1 post tagged jim lauderdale
Stepping up and passing it on: John Frazier debuts Frazier Band at the Rooster’s Wife Sunday, May 13.
by MOLLY MCGINN
About two years ago, John Frazier was gigging at the Station Inn in Nashville. Sitting right there, in the audience, was John Prine. Just hanging out. A few songs into it somebody asked Prine, “John, do you want to get up and sing?” And Prine said, “Yea.”
“The thing that struck me was that he was just so cool, totally at peace with himself as an artist, and at peace with himself in the band,” says Frazier, the summer season opener May 13 at the Rooster’s Wife in Aberdeen, NC with Lizzy Ross opening the show.
“That’s what’s great about living in Nashville; the opportunity to be mentored.”
Frazier, 31, has been mentored by, co-founded, sided, or played hired gun to a chill-raising list of players in both traditional and improvisational bluegrass circles: Jim Lauderdale, Steep Canyon Rangers, John Cowan, Bela’ Fleck and more.
By the sound of Frazier’s new project, Frazier Band, he’s picked up a few things from Grappelli and probably Grisman. John Cowan’s Americana-soul sound clearly has its influence too; inevitable since Frazier is Cowan’s mandoline player in the John Cowan Band.
And if you recently saw Cowan at the Rooster’s Wife, come back. Frazier has some songs of his own for you.
Talking from his home town in East Nashville, TN, Frazier has a hand in several projects these days, the big three being Jim Lauderdale Bluegrass Band, John Cowan Band, and the newest debut, Frazier Band.
The transition from sideman to front man has Frazier flipping through a rolodex of memories: the mentoring moments, playing with guys like Prine, and riding in the family car and listening to his uncle’s favorite John Prine tunes. And, later in high school when Frazier started writing and collaborating with musicians in Colorado.
“Around 14, playing music with my friends was very natural. We’d just hang out and play and wrote a lot of songs together,” Frazier says. “I really wanted to recapture that experience in Nashville. I want to get back to that youthful energy.”
Early exposure to Phish and Dave Matthews Band in high school prepared Frazier to understand what New Grass Revival was trying to do, he says.
“Cowan, Sam Bush and Bela did New Grass Revival in ‘89 and jam band music really peaked in the ‘90s. Bela and Sam were taking long improvisational breaks, long before jam bands were even at their peak, but that’s exactly what they were doing,” Frazier says.
Listening to Frazier Band, you’ll hear a touch of that jam band influence, hemmed in by Frazier’s years of experience playing with some of the tightest, innovative players in the bluegrass, soul and americana genres.
Today Frazier freely gives away some of that good advice he’s been given. We asked him what he tells other musicians who are struggling to get started. There’s some great advice in there, no matter what your calling.
He’s just doing what he’s been taught: Stepping up, and passing it on.
- Try and depressurize it. Don’t worry about it so much, you can get consumed with anxiety, and you don’t do anything.
- Try to do one little thing, each and every day. And if you don’t want to work on your business that day, don’t. You have to keep yourself sane.
- Ask yourself, “What can you do in the next 2 hours to feel like you took a step forward in your business?”
- For some people the answer is to write more, not work on the business at all. So do your art. Don’t worry about some of the other stuff. Just be who you are.
If you were at the John Cowan Band show recently at the Rooster’s Wife, you likely saw Frazier as one of the hired guns in Cowan’s project. Come back and make John Frazier feel welcome Sunday, May 13 for his new project debut. It’s Mother’s Day. Bring your mom.