If you’ve been reading the site for some time, you may remember that we featured Frank Vieira in our first ever Stray Plectrums post – well now he’s released his debut album, ‘Three Little Words’. With a sound that’s firmly rooted in both southern rock and mainstream country rock, Frank’s life up until now has not been a traditional inroad into country, and neither is his sound. Born in New York state, he spent most of his youth into sports, playing competitive football, hockey and baseball, with music taking a backseat. However, it was his senior year of high school that saw him take a guitar-building elective and simultaneously fall in love with the instrument. Frank says, “I haven’t put it down since.”
Yet, nearly six years on, and you’d be forgiven for assuming that Frank had been pursuing music his whole life. His songs are well-written and well-constructed, and cover a variety of topics, including love, heartbreak, nostalgia and stories that appeal to ordinary people. His vocals are not the strongest, but they achieve their required function in delivering the songs, and it’s likely that this is simply a sign of requiring the years of experience it takes to build up vocal ability. Certainly, he’s more accomplished than many of his auto-tuned contemporaries, and there’s a distinct rawness to this record despite the leanings toward a more radio-friendly mainstream sound on occasion. At the basis of it, the songs on ‘Three Little Words’, such as the title track and ‘Love’ (which Frank says is his favorite lyric), are just simple country rock songs to be enjoyed for what they are, and there’s a glory in that. There’s signs of Eric Church in the opener ‘(Place That Ain’t) Too Crowded’ and early Luke Bryan in ‘Bad Habits’, while the heavier, dirtier sounds of bands like The Cadillac Three come through in ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ and a decidedly old school honky-tonk sound accompanies the anthemic ‘Warm Beer’.
Frank says of the record, “This album is a result of my life through college. I wrote a lot of songs during that time period, had a lot of things going on in life good and bad and a lot of free time in between and during classes to focus on the songs. I feel I grew a lot as a songwriter and an artist during this time,” he explains. “When we took it to the studio that creativity and growth really took off. I was fortunate to be signed to a label out in Pittsburgh (SET Records) with some talented producers (Jason Levis, Jonathan Fisher) who really helped shape the album and give it a sound and direction.” Noting he’s inspired by the works of Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Gary Allan and Josh Thompson, (“Their work is distinctively them… That style is what I shoot for when writing songs”), it’s clearly evident on the album, the sounds and stories weaving in and out of the mainstream, while always maintaining a rock instrumental base and a rough-around-the-edges ethos.
Yet, it’s not an outlaw persona that Frank adopts, and he welcomes love songs with open arms, “From an overall song point of view we’re really proud of ‘Three Little Words’”, he muses. “It was produced by my producer Jason Levis and David J Holman in LA (Holman produced albums for Bush, No Doubt, he also produced the Grease soundtrack) Just a song that’s pretty personal and I think has the ability to put people in the shoes of “I’ve been there”… Pretty relate-able to a lot of people and it’s great when we go out and play live seeing people singing all the words already. Special song.”
This album is sure to help Frank build on the fanbase that he already has and I won’t be at all surprised if we hear him on country radio in the near future.