3025 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19104
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
Frank Shiner, winner of two L.A. Music Critic Awards, has demonstrated his finely-honed ability to put his own unique stamp on classic material previously recorded by others via his sophomore album, LONELY TOWN, LONELY STREET. Turning in stellar performances on songs popularized by such artists as The Rascals, Brook Benton, Sam & Dave, Elton John and Bill Withers, Frank has created a tour-de-force collection of twelve songs from the songbooks of legendary writers such as Randy Newman, Doc Pomus, Isaac Hayes & David Porter and Tony Joe White among others.
“I decided to do ‘blue-eyed soul’ for my second album,” explains the New York resident, using a term that was first coined by renowned black radio personality Georgie Woods in the mid-‘60s. “I’ve always been intrigued by and loved the genre which has really morphed into including artists like my heroes Hall & Oates, Amy Winehouse and others..”
Indeed, with his latest album, Frank can most assuredly add his name to the list of bona fide ‘blue-eyed soul’ purveyors thanks to his passionate reading of such songs as “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” (written by Al Kooper of Blood, Sweat & Tears, who first recorded it and best known for a 1973 recording by late Donny Hathaway) and “Love Is A Losing Game” from the catalog of Amy Winehouse. Notes Frank, “There is some Donny Hathaway influence in my singing and performance. With the song by Amy, it’s heart wrenching. It has that feeling of someone who’s ‘lost’ and I well-up every time I sing the song…”
The process of selecting material for LONELY TOWN, LONELY STREET began with Frank collaborating with A&R veteran Mitchell Cohen with whom he worked on his critically-acclaimed 2015 debut album, “The Real Me.” Says Frank, “I was looking for material that spoke to me on every level – musically, emotionally and from a storytelling standpoint. We finally got down to eleven songs and then my producer Jay Newland (a 10-time Grammy winner known for his work with Norah Jones and Gregory Porter) suggested “Rainy Night In Georgia.” That was the last song to record and it’s become one of my absolute favorites on the album.”
LONELY TOWN, LONELY STREET opens with Frank’s melancholy-filled, deliberately sparse reinterpretation of “How Can I Be Sure,” a 1967 hit for The Young Rascals, recorded like the rest of the album “extremely stripped down,” notes the singer. “I recorded looking out at the musicians and almost every track is one solid take which creates an emotional string to run throughout the album and that’s what I want people to hear..”
Cut with a group of ‘A’ musicians who often record together (handpicked by producer Newland) including keyboardist and arranger Glenn Patscha, LONELY TOWN, LONELY STREET includes number of standout performances by Shiner such as the title track, a propulsive Bill Withers song: “The rhythm is spectacular and you can’t listen to it without bopping in your seat! It really spoke to the whole ‘feel’ of the album.”
Shiner’s own story as a performer (and in recent years as a recording artist) is atypical: after nearly two decades away from working as an entertainer – “I paid my dues, I fulfilled responsibility as a father, husband, a friend, as a business person and put everything on back burner” – Frank returned to singing following his wife Suzanne’s battle with cancer in 2009. A year later, she encouraged him to sing one night at a local open mic night and the audience reaction – along with that of the bandleader who followed Frank out to the parking lot to almost beg him to become a vocalist with his orchestra – led Shiner back to performing on a regular basis.
Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, growing up in Mountain Top (and from the age of ten, working side-by-side with his late father Francis in the family-owned bakery), Frank’s love for music and theatre first found expression when he was cast in the role of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. In college, Frank briefly began studying law before switching to acting, training in classics by Shakespeare and Moliere and moving to New York, where he would go on to appear in over sixty theatre and television productions and meet “the love of my life” Suzanne, who he married within two years after arriving in New York.
In 2014, with the release of “The Real Me,” produced by award-winner Gary Katz, Frank reignited the passion for music he had never lost. “Feels Like Home,” a Randy Newman reinterpretation, gained considerable airplay in and around the New York area as the premier single from the album on Bakerson Records (distributed by Universal Music Group) as did “Driving Home For Christmas,” issued ahead of his debut CD in December 2013, with proceeds going to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in honor of his late father.
Out in October 2016, Frank’s potent reading of another yuletide classic, “Please Come Home For Christmas,” is a prelude to the March 2017 release of LONELY TOWN, LONELY STREET, which showcases Frank’s artistry as an interpreter of material delivered with heart and from the soul. “I like to think I stayed true to every one of the songs. I’m a trained Shakespearian actor so I need to have a special focus on the lyrics. Take “She’s Gone,” (originally recorded by Hall & Oates and done by Tavares and Lou Rawls). It’s a cool rhythmic song yet people don’t focus on what the song is saying. Then there’s “Guilty,” a great bluesy song by Randy Newman which is about a guy who’s made a lot of bad decisions and nothing he does turns out right.”
While Frank relishes material written by classic tunesmiths such as Doc Pomus (whose “There is Always One More Time,” a song recorded previously by Johnny Adams is given a bluesy, horn-laced workout), he delves into the Justin Timberlake catalog for “Drink You Away,” offering a slower version that combines elements of soul, rock and blues. “I think Justin is extremely talented. In my recording, I had so much fun with it. The joke is…I am so much not a drinker! As an actor however, I understand someone who is trying to drink someone away and I certainly know people who have.”
Visiting a tried-and-tested soul classic, Frank takes “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby” (first cut by famed duo Sam & Dave) and brings an intimate flavor to it. “I did it as a duet with (award-winning vocalist) Leslie Mendelson. Like everything else on the album, it was done live in the studio – and literally, Leslie and I sang looking at each other, picking up on each other’s tones, mirroring each other’s riffs. It was wonderful.”
Mendelson also joins Frank providing background vocals for “I Will Be There,” a Van Morrison song “that is like a ‘Stand By Me’ kind of tune. it reflects how I live my life, as a guy who’s loyal to family and friends..” With “Shine On Through,” Frank pays a rousing homage to Sir Elton John, often considered a blue-eyed soul pioneer: “It builds into a gospel song and I can see myself having audience participation when we do the song live, lifting people up.”
Asked about how LONELY TOWN, LONELY STREET fits into his career path, Frank Shiner smiles: “I don’t think I have a ‘career objective’ as such. I’m loving every second of what I’m doing now and if this album goes somewhere, well, that’s the cherry on top of the sundae…but I’ve already got the sundae! The greatest compliment I get is when audience members tell me they can see the total bliss and joy I have onstage. The minute I lose that, it’s time to stop.” With the release of an album made with love and delivered with true authenticity and passion, that won’t be anytime soon.
$15 + Fees