May 5th, 2012
Heyah French Fans,
I’m sitting in my apartment listening to some Stevie Ray Vaughan/ the little boys upstairs re-enacting UFC battles and thinking it’s about time to write. I usually don’t do a letter type thang on my blog, but this is more to you and not just for you. So let’s dish!
I’m going soloish. I think. I’m still figuring it out, but I feel like holding a regular band together as I try to go farther is becoming too tough when everyone has their own things going on. It’s been a long time coming and I can’t say some folks didn’t tell me so (mom, girlfriend, Jack Hale, Brad Paisley, Will Daily), but I think it’ll be for the best and lead to more going on in the future for the music I’m so thankful you dig. I’m not saying I won’t be out playing a stratocaster with familiar faces backing me up as much as I can, but it’s likely I’ll be with my acoustic guitar a lot too. You might think my thing has always been a solo project, but I’ve tried to make it a band. I’d like to give a brief history of me and of the band to explain a little.
When I was just a little French I got to learn from my dad, local blues guitar legend Ronnie Lee French. He taught me and let me sit in with his bands. My younger brother Aaron was clearly a drummer waiting to happen and he followed suit. I survived leukemia as a teenager and commited myself fully to being a musician at that time. I think that’s when a little bit of Hyde crept insyde so to speak.
It’s on the internet now, oy. Anyway, after that I went to Berklee and got to play with a lot of people. I led a band called All Dressed Up with Seth Romano, Scott Manley, John Hirst, Pete Rucktenwald, and Rachel Solomon. Eventually I decided I wanted to sing myself and started developing my voice. Seth took it well, and I still defer to him whenever we play certain songs together!
Anyway, I started playing acoustic and singing softly a lot, still finding my way.
I moved to Nashville after school, but didn’t feel like I was in the right place at the right time to become myself, so home I came. I started my climb to full time work as a sideman and teacher, and reunited with a couple of friends in Boston: drummer John Hirst and bassist Craig Weiman. I met John at school, and Craig in a creepy cover band. We started to play my stuff and I moved back to Boston into a house with my friends in a band called The Fens. I call this my Malden period. Eventually John was heading home to the UK though and we made sure to start recording the initial tracks for what became my first record before he left. Craig and I jammed with a few drummers but nothing popped and he moved on to some other projects.
Then Walt and I reconnected. We started getting things together in that mecca called Cranston while I worked on the CD. An old high school friend Eric Kalver joined us to play drums and things were back up and running. Then Eric moved to Los Angeles. Aaron French has been playing the drums this whole time remember, and he stepped up to be the guy! This was great fun and a real relief. The band continued. I finished my CD and released it 10/10/10!
I got a call from keyboardist Tim Butterworth wondering if I knew any rocking guitarists for his cover band High Five Time. I did in fact, and we started playing in each other’s groups. Aaron was busy finishing up college and I turned to Corey Schreppel to play drums some of the time after we’d worked together on stuff for Matt Nakoa, who you can hear playing squeezebox on There Goes the Neighborhood. The CD had just come out and I already had material for another. I moved to NY for a couple months thinking it was the time to take that leap but didn’t really stay in the city enough as so much was going on in Boston and RI. I came home and started Old City Blues in a cabin in VT over a weekend with Walt, Corey and Tim. I regret not having had Aaron there to play too, but he’s a forgiving brother and can be heard on the French Family Blues Band’s debut. We’ll always play together.
Like CD#1, CD#2 has taken a long time to finish. Part one came out 10/19/11. Part 2 comes out tomorrow and part 3 is right around the corner…
I was juggling drummers and both were busy (Aaron finished school and started his job, and Corey’s a full time engineer @ NEC). Then Tim moved to LA this past fall, sigh, no more keys. I started having Zac Casher play drums with the band over the winter, what a mensch for filling in. But I wanted a full time guy and he’s rightfully in pretty high demand. So I started looking, auditioned some fellas, and found Tim Carman at Berklee, who’s great and has been rehearsing with me. He’s slated to play some stuff currently on the schedule. Revitalized to relaunch I was gearing up to move forward, but it’s recently developed that Walt has more and more responsibility at a full time job with Numark and can’t commit to what I want to do.
So I’m trying to figure out what to do next, how to do it, and how to brand it. I’m thankful for all the time I’ve gotten to spend making music with everyone I’ve worked with so far. Check out the where are they now type links on people’s names throughout. I hope the freedom, agility, and control I’ll have on my own will allow me to succeed in becoming the full time touring and recording artist I’ve always striven to become.