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  Michael Fracasso--Red Dog Blues



 
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Red Dog Blues is not the music of a guy settling in. Sure, it bears the mark of the albums that came before. But it is also a record of how Michael Fracasso’s songwriting and performance have progressed.

With the aid of producer David Hamburger and arranger Beaumont La Grange, Michael explores swing rhythms, and deeper roots song structures and harmonies. Stretching out from his usual excellent guitar playing to sitting at the piano on some songs, Michael purposely forces himself in new musical directions. The good news: it sounds great!

Art is often more about how it feels than what it is. Lyrically, most of these songs seem to explore feelings of loss. Maybe Red Dog Blues is just another cute song about a dead dog. Maybe it’s about feelings of helplessness and loss as we see our loved ones fading. Life can feel like a hurricane tearing things we hold most dear away from us. That’s what I get out of it anyway.

But enough of the head trip. The best reason to buy Red Dog Blues is visceral. It is a beautiful album of music. The song samples are right there. You don’t need some big music label spoon feeding you this stuff. The quality of the work speaks for itself. What else do you need? Ray Wyssman review
Artist Info
I grew up in the steel-mill town of Mingo Junction, Ohio. My parents were Italian Immigrants and my Dad worked in the mill. I learned about music through listening to a.m. radio and the times we went to the Country Music Jamboree in Wheeling, W.Va., near my home on The Ohio River. The first concert I saw was Kitty Wells, I never knew what a “honky-tonk angel” was but I loved her voice. My parents grew large vegetable gardens and an orchard, and made their own wine. As a kid, it was a place for idle summers and sandlot baseball, but as I grew older, it became a place to leave.

I worked summers in the steel mill and went away to college, first to Ohio State University in Columbus, and then to Washington State University in Pullman. I got a degree in Environmental Science but I knew I always wanted to be a musician so I left the forests behind me and moved to New York City.

Upon my arrival in New York, the first place I headed to was the Cornelia Street Cafe. Every Monday night in this Greenwich Village Cafe a songwriter exchange was held where you could only perform a new song. In the audience and on stage were some of New York's best songwriters of the new folk scene: Suzanne Vega, The Roches, Mark Johnson, Steve Forbert, etc. To get up in that small cafe was intimidating, but the exhilaration of playing is what kept me going.

It was during this time that I published my first song, “Big Sister” that went to #11 on the Canadian charts and recorded a song for The Cornelia Street Songwriters Exchange album. Eventually the scene changed and I felt like I needed a to make a move.

In 1990 I came to Austin, Texas with everything that would fit in the back of my Volkswagen Rabbit, which was mostly my guitars. While in New York, a reviewer in Variety once described my songs as having a "rustic sound with a city sensibility," and in Austin, I found my equivalent.

My musical travels have taken me to many exotic and some not so exotic locals (read: sofas) and I’ve appeared on several national syndicated radio shows including World Café, Mountain Stage and Acoustic Café. I feel blessed to have this job and with the support of my fans, I hope to continue.

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