Detroit’s Stewart Francke delivers captivating work in his multi faceted and superbly-written self-titled release. The veteran indie musicians pulls from a variety of genres and as a listener one is reminded of the famous African proverb to “speak softly and carry a big stick” while listening to each track.
Francke’s voice is neither delicate or falsetto, but he evokes a softness that is ever-so-slightly burnt at the edges. His warmth and maturity is evident in the moving “Summer Soldier.” At times the echo-ing chorus churns like invading memory, at at other times the song is strips down to sadness and loneliness. It’s remarkable.
“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” has a warmth to it – a brightness like Jackson Browne’s vocal delivery. The music bed clicks along like a time piece, keeping the beat to a vocal showcase. The lyrics are stunning.
“Sam Cooke’s On The Radio” is a wonderful ride. Soulful and a bop-a-bop-a-bop-a chorus rushes alongside a warm, horn waterfall. What a fun trip to the 60s, blue-eyed soul. What a fun song!
“House of Lights” has this grittier guitar entry – kind of like “Born To Run” (Bruce Springsteen) and “Two Guitars Bass and Drums” prove Francke’s voice can sing to me at any time. Just a soothing voice with the right amount of pop!
“Heart of a Heartless World,” “Letter From Ten Green” and “Upon Seeing Simone (Live)” round out the rest of the album. He’s quite the wordsmith and as a listener, I found myself tapping and humming right alongside the illustrious musical layers.
Overall, Stewart Francke’s self-titled album is a true joy to listen to – it’s charming and fulfilling as a fan of soul, pop, Americana and good ‘ol rock and roll.