First things first, the inevitable clarification. Frank Smith is not a man, it is a band. The brainchild of band leader Aaron Sinclair, Austin, TX's Frank Smith has managed to stay consistently active through its share of changing members, with ten releases to their credit. Sinclair and the current lineup are seeing much warranted rewards for their persistence and devotion. In 2012, the guys snagged a coveted opening slot for country-punk stalwart Lucero during Fun Fun Fun Fest Nites. In early 2013, their song, "Beaten Sacks of Death," was featured on MTV Hive and this November they up the ante, earning their own proper festival spot at the very same beloved Fun Fun Fun Fest.
The backbone of Frank Smith is Sinclair's incredible songwriting skills. It astonished me when I first discovered them because I had only known Sinclair as an incredible drummer in about a billion other local outfits. Coupled with his distinctive and powerful vocal styling, he is able to weave tales of love, loss, and life in an infectious way that is often easy to (or hard not to) sing along with. The songs and the delivery instantly pull at your heart strings.
Long time categorized in the folk/Americana genres, Frank Smith actually touches on many different styles, most honed with their latest release, Nineties. The variety of styles is a product, no doubt, of all the contributing members playing in other bands as well. Reviews of the album nearly all comment on its more rockin' tones, but the heart of the previous releases is most certainly still prevalent, making this, in my opinion, their best work yet. And I don't say that lightly because I previously advocated that Before You Were Born was their best album. Topping yourself with each effort, not a bad problem to have.
Experience them for yourselves at the SXSWfm HAAM Benefit Day Showcase, September 24 at Wooldridge Square Park. See SXSW.com/fm for more details and the full lineup. Don't forget to tune in to SXSWfm to hear Frank Smith and so many other fantastic artists.
Photo Courtesy of Frank Smith