Red Dog Blues

He’s blessed with a tenor voice of extraordinary range, which often earns him comparisons to Gene Pitney or Roy Orbison. MICHAEL FRACASSO is a disciplined singer-songwriter who has flirted with pop, rock, folk, country, and blues, dragging them all into his casserole of American music. As a soft-spoken man, he’s also known for making sweet music; that he writes achingly earnest love songs does little to weaken that reputation. A few of those appear on his latest, RED DOG BLUES (self-released, available at michaelfracasso.com), but there’s also more-determined fare; the Austinite’s angelic voice belies the discontent and pain in his work. “There Goes the Neighborhood” is vintage Fracasso—traditional song structure with a soaring chorus—and a seemingly simple tale of myopic fear and hatred that translates on a global scale. “Stone’s Throw,” with its diminished chords and full-on production, makes for an arresting pop opener, while the oddly themed title track and “Hurricane,” both set to piano shuffles, also stand out. As for the centerpiece, a moving seven-minute acoustic Civil War ballad titled “Red White and Blue,” let’s just say it’s probably not bound for Toby Keith’s songbook anytime soon.

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