By: Matt Jaeger
I was hauling down Highway 59 south towards New Orleans when I started the album “Some People Change” released on February 1st by the John Frazier Band. There had just been a week’s worth of rain across much of Louisiana and Mississippi, and serious flooding has covered much of the two Delta states. There’s something about Louisiana, and New Orleans specifically, that inspires musicians. The road was mostly empty, and the rain drizzled slowly but steadily as I listened for the first time to the Frazier Band.
What came through the speakers was a subtle mix of Nickel Creek and Carolina Chocolate Drops. A current trend in music across all genres is a return to basics and a return to traditional folk styling. Acts like Nickel Creek and Mumford and Sons have really capitalized on the zeitgeist’s growing love of all things revival. The John Frazier Band taps directly into this magic as well, with a loud lead of mandolin heard over every song. The string backing hums and bounces through a variety of tracks covering a diverse set of issues from childhood discipline, to teenage hormonal experimentation in the back seats of cars. There are songs about momma, and whiskey stills, and in the word’s of Gary Clark, “homegrown tomatoes”. The album is carried by an assortment of lighthearted folk tracks, and the song “Chillin” let’s you know that the band doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Good music, like good art, doesn’t seek to answer the questions of our times, but rather attempts to ask the questions. It’s easy to get bogged down by the heavier burdens of life and spend most of your time, like ancient Atlas, carrying the weight of the world in your thoughts. Great music often times, even temporarily, relieves that burden and puts us into proper prospective. Shared experiences have a way of allowing all of us to relate to one another and realize that we are traveling through this thing called life as a collective, not just an individual and there is something oddly comforting in that existential reality. The Frazier Band’s newest album, “Some People Change” carries us through singular events that many, if not most, of us face in our lives.
Is the Frazier Band the key to a life of happiness? No, they aren’t, but they are a band that is attempting to make good music with roots that allows us to take the load off, even if just for a minute.
The Frazier Band will be performing live in Tuscaloosa on Saturday March 26th at the Topshelf Tavern at 10pm. Their show promises to be rowdy and fun, and I for one plan on taking in this motley bunch and would encourage you to as well.
Matt Jaeger is a staff writer for the Northport Gazette. He can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.