nick of time, an elementary school crush or a waitress. And, of course, there's a love song of a travelling and searching musician. |
Whether he's performing his songs almost solo or with some of the excellent musicians he gathered around for the recording, the music shines with time tested quality that makes it a pleasure to listen to. His smooth voice carries the tune from low baritone to falsetto with great confidence and power.
It's hard to pick a favorite, but I think mine is Isle Of Sorrow. Though not a happy song - obviously - it has deep reflections about the institution of family and comes to the conclusion that..."more important than family is family feel". A well-done booklet completes this fine package.