Interview: Who is Frank Shiner?

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Concert Crap: You recently released your latest album Lonely Town, Lonely Street. What was the inspiration behind the song choices on this album?

Frank Shiner: I’ve always been intrigued by the genre of “blue-eyed soul”… I thought the concept of an album of blue-eyed soul classics as well as lesser-known songs would be interesting to sort of re-introduce the genre.  I listened to well over 100 songs of the genre and I first found the songs with lyrics which spoke to me. Then I looked at them musically and considered if they could be brought more up-to-date in the arrangements. Little by little I narrowed down the selection to the 12 which made it on the album.

CC: What made you decide to do an album full of reinterpreted songs?  

FS: Sometimes I think a song needs another chance. There are brilliant songs out there that just have been lost in the shuffle. And then there are bonafide classics which we’ve gotten just a little too accustomed to. Reinterpreting a lesser known song and giving it a second life is intriguing to me. As is reinterpreting a well-known song and getting the listener to hear it and think about it in a completely different way.

CC: How has the response been to it so far?

FS: First of all, I do this because I love it… So I have to be happy first. That being said… We have not had a single negative reaction to any of the songs. I’m actually blown away by that.  And two of the original artists have actually reached out to us and acknowledged the music. Tony Joe White, the original composer and singer of “Rainy Night in Georgia”, heard about the song and saw the video. He tweeted out the link and he posted the video on his Facebook page saying that he liked it.  Gene Cornish, original founding member of The Young Rascals and Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee also heard about our version of “How Can I be Sure”. He attended my last show at The Cutting Room in New York City and got on stage and played it with the band! He said that my version of their song was very special to him. Getting recognition from an original artist is something we live for… Getting recognition back to back is just simply a dream.

CC: Do you see yourself continuing to release albums of reinterpreted songs or would you change it up?

FS: I will certainly always do reinterpreted songs because the availability of music is so rich… but originals are also a given.

CC: Your album falls into the “blue eyed soul” genre. How would you explain the genre to someone who’s never heard of it?

FS: Georgie Woods was a black radio personality in the 1960s. He coined the phrase “blue-eyed soul” when he was describing the Righteous Brothers.  It has since morphed into acts like Hall And Oats, Amy Winehouse, and even as current as Justin Timberlake. Personally, I feel it is a blending of R&B, soul, blues, and even a hint of jazz here and there.

CC: What can we expect to see from you, both short-term and long-term?

FS: You will be seeing lots and lots of live shows as that is my first love. Not that I don’t thoroughly enjoy being in the studio, because I do. But the energy of a live show and the interaction with the audience is nothing short of addictive. I now have two albums and two shows written around those albums. I will be performing those two shows and I will also be putting together a third show which is a blending of the two albums.  And, of course, I’m already considering what album three may be.

CC: What’s on your playlist right now?

FS: It’s a really good question but, believe it or not, I don’t have a playlist. I listen to music by genre according to my mood. I use different streaming services and I simply plug in a genre…and I like to be surprised.  It is extremely important to me to listen to nearly every type of music. I really feel that my style is a blending of many many different genres.  Blues, blues rock, rock, R&B, jazz, country, and at any given time I will even have classical music playing. I need to take it all in.

CC: What 5 things would I put in a pentagram to summon you?

FS: Hmmmm. I’m not sure how to answer that. I’m not easily summoned or manipulated.  I pretty much do my own thing. I can tell you the things I find most attractive in a person. Loyalty, selflessness, sticktoitiveness,  honesty, humor. Those are attractive “qualities” to me… I don’t believe I could come up with five “items” that would attract me because they are fleeting and the choices change as we change and as our desires change.

CC: Is there anything else you’d like to add to this interview?

FS: I think I would want the readers and listeners to know that I like real instruments and real voices. I have a very difficult time listening to fake voices and electronically enhanced, altered or produced voices or instruments.  I like to keep it real and I will never put anything on an album that I cannot do in a live show. That is a real passion of mine.

All questions answered by Frank Shiner.

Website / Facebook / Instagram / YouTube

Post and interview by Karen Shalev

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